Should Parents or Students Pay for College?

Every year we are asked whether parents or students should pay for college. Some experts insist it is the parent’s responsibility to fund their child’s education. Meanwhile, others argue the time has come for the burden to shift to the student. Here’s the truth—there’s no one-size-fits-all box for you and your family. Every situation is unique and we want to work with your family to help you remain financially secure while both parents and students emerge from four years of college with minimal debt. Here are our best tips to get started:

Parents Need to Protect Their Finances

As a parent you want to give your child the best opportunity to succeed in life. But you shouldn’t invest so much in your student’s education it hampers your financial future. Sacrificing your security or retirement to fund your student’s college education is a big risk. And, chances are, your child will need to support you financially down the road.

Colleges Expect Both Parties to Contribute

The formulas used by financial aid officers at colleges measure the ability—not the willingness—for both the student and the parent to contribute. If one party chooses not to pay, the other must make up the difference. Financial aid does not cover that gap.

Students Should Get a Part-Time Job

Whether you are a music or a math major, a resume that shows work experience is important. The extra income helps, as well. Studies also show that students who work 10-12 hours a week academically perform as well, or better, than colleagues who don’t work.

Start Early

More than anything else, start the college admissions process early. Families should have open and honest conversations about college costs at the beginning of the college search. Don’t be surprised and disappointed at the last minute. Work with Accolade Financial to fully help answer should parents or students pay for college, how much college costs and what your expected family contribution will be.