Should I increase work hours?

shaknzmomJanuary 1, 2006

Both of our kids do very well in school and want to go (and we expect them to go) to college. They are currently 14 and 11. There is NO way we can pay for college. Neither my husband or myself are college grads, so our income is okay but not great. We moved to a "better" school area so the kids would possibly have a better pre-college education, and with this move came a big house payment.

My husband has a good F/T job and I work P/T so I can volunteer in the kids' schools/events. My husband is bugging me to work F/T as the kids are older and don't need me there as much. However, my friends that already have kids in college tell me that I SHOULD NOT go to work F/T because our kids won't be eligible for as much financial, grants, whatever, when it comes time for school.

My husband wants/needs a new vehicle and my working more hours could make that happen. But I know our history and am sure that any 'new' money I bring in will just be spent and then we'll be right back where we are now AND the kids will be less eligible for financial help when the time comes.

I am NOT one of those people that wants something for nothing! I don't want to abuse any 'system'. People that don't want to work so they can be given things for nothing irritate me...I'm perfectly happy to work. I just feel like making sacrifices NOW beats the kids having even more after-college debt LATER....Does anyone have any thoughts on this? :)

Thanks for your input-


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I'll be honest with you - our older DS just started college in August 2005. DH made a nice income, but was laid off in June 2004 and still hasn't found a full-time job in his field. I have worked part-time about 75% of the 20 years we have been married. We have no real savings, DH has a retirement plan that we have had to tap to help us live since the layoff, we have a pretty big mortgage.

When we filed the FAFSA in Jan 2005, which is the paperwork everyone must file for loan and scholarship consideration, they came back with the EFC - expected family contribution. I had always heard that the parents are expected to be able to contribute 5% of their income to college. The EFC we got was 30% of our annual gross income! Even tho DH was no longer employed, they thought we could pay 1/3 of what he had earned in the previous year IN CASH to our son's education, for one year. This is a federal form, so why would I be surprised?

Anyway, our son is an excellent student and worked hard. He was fortunate to get a full scholarship for his first year at the school he wanted to attend, and the full tuition part will continue every year as long as he maintains his grades. Part of the rest will also continue, the last part was a grant that may or may not be renewed.

What I am trying to tell you, I guess, is that no matter what, unless you have NOTHING, it won't help or hurt your child that much, imo. So do what is best for you now, and don't worry about the college thing. If you can work and set aside some money, go for it.

It is more important that your kids do well in school, participate in activities of merit. When you look at colleges, don't look at state schools and think it will be cheaper. Many private schools have bigger endowments and more scholarship money that will in the end be equal to or cheaper than the state schools.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 6:14AM
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Perhaps you could get a job at one of the kids' schools. You will be onhand to see activities that way. And if you take that job, make sure DH understands that the $$ means savings and living within the budget. One big question is how will your kids manage with no one home? I worked many years before kids and lived frugally to afford to stay home later. Glad I did.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2006 at 7:56PM
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I agree with Les917: do what is best for you now financially. Spend wisely and save what you can.

Your kids CAN go to college. Do you have community colleges in your area? They are very affordable and a great way for students to start college and see what they are interested in. After a couple years they can then transfer to a regular college or university.

Les said not to look at state schools, but here in CA the California State schools are the most reasonable. Your children can also work to help themselves along, and if it takes longer than 4 years, that's perfectly ok.

Sheilajoyce is right to think about the kids needing you to be available during these years ahead. Believe me, they may not need you in the ways they used to, but they DO need you.

You are wonderful parents to get your kids into the best schools you can. It will pay off. Wouldn't you be thrilled to see your kids go to college?! Yes, you would!! So don't give up that dream.

You are worrying about this so far in advance, you remind me of me. Just encourage the kids to do their best in school and participate in extracurricular activities they enjoy.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 9:32PM
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Another thought here. We used to live in N.C. I believe that in that state, tuition to state schools is free of charge if the child earns a B average or above. So check out your state and surrounding states. Also, I think if the kids get a part-time job at the college they are attending, part or all of the tuition is waived. These jobs can be not so popular - like working in the cafeteria or nice jobs like helping a professor. Now this may only be in stae colleges so check that out too. Also. Once your child becomes completely independent and you do not claim him on your taxes, then he files his own taxes at which point his income will likely be quite low. Then he can qualify for pell grants, ect. Now this is how it was when I went to college, let's just say a long, long, time ago. All of this may have changed so just check up on it. The guidance counselor at school and the librairy are good places to start as well as getting some packets from colleges sent to you so you can check out prices and available assistance. I agree with the earlier post. Don't worry about it and work what you want to. Just encourage the kids to do their best in school and get involved in everything that interests them. I worked my way through college waiting tables and delivering pizzas. I am proud of that and proud to have helped put myself through college. My husband was a resident assistant at a dorm. I think his room and board were free because of it. They can work too. I really want my kids to attend community college first. The classes are smaller they get more attention, and they are closer to home. Big universities can be so overwhelming. Good luck. You are a good parent to be planning for your kids to go to college and wanting them to have the best education.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 12:25AM
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You can always get loans for college. Thanks to our illustrious congress they are going to cost more to pay back- they raised the interest rate and left the door open for it to rise even more. Thanks congress.
Anyway, DH and I make quite a bit of money and still got loans. I didn't qualify for grants, oh well. The loans don't have to be paid back until the kid is out of college and making money, so s/he can pay them his or her self. I did. Of course, I also went to the most reasonably priced undergrad schools- NC State- and now I'm in their vet school (also reasonably priced and top 5 ranked in the country). So yes, you can find excellent schools at a great price especially if you live in state. Out of state, not so much.
I'd say do what you feel comfortable doing, but don't worry about that baloney about not getting loans. The banks want your money, trust me. They probably paid Congress quite a bit to get those interest rates raised (thanks again for sticking it to the little guy, Congress). Yes, I'm bitter.

Oh, and Les is right about the ridiculous amount of money the FAFSA says you can afford for education. They had DH and I paying $33,000 out of our $58,000 income, leaving us with $25,000 for the mortgage, utilities, groceries, etc. But you'll still get the loans.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:59PM
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I have stayed home with all three of my children. Oldest is 22 and married, middle is 19 and off to an internship back east for ministry and youngest will be 17 this August. My husband and I have not taken awesome vacations, have only had 1,that's one, new car in all of our 23 married years, and basically have always been able to make things work. I believe you are doing quite enough by working part-time. My children still need me available even at their ages. They are all well adjusted and I firmly believe that is because I was here for them. No one else raised them. They knew they were loved and isn't that we are all looking for? So if you need to work part-time to help out, do it in such a way that you are either with your children or still available for them when they need you. Many children have made incredible lives for themselves who came from the ghetto. Not that you are from the ghetto, I am just referring to being raised without a silver spoon in your mouth causes people who want better to earn it. They rise to the occasions when they have to. I also believe that we can give much too much to our children and they ultimately don't know how to work to gain what they want and it also teaches them to learn to serve others and not always be looking out for what they want. So, I say, put your family first and ask your husband to buy another used vehicle. There are plenty out there in great shape that will serve his purposes. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2006 at 7:25PM
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Hi there

In Australia, university courses are available to all people. You can pay as you go, or you can go into debt. This means that at the end of the course, if you earn a certain amount of money, you must start paying back the loan. If you never earn that much money you dont have to pay it back. The loan is held by the federal government, and the interest rate is quite low.

In the case of my 19 year old daughter, she will have a loan of about $25,000 at the end of her 3 year course.

Many years ago all tertiary education was free, but alas that is not the case anymore. So my brother (50), went to University, became a lawyer, and it was all free. Those where good days !

So, I guess the point I am making, my daughter is independant of me, financially, and my income does not affect anything.

If you do increase your work, I would put all that money aside.

All the best with your children's education.


    Bookmark   June 19, 2006 at 5:50AM
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In Massachusetts, should you work for a college previous to your kids being eligible to attend, one of the benefits is help with the college tuition. In many cases full tuition payment

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 1:01PM
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