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Is it my responsibility to pay for higher education?

I'm interested in other parents' viewpoints on paying for our kids' education. I think the idea of having your kids pay a good chunk has some logical merit. It teaches responsibility. I funded the vast majority of my own education and it taught me a lot. Still, I wonder if it's a grounded view to have.

Is it my parental responsibility to teach my kids a skill or trade, which in our day requires a college education? By telling my kids that they will be required to fund a significant portion of the cost, am I shirking that responsibility?


I grew up in a lower-middle class family where money was very tight. Because of my predicament my parents were unable to pay for me to go to college. I decided to go to school part-time and work. I only was able to get my Associates degree and then felt like I needed to work full-time to support my wife and myself. I have always envied those who received financial aid from their parents and could get a full Bachelors degree and didn’t have to worry about money as much.

I paid for my college tuition by working a part-time while in college and working all throughout the summers. My spouse, on the other hand, received financial help from his parents. I would say that both of us highly valued our education and felt responsible for our schooling. I’m not sure that one way will serve better than another. I guess it just depends on your kids and determining how self motivated they are.

That’s hard because on the one hand you want your children to have everything you had or didn’t have but on the other hand you know that they will appreciate something much more if they pay for it. My children are young but I have already seen that with some things I will just pay for but other things I feel like it’s important for them to pay for.

I feel that they should earn their own way.  With good enough grades they can apply for scholarships etc.  I'd hate to pay for the kids to get a college education but they aren't taking it seriously.  If they have to WORK for it they will definitely apply themselves much more - or give up because "it's too hard".

It really depends on your financial situation. Surely they don't expect you to pay but if you are able, why not help? If you aren't able, don't risk your own financial security to put them through school. It will hurt them in the long run when you aren't financially stable and become dependent on them in retirement. At a bare minimum we plan on giving our kids room and board at home until they are 25. That gives them time to mature mentally before jumping into roommates or living with significant others before they're ready. They'll have to have a job if they aren't in school and if they insist on paying rent it will go into a savings account for them. All of this is assuming my hubby and I are financially stable and my kids don't turn out to be rotten jerks.

I just know my situation. My mom kicked me out when I went to college (she moved into a one bedroom apt) and after one semester (in the Honors college mind you) I couldn't get enough financial aid to continue. My mom made too much money. There is an "expected family contribution" that the government expects your parents to help you with school depending on their income. If they aren't willing to help it really shafts you. So I worked and went to a community college for a year and then stopped completely because I couldn't keep up with my bills and school.