I read an interesting article in my newspaper the other day. Carolyn Stark of The Chicago Tribune wrote an article about whether or not parents should ask grandparents for help with saving for college tuition. With one young son, another on the way, and (if I can talk their daddy into it) a third one coming in the next couple of years, the staggering cost of their college educations weighs pretty heavily on my mind.
My parents pretty much provided me with a free ride to college and even paid for graduate school. Looking back, as much as I hate to admit it, I totally took their generosity for granted. And, although I did take it for granted, since my parents provided so much for or me, I have always just assumed that I would do the same for my kids.
Now though, as I study the numbers and see the tremendous estimates of what a public education will cost in eighteen years (let's not even talk about private tuition) I'm not so sure we'll be able to pay for everything for them. Not that it would be the end of the world, plenty of my friends got by fine on student loans, and may even be better off for having done so. I am just trying to come to terms with the very real possibility that I may not be able to provide for my children the same way my parents provided for me. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.
Which leads me back to my point, should you ask grandparents to help pay for college? My mom certainly isn't shy about spending money at Gymboree. And I'm certainly not shy about making suggestions for Christmas and birthday gifts, but asking for tuition help? I think that may be a line I just can't cross. I would certainly take them up on any offer of college tuition help, but I don't think I could ask for it. Afterall, they have their retirement to think of, and they've raised (and paid for) their kids. Isn't it time for them to be done?
This is an interesting aspect to think about and one that might work for some but probably not me. If they offer help, you can bet that I'll take it faster than my son can down a cup of ice cream, but I don't think I'll be asking any time soon.