I always thought it was ridiculous that some parents would pay for their kids’ law school or med school tuition. Those tuitions are high but the salaries after are also quite high (at least they were for lawyers before the recession) and having to live on less than a fortune in order to pay off loans helps people keep their fixed expenses low. So you don’t end up having to make a 300K/year salary to pay your required monthly expenses. If the cost-benefit ratio isn’t high enough (ex. There’s a glut of lawyers or the business school isn’t very good) then nobody should be paying for the degree.
College seems less of a problem because a high salary straight out isn’t guaranteed (and certainly not an MD or JD-level salary) and there’s so much besides student loans that a person has to save for when just starting out.
My thinking was probably also shaped by the fact that my parents took care of my (subsidized) student loans and neither DH nor I got parental help during graduate school.
I still believe that people shouldn’t get a PhD without being fully funded.
However, as our income has gone up, I’ve been feeling more ambivalent about the need for kids to pay for their own professional school. If DH and I have saved a lot, why not pass it on in the form of tuition assistance rather than as an inheritance that our children will hopefully never need? If that’s something they want to do. (Both DCs, however, seem very much like they’ll become engineers, so this may be a moot thought. We’ll see what the future brings.)
This type of thinking leads to a slippery slope. When I read The Millionaire Next Door I thought that the the plight of the next generation of millionaires who spent down their parents’ wealth was pretty awful. But is it really awful? Wouldn’t we all like to be parts of aristocratic dynasties living beyond our incomes from the benefit of family wealth? If the money runs out, doesn’t that just put the third generation back where it started, in which case, why worry about dynastic wealth at all? Why does wealth need to grow with each successive generation?
I’m still against helping kids out with a downpayment– people shouldn’t be able to take on a mortgage they can’t afford. And I’m firmly against taking money from my own parents (I try to encourage them to spend it themselves!) But will I give my adult children monetary assistance? I don’t know. They probably won’t need it. They may not want it. But who knows, we may end up being ok with funding graduate school. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.
Do you believe in funding children’s graduate education? How about their house downpayments? What kind of monetary assistance would you provide to your adult children? What kind would you not?