Amid budget cuts in colleges across the country and the alarming amount of aggregated student debt over the past few years, college costs have become a heavier burden for every family with children. But while many talk of saving for college as part of being a parent, shouldn’t it also be a college-bound child’s responsibility?
To our parent readers: We recommend discussing the college options and their role in saving towards it as soon as your child has an income source – whether it be allowance or the first part-time job. Remember: Savings from allowance is still savings!
While it may not be realistic to expect major contribution to college funds from a teen’s part-time job (or allowance), the goal is for the college-bound teen to realize the financial responsibility that comes with his or her own college education. This practice can also set the foundation for the concept of building up savings every paycheck – a good money habit to have through college and into the “real world.”
Here are a few starting steps your child can take to contribute to college savings:
- Consider setting a goal to save at least 30% of every dollar earned toward a college fund.
- Evaluate whether a desired major is going to result in a job that pays enough to pay back loans. If four years of pursuing a specific major leads to paying loans back for many years to come, is it worth it?
- Consider other alternatives: work through college, go to a community college or trade school to acquire skills to get a good job “for now” and earn some money for college, consider choices that will help keep expenses low, etc.
Have you had a family talk about saving for college? How is your child contributing to the savings?