How to determine student's portion of tuition???

<p>I'd love to hear some opinions from parents on how they determined what amount to pay for their children's college tuition and what portion should be the student's? I'm having a hard time with this. DD is a hard working student going off to college next year. She's a top student and works part time. I am a single parent but earn a good income. I put myself through college at a state school. My parents did not have the means to help. State school is not an option for DD as I want her to move out of state and plan to myself after youngest graduates high school. She qualifies for need based aid. I just don't know how to figure how much should be her portion for loans etc. My mindset has always been to try to save as much money for my kids for college as possible and help them. I also see the downfalls of not saving enough for retirement as I support my own elderly mother who did not plan for retirement and is now fully dependent on myself. I'm trying to fund my own retirement as much as possible but would also like to see my own children not enter their adult life in debt after college. Any thoughts on how you came up with your own numbers would be appreciated.</p>

<p>We had our kids take out the Stafford Loans each year. They were also responsible for all spending money (everything...including books) and worked during school breaks and also during school to meet that need. Beyond that, we paid the bills. Most students do not have the means to do a lot more than that. Some kids will work two jobs in the summer to contribute to college expenses. But the reality is that working for minimum wage isn't going to give them enough income to make an appreciable drop in the bucket of private school tuition costs. </p>

<p>I guess the first thing you need to do is figure out how much you can and will contribute. You then need to see what the financial aid picture looks like for your family. </p>

<p>In terms of loans...the full amount of Stafford Loans for four years is about $20,000....and in my opinion, that's enough debt to have leaving undergraduate school.</p>

<p>I also think $20,000 in Stafford Loans is the maximum a kid should have in loans after graduating from college. No college is worth the risk of paralyzing debt.</p>

<p>I think that a "fair" amount of skin in the game for your daughter could be achieved as follows:</p>

<p>The student contribution (which she could earn through summer employment)</p>

<p>Stafford loans; 3500- freshman year, 4500 sophomore year, 5500 junior year until she completes 1st bachelors.</p>

<p>Work study that will be part of her FA package.</p>

<p>Any outside scholarships that can be used to offset the gap (if any) or reduce her self help portion.</p>

<p>If possible and she could swing it, perhaps a RA job (that can help reduce the cost of room and board). While at some schools, being an RA does not reduce room and board, there is still a stipend involved.</p>

<p>Keep in mind, although you may be funding your retirement right now, the monies that you contribute to your 401k/403b, etc. during the year will be factored back in when the college calculates your EFC.</p>

<p>Sybbie's points are good ones. One caution...RA jobs are becoming more and more sought after, largely because the DO reduce the costs of attending college. DD has applied two years running and has NOT been selected. SO..while that should be an option to pursue, don't count on it.</p>

<p>The financial magazines all tell you to keep funding your retirement fund and to not withdraw from it. Not sure how I managed to pay for college back then, given family finances but can afford for son- philosophically we support parents paying as much as they can for the undergrad education. The student contribution in my opinion is what the parents can't afford after making sure their needs are met (including funding the retirement plans). Others feel a student should pay what they can, then the parents pay the deficit as much as able; then get financial aid.</p>

<p>Philosophically I feel I should pay for 100% of my son's education if I can including room, board and books. My kid is responsible for everything else. My parents paid for me and I'd like to pay it forward. It wouldn't have been possible though if I hadn't come into some money last year. </p>

<p>If we couldn't afford it, I agree with post #6. I also think parents should tell kids early in the process "This is what we can afford. If it costs more, you are going to have to figure out how to pay for it."</p>