Curious: are parents required to pay for college by law?





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Discus: College Search and Selection: March 2004 Archive: Curious: are parents required to pay for college by law?
By Highschoolda (Highschoolda) on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 11:14 pm: Edit

If a student is accepted into a 4 year college, the parents are wealthy, the student has shown the ability to study, is it a requirement for the parents to pay?

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Thursday, March 11, 2004 - 11:34 pm: Edit

This has been a favorite rant of mine. Though there is no law that I know about that says the parents are required to pay for college, the system is set up so that the parents are responsible. Unless it is a divorce situation with college terms pretty much spelled out or where the parent is holding some of the child's assets, I do not think that there is any legal obligation to pay. It's just that the student can't go unless he comes up with the money, and the financial aid process is linked heavily to the parents' income and assets. If parents are wealthy and don't want to pay for college, too bad for the kid. Unless he meets the requirements to become independent which are not easy, the parents are assessed for ability to pay. I had two kids who were "independent" by court rulings with an excellent firewall shielding us from financial responsibility with their parental situation well covered, and I still had to fight with financial aid offices on that matter. I danged near went to court over the issue and only a lengthy discussion with university counsel which resulted in intervention resolved the problem. With my nephew, he was mentored by an influential faculty member, and again intervention was needed several times as most colleges expect the student to take on more of the tuition costs as they progress through college. In other words they like to reduce the financial aid packages once you are in the school.

The saddest group of kids I see are the ones with parents who cannot or will not support them, not necessarily monetarily, but in philosophy. Now if there is money, it does have to go towards tuition or the kid is not going to go to college without going through some extraordinary twists and turns.

It makes no sense legally to me. College kids are adults for all other purposes when they turn 21. For almost everything at age 18. The issue is that our educational system and government cannot or will not provide a college education for all kids who qualify for college, as the European universities tend to do. We have a really crazy system as far as paying for college goes.


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