:::: MENU ::::

The Cost of College


My other BIG financial change this fall is that Princess is going to college. And our goal is to get her through college with no debt. (My our I mean hers and mine.) We have talked about this forever!

Therefore, I am so pleased to let you all know, we officially have the first semester completely covered. The balanced owed after her Pell grants and HOPE scholarship for her tuition, fees, housing and meal plan is $3,813.

Her dad has agreed to help pay this fee, but if not, I have budgeted to be able to cover it in its entirety. (He’s also said he was buying her a car for years and we have never seen that come to fruition so I am used to this.)

According to the schools website, the year will cost about $27,000. That includes personal money, car, tuition and fees, I mean, everything. So there is definitely some flexibility based on lifestyle and life choices.

Spending Money

She will be living in a dorm, not the cheapest, but reasonable for what it is. Her food will be covered by a meal plan. But there will be living expenses AND since she won’t have a car, there may be some transportation costs.

My mom and Princess on our trip earlier this month.

After discussing with her and putting some thought into it, We have decided she will a $300 per month allowance. That is $75 per week for fun money, personal items, transportation, etc.

For the most part, this is her money that she has saved…so it’s not coming out of my pocket, I’m just helping manage it while she adjusts to the freedom. (Her savings would have covered the entire first and last semester, but her car wreck set her back almost $600 so I will kick in to make sure she has this money to rely on through the year.)

She will be responsible for anything outside of this allowance. She is going to apply for the work study program as well. And she will be able to work when she is home for weekends and holidays at her summer job as long as she gives them enough notice to put her on the schedule. (It’s nice when you work where your older brother is the manager.)

One Semester Down

I did tell her that I was committing to this for this school year only. It will be the type of thing I will need to review every year to see how much I can contribute especially since Gymnast will most likely be college bound in 2 years.

We estimate that next semester’s tuition/fees/housing will be able the same so I am add that savings to my budget for this fall.

I want her to settle in and get accustomed to college life without immediate financial stress. We have discussed how important it will be for her to work full time next summer and save, save, save.


  • Reply Walnut |

    Instead of giving a vague open ended “this year I can help, but I don’t know how much in two years” answer you might start putting savings into an account and give Princess visibility into the balance. Start the same for gymnast. (Note, I said visibility. I wouldn’t give access to withdraw quite yet). Emphasize that if they don’t use the money for college, it can be your contribution into their Roth IRA.

    This will help them plan for their full degree and also get crafty with how to reduce their expenses. You want to teach them to think and plan long term.

    • Reply JP |

      Agreed. You really can’t set someone up for a 4 year plan and say that you can cover year 1, but no idea after that.

      • Reply Hope |

        I have always told them I would help where I can, but the cost of college is on them. So we will have to take it a year at a time. And I want them to be motivated to save and work for it, not be caught unawares if for some reason I wasn’t able to help.

        My help is a gift, not an expectation, I guess.

    • Reply Drmaddog |

      This may not be popular, but I think it would be a better idea for Hope to put these funds into her retirement. There are other ways the kids can pay for education but there are no grants or loans for retirement.

  • Reply Deb |

    I know she doesn’t have transportation but is there a reason why she can not get a job on campus within the area that she can walk too? Maybe with her 75 dollars a week she oculd use that for transportation and would be able to work part time. That would ease the expenses that you would have to cover.

    • Reply Hope |

      Yes, she is eligible for work study and I believe she has already applied. She does intend to get a job. And is already saving for next semester. She is working a crazy amount of hours these last couple of weeks at home. I am so proud of her!

  • Reply Cheryl |

    I thought the Pell grant was only for low income families and you make a pretty nice income. Will she even be eligible for the grant?

    • Reply Hope |

      It is based on income. I don’t know the formula, but when you feel out the FAFSA, they pull from the IRS website. This is done in October and takes into account the previous year’s taxes. So this year is based on my 2019 taxes and next year will be based on 2020. My guess is by her junior year she won’t be eligible for any grant, when they look at my 2021 taxes.

So, what do you think ?