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Parents or Children: The Debate Over the Payers for Education

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Who Should Pay for College?

Due to the pricey cost of higher education nowadays, a constant argument in households across America is whether parents should be paying for their children’s education or if the kids should be taking on the responsibility themselves. While many factors come into play, the most reasonable option is for kids to be paying for their own education, in ways such as taking out loans. Kids should step up and pay for their own education because their parents might not be able to afford the colleges they want to go to, they have a whole future ahead of them to pay off debts in, and lastly, even though parents paying for their children’s education reveals good values and keeps kids from plummeting in debt at an early age, kids learn responsibility in taking out loans for their own college costs.

In reality, not every family in America is making 400k a year and has no problems paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for their children’s education. There are very bright kids out there that, sadly, are not wealthy, and come from families that cannot afford to send them to top colleges. Due to inflation, the costs of colleges keep rising, “with tuition having increased more than 30 percent at public and private universities between 2000 and 2012” (Holland 2014). Also, there are kids that do not push themselves as much as they can, and rely on their parents’ money for things such as education. High schoolers should be aiming towards scholarships, which can pay for part of their college costs, and in some occurrences, even give them a full-ride to the college of their choice. If parents are always concerning themselves about the costs of their kids’ education, they might be limiting them. With parents not there paying for everything, students might get a reality check and not go for the most expensive degrees, and instead opt for taking classes at a local community college, which is much cheaper (Herman and Statman 2014). Teens nowadays should be thinking about the colleges best suited for their needs, but if they are deciding to go to a private university where they are paying 70k per year, they should be able to understand that their parents might not be very willing to pay for it. While not all parents’ salaries are the same, all children in America have the ability to study hard, get scholarships, and go to their dream college, because then their education will be seen as less of a gift and be something they actually earned and can be proud of.

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After 18 years of taking care of their children, rushing them to and from school and constantly teaching them right from wrong, parents, at some point, have to think about their retirement and what they can and cannot afford. Due to the fact that pensions are much lower than a person’s salary before retirement, parents may not be able to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars towards their children’s education. Also, the amount of children in a household must be taken into consideration. With two or three kids that are all going to private universities, college costs can easily soar to half a million, which puts the parents in great debt. In a larger family, instead of having parents pay for all of the children’s college expenses, every child could handle their own debts by themselves. Kids should be paying for their own colleges because they have their whole futures ahead of them, and if they want to be going to pricier universities, they should realize their parents might not be able to afford it. In today’s world, it is not reasonable for parents, who have to be saving for retirement, to be paying for their children’s college expenses because they have already worked their whole lives to sustain their families and do not need to be put farther back in debt, while their kids have a whole life ahead of them.

It is said that parents should pay for their children’s education because that teaches their kids that they value education, and also keeps the child from racking up huge debts that they will not be able to pay off. In a recent survey, 96 percent of parents said a higher degree of learning is important (Holland 2014). While parents may have this ideology, it is up to their children to take the next step and be the ones going to college for themselves, not because their parents say they should. By paying for their own college expenses, they are taking on a huge adult responsibility, because most people deal with debt at some point in their lives. Instead of focusing on letting kids know that their parents value education, they themselves should find their education and future very important. If a parent is always there to lend their children money, things will likely be taken for granted, and education should definitely not be perceived in that way. Another reason some say that parents should step forward and pay for their kids’ college costs is because many young adults nowadays drop out of college due to the fact that they cannot pay off their student loans. This does not mean parents should be paying every last cent of their children’s education, but that the kids are to blame for not correctly balancing what they want and what they can truly afford. “One in 10 students whose first payments on federal education loans were due during the year ended Sept. 30, 2011, defaulted on those loans before Sept. 30, 2012” (Herman and Statman 2014), yet it is never taken into consideration that those kids could have gone to a community college and saved thousands of dollars, which they could have used on a pricier university if they wanted to go and obtain their Master’s Degree. “A years tuition and fees average less than $2,100 at two-year college, according to the American Association of Community Colleges” (Rowh 2012). Recently, the blame has been put on parents for putting their kids in debt and not teaching them to value education, but if young adults today cared about their own education and future, they would be taking on the responsibility of student loans and deciding on a college in a reasonable price range for them.

An education past high school is very important now more than ever, but there is always that constant thought in the back of everyone’s mind of who exactly will be paying for that education. In the end, it is a child’s choice where they want to go to college, and if they choose a high-priced university, their parents might not be able to afford it. Also, as their kids grow up, parents have to start thinking about their own future too, and if all of a family’s money is going towards their children’s college education, retirement funds and the parents’ futures could be negatively impacted. Lastly, while parents should teach their kids positive values, it is up to the kids themselves to take on the responsibility of a higher education, whether that involves taking out student loans or going to a community college. By paying for their own education, the young adults of today show everyone that they not only care about their future, but are thanking their parents for all of their hard work and that they, as the next generation, are finally maturing and taking on the responsibilities of adult life.


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