When my parents shipped me off to college, money was the last thing on my mind — and they wanted it that way. This isn’t always possible, and it’s not the case now. While my parents graciously handle my tuition and groceries, when I left the dorms after freshman year, I began paying for my rent and my utilities. I knew my parents saved up money to pay for my brothers, David and Alex, and I to go away to college because they didn’t want us to have any student loans. However, if they hadn’t decided to save up for us, they say student loans would have been the solution. I sat down to talk with my parents, Michelle and Dave, about how they're financially managing to put three kids through IU.
Q: How have you dealt with putting three kids through college financially? Did you come up with a plan for making payments when we all decided on IU?
A: You guys all had a 529 savings plan that paid for a year and a half of school that helped us out. I put a certain amount of money away every month in addition to the 529 while it was being used, so that when it ran out we were able to have something saved. — M
Q: What would you tell parents who are worried about how they will make tuition payments?
A: The only thing I can say is if you can’t pay it in full, do the deferment. You have to pay the extra penalty, but there’s nothing else to do. — M
Q: Has it gotten harder as each child entered college? How have you dealt with that?
A: It’s gotten harder, juggling the finances of having two kids in college all the time. You’re trying to spread the money out to make sure you can cover everything. And then you worry about how they’re doing grade-wise and how things are going — it got exponentially harder. Making sure our kids have everything they need to be successful is our job. And really only two kids are in college at a time. We worry about you guys, but we know that we have all three of you in a good spot at IU. — D
This is where we wanted you to be, even though it’s hard, that’s where you needed to go. We raised you to be independent and strong. When you leave the nest, even though that’s what we wanted, it’s sad, and it’s still hard. — M
Our job is to make sure you have a clear path to being successful. — D
And to make sure you don’t worry about money. — M
Q: What made you decide to pay for your kids’ tuition?
A: We didn’t want you guys to have a student loan. We wanted you to have a good start, free of loans. — M
Q: If you hadn’t saved up when we were kids, would you have still paid for our tuition? If so, how do you think you would have done it?
A: Probably not. You probably would have had student loans. We may have helped pay them back, but it would have been a lot different. — D
Q: What has the household change been like since all the kids are at college?
A: It’s quiet — too quiet some days. But then you get used to it. I don’t really cook dinner anymore. — M
She cooks dinner, she’s lying. — D
It slowed down, we’re more worried about what we’re doing instead of always wondering where you are and what you’re doing. — D
Q: How did you make Alex more comfortable when he became an “only child”?
A. We didn’t do anything different. Just because you only have one left doesn’t mean you stop doing what you used to do with all of them — just keep doing the same thing. You have to be consistent for your youngest. – M