3 Things Parents Love About Paying for College

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Are there really all that many things in life that people actually enjoy paying for out of their own pockets? Depending which side of the dollar bill your finances fall on, money either can or cannot buy happiness. While most people don’t usually enjoy spending money, they do appreciate the satisfaction they get out of making a good investment. Cars, houses, or vacations all seem to be money well spent. But what about paying for college?

For most students and parents, paying for college is a huge source of stress in their financial lives. The worry over completing the FAFSA, comparing financial aid offers and taking on student loans can be overwhelming. In the end, though, most parents do commit a significant amount of money toward the costs of their child’s college education. While some students have the unique advantage of receiving a “full ride” at the college of their choice, most parents are left trying to decide whether they want to pay all, some, or none of the costs. So what is there to love about paying for college? Here are a few positives to think about when making the tough money choices:

1. You’re laying a solid foundation for your child’s future: Most parents want their children to have a successful life, and getting a college education is the first step toward achieving that goal. Students who receive financial assistance from their parents have a higher probability of graduating. After graduation, a significant body of research confirms that a college degree leads to a higher salary and less unemployment.

2. It’s a good time to teach money values: Up to this point, most children are not exposed to the realities of money management. Perhaps the family or parents would just buy things, without any real thought to the actual value received from their investment. Parents who take the time to review college costs, discuss financial aid availability, compare career possibilities and make a value-based decision on which college to attend are giving their children invaluable skills that can be used for all of life’s decisions. Once the student starts classes, it is also a good time to teach budgeting skills that can help keep cash outflow to a minimum.

3. Your child might actually appreciate you more: The teen years can be tough, and making college decisions can amp up the tensions. But you might start seeing a change as you help your child make the transition from teenager to almost-adult. You’re providing a framework which can be used in so many ways. Helping to make the first real major decision in life can be a bonding experience. Once your child graduates and starts down life’s highway, you’ll all be glad you made the effort.

This February, try to focus on the benefits of a college education more than the costs. You might find that you will actually come to love paying for college to help your child get ahead!