Getting Financial Aid As an Independent Student

I periodically get emails from teenagers, who are freaking out because their parents plan to contribute little if anything to their college education. Many of these kids are from affluent families, who could afford to kick in far more than they are planning. I don’t understand parents with good paying jobs who have no problem dumping the entire college expense on their children.

I got an email a few days ago, for instance, from a high school senior from Maryland, who told me that her parents made about $130,000 a year and had saved just $8,000 for her and her twin brother to attend college.  She was going to be on her own to pick up the almost the entire tab. Don’t get me wrong, I believe students need to contribute to their college education no matter how much their parents make. It is, however, unfathomable that some students are taking on debt of $50,000, $75,000 or more for a college education.

Some parents hope that their teenagers can be declared independent students so they can qualify for need-based student financial aid. But folks, that route is extremely difficult.  If you’re curious, what follows are the questions from the federal government to determine if a student can qualify for student financial aid as an independent student. You have to answer “yes” to at least one question to be considered an independent student:

  1. Are you at least 24 years old?
  2. As of today, are you married?
  3. At the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate, etc.)?
  4. Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  5. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  6. Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2009, and June 30, 2010?
  7. Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2010?
  8. At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  9. Are you, or were you an emancipated minor as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  10. Are you, or were you in legal guardianship as determined by a court in your state of legal residence?
  11. At any time on or after July 1, 2008, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  12. At any time on or after July 1, 2008, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?
  13. At any time on or after July 1, 2008, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless.

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  1. Some individual parents are still paying for their own post graduate debt, especially if they went to med school. Add in a mortgage, car payment, other expenses and saving for retirement, and suddenly, having money to pay for overly expensive university education becomes difficult. Not everyone is born rich. Some start poor and gradually work their way up the economic ladder. This is the unfortunate facts of a majority of the middle class.

  2. Do you need any Financial Help such as Loan? if yes email us at (Brent.timmons@ ymail. com) for more details…

  3. Myself and my husband are married and have been since college. We have four children, three of which are adults living on their own. We do not claim them on our taxes. We are self employed and work very hard for every penny we earn. Why shouldn’t our 21 yr old daughter whom is also working hard to pay for everything on her own be able to be considered INDEPENDENT by FASFA standards? She chose to live on her own and to pay everything for herself. It makes her feel more like the adult that she actually is. It makes her appreciate all that she has earned. It is a shame that the government is allowed to do this to hard working people whom actually are making honest statements about being independent. I think the guideline should be whether or not you are claiming your adult child as a tax dependent. I understand that the government does not want to give away money to everyone in the guise that they are living on their own…seriously, invest in education for a better society. That is just crazy! But what is criminal is the way that the government set up the Fasfa to screw the hardworking, responsible, young ADULTS of this nation out of the financial help that they deserve. No, let’s just throw some more of our tax dollars to the corporate thieves we call “bankers”.

  4. I live in California and I am separated from my parents, but I was never emancipated or anything. But I don’t speak to them so I don’t have their information for FAFSA. I contacted the financial aid adviser at the college I wanted to go to and they told me to fill out FAFSA without my parents information and get a letter from a counselor,social worker, or clergy member explaining my situation to basically validate that I can’t get their information and I am independent of them. Contact your school of choice and ask about doing that, hopefully it will help 🙂

  5. My daughter is 22&I raised her alone &unfortunately could not contribute to her school she has supported herself pays her on apartment and bills she only makes$7.50an hour she has been working on her education since age 18 & can’t afford to go so where can she get help,I only made $18000last year&my husband$32 she needs help but the school tells her to have kids and she can go free!that’s wrong,can you give me any suggestions other than students loans?

    1. Go to the local community college and speak to financial aid. Read the laws in your state. Educate yourself on the subject.

    2. Im sorry they told your daughter that bc one its wrong 2 its untrue. I am 30 amd have 2 children and am unmarried and i do not get to goto school for free. I have massive loans debts and i also can only barrow a set amount so if i wanted to goto a more expensive school i still wouldnt have enough in loans to pay for it. I had many ppl say before that single mothers goto college for free that is not true at all so im not sure why people say that. But it IS NOT TRUE

  6. I’m 17 and currently applying for FAFSA. I just had a kid like two months ago and when I applied to Cal States and UC’s, I applied as an independent. I have no income. My parents provide us a home and clothes. I get food and formula from WIC. Would I apply as a dependent of my parents? Or can I apply as an independent, omit information about my parents and put the amount they spend on us as “money received” when it asks about my personal assets?

  7. I am an independent student who is looking to finish my BSN at a University. While applying to schools and waiting to see where I get accepted I am working full time and supporting myself while taking online courses part time at a local college. My question is, once I start at a university full time I plan to not be working full time and to work for the university or get some part time work on the side of I can handle it. How will the full time job I have now affect my financial aide? Since I will not be working full time I am not sure how I will support myself. Does the financial aide office work with you? Or am I going to screwed and not be able to attend a university?

  8. It disturbs me that some single moms like myself who sent our self to college now disabled and raised our children by ourself,have to research to find ways to pay for one of two children age 24, to get through college.He is a taking a fast tech nursing career to be completed in 18 months. He is so stressed working at night and he can’t survive.his dad was diagnosed when my son was 11. It has been so hard. Now I have to research to find ways for help and there are parents ,who don’t care . That’s disturbing to me but I won’t give up .

  9. I want to tell you my story. Well it starTed my sophomore year in high-school. My dad died, I went through all of this depression for two years. Towards the end of my junior year I fell in love, I turned 18 that summer. Since from my father died until next month I get paid a social security check because my dad was on disability before he died and I’m still in high school (senior year) Well I was still living with my mother, since I was getting a check, she got foodstamps and health care bc of me. She had a car accident before that summer when I turned 18, and it was our only vehicle, my mother wasn’t working, my brother still lived with us and worked to pay the house bills. Well that summer she wanted me to get a job so I can start paying her rent, I told her no and she kicked me out, I went to go live with my boyfriend(now fiance) and I am going to college this fall, I’m getting a job after I graduate high-school, but I can’t complete my Fafsa correct bc I’m not legally emancipated, but I am technically, and my mom wants nothing to do with me, Tennessee laws are dumb. I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME, I already got a scholarship that will pay for everything but my books…

    1. Please visit with a financial aid advisor at the school you will be attending. There has been a change that gives Financial Aid Administrators authority to determine a student is independent even if they can’t answer YES to any of the questions because they are without documentation.

  10. So at what point is a requirement that Parents should contribute to a college education??
    I joined the military to get aid for my college, and then I worked and went to school part-time.

    Sorry, but as far as I am concerned parents are not required to pay or contribute to college education. It is not a right to go to college. If you really wish to pursue a higher education than the colleges need to change a mandate where parents are liable or inclusive to any aid given. So I put the blame on the colleges and the FAFSA who inform parents what the recommended out of pocket for them should be. If you are considered an adult and liable for your self at 18 then why are not colleges allowing young adults the opportunity to pursue an education without parental controls on financial aid???? That is the better question??

  11. To be honest, I am starting my freshman year of college in September at the local community college. My mom is a single parent, and I just recently moved out and she then refused to pay for my tuition. I never realized how much it really was until it was coming out of my own pocket… I am lucky enough to have a full-time job at 18-years-old. But it is so hard to have to go to college and work full time in order to pay for it; and that is just at a community college for maybe two years. Needless to say, it is always easier with a little bit of help.

  12. THINK about this, a immigrant parent who just finished learning english, finished college, and when is time to receive the first great pay check, now they are too rich for the government. The children do not qualify for finantial aid regardless of the high amounts of debts the parents have after finishing college. Along with the great expenses in medication because now, they are old sick people. What is the government then thinking when parents who make 250,000 or more a year, their kids qualify for finantial aid because they live in another state in a already paid for house, just because the parents can do those tricks to fool the government.


  13. Kind of difficult to be okay with my parents leaving me for dead on the college financial front when they spent quite a sum of money renovating their kitchen my freshman year of college. They won’t even cosign federal loans for me – reading this article and then some of the comments is horrendously frustrating. May I remind several of the parental generation: tuition when my parents went to school was around two hundred dollars. Minimum wage at the time was around three dollars – if inflation had followed form, minimum wage right now would be roughly twenty dollars. Meanwhile, the college I would like to transfer to is around 30k a year. I’m making 8.50 an hour. The argument that ‘I did it when I was a college student!’ isn’t valid. Do the math, understand what you’re putting your children into – that, or don’t tell them to go to college.

    The kitchen is nice, though.

    1. Totally there with you, Amanda. Granted, there’s no kitchen renovation involved in my situation. Did you ever figure out how to get college paid for, and do you have any advice for me?

  14. I’m 19,spending my own money,ready to pay my fees, but my mom deliberately refused to give me her tax transcript for my financial aid office, even tho she claimed me on her tax report for 2011, and that’s the one I need, because I filed my taxes on 2012, she wasn’t allow to claim me, she got mad and said that i’m independent and she won’t release her info to me, what can I do?

  15. Both my husband and I paid for college ourselves as we didn’t qualify for student aid. Trying to figure out how my daughter will make it. The college she will be attending requires her to live on campus. Room and board is over $8000 which we will pay as well as her books. She is responsible for tuition which will be close to $14,000/year after scholarships. We live in a rural town and the closest state university is about 5 hours away. It is closer for her to attend out of state and receive their in-state scholarship. This college game is crazy. I am contributing a great deal to her education yet I am not able to see her grades or even check on housing or tuition contracts. So, if she is the only one allowed to have her information, than she should also be the only one considered on the financial aid or loans.

    1. Has she looked into whether her college offers a residency exemption? If she can get a subsidized apartment or an apartment off-campus, that will lower the amount of loans she needs. That should also relieve the meal plan expense; it would be voluntary, not required. She would still have to purchase her own food at a local supermarket, though, and carry food to campus with her. And she should be able to give you access to her college accounts through her school’s app. Mine at least has a way to grant parents access to my student account; ask her to see if her school’s account app has a similar way to grant parents access.

  16. Well, everything I read here is very interesting. It sounds like all the people who have had to pay their own way through life appreciate what they have and those who are young and naive do not. My wife and I are both self employed making (scratching out) a living right now and might I add ready to lose it all. The economy is terrible and living expenses are continually rising. Just because your parents make money does not mean they are rich and even if they are well off why would they need to take care of you once you are of age. The one thing I am having a hard time swallowing about the youth in here who think they should receive help from their parents is why do think their parents “have to” help. The fact that you do it yourself is what makes this nation so great. It makes us a nation of “doers” not “takers”. So before you ask for help, ask yourself if there is anything else you can do to make it happen for yourself. This one question alone can make you the next “Trump”. Think about it!

    1. John, I think you are missing the point. The government forces young students to consider their parents income when deciding what aid they may qualify for (grants and such). Even if they have no contact with their parents. So they are forced to take out loans at high interest rates that burden them with a heavy debt before they even get their first job, which will most likely not be in their field or pay very well. If you need to work full time to pay for school, it’s not easy to focus on school. The system is rigged to feed the banks making the loans.

  17. OK. I am a nursing student 23 with only a Few months left. I suppose I’m one of the “youngsters”, but I must say my parent’s don’t make that much and helped me every chance they have had. They have also helped my older sister get through. I have lived on my own since the day I graduated high school. I have always been very independent and never asked my parents for a dime yet they chose to help me as much as possible. Those parents out there saying suck it up –so on so forth– you obviously don’t care about supporting helping and being there for your child. You most certainly don need to pay for all of it… Or any of it for that matter if you really financially can’t, but those of you who can and won’t I do not understand. The reason I am working so hard toward my degree is To be able to be there for my children and help them to have a better future an savings account toward the college of their choice. Am I going to be able to send them to Harvard?- no, but if that’s where they choose to go I will do everything in my power to support that decision. Another way of helping your child might be as simple as cosigbing a student loan for them. It is still technically the students loan and as long as you have raised your kids to be responsible all they need to do is make the reasonable payments that start 6 months after they graduate. I do not believe it is the parents responsibility to pay but I do believe every parent had an obligation to be there for their children’s life choices and help them in any way they can! I live in a completely different state from my dad and town from my mother…. I struggle with bills work clinicals homework etc EVERYDAY… Never ask my parents for help or let them know when i am behin on bills and havent eaten in days. But them helping without being asked even if it’s the smallest amount… It mean the world to me!

  18. I don’t have much to add to this except: My husband and I (we are 23 and 24 years old) make roughly make $39k a year living on the East Coast and apparently this is too much money to qualify for a grant.

    The reason we got married so young was to be able to be “independent” when applying to the FAFSA, despite my living on my own since 17 due to an abusive relationship with my father who made too much for me to qualify when I applied as “dependent”.

    Now my make “too much” because we both have full-time jobs that barely pay our rent, bills, and insurances (our cars are old and paid for so at least there’s that). We’ve attempted to apply for government assistance and financial aid in various forms but we’re constantly turned down due to making too much money.

    So here we are, trying to buy a new car because both of ours are on their last leg, a house, and getting ready to take out a total of almost $100k in loans for both our educations. Good luck to us. I can say I’m close to quitting my job and popping out a few kids so we can obtain assistance.

    1. Jessica…
      Dont give up and decide to have children. My parents were able to help me. I signed for my own loans, worked part time, full time, and sometimes a second job. I didnt have my first child until I was 35. I paid off all my loans at 40. It was rough but got it done.
      I dont work in my field however I own my business.

  19. Ok, so basically my family has never made much. My parents combined maybe 70k/yr, my father died of cancer last year and now we don’t bring in any money. I mean we are kind of on verge of losing our house, which has been the norm for couple years anyhow. My mother and 6yr old brother get social security for my father’s death but that isn’t alot. I am 19 and about to graduate high school and i’m most likely not going to be able to go to college because i refuse to take out loans and be in debt for years to come. Does anyone know how i can get my college paid for because if it can’t be paid for for me then i can’t go. I sent my FAFSA thing in already, just not sure what else to do because i doubt i’m going to get much from federal student aid.

    1. Thanks for your email. I am so sorry to hear of your father and the troubles your family has experienced.

      I would definitely not give up on college. Obtaining a college degree should give you better financial security as an adult and open up better jobs for you. In general, the financial advantage that college grads have over those without degrees is huge.

      College is worth borrowing for as long as you don’t overdue it. If you stick with federal Stafford Loans you won’t be taking on much risk. That’s because the federal Stafford Loans provide built-in safety provisions. Here is a link to stories that I wrote about Staffords:

      If you leave college with federal debt and don’t have a job or have poor paying one, you can repay the Stafford Loans based on what you can afford rather than what you owe. You can find out more with these links:

      Finally, because your family income is so low, you should qualify for the Pell Grant, which is reserved for low income students. The maximum Pell Grant is about $5,600 a year. You will get a financial aid award that includes the Pell and the Stafford Loans after you apply to one or more schools. You will qualify whether you start at a community college or a four-year school.

      Good luck!

      Lynn O’Shaughnessy

    2. As long as you stay in school you should get a check. Grants are available. Pell Grants and scholarships. You may have to do some loans.

  20. Oh and yeah Dan u are wrong u can file as an independent on taxes when u are 18 but not for financial aid till u r 24

  21. In a similar situation. I have some college under my belt but without help it just isn’t possible. Tuition cost are Too damn high and my parents make too much money for me to get aid. I’ve had trouble keeping a job while In school because jobs are very demanding in this economy. I feel dooped but I plan on continuing to try with or without help. I guess one thing I’ve thought about is just working till im 24 saving up then reapplying for aid

  22. Wah, wah, wah. They youngsters today expect everything and cry if they don’t get it. I expect my children to pay for their own college just like I did. Suck it up babies, you are not getting a free ride to college, you will actually need to work your way through , “Work”, what a concept, you don’t know what it means yet, but you will. And if you are paying for the books and the tuition maybe you will realize that spending hard earned money on beer parties isn’t smart, LOL.

    BTW, its not difficult or impossible for an 18 year old to be declared an indpendent as Lynn O’Shaughnessey, the author of that ridiculous article, has indicated, If you are out of high school, all you have to do is “work” for minimum wage for one year and have a physical address in your name for that year and your parents can’t have claimed you on their taxes. The FASFA and pin is exclusive to the 18 year old who has been independent for the last 12 months. The 18 year old will start college when he or she is 19 after having worked in the real world for one year. The reason I know this, is because I have 2 of my seven children in college right now as independents and that is how it works. Lynn is giving innacurate information, which is making all the youngsters cry. Shame on you Lynn

    1. Dan,

      You are wrong about this. Your children should not be declaring themselves as independent students. Please don’t be spreading false information. As a taxpayer, I am not happy that your children are breaking the law.

      Lynn O’Shaughnessy

    2. I’m with you on the wah wah Dan! I have nicknamed the current generation the “E” Generation. E for ENTITLEMENT!!!!!!!!!
      There is no reason why these ADULT children cannot get jobs and pay as they go! Across the U.S., room and board alone tends to run in the $9000.00 range for 150 school days! In the day in age of online schooling and community colleges for a start, there is no reason for them to be wah wahing!!!!!!

    3. I’ll bring a different perspective to the table. I am a disabled individual with comprehension issues from dyslexia. If I worked during semester, I would fail out for lack of study time. And with the 6 credit requirement, I basically am studying full-time, even though the government calls it half-time. This is due to the extra time and effort required for me to study material. On 2 classes, my week is basically spent studying. And, I need ADA Paratransit to get to and from campus, so I have that added expense, too. I only work during the summer when I am out of school, because that is all I can work, and I have to stay under $940/month to continue getting social security benefits. So, it’s not as easy as you think, Dan. It’s a big juggling act with all the income caps and making sure I get enough aid to enable me to pay what remains.

  23. I am 18 years old and I graduated in May of 2011. I support myself and pay my own bills, yet I am not considered and independent. My parents will not help me pay for school. In fact, they won’t even have a conversation with me regarding my education. I do not understand why I cannot be considered an independent student although I support myself. I work a part time job and do not bring in near enough money to pay for my education. Basically, there is not way for me to attend college any time in the near future.

  24. My Son doesn’t live with us, he rents his own apt, and pays his own bills my husband is applying for disability this spring and I am sick myself. With our little income how are we not exempt from paying for my son’s last year of schooling.?”

    1. Hi Kathy,

      You must file for financial aid just like all families who want assistance. Without filing, your son can’t qualify for aid. Aid greatly hinges on a family’s ability to pay.

      Lynn O’Shaughnessy

      1. I am almost in the same shoes then Kathy. My son and I filed for financial assistants, but because my credit is good, I got the OK for the Parent Plus Loan. I still have 2 children at home, lost my job last year, we live on 488. – a month for four people. And the Gov. wonders why poor people not sending their kids to college. I do not want to lose the little things I have just because I cannot pay the loan back. And did you know they would come after your social security?

        1. Dorothea,

          I am sorry to hear of your plight. Obviously, you should not be taking out a PLUS loan when you have no ability at the moment to repay it.

          Good luck.

          Lynn O’Shaughnessy

  25. I have a cousin who really wants to go to college and her parents will not help her. She was accepted to Auburn but had to leave because she could not get fianancial aid and her parents would not help. She is only seventeen and is currently trying to work and save her money to help her pay for school. Does anyone know how she could be declared independent to get financial aid or maybe where she can receive help. I feel very bad for her because she try so hard to make things work. I would help her but my credit is bad but if there are loans that I can apply for and help her we will take that. I just do not want her to lose the fire of attending school. Help me please!!!

  26. I am 19 years old, I am on my own and I work full time. I cannot support myself and plan to pay for school. Any other options? I am not married nor do I have kids as well as any of those other questions asked. I have a clean record and am ok. what to do?

  27. I think each parent should base the help on the child not necessarily just because they can afford to or not. A child should bear some of that cost no matter how affluent they parent is or isn’t. (BTW, in my state the average home value is $200k yet the average amount earnings per year are $40k) Also, a child shouldn’t be reasonable about deciding on the college if they are wanting their parents to help. (ex choosing to go to community college a couple years before going away for majors). If parents can’t help afford to pay for the college, yet are letting their child live at home rent free, helping with the cost of car, paying for cell phone, food, etc. They are still contributing just not to the college. (BTW, this is what my hubby and I did for all 4 of our kids (and 1 dropped out and has a $60k student loan to repay on a $15/hr job and has other living expenses to pay for).

    BTW, just because a child gets this college education doesn’t mean they will deifinitely get a job when they graduate. Our neighbors daughter just got her Bachelor’s last year and couldn’t find a job so decided to go back to get her Master’s. She has already been applying for some jobs for her break next summer and has been told there just aren’t many jobs even for people who have degrees.

    1. Thanks for your observations about children pitching in to help with college. I agree that students should have some skin in the game.

      I would suggest that community college for two years isn’t always the smartest move since most students who start in community college never graduate with an associates, much less a bachelor’s degree.

      Lynn O’Shaughnessy

  28. I’m 25 and I went to an in state school where my tuition was paid for by grants and by student loans. Personally I will be very proud to pay for my children’s living expenses and tuition when they go to college IF I can afford it.

    We need a compromise here. Yes, we want kids to be self sufficient and earn what they’ve got. However, we also must take into account the fact that the government offers less money to people with affluent parents no matter how much the parents are offering to contribute. Since so many parents would like to keep all their money and they have this idea that kids these days have too much of a sense of entitlement, we need a compromise.

    Here’s the bottom line: if you are poor, your kids can get lots of grants and federal loans from the government without you co-signing, even if they’re going to community college.

    If you’re well off, the government WILL NOT offer your kids nearly as much money, if any at all. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to make sure your kid’s college expenses are paid.

    This doesn’t mean you HAVE to pay their tuition and living expenses.

    This DOES mean you should absolutely, positively, definitely COSIGN for enough student loans from a bank that your kids will be able to pay for college tuition and living expenses whether they are employed or not. Then, if they find jobs in college, they’ll have extra spending money to have fun with or to save and use to start repaying the loans.

    If the kids get jobs after college, they will be able to make their loan payments. If not, you will pay them (because you’re well off and they’re broke) until they get jobs and can make their loan repayments on their own.

    If you’re well off and you don’t cosign for enough loans for your children to pay their tuition, living expenses, car insurance, etc. while in college, you are a terrible parent.

    If at all possible, choose public schools with in state tuition to save as much money as possible. Out of state and private tuition should only be for students with wealthy parents who have zero qualms about paying for their children’s tuition, living expenses, and car insurance in full. Note: this is only for college. Going to a private school like Harvard or Yale is understandable for a graduate student of humble origins, but there’s no good reason for an undergraduate from a family that isn’t wealthy to choose one of those schools over the best possible in state school. The only reason anyone should choose USC over UCLA as an undergraduate is so they can go to school with other rich kids who won’t be jealous of their new cars and generous allowances.

  29. I am an independent college counselor and I have been a lecturer in Biology at a Private University where affluent kids came to study. I agree and disagree with author and some of the folks who have commented here but this is just my opinion– do not mean to offend anyone.

    1st Parents: if you are 10 years away from College Admission Year of your child, please begin to save. Anything between $ 100 to $ 150 /mo is not very difficult for anyone who makes $ 130,000 per year.

    However, by no stretch of imagination would I say that someone who makes that much is affluent. No–that is the typical of hard working middle class that pays bills, taxes and insurances and lives in Urban/Sub Urban area.

    People/parents who make substantially less get many breaks, discounts, government aid and their kids can get need based scholarships. I am a college consultant and I know this part too.

    I feel sorry for kids whos parents make $ 250,000 or more and don’t even offer some/slight partial help. I am not saying entire tuition/expense but some ting like co-signing a partial loan.

    2nd thing: You have to invest ‘time’ in your children as they grow. For the fear of being labeled as helicopter parents, you cannot just completely be disinterested in your kids studies/school. If you make sure that they are learning, performing and on the right track…they will be offered non-need based scholarships by private schools. For example taking the PSAT’s and performing well on them will place your child on the National Merit Scholar’s list. I find many of my Asian Parents very savvy about such things. I disagree with one student here who says that Asian parents pay for all expenses–nope but many are very involved with their kids performance.

    Find out what types of funds/endowments are available at private schools in your area.

    Lastly, check in you local area and work with a good local college counselor who is not a rip-off. Some of these folks have worked for ages with Financial Aid and will offer many solutions that are easy to work with. Many new loans do not kick in unless the child graduates and the interest rates are low.

    As for someone who suggests that one should just “not have kids” if they cannot afford, I feel that it is not fair to judge others. Sometimes parents who have ample fund/wealthy could have a sick child in the family, or child who has special needs, sudden financial crisis, death in the family, responsibility of an elderly family member, job lay off—what should these folks do? Give away their kids for adoption or kill their kids? I think be rational.

    Most responses are logical and both sides have some great points.

    An article that creates a good discussion is a good article–whether you agree or not is a different story.

  30. Great post. To the point and as needed. I also agree with your opinion on obligations for both the student and the parent when it comes to college costs. I’m going back to school at 27 and was trying to figure out what qualifies as an independent student. Thanks again!

  31. I would like to start off by saying, thank you for supplying me with the information I’ve been looking for. I have been searching the net for three hours searching for it and wish I would have located your website sooner. Not only did I locate what I was searching for, but also found answers to questions I never thought to ask myself. Thank you for such a wonderful web-site!

  32. Well as a divorced father of 2 who paid child support for 10yrs to an ex wife who didn’t buy anything for the children with the “child support” saving money for their college education was not an option. Between 650.00 per month in CS and 400.00 per month for hospitalization, then buying all of their clothes and paying for other essentials, I didn’t have enough to pay for an apartment, thank god for my parents. I have finished paying child support, and my kids moved out of their mothers house into their own apartment while my son was still in high school. They pay for their own place and all of the utilities. I have offered to continue to pay what I payed in child support, but they don’t want it because they say I have paid enough. How can kids that are on their own be told they can’t get financial aid even though they are adults living on their own with no assistance from parents? It is wrong. If an 18yr old is responsible for their income taxes, then they should be considered independent. I can’t claim either of my children on my tax return, so how can they not be considered independent? I have it, let’s continue to spend 15 billion and more a month on 2 wars that will not benefit anyone, instead of helping our children continue their education. Oh by the way I have re-married, we have 5 kids total, who all live on their own, and 4 are going to college. None of them qualify as independent students which is complete bullshit. We make 120,000 a year combined, have a house paym’t 2 car payments, I help my parents every month, as it should be, and we help the kids as we can. Think about this situation and tell me that 120,000 is affluent, and that our kids shouldn’t receive financial aid. The only thing that is affluent is the money that our government officials make, and all of the benefits they receive compared to the people they represent who can barely afford to buy the books their kids need for school, let alone pay tuition. Just my opinion.

  33. I am currently a sophomore at a private liberal arts school who pays for college on her own. And it is hard even with all of my scholarships and financial aid that pay almost all of the $36,000 costs per year. Over the summer I worked 2nd shift in a factory where I had to stand on my feet the entire shift for up to 12 hours per day. Now, all of the hard work that I’ve put into being able to attend college gives me a lot of pride and I feel very independent…only I wish that I could be considered an independent by the FAFSA. That’s not possible unless I decide to have a courthouse wedding with my boyfriend of 3.5 years. The system needs to be changed.

    Along the lines of parents helping with college expenses: If parents do help with their children’s tuition, they should plan beforehand and make sure to give an equal amount to each child. My parents paid for virtually all of my older sister’s college at a school with a similar cost mine while they haven’t helped me even with textbook costs. Ridiculous.

  34. Im very offended by this author imagine of Bad parents, that wont help with tution, First 130k in Md these days is NOT affluent, it is getting by, esp after the govt gets their share, I have 19 yr old twins, one went to the USMC, and wont need to worry about tution, his sister knows she has to work hard and appreciates it , because it is not handed to her, we help her as much as we can, BUT it is her education, not mine. She could save a bundle if she would live at home, with free room and board, But it is her choice to go and BE INDEPENDANT, as she sees it.i see kids with free tutuion and get a govt hand out, who are lazy, dont go to class,and aer on acadamic probation. this is a waste of tax payer money. 130 k is not what it used to be. There are many creative ways for kids to pay for tution, and it should not fall all on the parents, they need to worry about retirement, rasing 3 kids for 18 years is not cheap. and the attitude they get at 18 is that their adults, until they want something and start whinning

  35. You know, all these people saying that it’s the child’s job to pay for college kind of scares me. I am 19, so no I have not had to balance a household budget yet, but I am going to do my best to put a couple bucks away each month when I have kids so that 18 years later, they can go to school. Those of you who say $130k a year is not affluent need to get their heads out of the clouds and stop spending so much.

    My family brings in around $20k a year. It is my mom, my dad and me, and my dad is the only one working. Granted, we don’t have a mortgage because we paid the house off when we bought it, but still, I would LOVE to see any of you who say living off $130k a year is not affluent.

    You know what my family would be doing differently if we got that much a year? Putting the extra money we don’t spend every month away in IRAs and savings accounts for retirement and college. And to give you some idea, I am graduating from a community college with an associates in music and going to a university next year as an upper division student in composing and clarinet performance to get two bachelors degrees within the course of three years. And guess what. The community college PAYS at least $1000 a semester in scholarships AFTER tuition and books for me to go there. A 3.9 gpa quite literally pays off.

    Now I’m not saying the times aren’t hard and that parents should make paying for their children’s college first priority, but honestly? Are you really going to shove your child out in the cold because they want to gain a better understanding of the world, life, and the work they want to pursue? If you are, I must agree that that is poor parental planning on anyone’s part.

    Is it REALLY that hard to budget differently so you can put $100 a month away for your child’s college expenses? Over 18 years, that’s roughly $22,000 your child DOESN’T have to have in student loans (which by the way, my old high school Spanish teacher is STILL paying off and he has a full head of gray hair).

    Think of your kids and realize that college is not just a way to discover themselves. It’s a way to a better future.

  36. My mom and her husband make 250,000 dollars a year. They have a very profitable business. Not only will they not help me pay a single cent towards college, but they decided not to help me pay for clothes like they were going to because I was able to get a one thousand dollar scholarship! When I say how cheap they are being, they just get mad. They literally make 14,000 dollars or more per month and they don’t even help me if my car breaks down or unexpected medical bills come up! We have a great relationship and this is ruining it!

  37. You babies quit crying about parents not helping with your college expenses. It’s not their responsibility. They earn their money and should spend it how they feel fit. Everyone can get a college degree, join the military and serve your country. Three years and you get a FREE with no loans college education care of your Uncle Sam.

  38. “most of the problem that the goverment ASSUMES that parents are helping out IN ANY WAY”


    “$130,000 is not affluent by any stretch of the imagination”
    “our gas and electric bill for our modest 4BR home is over $540 a month!”

    Have a look at the real world. $130,000 is more than 10 times what I had to live on last year! I have a 3br home in Wisconsin, and my budget energy bill totals about $85/month. Your monthly payment would cover me for 6 months! I’ve learned to live frugally, but it’s a struggle to pay the mortgage & I constantly worry about losing the house.

    “Why is it that so much money is so easily given to the student with the better grades”

    They’re called SCHOLARSHIPS because they reward scholarship.

    “it’s an investment that will appreciate not depreciate… it’ll open doors for her”

    I have 3 degrees – the first paid for by my parents, the other 2 I took loans for. I’ve also been either unemployed or severely underemployed for more than a year. I finally took a nurse aide class so I’d have SOME hope of even a menial job, and found a 10 hour a week gig. I’ve learned to leave my education off applications, or only admit to the associate degree, because it often hurts more than helps.

    I’m VERY grateful to my mother who has offered to pay my tuition to return to community college for an RN. With that, I can earn a good living. Now if I can just find a job so I can pay my bills while I’m in school…

  39. I don’t agree that it is the parents’ responsibility to pay for the college education of their children. I disagree more with the fact that you have to be 24 to be considered and independent student. I am 23 and moved out before I was 18; I have not relied on help from my parents; I got where I am today on my own. I was married until recently so I was able to get some grants, but I don’t think it is fair that you only get help if you are a parent or married. I choose not to have children until I am financially stable and established in a career and I am penalized for it. To me, that is more of a shame than parents trying to make it on $130,000 a year “only” contributing $8,000 toward education for their children. Also, because I decided to get a decent paying job before I pursued my degree, I am again penalized. I work full time and go to school full time, but it doesn’t matter. I work hard to better myself and find myself sifting through scholarships and aid that I don’t qualify for. It sure costs to be responsible doesn’t it?

  40. @Jackie God bless your friend’s mother, that is incredibly difficult to do. Just because she achieved all she did does not mean you must judge everyone else for having reasonable financial difficulties. The fact is that we are in a recession and shit happens-not many people can comfortably afford college.

    Debt is a significant burden in one’s life but I feel like this thread has neglected mentioning a way of lessening debt-state schools. There are MANY honors colleges in state/city/public universities that will give students of caliber full tuition (and sometimes other perks!) despite financial standing. I myself am grateful to benefit from one of these programs. I could have gone to many other private schools but picked this one because my parents make $100000 but cannot afford to send me to a $50,000 private school since we do not qualify for financial aid yet tuition at these private schools would consume half our income. Even for the students at my university who are not in my program (in NYC, maybe it’s different elsewhere) still only pay $5,000 for tuition a year- quite a reduction from the 5+ figures of the cost of a private institution. Even with a loan the student would only have to pay $25,000 after four years. It would be nice if the parent helps even a little bit. If they save money for their children, that’s fantastic! If they can, why not? Yet, if they can’t,(for whatever reason) listen students, a public institution is worth taking out a loan for; as an educated person one could easily pay that off a few years after graduation. It sucks but is better than being $200,000 in debt after four young years isn’t it? Especially if you are not getting help from anyone.

  41. I don’t understand why all of these people are getting all worked up about their parents not helping them out with college expenses. I am a 22 year old college student, I live on my own states away from my parents. My parents can’t afford to help me at all with anything especially college. One is disabled and works to put food on the table for herself and my younger brother, the other is your run of the mill blue collar guy. I work 60 hours a week and attend classes full time, I pay for my tuition, books, fees, and whatever else is not covered by federal aid and scholarships and I make less than 20,000 dollars a year in the DC area, which if you are from the area you know is well below the average 80,000 dollar income. I think too many people think that because other peoples parents pay for there education, apartments, cars, whatever that their parents are slackers, which is not true at all. If I can attend Georgetown University on 20,000 dollars a year and still pay rent, utilities, phone bills, ect., as well as my tuition, fees, and other stuff so can these other people. Sure I may graduate with a lot of debt but at least I can have the sense of accomplishment of doing it on my own, and definitely getting a good lesson on living with a very strict, and small budget.

  42. TO ALLISON: Do not have kids if you are not going to want to support them. $130,000 is a lot of money…if you do not live beyond your means. My friends mother earns around $50,000, bought her two children cars when they were 16, help them pay for college and support them in an appropriate house with nice things. And she did not get a penny of child support. Her two kids work PT as well as going to school full time, but they are by no means left to fend for themselves. Education is a parental duty and parents should start saving when the child is born. 20 DOLLARS A WEEK….AFTER 18 YEARS …DO THE MATH. a very decent amount of money for a college education. My parents are most definitely more interested in their retirement than to help me pay for college, living expenses, health, and even support! So yea i would consider a parent to be bad in that aspect if they are too ignorant to save 20 dollars a week for a college education for their dear little children.

    1. I agree that college should be help or pay for by parents . Both my kids will be in college at the same time and we make sure they focus on school and do not have to be stress out about money so we even give them a good amount of monthly allowance also . How can you not help your own kids. Tuition , housing, and food for both will cost us $140,000 a year for the private school that they will be attending . I am driving an old car, I don’t shop much. You just have to make the sacrifice for your own kids. At the end it is worth it for us to know that we did our best to help our kids. I don’t understand how people can be so selfish. We saved for college since they were little.

  43. I hope that all the parents who “put themselves through college” recognize that the financial times have changed drastically since 20 or 30 years ago. Nobody said that if you cannot afford to pay for your child’s college you are a bad parent, but if at this point in your life you can’t afford more than your own life expenses, do you really want your child to struggle the same way when they reach your age because they couldn’t afford to go to school and you couldn’t afford to help them?
    Every little bit helps, and I say that because my parents work their asses off and so do I, still my school expenses have not been any of their responsibilities nor will they be unless I will reach at point where I absolutely need to, and I know that’s what they are there for. TO HELP, not foot the bill for expensive on-campus beer pong living. Nobody said that that is the expected contribution of a parent these days, but I cannot fathom what kind of parent takes their hands off their child at high school graduation time because “they need to learn on their own”. That sounds selfish and close minded for anybody who knows what college expenses mean and how hard it is to find a job who will pay for that bill WITHOUT at least a 2 year degree. Most kids fresh out of high school work in fast food joints, restaurants or grocery stores, nobody I know makes insane amounts of money, unless you count stripping as a job.
    WE are not waiting to be fed with a silver spoon, but you are only young once. How are you supposed to get a good start in life when you’re working full time, going to school full time, studying at night and on the weekend to keep your good grades and worrying about how you will pay for everything during, while still maintaining a social life to try and keep yourself sane? Maybe old school is the word for yall, because you seriously need a reality check if you think we can support ourselves and pay for college easily and we choose to slack and play beer pong instead.

  44. No, Cathy that does not seem fair. I hope your boys are both working as much as they can. If they want the education they should prove it and work hard for it. I can say it because I am doing it so I know that it is possible. If I can keep straight A’s and pay for rent, food, cell phone, daily expenses along with having over almost $70,000 by tht time I actually graduate then college students need to start putting down the beer cans and understanding the value of money. I am 21 I havent been out in one month I dont have much of a social life, and that wouldnt be that big of a deal if being social was not really important to my life and values and wasnt the only thing that really makes me happy. It does and it kills me that all I hear about is friends having fun on their “thirsty Thursday’s” and going here and there however, I dont want to look back and say DID I DO EVERYTING I COULD THEN TO SUCCEED?

  45. We have 2 boys in college. We can’t put anything into our retirement because it all goes to paying for their college. They have taken out student loans as well. One will be 23 and still have 3 yrs before he graduates, the other is 21 and will graduate in 2. We have applied for every scholarship we find and have yet to get 1. My husband and I will not be able to retire until we are well into our 70’s is that fair? Shouldn’t the boys pay for most of their education? We raise them, bought them cars, paid for everything and now we are suppose to go into debt for their college.

    1. Perhaps you should have forgone the cars…? HELLO, cars aren’t a life necessity, but in our society college is getting to be one. For future reference, before complaining about what’s fair for you consider what’s fair for your children: you bought them cars, that they now have to pay to put gas into, and cars lose value as they age, but you’re uncomfortable paying for college? If you’ve got any more kids, next time I’d get them a bus pass rather than a car, they’re much more affordable. However, I sympathize with you and your retirement difficulties, and anyway this article is directed at those who wouldn’t need to go into debt to help out a bit with their kids’ expenses, so I’m not sure it applies to your situation. Hopefully, your children will get good jobs with their education and help you out with your retirement difficulties later on down the road. That’s kind of the idea- “you scratch my back i’ll scratch yours” of helping your kids get through college so they don’t put you in a really awful nursing home and refuse to visit later on.

  46. @ Edie have you looked at the progected costs? I think the websites say it’s about 22,000 a year, with lodging etc. for state-funded 4-yrs in California. x 4 that’s 80 tho. at least, right?

    & everyone says apply for scholarships, I have a 4.0 but can’t find any I qualify for beyond the “lottery” kind. If you know of merit based scholarships unrelated to location, ethnicity, very specific majors etc. I’d love to hear about them!

  47. @ Mari thanks for what you said. I’ll figure something out. I tried teaching & totally agree with you. Hope someday you can manage to finance the education you want.

    @ Maria my dad is the same way so you have my total sympathy. I think feeling like you don’t have anyone to rely on is the worst part. Parents like that can be worse than nothing!

  48. To those of you who can help, it is up to you to work that out. But I can say it is necessary in this economy. I have deadbeat parents, I work hard and graduated top of my class, but they chose drugs over me years ago. I worked two jobs to put myself through community college for two years and am now at a dead end. A four year degree costs more than I can even take out in loans with out a signature from my “parents”. Their credit is terrible and thanks to medical bills for the insurance I can’t afford etc, mine is going down too. I wont be so presumptuous as to assume that I know what others can and cannot afford to do for their children, but if I could claim myself as independent I could at least get more in loans. However, the things requested by the financial aid adviser are beyond what I am able to provide. I now consider myself on the 20 year degree plan, because I have to stop school and work for a year, to save up to go for one year, and I still have to keep a full time job through out the year. I don’t know what classes some of you were taking, but I have to schedule in my sleep at this point.

  49. And I think that that really is most of the problem that the goverment ASSUMES that parents are helping out IN ANY WAY with a college student. How is it fair when I cant count for a SINGLE penny or for that matter a “Hello” or “How are you doing” from either of my parents? They should allow you to turn in some kind of proof to prove that you are 110% independent if you are under the age of 24 years old. I know 24 year olds who are ALLOWED to claim independant but who still live with their parents!!! How is that fair! And I am sorry coming from my case, I call you being independent if your parent(s) take you out to dinner a couple times a year because that is ALOT more that what I have right now.

  50. This topic really upsets me. I get really frusterated when people students or parents say ” I just dont have enough money to PUT my kids through college” I am 21 years old and put myself through college but this is not the thing that bothers me. It is the fact that I am ON MY OWN.

    This is what makes me upset when I hear students say, “my parents do not pay for my college” and they live with them or “They only give me a little bit of money for everything”. I am on my own completely I mean no Christmas clothes that I can rely on, no Birthday gifts, NOTHING. My parens are not deceased and they are not incarcerated, so I “legally” am looked at as a DEPENDANT. My parents got divorced a few years ago and this gave them the opportunity to divorce from their three children also. They both hated eachother so much that they wanted to leave behind everything that they experienced throughout it and that included their children. MY sisters and I DO NOT HAVE ANY contact with either of out parents. How am I dependant? I do not have health insurace, of course, because I cannot afford it. If something happens to me I am DONE. There is no one that I can call to bail me out. There is no one that I can rely on, there is no one I can ask for 10 dollars if I am hungry. No, I work 3 at times 4 jobs, I go to school FULL TIME, I pay rent $500, I bought myself the cheapest car I could, to get to work and school, I go grocery shopping when I can. I work my ass off to be successful. I have had straight A’s going on 3 semesters now.

    I dont get alot of sleep, but I keep on pushing on because I HOPE that all of my hard work will pay off. I am very afraid that it might not. How long will my loans keep up for, how many thousands and thousands of dollars will I be able to take out in loans before I am not aloud anymore? This frightens me every day that it will come to a point that no matter how hard I work, the grades I get, the bills I pay it will only go so far and there will be just nothing left. I pray to god this time never happens, I want nothing more to be a powerful teacher one day to children!

  51. I am a late life college student, I am 41, who is having to pay my own way through college. My parents were divorced and could not afford college for me right out high school as they both worked minimum wage jobs. I have worked two jobs and applied for every scholarship I could get my hands on. I do not qualify for federal grants so it is totally up to me to make it work. If that means taking fewer classes or making a payment plan, then that is how it goes. I never expected my parents’ to foot the bill for my education and I believe that for those of us who are driven to get that degree, no matter at what age we do it, then we figure out how to do it ourselves and not rely on somebody else to pay our way. My husband is currently working on his degree as well and grants do not cover it for him so he is taking out student loans. We have a 13 year old who may or may not want to go to college, but in our situation there is no way that we make enough money to put ourselves through school and pay for her as well. She will have to be driven enough to pay her way when she gets to that point. Does that make me a bad parent? I think it just makes me realistic about what we can and cannot do. There is money out there for college besides loans. You just need to look for it and be serious enough to keep your grades up to meet the requirements.

  52. One question you have to ask yourself is, why is the child taking on $75,000 worth of debt for college in the first place? Is it because that is truly the cost of a college education, or is it because the child is unrealistic due to the fact they are just out of high school and not doing everything they can to make their education cheaper? I think it’s far too general to say that a parent should pay for their childrens’ educational expenses when you consider that some children just aren’t stable or mature enough to take the college world seriously at 18. I know when I was 18, I felt pressured to go to college, but I really didn’t care much about it, so I selected some expensive art school that sounded fun and ended up dropping out right before the end of the first semester. I had no understanding about the fact it was past the date where my parents’ could receive a refund for tuition ($5,000 per semester), and there was nothing they could do to get me to go back to classes. It’s actually best that I dropped out so soon, because I would have had no problem costing my parents $10,000 or $15,000 and leaving school before graduating. It just didn’t matter to me.

    Some 18-year-olds work hard at their education and understand the value of good grades. These kids definitely deserve to have their parents’ financial support. However, as a 37-year-old independent student who is completely supporting her own education now that she has (finally) matured enough to understand the value of a college education, I find myself surrounded by kids in community college who get bad grades in easy classes, are disrespectful in class, and skip school for dumb reasons. Why? Because they don’t care. They have parents who are footing the bill, and they don’t appreciate the things they are learning or the importance of good grades to get funding for college. I live in an area where most of the parents are affluent and do pay for their childrens’ educations. These kids, however, aren’t mature enough to appreciate the opportunities they have been given, and I think would be better served by waiting to go to college and getting some real world experience first. Once they become independent, they can apply for low income benefits, such as fee waivers for tuition at community college, then after the first two years they can transfer to an in-state university at a resident discounted rate. Why does anyone HAVE to go to an ivy league school who does not qualify to receive a scholarship for expenses? I think that’s just unrealistic thinking.

  53. Laura, I’m sad to hear about your situation and I understand completely.

    I was the driven smart one in my family. I was supposed to go to school and become an Obstetrician. Quickly did I learn I did not have the resources nor the time to do that because I have to support myself. I found myself lowering the bar often. Okay, maybe not OBGYN but what about RN? That takes too long/too much time.. what about LPN? Really don’t want to be an LPN.

    Instead, I have to become a teacher. Something not difficult(not meant as an insult to anyone I’m just good at education and volunteered in the classroom 5+ years so I know what I’m doing), doesn’t take that long and isn’t time consuming and will get me out working quick. I have to give up my dream to make up for what I don’t have.

    Did I mention I “REALLY” don’t want to be a teacher?

    1. I have been a teacher for 8+ years and still only make 35K. I work till 8 and 9pm many week nights and even on teacher work days.

      If I had gone to college at a younger age, I would change my profession in a minute. It is not teaching, it is documentation and babysitting, with zero respect from anyone!

      Don’t go into teaching if you can do ANYTHING else. I told my children I would help them with their college tuition the best I can, but I forbade them to go into education. My daughter replied, “None of my friends or I am stupid enough to sign up for that job.”

  54. So for those who keep on insisting that 130k a year is not affluent! let me provide you with a reality check. I currently live with my parents. Ill soon be a Junior in College. I was attending UCSB, but grants,scholarships and fin.aid were no where near close to covering my entire tuition, so i was left to get loans. After tuition began to increase more, i returned home with my parents. They didnt help me with tuition, one because I felt as thought it was my responsibility to pay for it, simply because its my future! and two, because their income is about 33k a year. Try paying every expense with that amount!! You people are complaining that 130k is not enough! Try living in our shoes why dont you! You give yourselves a live full of luxury. Maybe if you learned how to manage money better, then you would be able to help your kids. Im not saying you have to pay their entire education, but help with something should be good. My point here is to make it clear to you all tha 130k a year is a lot of money. Learn to appreciate it more, and stop making excuses that its not enough. Spend your money wisely, and you’ll see how much you’ll end up saving.

  55. My father recently decided he wasn’t interested in supporting his family – he’s off doing whatever. My mom has 70 thousand in debt and no reliable income. I’m working to put myself thru community college but can’t possibly afford to specialize in what I want to learn or get a bachelor’s. My brother is 16, a computer wiz, going to community college with me, and it breaks my heart to hear him talk about the fancy colleges we’ll never be able to afford.

    I think parents should help support their childrens’ education.

  56. I’m a single parent raising two, one is about to graduate college this year the other in Jr. High. My income is about 50K before taxes so it’s very difficult to help with college expenses (no help from they’re dad), but I do what I can and the rest has to be paid by loans. I hate it but that’s the way it is and I’ve told my daughter this is something no one can ever take away from her and it’s an investment that will appreciate not depreciate like a car or having the latest, greatest cell phone or gadget. Yes, it’s just a piece of paper, but it’ll open doors for her, what she does after that is up to her. I definitely agree that tuition cost are ridiculously high, but I’d rather my kids pay off a student loan than a car loan, but somehow, that kind of debt is more acceptable to some people. Anyway, you can curb your overall costs by having your student take dual-credit classes at your local community college (usually 1/2 the cost of anyone else taking the same class) during their high school years. My daughter had 18 college credit hours before she even graduated high school. Also, there are tons of scholarships out there, some not even requiring a very high GPA, but it’s time consuming and no one wants to do it. I also have aging parents and they didn’t plan financially for the care they now require. It’s costs about 5K/mo. to live in a nursing home! It would be nice to think that if you pay for your children’s college they’ll take care of you when you can’t take care of yourself, but the reality is they won’t be able to afford it even if they wanted to….Ethan. They’ll have their own families to take care of and who knows what the economy will be like for them. Help your children as much as you can with college, but SAVE FOR YOUR RETIREMENT IT’S THE BEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILDREN!! It’s heart wrenching to know that my father will have to go on Medicaid if he out lives his money and believe me that won’t give him the quality of life I’d want for him. One more thing, I believe they’re less likely to goof off on your dime when they have to contribute as well.

  57. I agree with the author 100%.

    I have to disagree with what some of you are saying. You’re missing the entire point that the GOVERNMENT expects YOU AS A PARENT to PAY AND ASSIST your child in their college expenses. At no point in time when we turn 18 does the college/government see us as independent students who can do it on our own. They see students as getting all the support from the parents and that’s partly the problem. How are we supposed to get the adequate support (scholarships/grant) when this is the situation? Sure you say if you’re an adult and work it’ll all fall into place. You’ll make the money you need to go to college without your parents help, right?
    Think again…

    My parents made over $200,000 last year and don’t help me with school at all. At the rate that I’m going maybe I’ll never graduate. I work Monday through Friday 7AM to 5PM and make 14,000 a year. I’m going to community college which the out of state tuition is $330 per credit hour. Say I take 10 credits a semester 10x $330 is 3,330. For three semester (I’m behind and take summer classes to catch up) that would be around $9,990 a year spent on school alone. Books? Transportation? Rent? Phone bill? Food? I have $416 left over each month (5,000/12). What the heck can I buy with that? Lowest rent available in my area is $500. So because of that I have to seek aid from *friends* which the government/school will automatically classify as DEPENDENT for. Open your eyes PARENTS things are NOT how they used to be!

    My parents are fully capable of assisting me, but they choose not to. This article isn’t for parents who can’t afford it it’s for the parents who can and choose to look the other direction. My father who is a doctor doesn’t want to work the extra time to help so he works minimum hours to just get himself by.

    I have had a 4.0 and 3.8 in previous semesters so I’m no dummy either. This semester I think my hectic schedule is finally getting to me and not only is the fact that my parents wont help but the added physical/mental exhaustion because of it, will lower my grades. It breaks my heart because my education is so important to me.

    BUT, there is ONLY so much I can do!

    Does this sound like a student who wants to be fed with a silver spoon? No, I just want the ability to enjoy college without feeling graduating/succeeding is something unattainable.

    I will not put this sort of emotional/financial burden on my child. It’s emotionally disturbing the fact that my parents could help but choose not to. I struggle with that everyday.

    Don’t be quick to judge that students who want help are spoiled wanting things easy. I don’t want things easy but I don’t want them to be so hard at nineteen years old. My parents once told me when I was 16 “I don’t want you to work as a teenager or work during college because you need to focus on your grades. Plus, you will be working like a slave for the rest of your life high school and college SHOULD be the best years of your life.”

    Gee, thanks mom and dad….

    1. I hear you, and good luck with your life! So many well-to-do parents don’t realize that the colleges don’t care whether or not they’re helping, only how much they make; even if a child gets completely cut off and kicked out by age 18, with no contact with their parents at all, even though they are an adult and their own person any given college will use their parents’ assets against them when they try to get financial aid. And I congratulate you for even being able to get a job in these tough times; low paying as it is, it’s better than nothing. And bravo on your grades! As for rent, what the heck kind of place do you live in that there’s nothing below $500 a month? Perhaps consider relocating to a mobile home park or renting a small camping trailer- maybe the news that their child is living in a trailer park and can’t affor to eat anything other than top ramen and pork & beans will shock them enought that they’ll reconsider helping you pay for your education. (I’m only sort of kidding, here.)

    2. I see many young people whose parents or parent would be considered affluent and more than able to help their child. However, due to divorces and remarriages, the new spouse doesn’t want to divert funds for the previous family’s children. I think a question on the FASPA form should be “Are your parents divorced,” and/or, “Have one or both of your parents started another family with someone other than your mother or father?” It is sickening to see how many first families with children are literally thrown away when a parent remarries.

      A young person in this situation, and it is common place today, should not have their parents’ income considered when they are applying for financial aide.

      That is just another way to divert government support to particular groups of people, many of whom don’t pay taxes at all.

  58. “The point is, should parents, students or the government pay? If they are taking government money, they aren’t anymore “independent” than if they take their parents money. Get over the self-righteous “I and and my children are independent self-achievers” if you are also the one asking the government to pay for your college. For those who need government help for college, fine, that’s what it’s there for. But don’t pretend to be a morally superior, responsible and “independent” and then reach for the hand out.”

    Good point. Maybe any taking of government money by anybody means you are giving away some of your independence. But, I think my kids should make that choice, and they should be dealing with the government on their own terms. If they decide to take the govt dole, that’s their own deal, and it should be negotiated based on their own resources.

    BTW, I really am not self-righteous. I really truly believe an adult is an adult and should be in the driver’s seat for their own life.

  59. Emily says:
    Did you notice here that the ones that hold the opinion that parents ’should’ help with college expenses are young and have not had to maintain a household budget complete with mortgage, food, clothing, etc? Grow up. A sense of entitlement indeed

    I’m 38, a single parent, with 3 children, 2 heading to college next year, and a salary under 100000 working 2 jobs. I firmly believe if you decide to bring children into this world it’s your responsibility to provide them with the tools necessary to succeed in life. I happen to consider education one of those tools. Yes, they’ll have to work to help with college expenses and it’s not a completely free ride because but I believe tossing the entire burden on to your child for their education is selfish and irresponsible. As for the retirements arguments, I can only hope I’ve raised my children well enough to assist when they reap the benefits of a good education. It’s what I do for their grandmother and hopefully they learn from my family is about.

  60. My son is just now in the middle of his freshman year of college. We do pay for his living expenses and tuition. I find it hard to believe in this day of age people feel a college education can be paid by a student. 1. There are no jobs out there. 2. They should be concentrating on their education. 3. It’s just too expensive. Our house hold lives a good life but we are very frugal and don’t have anything left at the end of the month. It’s ok to us because we know that our son 1. appreciates what we are doing for him. 2. Will be able to live a better life with a college education. 3. Is doing everything in his power to be successful in both school and life.
    It was ok for my generation to go to work right out of high school and still be successful in life. That just isn’t the case anymore. To be able to live comfortably you must have a college education. I agree that parent who can afford to should pay for their children’s education. Our world needs educated people to be able to thrive as a society.

  61. Just wanted to add that we drive a 2000 Expedition and a 2006 Ford Ranger. We do not go on lavish vacations, nor do we golf or participate in any other extravagant activities. Medical expenses, life insurance, utilities (our gas and electric bill for our modest 4BR home is over $540 a month!), housing, gas, food, school tuition, clothes…it all adds up. While I do help my 20 year old sophomore with some of her expenses, she is responsible for her tuition. The responsibility of having to manage her own future and finances will serve her well; she will be focused on resolving problems instead of having her hand out waiting for someone to do it for her!

  62. I disagree with the author of this article. You have to admit that there is an essence of “entitlement” in her assertion. I have an 18 year old who is going to go to a Tier 3 state college because the expense of a Tier 1 or Tier 2 college is astronomical. I wanted her to attend the local community college first, which would have cut costs by a third. However, she wants her freedom as an adult, so she is going to pay for part of her “university experience” while my husband and I foot the remainder of the bill, which includes tuition, and 1/2 the books and 1/2 the room and board. She wants “freedom.” Well, that means act like an adult, pay like an adult, and deal with the consequences like and adult. Yeah, that’s bad parenting. Hmm…wonder if there was a silver spoon in the author’s pocket?

  63. People, if parents want their children to be independent, that’s fine. The point is, should parents, students or the government pay? If they are taking government money, they aren’t anymore “independent” than if they take their parents money. Get over the self-righteous “I and and my children are independent self-achievers” if you are also the one asking the government to pay for your college. For those who need government help for college, fine, that’s what it’s there for. But don’t pretend to be a morally superior, responsible and “independent” and then reach for the hand out.

  64. I am a white American and I think we should all take after the Asian cultures. In the Asian culture, the parents take care of their kids all through college so they CAN get a 4 year degree to GET a great paying job to one day return the favor and TAKE CARE of their parents that raised them.

    I was in college and was working full time as a waitress. MY dad was paying the $180/month in tuition to the school that was not covered by loans. As soon as i had 3 really good tip days where i made $200, my dad cut me off. He said he thought i made enough! Frankly, i considered this getting a head. Those $200 tip days only came sparingly and they were used for BILLS! Then i started skipping class to go work extra shifts to then pay for this $180/m i was now stuck with, then i ended up having to drop out because i couldn’t leave my job, i had an apartment to pay for.

    My dad also went through college with the GI Bill cause he was in the Army. Um, Hello??? What about us people who didn’t go into the military????

    Here I am, now 31, about to be 32, and going to night school full time while looking for a job only because i get unemployment. In order to get through Nursing School, there IS NO time for working because you are either in classes or clinicals, so now every more I’m dependent on financial aid. The only reason why i have financial aid now is because being on unemployment is considered LOW INCOME. I’ve even been applying for government assistance because i haven’t gotten a job yet.

    I think it IS parent’s responsibility to HELP their children a little, to get through college when they’re YOUNG and to get through into a 4 year degree. Just because a child is 18 doesn’t mean you just DROP them like a bad habit, i mean it was your choice to have children. At least co-sign for them so they can get the funding they need to get through college.

    I will never do this to my kids when i have them one day. I plan on already putting money into a savings account for them from the day they are born. I also don’t plan on having any registries or will allow anyone to buy them useless and endless supply of toys. That is for the parents to decided. I will take all the Christmas and birthday money they get and put it into their savings for THEM, for THEIR college fund.

  65. The bottom line is this: If you are 18 years old, do you want to be considered an adult and able to make your own decisions? (The law says you are and may.) If so, then this is a great gift and responsibility. Appreciate it. Make choices about the course your life should take, and work to pay for those choices.

    If I pay for my adult child’s college education, then I have a share in deciding how he or she should live his or her life, which is inappropriate and wrong.

    I am proud that my children are happy to decide their own life course and pay their own way. None of us in our family would have it any other way.

    It is too bad the government has attempted to institutionalize a different kind of code of values with its financial aid entitlement criteria: that adults over 18 are NOT in charge of their own lives and somehow their parents share responsibility for their decisions and priorities. But, it’s not surprising, given the general way in which government is slowing taking over so many aspects of our individual freedoms in so many other ways.

  66. I grew up without a father and a mother who worked hard to give me tools as a child. I am very grateful for the love of education she gave me. When I graduated from high school, I had numerous offers for free tuition at acclaimed universities; however, I chose to attend an Ivy League institution that demanded almost $10,000/year from my mother. Had she saved up instead of whittling funds towards drugs or other useless expenses maybe she could have helped me get through. However, she didn’t and after 2 years I had to drop out with a $25+ burden. Fast forward 6 years later I am about to graduate, but I have had to pay off that $25k and finance all my subsequent education, at times working 3 jobs and always with a full-time job, mortgage, car payment, etc. It is not easy to pay for school especially without parental support. Those of you who say “I got myself thru college” 20 years ago cannot apply that same statement to today… tuition has skyrocketed over 200% in the last 30 years while real average income has declined about 3%… tell me how a student is able to overcome that? It can be done but again, not easy! Parents, my advice is to help as much as possible and do without certain things to get your children through college like that 3rd vacation home or newer car model. Otherwise, your children will struggle and ask you for help much further into their lives than you wanted to help.

  67. agree $130,000 is NOT affluent when you subtract the other necessary expenses – mortgage, car payment, utility payments, etc. These expenses are NEVER taken into consideration when the FAFSA figures the parents responsible amount. We don’t have an extravagant home ($140,000 value) but our child seems to be getting less “free” money than other students that live in bigger houses, drive better and have more cars, and go on extravagant vacations several times a year. A better article to write would be one on how to get colleges to take into consideration average living expenses when they hand out their grants, scholarships, etc. The ambitious average or even slightly above average student never gets as much money as one with better grades. Why is it that so much money is so easily given to the student with the better grades – these students are usually always from families that can afford more. What are they doing and reporting to get more money? The ambitious students have no choice but to take on huge financial burdens. Our child will have over $20,000 in debt and we will have three times that amount and that is only for the first child. We are contributing and will continue to contribute to our child’s education but what can we do to get colleges to look at our necessary expenses and give us a little more help?

  68. We contribute to our children’s education but it is placing a very large burden on us. My husband is a retired firefighter and I am a paraprofessional with a school system. We cannot save for our own retirement due to helping our students and can barely afford our household bills. We live very frugully and have saved for our students but that was gone in one year. the cost of education is outragiously expensive and the amount we are expected to help with by the goverment is way beyond what we can afford. We were responsible in raising two wonderful young people and taking good care of them but we are now being penilized for not being deadbeat parents and our children are being penalized for not being teen parents or on drug or criminals. If they had run away from home been a teen parent or just trouble in general they would be having all kinds of money thrown at them for education. But the fact that they are decent, responsible young people is to no account for help with their education. The goverment needs to rethink the way they determine need. AND part of it should be based on they fact that a student is a good citizen !!!!

    1. Wow! Your analysis is absolutely correct! I’m an elementary school teacher and my husband works at Home Depot and my children don’t qualify for any type of financial aide either. However, the government subsidizes almost 100% of the students attending the school I teach at and the majority of them and/or their parents aren’t even American citizens. They tell me all the time, after their children are educated they are going back to their country to live and prosper.

      We need to flood our representatives, congressmen and the president and let them know we exist, we pay the taxes, and we’ve had enough!!!!

    2. yes! yes! and yes! I totally agree. Why can’t our children that we have raised in the united states of America, receive money for school?! My husband and I are well respected business owners in our community and have always encouraged community growth and development by spending money in our community. We pay taxes and do everything right as far as being a good responsible citizen of our United States. Why are we then punished for being the good responsible citizens we are? Do you know what we get in return for our hard work and devotion to our community and country–a slap in the face. Let’s help the people who are illegal get an education in OUR country for free and let’s give them medical insurance ( which we cannot afford right now). We cannot afford to help my children pursue their college education, yet we are. My husband went to school for 6 years to become a medical professional: however, we have to pay so much in taxes, we barely eek out an income. We take very good care of our 5 children even though after taxes we make about as much as a grocery store clerk. He went to college in this country. His family is from this country and he is still paying on his debt. to this day nearly 20 years after he graduated. but my child’s friends whose parents are not even legal citizens, whose parents haven’t paid taxes in our country, get a free ride to a top university in our state, and their gpa wasn’t even close to my child’s gpa. My child worked hard–very hard all 4 years in high school so that she could receive a scholarship, knowing that she would not be able to get a free ride because of our income. she graduated with a gpa above a 3.6 and didn’t get one cent from anybody to pursue her education. The message here is, don’t t work hard to be the best because only if you are poor or Hispanic or whatever, you get a free ride regardless of your academic history. NOT FAIR! The government needs to pay attention to our own citizens and help them. Not the people who haven’t even paid taxes or supported their communities in our country. Oh! I wonder why Americans aren’t contributing more to our society in medicine, in technology, in engineering, in business. Get a clue! help the people in our country pursue higher education so that we can contribute to our society. We come first, then everyone else. not the other way around.

  69. Did you notice here that the ones that hold the opinion that parents ‘should’ help with college expenses are young and have not had to maintain a household budget complete with mortgage, food, clothing, etc? Grow up. A sense of entitlement indeed.

    Susan: There is no way to tell if you are eligible for Federal Aid until you complete a FAFSA at You should try that, even if you receive a tuition waver you might be eligible for some State or Federal aid that could help with your other expenses.

    1. Not always true. I’m 20 I have been living on my own since I was 13 I made the mistake by not getting emancipated, married or had children because until I’m 24 the only way to receive fafsa is being in the army. Or married. Or with children. No.e of these choices are in my agenda. However I am not eligible because my mom makes too much. Why if she makes too much and refuses to help me should I be struggling. Itthink a qualification should be proof that I have my own expenses and live on my own and work full time while going to school to pay for my own rent and transportation. I should be eligible my mother’s takes no responsibility so why should her income be the determining factor of whether or not I get school paid for. It’s not fair because even though fafsa knows I live ion my own the qualifications are not fair for a student ( trying to have a successful life) like me but my mom is holding bamy efforts to start a good life. What should I do. ?

      1. Not sure of a solution; however, just wanted to let you know that I am in the same boat. I am in no way trying to vilify my parents; I am fully financially independent. I am not well-informed of my father’s finances, but I know that, regardless of whether he wanted to, he couldn’t just pull $10,000 out of nowhere for one year of college. I work fulltime, live alone and have for a few years now. My income is, to put it nicely, minimal. I’m scraping by, not destitute, but it is still hard to fathom how I’m going to be able to front the out-of-pocket costs.

    2. I attend college, work two part time jobs, and live on my own. Now while it was entirely my choice as to “leaving the nest” i did feel that i would get a better education elsewhere than my hometown. I didnt attend the college I wanted to because my parents refused to help with the costs. While i do understand that parents have their own financial responsibilities, a sense of entitlement is NOT the problem here. If you are a loving parent, why would you not put your child in the best possible situation to succeed in life? why wold you allow your child to suffer and struggle because you would rather them handle it all alone? Yes, you SHOULD help your children because im sure that when you’re old and immobile you’ll expect us to help you. When your child has had to care for themselves out of your selfishness, why should THEY?

  70. As a parent to 4, I understand worrying about paying for college. What many people seem to think is that it’s the parents responsibility to pay for the kid to “find himself”. I’m happy to pay tuition while my child lives at home. Tuition is usually cheap compred to room/board and livign expenses. But if you feel the need to pursue your “independent life” on my dime, think again. Let’s be real…are you wanting an education or to get out from under Mom & Dad’s roof?

  71. “Excuse me, but $130,000 is not affluent by any stretch of the imagination, particularly in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic states. We make roughly that per year (before taxes) and believe me, there is no money left over to save for college after paying for school tuition, mortgage, transportation, food, daily living expenses, etc. We are barely even able to save towards retirement, given the rising costs of everything and the decreasing values of retirement fund accounts.”

    130000 is ridiculously affluent. Trade in your Lexus for a 5-year-old, previously owned Ford and you’ll have enough money for your kid’s tuition.

    1. $130K is not affluent, and one can barely scrape by on the East coast. Property taxes alone are over $8k, for a modest home. We have three children and have always anticipated they would need to take loans and we would somehow pay the rest. Considering tuition, room & board at a State University is over $18k per year, there is no way we can foot the bill, totally. We also believe if our children are vested in their future with their money, they have skin in the game and will do their very best to get every penny worth of education! We are truly, the middle class. We do not even qualify for subsidized educational loans and the interest accrues the minute the loan is accepted. Our kids all understand they have a responsibility and will not be looking for a bailout offer. They signed the documents ackowledging they owe the money and will pay back every penny w/interest. Think it’s terrible that students/Obama believe they should be forgiven and be able to walk away from a contract they signed! Shame, shame, shame. No pride. Where is this wonderful Country going?

    2. All of you people who think $130K is affluent need a reality check! Any idea how much is left after paying taxes and health insurance premiums? Under $85,000-so for a family of five, a modest mortgage payment, no car payments since we all drive old cars, car insurance expenses, food, utilities, GAS, etc…there’s not much left! You seem to think we’ve always made $130K per year and have been saving for years, but that’s not the case. We’ve worked our butts off to reach this salary level, we went to college and paid our own way. Blame the colleges and universities for the exorbitant tuition rates! Oh yeah, by the way, forget getting any student loans or work-study at this salary level either! My kids all work part-time jobs and have attended community college for two years before continuing on to four-year colleges. They also appreciate everything they have and have earned, no notion of entitlement in this house!

  72. I work full-time and fortunately I receive tuition waiver. I still though have to pay $250 per term, plus books, college fees, plus other school expenses. My salary is only $39,000 a year and I have a college student still living at home. My husband is employed but his salary is dedicated to our home expenses so going to school is adding an additional burden to our expenses. I suspect I will be going to school for at least 3 more years since I am attending part-time. Is there any money out there to over my school expenses? Would I qualify for Financial Aid? Is there anyone that will help a working person going back to school part-time to get their undergrad degree.

  73. Evelyn and Janell, you both sound like good parents with a good philosophy about this. I agree with you both completely (and I’m an 18 year old freshman in college!). Part of the reason is that my parents are only able to support me part-way in college. My dad makes over $100,000 a year, but we were in debt almost $400,000 (yes, that is the correct number) a few years ago. We had to sell our house to pay most of it off, but the good old IRS keeps taking whatever they can get from us. Since my parents don’t have much money left over to help me out every month, I have to earn money to pick up the rest of the cost, and I’m perfectly fine with that. With regards to the self-sufficiency, Evelyn, my parents taught me that principle very early on. I always work my hardest in everything that is presented to me so that people will see that I am not a slacker and will be more willing to hire me as a result. I am already working one part-time job that pays nine dollars an hour, and I have been offered a TA position for next semester in Chemistry, which will pay ten dollars an hour. So, definitely, kids should be self-sufficient and willing to put in their fair share of the work to contribute to their college education; I hope the parents would be willing to help if they can, but by no means should they be scolded for not helping their kids out.

  74. I am the parent of four kids. My husband and I are affluent but NOTHING could have prepared us for what the cost of college was going to be! And it’s not just tuition, room and board. There are books, travel to and from the college,even costs associated with sports and programs they get involved in. (B/c NOTHING is free in college). Some of my kids have gotten every ounce of “experience” and learning from their higher institution; but on a couple of them I wish we had re-thought “the next step”, and maybe had them work a year or two so they could ‘think out” what and where they wanted to be in life. I am all for a college education but I’m not sure if the end result-a piece of paper-really has been worth the cost/education ratio-especially given the current economic situation. I, like other parents in my age group, are probably more “helicopter” than other generations and I’m not sure it has been a benefit to our kids. We are helping them for a period of time with their loans while they get on their feet; but it is their education-not ours. And I agree that colleges ought to re-evaulate their tuitions and fees b/c they are out of control.

  75. Janell, even though 130,000 a year may not fit YOUR particular definition af affluent, it still doesn’t mean that parents can leave their kids high and dry. My parents net only about 60-70k a year, and yet they are still willing to do what ever it takes to help me succeed with my academic career. Thats just what most people call loving and supporting your family members, NOT a generation having a sense of ENTITLEMENT.

    Also dont forget that when my parents are old and grey, its the jobs acquired though my college education that will be helping to support them, just like they have supported me all of thesse years.

  76. I had to pay for my college 30 years ago and frankly if a child is 18 they are legal and responsible for everthing else in their life, I don’t understand why their college expenses should still be considered the partents responsibility. If they don’t pay their cell phone bill, the parents wouldn’t be responsible, so why is it that we should be for college. We planned fairly well, in that our house was paid off the year our daughter graduated from High School, so we’ve rolled that money over into her college–but it’s still not enough to cover everything.

    Plus all the financial advisors say “don’t pay for your children’s college, they have a lot more time on thier side to pay this off, you on the other had have very little time to continue to save for retirement and with Social Security potentially going bankrupt, you should save for retirement 1st”. Mixed messages here!

    I think it’s nice when parents can “help” but it shouldn’t be mandatory, which is essentially what the government has made happen and it doesn’t make sense that it’s ok for the college to make parents liable for a 18 year old, but no other system does.

    1. I understand where you are coming from but where do you expect the money to come from on the children’s behalf? In Tallahassee, there are 2 major universities FSU and FAMU, a community college and many other trade schools. The places of work here are fast food and retail. Those positions are filled with men and women with Masters in Engineering and Microbiology. My alumni graduate as a licensed anesthesiologist and is working at the Burger King across the street from her apartment complex. She has been paying off her loan since she received it and has sold all but her wokr clothes ans suits because rent is hard to maintain. Not only that but she shares her room with strangers because she can’t pay for it herself. Help me understand how this is beneficial to children without the parents help.

  77. Allison: Your parents still helped you. They didn’t just decide that, at 18, you’re on your own. That’s Lynn’s point — she’s baffled by financial secure parents who refuse to help their child in any way when it comes to paying for college. My parents are both blue collar workers and they still helped both me and my brother to pay for college to some extent.

    I was under the impression that when you become a parent, you accept responsibility for your child. If you want that child to go to college and do well, you are partly responsible for helping the child make that journey. If you’re concerned about how tuition costs may affect your retirement (which is an issue that has confronted many people recently), then you need to examine your financial situation and reprioritize, if necessary. Whether this means working more, spending less or not having children in the first place is your prerogative.

    I understand your difficulties with the government’s standards for being considered an independent student. A college education should be far more affordable and accesible than it is. But I think parents who are capable of helping their children afford a higher education should do so.

  78. Excuse me, but $130,000 is not affluent by any stretch of the imagination, particularly in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic states. We make roughly that per year (before taxes) and believe me, there is no money left over to save for college after paying for school tuition, mortgage, transportation, food, daily living expenses, etc. We are barely even able to save towards retirement, given the rising costs of everything and the decreasing values of retirement fund accounts. Sadly, the reality is that as colleges increase their costs, our 10 and 11 year old future college students will have to bear the brunt of the cost of their education. What peeves me even more about your article is that you really believe there is nothing wrong with your expectations. I guess I’m old school; although I’m only 40 years old, I don’t follow this train of thought. No one helped me obtain my college degree! I simply do not understand this sense of entitlement your generation holds. If you want an education, what is wrong with working to achieve it? Why do you think that parents are only good parents if they contribute? What about all of the contributions made towards the costs of raising children? Sports, summer camps, activities, music lessons, school tuition…I pay for all of that stuff NOW because they are children. I know these activities will give my boys the foundation, tools and perseverance they need to become resourceful and self-reliant adults. I also teach them that if they want stuff, they have to earn it. Guess that lesson is lost on you, but don’t vilify those parents who pursue the path of self-sufficiency for their children.

    1. Wow, are you really out of touch. If you don’t consider a six-figure salary ‘affluent’ then I want to live where you live. My mom is a single mother of two, working full-time plus and making less than 35k per year, and she plans to at least help a little for her kids to go to college, if they can’t get grants or scholarships for most of it. The thing is, colleges take your parents’ salaries into account regardless of how much they are contributing; your kids will have an extremely hard time getting any financial aid, which they will need if you don’t plan to help. (And when I use the term ‘help’ I include allowing the kids to live at home rent-free while attending college to cut costs or even measly finincial sums.) This isn’t about self-sufficiency for your children, it’s about the fact that without a parent’s help covering college costs, especially when the parent makes enough that they consider a six-figure salary modest, often the only option for a student to attend college is a loan. College loans are a crushing debt, especially if mom and pop aren’t helping out, and interest rates skyrocket after graduation. Having gone to college on a loan can even adversely affect whether your children will get hired after graduating; employers often see loan-funded grads as inefficient and needy, so they may be less likely to consider them for employment. Ironically, loans are made on the premise that grads will recover that much more money by being more qualified for the work force. That being said, I’m glad you’r not my parent, and you may consider getting life insurance on your kids while it’s still cheap, since your ‘puny’ six-figure salary might not be able to alleviate the debt your children may leave behind if they commit suicide from the sheer pressure of the crushing mountain of debt you have planned for them, their difficulty finding a job that could be reasopnably expected to relieve it and your nonchalance to the whole situation. It’s no wonder our econonomy’s in the hole- it depends on “middle-class” people like you who are obviously clueless. I’ll include your children in my prayers tonight.

      1. nerdyone,
        You are most definitely not informed of what it really requires to keep a household and family afloat these days. You are the clueless one if you truly believe that your mother making 35,000 a year is going to be able to provide any help for college. If she is then there is money coming from somewhere else that you are not aware of. Please don’t pretend to understand the financial needs of a family in today’s world until you have actually been the head of a household. Income in the low 100’s is most definitely a MODEST income today.

    2. You amaze me! My mother refuses to emancipate me and every dime I pay toward education is from a retail job I had getting paid $7.67 an hour. I cannot afford to live in Tallahassee let alone pay for school. If you don’t believe $130,000 is affluent pay for my education please. Because there are only a few position that are recession proof and they all involve 5+ years of school. I’ve spent $1000 on text books in three semesters. I’ve had to take off a semester because I lived in a shelter due to pay my tuition last year. I am sleeping on my ex-boyfriends couch now. I have lost both of my jobs and have only bread in the refrigerator for the two of us. My own mother is 45 years old, paying off her loans from the 90’s. Not only that but she is a single mother of 3, owns a home, car and putting my sisters through school. I advise you to change your thinking because your children will go through hell if they can’t score upwards of a 2200 on the SAT. Because I scored a 2150 and a 26 on the ACT and no scholarships have been awarded to me. My yearly tuition is half of what my mother makes and I go to bed hungry EVERY night. Don’t think being 18 in school alone, unemployed and self-sufficient is easy. Please don’t do that to your children.

      1. she plans to contribute, but won’t have enought to cover books on 35k salary, I don’t know who brain washed you to think 130k is affluent but it’s not! this is my fams salary and we have been driving the sam cars for 10 years 280,000k mile and barley have money for entertainment. I could go on, but no need you won’t be convienced.

  79. I don’t understand how you can label a parent with a good-paying job that does not contribute to college a bad one. It is an offensive thing to say. I am a senior in college, and my parents paid for my first two years of college (it was a community college). After that I was on my own, and I am going to grad school after I graduate. I have my own health insurance, my parents do not contribute (God forbid a parent save for retirement), and I am getting screwed by the government because I am not considered an independent student. However, I do not blame my parents, and I don’t think you have the right or the brainpower to either. Try to help someone next time you write an article.

    1. Im sorry but they are not labeling anyone specifically but to be quite honest i understand why they call them bad one for example you mentioned that your parents contributed something toward college for 2 years at my school thats $38,000 so yea your parents actually contributed more than expected. they paid for half which is way more than i would logically its only expected that a parent contribute something to help.

      My parent did not, the other being deceased, openly refused to contribute anything even information, he does not have time for his sons education i couldn’t even borrow $40.00 for the application fee and he makes a decent wage im unaware of what though. where people draw that line but i didn’t expect my father to pay anything but he wouldn’t even look at the fasfa form or pretend to help me get a loan i had to do everything myself thats how it is and in 2013 the american taxpayers are going to pay for people like me who have over $50,000 before we even have a job that makes $25k

      1. I absolutely agree (above)my parent does not help me (she too did not want to look at the fafsa)at all with paying for my my s difficult for me to even survive…I was homeless and i still cant get financial aid

        1. I was homeless and living in a teen shelter in Chicago when I first went to college. I had NO PROBLEM with getting a Federal Pell Grant (that paid for all the semesters). I don’t know how you filled out your FAFSA but you should’ve got aid (if you were really homeless). OR…this could be a ‘bogus’ post.

          1. I, too, got through 2 years of university on financial aid that I was only able to get because I was homeless, and therefore qualified as independent due to being an “unaccompanied youth”. My high school guidance counselor provided the paperwork at the time, which was especially helpful since for a fair period of time I was living on her couch!

            I don’t know how old you are, but if you’re over 21, did you run into problems when you turned 22? I turned 22 in June, and when I went to add a school to my FAFSA for this year it told me that now only my college’s financial aid adviser can determine that I’m “at risk for homelessness”. Which they won’t, because I support myself very well and have for years. Essentially, my own ability to survive shot me in the foot. I don’t meet any of the other requirements for independent status, so it’s forcing me to go back to being a dependent of parents who haven’t supported me in nearly half a decade. Call me crazy, but I’m of the mindset that once you’ve earned financial aid independence, you should get to keep it! 😛

    2. Nobody’s calling parents who can’t contribute to their child’s college a bad parent so please dont be so quick to be telling someone they don’t possess a “right” or “brainpower” to try and help students who are in need of learning how to become an independent student. My parents can contribute plenty to my college fund but refuse to pay for one particular school I want to go to because it is so far. They happen to be wonderful parents who think that if I’m going to make such a big decision, maybe I should become an independent and really see what life is like to be on youro wn. For a grad student, you sure seem ignorant to the fact that there are rare circumstances that put a student in need of becoming an independent student, with or without their parents blessing so stop judging the writer of this article. Their information is very helpful.

  80. I “ran away” from home right before my sophomore year of college because I ended up in the hospital after a fight with my parents. I then moved in with my fiance’s parents and changed my permanent address to theirs. I was able to be declared an independent student during my junior and senior years of college under these extenuating circumstances, but it wasn’t easy. To be declared independent during my junior year, I had to submit documents from my hospital visit and the county sheriff’s department, along with a letter from my fiance’s mother describing the situation. She had to provide another letter when I filled out the FAFSA for my senior year. All of these documents were provided to my financial aid counselor, who was able to get me declared independent.

    1. I’m a mom of 5 between me and my husband our salary was 114,000 this tax season one kid in third year of college and one kid going in now with both refusing community college the oldest now almost 21 we took out parent loans we can’t afford with hopes that she will pay them back when the time is due and now some how we have to find a way to get a loan for kid two it’s impossible living on Long Island ny one of the top taxed areas in the US raising 5 kids with a home there is no way in hell we could afford to pay for college for any of our kids but who thought about that having them especially since both of us never went to college. So in educated and my kids being first generation college it’s very unfair to sY were shitty parents actually birth control was 22.00 yrs ago and we could barely get by with renting and afford that so of course that’s how the kids came but always giving them whatever we could and living the dream of owning a home by kid three was a big step. Owing now double on our home then we paid for it I don’t think the kids should be at fault for our mistakes my children are looking into great careers oldest as PA needing at least three more yrs of college but her salary one day will by far cover the loan payments as long as she lives with us for most her life or till she marry someone with a good job to help get her life started. It’s unfair to say parents are to blame 5 kids average suny school 20k a yr what would we have saved not even a fraction of that much less times 5 for 4 yrs. tragedy should not be the only way a kid nc get help for college neither should ethnicity cause from what I see that’s all the scholarships. I just put my daughter as an independent cause I didn’t think it was fair her father was claiming her school and her yet she works ft and ft school pays her own clothes ,car and insurance and she’s the one that has to pay this bill back yes it’s a fight but I hope at leaSt she gains from it somehow we lost thousands this year by not using her as a dependent money we need but i gave up hoping it would help her somehow when she now has to take loans under her name cause were maxed out and have to try for the second kid if we can even get a loan again it’s not easy being a parent and god bless the ones who can afford it but I know so many people scamming the system who make way more then us with less kids and get so much why is it so expensive anyway the kids have to do the work they are cramed into tiny lil rooms smaller then ones they have at home with two to three other people and being charged like 8000 for a few months out of the year some more then that then 4000 to eat that alone isn’t even my homeowners taxes then pay for credits for classes they have to do all the work themselves they get no help they are all on their own it makes my cry that i can’t do more for them they work since they are young teenagers bust their butts in school for years dreaming of going to college and listening to their parents argue about where the money is gonna come from we try our best but can’t risk our homes