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March 20, 2019

The Kitchen Table Conversation about Paying for College

Kitchen Table Conversation about Paying for College

Inspiration for College Paying Chats

Financial conversations are tough to have with your partner, kids, - heck it can even be hard to face yourself. When it comes to paying for college, we suggest families broach this uncomfortable topic in a place where you can see each other easily, have room to write notes, refer to your laptop, or keep a glass handy to hydrate.

Paying for college is truly an investment in your kid. So make certain that you create a comfortable place to candidly discuss your thoughts and expectations about who is paying for what.

As a parent, be clear about any stipulations placed on helping to fund your kid's education.

Are there limitations to the types of schools or programs that you are willing to pay for? Will you pay if Juan wants to go to art school or only if he goes to university for engineering, business, or a science?

Do you require a particular GPA to be maintained and/or number of classes to be taken per enrollment period? Will you pay for Jia if they drop to half time and get only “C’s” for grades?

Is study abroad, exchange program, or a gap year a part of the financial plan? Will you pay for Sally to intern and go to school in Washington, DC semester program?

Are the expectations that your kid will work part-time, full-time, or not at all while they are enrolled? Will Yuri need to work at least 10 hours a week to pay for movies tickets or buying shampoo?

Do you assume that your kid will work over the summer for money or free for the experience? Will Sonia need to earn money of the summer to pay for her travel expenses to and from college over breaks?

Are loans expected to be in your kid’s primary responsibility post college and/or are you financing a portion of the educational costs? Will you co-sign on a student private loan for Mateo but expect him to repay after college?

Do you presume that your kid will pay for expenses like club fees, team uniforms, fraternity dues, etc? Will you pay for the dues for Amare to Phi Beta Kappa but expect she pay to travel to the chapter event?

Are you paying for all medical and dental costs through your existing insurance while your kid in college or do they need to find their own? Will Isabella need to schedule annual visits to the doctor over break so it can be covered through your health insurance?

Paying for college is truly an investment in your kid. So make certain that you create a comfortable place to candidly discuss your thoughts and expectations about who is paying for what.

Setting clear expectations will not only help your entire family get on the same page but also helps your kid think about budgeting and future financial obligations.

Talking openly about paying for college and why you are investing in your kid's future is healthy and hard. Prepare your kids for the world and reinforce positive financial habits and provide their support system. Include stories of your own paying for college experiences and others to illustrate the reasons for these financial decisions. Consider the values and lessons that you want to impart while making it a true conversation by asking them open-ended questions about their thoughts and concerns about your approach to paying for college.


Photograph of Colleen Krumwiede
Colleen Krumwiede
Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer

Colleen MacDonald Krumwiede is a financial aid expert with over a decade of financial aid experience at Stanford GSB, Caltech, and Pomona College and another decade at educational finance and technology companies servicing higher education.  She guides go-to-market strategy and product development at Quatro to transform the way families afford college.


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