College Rules…Work for Your Fun

It’s no secret that the costs of college rise every year.  As your child nears college age it’s important to look at what you can offer your child in the way of assistance.  My premise is that the college experience should be a partnership between parent and child.  While nobody will argue that fun should be a part of their experience, it’s not unfair to ask your child to fund some of their own fun.  It’s important that they be a part of this decision.  Below are some possible solutions to funding your child’s “fun.”

Matching Funds. For every dollar he/she raises you will match it dollar for dollar.  You could also use a ratio (3:1, 2:1).  This matched money goes into an account set aside solely for college fun expenses.  You might consider setting a time limit on this.  Example: Every dollar you give me for the next 3 months I will match it.  You’re not only helping them fund a college expense but instilling responsibility as well.

Match up to a specific dollar amount.  Your budget may not permit you to do a match for every dollar earned.  You may need to set a cap on the amount that you match.  Once your child meets that cap, the rest of the money raised is unmatched.

Summer College Stimulus.  This is an example of the time frame listed above.  Your current/future college student can receive matching funds for any money given to you for the summer.

Set Parameters on What You Supply.  Let your college student know how much fun money you will supply.  You must remain firm on this issue. Remaining firm will teach your young adult child discipline and responsibility.  You will also need to tell him that you’re willing to discuss ’emergency’ events to determine if additional help is needed.

The decision to fund your child’s college fun is an important one.  How much help you provide should be based on your specific financial situation.  You need to understand that your child’s involvement in the solution can promote responsibility.  Involving your child in raising some of these funds just might teach them lessons they won’t get from a book.

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