My oldest son will be 15 in February. I am often bombarded by fellow parents with questions about saving for college. It is a daunting thought considering the staggering tuition amounts weighing heavily on parents' minds. When my son was first born, we started to put away money towards a college fund. After my husband was laid off twice in the past 5 years, we were grateful to have that extra money to dip into to keep us afloat. That college fund is a thing of memory right now. When thinking about funding college through loans, we have to keep in mind that we have three other kids following that path one on top of each other. It should be an interesting juggling of resources when that first tuition bill kicks in. I'm sure we'll figure out some kind of plan.
Here in New York, we have many good college/university options for commuters. The additional cost of boarding is definitely something we can't add to the bill. Unless they get a huge scholarship, my kids will probably have to be commuting college students. Having been a commuting college student, I know firsthand that there are many benefits to commuting. You don't really miss out on the college experience because you can still visit with friends on campus and go to parties. As a commuter, you also get the opportunity to take a break from campus life and relax at home without too much interruption. I also worked during my college years. I think that I gained some essential time management skills juggling college, work, social life, and home responsibilities. It was a maturing experience in many ways. I had responsibilities and didn't really have time to goof off too much. You all know me...I managed to find plenty of time to be silly with my friends. I couldn't live without those impromptu karaoke moments with friends. (Someday that karaoke vlog will come...)
I have spoken to my kids about the commuting likelihood. They seem okay with the idea. My oldest son has most of my downstairs anyway. I tell him that his space is like a mini bachelor pad. He just has to deal with me coming down to do laundry once in a while. Bonding time with Mom!
Most of their friends will probably dorm. I hope that my kids don't feel like they are missing out on something essential for their college experience. When it comes to the money, there is no way we could make dorming work. Maybe a car will be a nice incentive for them when the commuting begins.
I know that many of you have younger children, but I'm curious to hear everyone's opinion about the whole college/university selection process. What is your take on the pros and cons of dorming or not? Since I tend to be one of those protective moms (big surprise!), I'm kind of happy to have even my bigger kids come home and crash in their bedrooms. They will define their independence as commuting students day to day. I think it will all work out.
Another question: Are you worried about college costs too? I'm sure you are. Do you have a plan? I guess you can tell that this will be a big worry for my husband and I over the next ten years or so. Gulp! Did I say 10 years?? Thanks for your input.
Enjoy your Thursday!