College is Super-Important // So Why are We Not Going to Pay for Our Kids’ College?

Mr. POAI has his PhD (should I call him “Dr. POAI”?), is always learning something new, and teaches every Monday night. I am a professor at a local college, have my Master’s Degree, and believe college changed my life.

We both believe in secondary education’s ability to enhance people’s lives, and if our kids want to attend college or need a degree to get to where they want to be in life, we definitely want to support them.

Plus, we don’t want our kids to have to take out student loans and get into debt just when they are being launched into the world.

So why aren’t we paying for college?

We got ourselves into a ton of student loan debt and do not want to go into further debt.

What we can do to support our children:

  • As a professor, I am given free tuition for my children as long as they fulfill 2 of the following requirements: they under the age of 25, or unmarried or live within my district. This should save each child at least $8,000 for their first 2 years.
  • We have encouraged our kids to get jobs. My step-daughter has a part time job that allows her to earn some money while giving her time off to take advantage of activities in her last year of high school.
  • We have told our kids about our debt. If they can use us as a cautionary tale, that’s great.
  • We put what we call “spare change” aside, whether that literally is change or a few dollars here and there, to add to the kids’ savings accounts.
  • We asked our daughter, and will some day ask our son, to go through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University (and we paid for it) so that she was able to learn some basics about money.
  • We currently model what we consider to be balanced, healthy spending. Though we have gotten ourselves into debt, we now work very hard to stay within our budget. The kids know we budget for meals out, that we save money for our future, and that we take care of our things so we don’t have to spend for replacements.
  • We work with our children to problem solve. My step-daughter doesn’t drive yet and she has high anxiety about riding a bus. Mr. POAI and I worked with her mom to find solutions, one of which is to use a bus for adults with special needs.
  • We pay kids for extra work they do around the house.
  • We can house the kids. We’re not sure if the kids will want to stay in town all 4 years of their education, or even if they will want to attend all 4 years or if they want to live with us; if they do, though, they can live here.

Though I’m sure it’s difficult to understand this as a kid, Mr. POAI’s and my best gift we can give to the kids is to take care of each other. If we are able to set ourselves up to care for ourselves and each other throughout our lives, we won’t be a financial burden to our children.





  • Liz

    I put aside a chunk of money for my kiddo while I was still working and before I had figured out that I could RE and had slapped it down in a 529 plan. After I figured out I could RE, I stopped funneling money into that account and worked to boost my own accounts. Once I hit my number, I decided to stop working altogether (with a long runway as I finished a bunch of projects) and her education is far from fully funded. Similar to you, I decided it would be a good lesson to her when she gets to that point and I would do my best to help her figure out the different options she has and help navigate all the financial impacts. We will see how it goes!

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