We always discuss how it’s the parents’ job to pay for college. But what about students contributing to their education? How will this help upper middle class (UMC) families who are struggling to put one child through college?
An ambitious student and hard worker, Zac Bissonnette, author of Debt Free U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education Without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off My Parents, details how Zac, a college senior, pays for school. He works full-time and chose a relatively inexpensive, in-state university. His tactics worked and he will graduate completely debt free, quite a feat. I watched Zac on CNN last week as he discussed statistics from Academically Adrift, which reports college students spend half their time socializing. Zac said on CNN:
The average college student is drunk 10.2 hours per week. So if you think that your kids should not work during college …
He makes a good point. Why can’t students work through college? And why can’t they work before college even starts?
Unfortunately, the money the student makes before college will be accounted for in taxes and on the FAFSA. And this lowers your chance of financial aid. But if you find yourself without acceptable educational financial aid, a good solution is to have the student go to work.
Working before college and through college may seem like a punishment to some parents and students, but quite frankly, it’s what my parents did and the generations before them did. Earning full-time money, instead of drinking or partying, will help the student receive must-needed work skills and life experience and teach them how to financially support themselves.
If a family really cannot afford to pay for college, another good solution is to have the student defer admission for a year. S/he can use that year to work a full-time job or many part-time jobs and save up for college.
We realize these solutions may not be ideal for the UMC, but they’re practical. Now more than ever UMC families must approach their financial decisions with pragmatism. And students paying for their college education sounds like a good decision to us.
~ the WPC team