Mr FS and I attended musical event last night. At the break, we talked to an acquaintance. Our chat followed a familiar course.
Acquaintance: How is Miss Em?
Me: Fine. How's Sarah?
There follows a 10 minute monologue detailing Sarah's many accomplishments. Poor Miss Em! The inquiry is perfunctory really: the acquaintance is only interested in blabbing about her daughter.
Las night the conversation took an unexpected turn. Instead of the expected bragfest, Mom said "I can't wait till Sarah graduates. I told her: that's it!" After some questions, I learned that Sarah--who attends a mid-range private college--got a lot of grants ("the tuition is over $40,000"). Still, Sarah faces $20,000 in debt and Mom and Dad pledged to pay it off.
I said, "$20,000 isn't all that bad for 4 years in a private college."
Mom said, "That doesn't count the $1800."
Me, "A year?"
Mom, "No, a MONTH."
I love math, as long as it's low level, so I quickly computed that we are talking about around $100,000 in after-tax income. Mom is a paralegal and I'm not sure what Dad does--something with maps.
Then I started thinking. If Sarah had elected to go to a state school, she would have received the Louisiana tuition scholarship (TOPS). Mom and Dad would have been on the hook for about $10,000/year for room, board, and books.
That totals $40,000. What about the other $60,000? Well, that could buy Sarah a car post graduation, leaving around $40,000 for a house down payment.
While I've heard some parents offer a wad of cash in lieu of a wedding to the happy couple, I've never heard of anyone offering to let the student reap all or even part of the financial benefit of choosing a lower cost school.
What do you think of this modest proposal?