To borrow or not to borrow… February 6, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in education, homeschooling, older son.
Tags: college, finances, student loans
Some of you may remember that, about a year ago, I took the boys on a big tour of colleges. I wanted the older boy to see what his options were and make an informed decision when it came to college. (I have to admit that this was a result of the fact that I only was able to visit one college before choosing, and I felt like I would have made a better choice if I’d been able to see others.) The older boy surprised me when, late last year, he informed me of his decision to live at home and go to college locally.
To be rather blunt, I was disappointed. I felt like he could go to a much better college if he chose. However, he said that he was nervous about starting college and moving out and basically jumping from being a high schooler to an adult all at once. I was surprised at this, but it really did make sense. Obviously, I wasn’t going to try to force him to go someplace else for school.
(I was also amused because, when I was his age, I deliberately chose to apply to colleges that were as far away from home as physically possible. This is how one goes from North Dakota to Los Angeles.)
I’m now even more convinced that this is a good decision. The older boy started a part-time job. We sat down and ran the numbers and determined that his income from the job would pay about half of his tuition and give him some spending money. Because of the hours, he can also work another job over the summer and probably make up the difference in tuition costs.
Finally, he will likely start as a sophomore because of all of the college credit he has earned or will earn through CLEP exams.
Based on this, he can likely get through school in three years and come out potentially debt-free because he will be able to pay his tuition himself. When I look at how much he would have had to go into debt to earn his degree at the other schools we looked at, I have to admit that this is a pretty intelligent way to go.
The one reservation I had about this is that I felt like he needed to get out of the house. I don’t want to stifle him by living at home all through college. As I was pondering this toward the end of the semester, I had a speaker come to my class and discuss the study abroad program at the school. I was surprised at how affordable the program is. I brought a brochure home for older son, and we discussed it. Rather than transferring to another school later, like he initially thought, he’s going to try to go abroad once or twice. That way he can get the experience of not only visiting another school but another country. Even with this, he can still probably get through school without any debt.
I’m surprised how much the financial aspect of this has changed my perspective. Maybe because I and other people I know are still paying off student loans. I’m curious what my readers would say to their kids if they were facing the same choice.