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My oldest son just turned 18 in July and my middle son will be 17 in October. Both of them are suppose to start college this fall. They were both interested in NTI in Charlotte (Nascar Technical Institute) but at $25,000 a pop and no likely way to afford transportation and a new residence for them I had to say no. My oldest son did get a scholarship of $500 but that did not amount to peanuts compared to the over all cost. The local community college has auto tech and a motorcycle/marine tech classes. I am happy that they were reasonable and understood the overall cost was something that could not be afforded at the time.
My youngest son will be in the 8th grade this year. He is my "think tank" and is very smart. He gets wonderful grades and has been accepted into a new trial accelerated algebra class this year at school. I am quite sure that he will apply for and get several scholarships but the way I look at it: I have about 5 years to start some sort of college fund for him. All of the boys were given savings bonds by their grandparents on their birthdays but they take 13 years to mature , so this does leave only a few of them at their full rate to cash in on. I am thinking that I should open a CD account that I can put money into for his education. He has expressed interest in several different career paths and the two he is most interested in is to become an attorney or an architect. College will be at the minimum 4 years.
How have you folks handled this situation?
 

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My oldest son is starting college this year. He is at Auburn in AL. VERY proud of him!

When he was a baby we could hardly afford to feed ourselves much less save for our boys college (we have two boys~ the youngest is 15). Our parents did not send us to college~ we were young and stupid kids having kids. It's amazing we survived~ and even more amazing our kids survived! Hubby joined the AF in 1990 and we WORKED. Hubby now has a couple a masters degrees and a really good job with Boeing. it wasn't easy~ we worked hard~ sacrificed a lot~ and got him the degrees to take care of us. There never was any money for college funds for the boys.

I had planned on sending the boys to Community College (much cheaper and they can live at home) for the first two years then onto University for the second two~ then on thier own. More than my parents ever did for me~ and will give them a good start. Thats still the plan for the youngest son~ unless he's smart like his brother!

My oldest boy listened and paid attention when he was growing up. How much we had to struggle~ what a difference it made in our lives as soon as Daddy started getting degree's behind him. How the Air Force helped us get started.

He applied for and got a full scholorship through AF ROTC. He is attending Auburn University for the next 4 years~ 100% paid for by the Air Force! We have to pay for his food and lodging~ but the AF even gives him a stipend each month to help with those costs~ and the boy does know how to be frugal (he had to learn growing up with it so tight as a child). Once he finishes his degree ~ Computer Engineering~ he owes the AF four years as an Officer in the US Air Force. I could not be prouder of the boy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ravenlost said:
They need to work and help pay for it themselves.

My oldest son did get a job and he is going to go to school part time and work 3/4 to full time. Our main problem is transportation. I cannot afford to put them on my insurance so the oldest one is saving up his money to purchase a vehicle. I am currently giving rides back and forth to work and the classes he is taking this fall is all stuff that can be taken online or through distance edu... the basic stuff like his math and college skills (required course by the college for all new students). The middle son is also taking classes part time and all through distance education. We have had problems trying to get them jobs and I was so glad when my oldest son got his job. Places around here seem very hesitant to hire anyone under the age of 18 and the only reason he got the job is because he is 18.

Congratulations Cheryl aka JM!! I bet you are proud of your son!! I have a feeling that my youngest son will probably opt for the JROTC and possibly a military college. He keeps his nose in books concerning military war fare and such. He loves the history channel and the military channel.
 

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Thanks Shellrow~ I just can't brag about what a great kid he is! Amazing considering how young and stupid we were when we had him.

That about distance education~ thats a good point. My husbands Master Degree programs have all been distance education. He did the Associate level at "the community college of the Air Force"~ basically took a couple classes and got a lot of credits for his Basic Training and Tech schools. Then he did the Bachelor Degree in residence at Omaha (that was a REAL challenging couple of years)~ then he has done the Master degree's programs online~ Two of his degrees are through University of Marland and this last one he just completed is through Walsh. They are not easy~ he works VERY hard~ but it is much easier with the distance option through the online programs.
 

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WOOHOO...WAR EAGLE! That's great Cheryl. I had an uncle who put himself through Auburn that way. He's now retired from the Air Force.

Shellrow, sounds like your 18-year-old is on the right path. Hopefully your 17-year-old will follow in his brother's footsteps. If he could find a job while still in high school and save money for college, it sure would help. Also, there are lots of scholarships available. I put myself through college on Pell Grants and scholarships while raising two children alone. If I can do it, anyone can!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You are welcome Cheryl aka JM! Yes the distant education courses have been a great relief for us due to the fact that currently transportation is a tricky subject. I did not want for them to wait around and get caught up in working a full time job and lose the interest in college. My oldest son is still kicking around the idea of joining the Navy, which is perfectly acceptable by me if he wants to.

Was your husband ever stationed at either of the two AF bases in NC? Pope or Seymore Johnson? Fort Bragg took over Pope AFB last year but there are still a few Air Force Personal left here. My ex was stationed at Bragg for quite some time.
 

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There are all kinds of grants, loans, scholarships and work grants-- etc.. They need to hit the computer and apply to any and all that they find. We were very blessed to be able to pay for our children's education. They all worked to pay for the extras they needed/wanted. Two had sports scholarships. They are all only 2yrs apart so it was difficult but it can be done.. We paid for four yrs and anything after that they were responsible for.. We are far from wealthy, we didn't have a huge nest egg saved and we did it.. My sibling's children all had grants, loans, scholarships and worked..

Remember have them apply for any and all--all they can say is NO! Queen Bee who is soooooo happy that she no longer has children in school!!
 

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There's always Berea College in KY. If you meet financial need guidelines tuition is free.

I'm hoping my mom will help out when she sells her FL property, and we'll co-sign student loans.

Or if I'm real lucky, I'll get a job at the college! Most universities give free tuition to kids whose parents work there.
 

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I really feel for you all and my hats off to your young people who want to attend college. It's so different now. I was able to work and attend community college and then transfer to a city university and earned my degree by paying for it myself.

My daughter earned her degree and used pell grants and worked, which the grants took her YEARS to pay off.

Now I have a grandson, and I am starting a "Send KAI to HARVARD fund" with a 529 savings plan here in Oklahoma--which is a wonderful plan, and you don't have to be a resident to have one. These savings plans can be a good investment (tax break-wise) and interest-wise.

I am hoping that what I save will double itself, as far as interest goes in the next 20 years.

My daughter and sil are struggling young people too. They don't even own their own home yet. And there'll probably be a brother or sister coming along too. It's my quest, to send my grandkids to college!

As for those 2 boys coming right up, I highly recommend a Jr. College to begin with---in some ways they're superior to a University, if you find a good one. Smaller classes, and top-notch teachers.

All I can say is, "Where there's a will, there's a way." It'll happen! And worth it all!
 

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Wanted to add that my parents paid for my two-year degree at a community college, though I had to pay for my own books & extras. They saved it up by literally putting my dad's spare change each evening in an old oil can, then rolling it up into coin rolls once a month to deposit. Wish I had that kind of discipline.
 

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There are grants available for your income level. Your kids need to go down and apply for everything. Talk to the financial advisors at the college.

And since the college is in Charlotte, what about public transportation? They can also hook up with some friends who have cars and ride with them. Don't let something like a car keep them from going. There are plenty of great options!
 

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shellrow said:
Was your husband ever stationed at either of the two AF bases in NC? Pope or Seymore Johnson? Fort Bragg took over Pope AFB last year but there are still a few Air Force Personal left here. My ex was stationed at Bragg for quite some time.
No~we were never in NC. We did Germany, Nebraska, Alaska and California before hubby seperated~ and now we are moving to AL with Boeing. Hopefully this will be the last move.

As far as how to pay for college~ looks like there is lots of good ideas here. Scholorships~ apply for everything! Your sons do not have to take all the scholorships they earn if the requirements turn out to be un-appealing. My son actually got several scholorships offered at several different schools~ but the AF ROTC was the best for what he wanted (he really wanted to do the 4 year university away from home expierience).

Community college is a great way to start~ it's how my husband started.
Loans and Grants are good~ do be sure to ask at the local community college~ they will know which ones you may be able to get that don't have to be paid back!

The boys will have to work hard~ but welcome to the real world. It's all about working hard~ and hard work now will help them to work SMART later and be good providers for their families.

Good Luck! I KNOW what a nightmare it is! Just got one started~ 4 years to go with him and in 3 more years I'll have to get the second on track!
 

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A CD or other savings account is probably not the best bet for college savings. For most people the 529 college savings fund, usually supported by your state, can offer tax incentives as well as tax free growth. In VT, for example, I get a tax credit for any deposits into the 529 savings account, plus that little puppy grows tax free and if spent on education, is withdrawn tax free. Start now, even if you're starting small. The minimum contribution here is $25/month, and yes, that's what I'm putting in. Something is better than nothing.

However, it is to your advantage to have the account OWNED by someone other than you or your kid (an uncle, grandparent) for the BENEFIT of your kid. This means the account does not have to be declared for financial aide purposes.

Another way to save for college, with older kids and people who have businesses, is to legitimately hire your kid, complete with SSI, etc, and open for them a Roth IRA. This IRA can be tapped for mortgages and education, but must be made up of earned income. Help your child earn income to deposit into this account... and you get a legitimate business expense while they get tax free growth.

Saving for college has come a long way since the days of savings bonds and savings accounts, and there are some sophisticated vehicles out there that don't require big bucks to take advantage of.
 

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My kids will afford their own college expenses through their 4H sales. 2 of them hit the 2 grand mark in their savings accounts and I think they should go to a finacial advisor and invest it to make it grow even more.

We are toying with the idea of getting our older boy a calf for his bday since that is what he asked for and let him keep all of the profits for his college fund.

Caren
 

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We pay for our kids' first year. After that- they are on their own, with us helping as we can/want to/feel they deserve. We had four in college at once. We make too much money for them to receive grants.... So, it is up to them. We don't allow school loans- we feel it would be better to take a year out of school to work and earn than to get a loan - at least in our kids' circumstances. So many get out of school with $40K in school loans and then have to try to pay it back.....! Some did it the hard way and came home and worked 2-3 jobs every summer (80 hr weeks) until they thought they were dying and then went back to school glad for the rest of just going to class. They had jobs at school to pay the rent and for food. None of them ever had a car while in school. One did it the smart way - studied her guts out and said no to some of the social opportunities at college and got free tuition. I just have 3 in school now. The married son in college, just received grants for this coming year! That's a solution too! Get married!?!

There are all kinds of on-campus jobs from cleaning toilets early in the morning to mowing the lawns, to working in the library or book store (one of ours works as a math tutor). It is worth it for them to go a bit slower taking longer in college and work it out for themselves. None of ours have gone for partying - they had to be up for work and needed the grades! I think they greatly appreciate their degrees ( and not having to clean toilets or mow lawns anymore- except their own!)

There are ways to get it done and THEY CAN do it -but it isn't easy.
 

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- we have been saving $400/mo since birth for each of our kids. This may cover full costs at an average priced college when it is time. With 7 years difference maybe should put more per month into younger DD's. THis is virtual savings not actual accounts in their name- I make sure we put aside that amount as well as our budgeted retirement amounts each month (bar a few tight years, and extra other times) but it is mostly in mutual funds and stocks in DH and my name not the kids. Just count it separate as in 'we have this much but that part of it is for the kids' college'. [Now especially in today's market savings accounts or CDs are best.]

Sadly if my child has the grades etc and desire to get into and attend my alma mater we will be short. In fact it'll really decimate our retirement funds, which are not official retirement funds so will count for parental assets for college purposes. I don't want to hope she will prefer another college or not get in! I can more positively hope she might qualify for some competitive scholarships which would decrease our actual costs even if we qualify for some need based assistance.

- here on HT we are from all strata. I guess those of us who preferred the high life to planning for the future may handicap their kids who'll be eligible for no or little financial aid based on annual parental income (not the amount left over after spending!); but will have no parental college savings. But please those of us who are dirt poor- apply for financial aid! My dad was a middle class college professor and I paid only about 15% (including the federal loan I qualified for and the school jobs they got me) of my college bill and all expenses- so only maybe $1000/semester had to come out of family pockets. They budgeted for two trips home every year and warm winter clothing for the colder climate I moved to. In fact the more expensive exclusive colleges are more likely to have more generous scholarship programs (many of the Ivies vow to ensure those accepted receive the full aid determined necessary with the GAPSFAS etc) than the cheaper colleges and Unis.

- take care of your kids. I was lucky- only on one summer college job did I try to save money staying separate from the room and board offered (I needed to earn more in the summer than that would've left me) and get caught- went to a strange city with no money too foolish to realise no pay until the end of the month. I sold plasma and went out to dinner with professors (not worht it!) to keep from starving for three weeks. Worse off was my first DH who stayed in a trailer to attend Embry Riddle flight college. Down to BREAD sandwiches etc he got an ear infection, couldn't fly, flunked out and came home after one year. His parents were too sheltered to realise they had not provided for him/ helped him to provide for himself. I dunno if he had enough money but blew it all or had never realized how much money it costs to live down there and just never had enough. I won't let me DDs live off campus until they've been in the dorm for a few years and we're sure they can budget their pizza money to last 'til year's end.

ETA: having kids work too hard to study and prosper in the courses they are taking is not taking care of them either, If it is too expensive for them to have enough time to study sleep and learn then maybe they should just resign themselves to never attending college which'll be better than failing at it, perhaps repeatedly.
 

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well oldest dd is at the local tech school full time this year. She's also working at least 16 hours a week at a nice pay. Plus any babysitting jobs she can get. We're paying Her insurance and cooks and she's paying her tuition. There is a life scholarship here that if a few things had been different she could've gotten but right now we're just waiting to see how much the state lottery is going to chip in. We should know that this week. The next dd thinks she wants to go into nursing so we really need to work on scholarships for her.
There's also FAFSA that you can apply for. Dh made too much this past year but next year with the cut in pay he's taken we should qualify for it.
 
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