To Pay or Not to Pay


There is an age old question when it comes to having a child in college: what should you help them pay for? It can be difficult because you want to help them, but you also need to let them grow.

Here’s a short list of things you shouldn’t feel guilty helping to pay for, as well as purchases that should be your child’s responsibility.

Feel free to help with:

Tuition, room & board (if on-campus), meal plan- these make up the bulk of the costs of going to college. If you’ve been saving to help pay for college, these are the costs you should be paying towards. Your student will most likely have to take out loans to cover some of these as well, so you can make payments on the interest of those loans while they are still in school.

Textbooks– the prices of textbooks have skyrocketed, and most campus bookstores don’t offer a good repayment program when the semester is over. They are required for your child’s classes, so it’s okay to help them if they’ve looked for used versions or special online offers to cut costs.

Mobile phone plan– chances are you were already paying for their phone before they went to college, so don’t stop now. After all, how are you going to call them every night if they have no service?

Necessary room furnishings- a space heater for cold nights? Sure. A chair to relax in after class? Sure. A 72-inch flat screen TV? That’s on them.

Emergencies– cars break down, bodies get sick, and people get injured. When it comes to your kid’s health or ability to get to or from school, you should definitely lend your support.

Steer completely or mostly away from costs associated with:

Having fun– there are plenty of ways to have fun for free, so anything that costs money is on your child to pay for.

The latest technology– it’s a given that your student will need a laptop computer these days. Have them save up for their own computer (you can help a little if need be) or any other tech devices they want. The computer is a necessary for classwork, a new iPhone, iPod and iPad are not.

New clothes– sure, you don’t want your kid to be the “weird one” wearing clothes from sophomore year of high school, but a new wardrobe should also fall on their shoulders. You can pitch in, but most of the burden should be on them.

Pizza on Friday nights– or going out to eat in general. If your student has a meal plan and chooses not to use it, that is their choice.

Off-campus housing– if they want the increased freedom of living off-campus, that should be covered by income from a part-time job. Get them started with the first month’s rent if need be, but let them know the rest is on them.

While it may be tempting to help your college student with every obstacle in their way, now is the time to let them find their own wings when it comes to their financial management habits. If Raccoon Valley bank can help in any way, don’t hesitate to contact our nearest office.

Raccoon Valley Bank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender

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