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Rookie Mom Seeks Early Advice on Financing College for Twins

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Replies to: Rookie Mom Seeks Early Advice on Financing College for Twins

  • LuckyCharms913LuckyCharms913 Registered User Posts: 873 Member
    This is sort of off topic but I can't help myself: Unless the pet sitting involved just one visit per day (like for a fish, for example), $100/week is insanely low. I pay a neighbor kid $200 - $225 per week for one medium sized dog, which includes one walk each day plus two visits at other times each day. My D stays overnight at the house of the people she pet sits for in the summer, and they pay her $50/day for two dogs. We are in the Philadelphia suburbs in a nice but not exclusive neighborhood, just for reference.

    Agree with the car advice above. They won't need a car 1st or likely 2nd year (unless they're commuting), so why buy it, insure it, and then have to move it around your driveway/garage while they're away at school?
  • OttermaOtterma Registered User Posts: 1,234 Senior Member
    what is the best way to finance their tuition fees? Parent Plus Loan? Home Equity Line of Credit? Home Equity Loan?
    Figure out what your monthly cash flow will be while the kids are in college. If you have good monthly income and low expenses, you can lower your loan exposure considerably by paying as much as you can as you go. Most colleges offer monthly payment plans with minimal fees (way lower than interest on the equivalent amount in loans would be).
  • amNotarobotamNotarobot Registered User Posts: 232 Junior Member
    I suggest you check out Christopher Newport University that is in state for you. Here is some detail I copy and paste from the web:

    For in-state students, tuition and fees is set at $13,054 for the 2016 - 2017 year, 47.1% off the price charged to out-of-state students. Tuition is $7,836 and fees $5,218. CNU out of state students paid $24,680 in fees and tuition in 2016 - 2017. $5,618 was for fees, and $19,062 was for tuition.

    It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 4,930, its setting is suburban, and the campus size is 260 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Christopher Newport University's ranking in the 2018 edition of Best Colleges is Regional Universities South, 11.

    Look like you can afford both your twins for this college without much additional efforts beside your current VA 529. We received quite a few brochures from this university couple years ago when D was in HS, and I got interested reading them that it offered OOS top level students quite a few merit aid to its president's programs, including one from direct pre-med to medical school path (admit in junior year). D wasn't interested in pre-med, so I did not further pursue further, but the campus is right next to beach and seems to be a high quality, well-value university to me.
  • scoutmom2002scoutmom2002 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    @AroundHere - yes, agree a car is a luxury...which is why if they want one they have to work for it, but now see below...also, I'm stuck having to drive my son to all his weekend referee games...he makes good money...$40-60 per game..each game being 1.5-2 hrs. He has to turn jobs down if neither I nor his father can drive him.

    @happymomof1 - thanks...yes, community college is not off the table and we have discussed as not only a way to save money but also with guaranteed admission a good route for the B student to get into a 4 yr school. But going to community college requires a car and insurance..so back to that...which is why I need them to at least get their license now so they have at least a few years of driving experience before I throw them onto the NOVA roads and traffic surrounding NVCC...from our house, public transportation is not an option.
    @twoinanddone - yes, I see your point...and that is where I'm leaning...yes, get their license...which to be honest neither one is asking for yet...they don't even have their permits yet and they turn 16 next month...so either way they probably won't have their license until end of year or even next year...fine by me as they won't have a car to drive anyways...unless we do community college and then car will be required..it's a catch 22.
  • scoutmom2002scoutmom2002 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    @LuckyCharms913 - pet sitting was for cat...for neighbor across street whom we know well and single family income so my daughter doesn't charge more. She also dog sits and gets paid more for that as it involved a bit more work. I'm hopeful that more jobs appear when she turns 16...as we have our own zoo at home...I thought it would be great for her to get a job at local PetSmart..but their min. age is 18. We've hit that block with other jobs too.
  • scoutmom2002scoutmom2002 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    @amNotarobot -- yes, we know of CNU...but their NPC stickter is actually higher...you are forgetting to include room & board + meals. While it is on our list...this is what I got....

    Academic Year: 2016-17
    Estimated tuition and fees $13,054
    + Estimated room and board charges (Includes rooming accommodations and meals) $10,914
    + Estimated cost of books and supplies $1,244
    + Estimated other expenses (Personal expenses, transportation, etc.) $3,544
    Estimated total cost of attendance: $28,756
    - Estimated total grant aid (Includes both merit and need based grant and scholarship aid from Federal, State, or Local Governments, or the Institution): $2,000
    Estimated Net Price After Grants and Scholarships: $26,756
  • Jon234Jon234 Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    I'm not sure how accurate the information is but I read somewhere that if you are over 50 when your kids enroll some colleges will not take your pension or home equity into consideration when working out your expected family contribution.
  • LuckyCharms913LuckyCharms913 Registered User Posts: 873 Member
    edited April 11
    Re the cat sitting at a reduced rate: your D sounds like a good kid. Maybe a pet boarding place would hire her at 15 or 16?
  • scoutmom2002scoutmom2002 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    edited April 11
    @LuckyCharms913 -- we've checked a few...18 :-( -- I've actually been checking around for teen job opportunities...she could get a job at some of the stores at Tysons Mall, but to be honest she makes more money dog sitting and babysitting (and doesn't have to pay taxes on it!) - also anywhere outside of our neighborhood requires parent taxi service or getting her own car/insurance.

    Aside from a "real" job looking good on college apps, I honestly don't expect them to make all that much...summer nanny is something she'd be good at when home from college ...but again...almost all require car for transporting kids....so if home from college and trying to make $2K over the summer...she would need a car. @AroundHere
  • scoutmom2002scoutmom2002 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    I found this piece in an article about why teens have stopped getting summer jobs...this is very true..especially in our area. That does not mean I don't expect my kids to work..I do...but I am realistic in expectations.

    "...reason why teens work less today is that employers are more reluctant to hire them. First, the rise of low-skill immigration in the last few decades has created more competition for exactly the sort of jobs that teenagers used to do, like grocery-store cashiers, restaurant servers, and retail salespeople. Second, older Americans stay in the workforce longer than ever, and many of them wind down their careers in office secretary and retail jobs, which used to be the province of 16-year-olds in the summer. Third, the number of federally funded summer jobs, where students work temporarily with their local government, has declined. At the same time, the minimum wage has grown, which may have discouraged bosses from taking on young inexperienced workers who are only “worth” hiring at a salary that’s become illegal. Together, these policies have reduced the number of temporary paid jobs for teenagers in the public and private sector. Fourth, companies have caught on to the fact that if they want to hire teenagers, they don’t have to pay them, at all: There has been an extraordinary rise in unpaid internships over the last decade. Although these teenage interns are clearly working, they don’t show up in the official employment statistics, because they’re not getting paid."

  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint Registered User Posts: 3,551 Senior Member
    VA 529 combined savings of $62K

    A 529 account can only have one beneficiary. Do you have a 529 account for each of the twins? If so, are they equally funded?

    I've actually been checking around for teen job opportunities...she could get a job at some of the stores at Tysons Mall, but to be honest she makes more money dog sitting and babysitting (and doesn't have to pay taxes on it!)

    If she has more than $433 in net earnings in any one tax year, she does have to file a tax return, so that she can pay the self-employment tax that will be owed. Yes, I understand that many people (especially teenagers) do not file a tax return when they make money from odd jobs that totals more than $433 net, but that's not because they "don't have to." It's because they're either ignorant of or intentionally not complying with the tax law.
  • scoutmom2002scoutmom2002 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    @BelknapPoint - separate 529 for each twin...roughly $31K in each.

    I believe you are misinformed about tax requirement....A dependent who doesn’t have unearned income only has to file a separate tax return if earned income is above—$6,350 for 2017. https://www.schwab.com/resource-center/insights/content/teen-tax-return
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 69,462 Senior Member
    How strong will their stats be...SAT or ACT, and GPA?

    It’s still a couple of years away, but if they are very strong students, one or both might get a scholarship that covers tuition...leaving you with room, board and expenses to pay...at an out of state school. For example....top students applying to University of Alabama have guaranteed merit aid awards based on the student stats.

    At this point, you don’t have that stats info...but it’s something to think about.

    You are also fortunate to live in VA which has excellent and varied public universities. While merit aid at UVA and William and Mary would be very competitive, your twins might garner merit aid at another one of the VA schools...maybe Old Dominion or George Mason or VA Commonwealth. Folks from VA can chime in.

  • patsmompatsmom Registered User Posts: 4,398 Senior Member
    @scoutmom2002 , you didn't read far enough down in that Schwab article. Your daughter would be considered an independent contractor.
    W2 versus 1099 income
    You also should be aware of the different treatment of income reported on Forms W2 and 1099. If your daughter is considered an employee, her income will be reported on a W2 and subject to withholding. However, some employers prefer to hire part-time workers as contractors. On the plus side, nothing will be withheld. On the minus side, contractors who have net earnings (income minus expenses) of more than $400 will owe self-employment taxes, which basically cover Social Security and Medicare taxes. In this case, a contractor has to file a tax return even if no income taxes are owed. (IRS Publication 501 provides guidance).
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