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Should parents plan for the possibility of more than 8 semesters' of college costs?

ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 53,127Registered User Senior Member
edited December 2012 in Parents Forum
Should parents plan for the possibility of more than 8 semesters' of college costs?

This can mean reserving some of the college money for any extra semesters, letting the student know ahead of time that the parents will only pay for up to 8 semesters in college, or otherwise planning ahead of time.

Should the planning be based on estimates of risk that the student will need extra semesters? For example:

* Student needs remedial courses. (increased risk)
* Student is in a major that requires greater than normal course loads. (increased risk)
* Student is very undecided for major. (increased risk)
* Student needs substantial part-time work to afford to attend. (increased risk)
* Student has lots of useful AP or college credit going in. (decreased risk)
Post edited by ucbalumnus on

Replies to: Should parents plan for the possibility of more than 8 semesters' of college costs?

  • scmom12scmom12 Posts: 2,138Registered User Senior Member
    We kind of assumed more than 8 semesters based on likelihood of graduate school. That's why we emphasized colleges that kept undergrad costs relatively low. We are assuming that grad school will be all on us...
  • CatriaCatria Posts: 11,349Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, especially for those that are grad school-bound.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 51,992Registered User Senior Member
    We were very clear with out kids. We were paying for four years of undergrad school and that was IT. Any courses taken outside of the regular four year terms was on THEIR dime. DD did take courses one summer and SHE paid for them.

    We were able to help DS with some living expenses in grad school, but he had to fund the rest.

    Of course this is a family decision...but just because a student decides to attend grad school does NOT mean their parents should. E required to allocate funds to pay for it.

    We felt that we were being mighty generous by funding a four year undergrad degree for each kiddo at expensive private universities.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Posts: 24,585Super Moderator Senior Member
    Wow, kids are lucky if their parents are willing to pay for grad school! Mine always made it clear that they were done after a bachelor's degree. I knew I needed to do well in order to get a fellowship for grad school.
  • archiemomarchiemom Posts: 1,614Registered User Senior Member
    Nope. We planned (financially) for four years and let both kids know that that would be our contribution. We committed to an undergraduate degree. If either decided to pursue further education, well at that point they're adults, independent, and on their own.
  • bluebayoubluebayou Posts: 23,464Registered User Senior Member
    Not in this household. We made it extremely clear: after four years, it's on your own dime. Pick a major and get out. Pick multiple majors and still get out in four years.

    btw: IMO, remedial classes should be made up in the summer at a local juco prior to matriculation to a four year. It's silly to me to pay thousands in college tuition so a kid could retake high school level courses.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 53,127Registered User Senior Member
    Do a lot of parents actually pay for graduate or professional school, other than as an incentive if the student goes significantly under budget for undergraduate? I was under the impression that this was not typical even among those whose parents paid the EFC or more for undergraduate.

    The initial post was more along the lines of undergraduate only, given that a large percentage of college students take more than 8 semesters to complete their bachelor's degrees.
  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 Posts: 14,568Registered User Senior Member
    * Student needs remedial courses

    If student needs remedial courses, then student has been admitted into a school he/she is not academically prepared for.
  • ab2013ab2013 Posts: 1,756Registered User Senior Member
    I am not in danger of completing undergrad late (could have completed early but want to take it more slowly so I get really good grades) ... but my sister is, which is really freaking my parents out. She took a few CS classes because she saw that I took CS and had good internship (and now job) offers. She got a B+ in her first CS class and was trending towards a C in her second round of classes, so now she's going for a Business (BBA) degree, but is not happy with it because it's not challenging her enough. Not finishing undergrad in 4 years *is* a danger for some undergrads; my parents also did make it clear to me in high school that they were only going to pay for 4 years of undergrad, and they only planned to save enough for 4 years.

    However, several years have passed, and I think my parents feel some sort of responsibility if my sister does not make it in 4 years and therefore they seem to want to pay for that as well so that she doesn't suddenly become burdened with the responsibility of having a job that pays for school and living, otherwise they wouldn't be so worried about it. I guess there might be some sense in that if she didn't do well in her first (and second) year even without having a job, when classes are easiest, how can she be expected to do well in her final year while holding a job, in a time when classes are at their toughest and most time-consuming?

    Hope this perspective helps!
  • NJSueNJSue Posts: 2,682Registered User Senior Member
    We are the same as others: four years paid and that's it. At any rate, my D's college does not allow students to enroll for more than 8 semesters unless you are matriculated in a designated 5-year joint program. There are really serious about the 4-year graduate rate.
  • intparentintparent Posts: 24,625Registered User Senior Member
    Same as thumper1 & bluebayou. Our kids know from the very beginning they get 8 semesters (and no paid summer programs or internships where we cover expenses, that is on their own nickel). And they cover books & spending money. And they need to be self supporting when they are done. It is definitely good incentive for them to take it seriously. It is essentially what my dad did for me, and I am sure I would have putzed my way through at least an extra year if he hadn't, and probably majored in something completely impractical.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Posts: 24,585Super Moderator Senior Member
    We always said we would pay for only 8 semesters, period, until our son became ill and had to move home. It looks as if it will take him 9 semesters, and we are THRILLED! If he is self-supporting then, it will be a happy day. We're not sure at this point what will happen, though.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 53,127Registered User Senior Member
    GMTplus7 wrote:
    If student needs remedial courses, then student has been admitted into a school he/she is not academically prepared for.

    Unfortunately, it appears that a very large percentage, possibly the majority, of freshmen at four year colleges are placed in remedial courses. In some cases, the remedial placement is a surprise that occurs at freshman orientation, where they take placement tests and realize that four years of high school English and/or math with A grades was insufficient due to the poor quality of their (public or private) high schools.
  • colorado_momcolorado_mom Posts: 7,699Registered User Senior Member
    "We were very clear with out kids. We were paying for four years of undergrad school and that was IT." - That's a good approach for the most part - you don't want to spend all that money unless students are serious.

    But stuff happens. Many students take longer for reasons beyond laziness / partying. Some kids face physical or mental illness. Others have interests evolve and change majors.
  • CatriaCatria Posts: 11,349Registered User Senior Member
    My parents made it clear for me that, if I got into unfunded graduate programs, I had to stay home to do so. However, I decided to apply only to graduate programs that are fully funded.
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