My Kids Might Choose to Say No to College — and Here's Why I'm More Than Fine With That

My husband and I were talking the other night about how we wouldn't be disappointed if one or all four of our kids said they didn't want to go to college. It's not that we don't care about our children's futures — they'll need to have a plan to convince us that college isn't for them — but let's just say our daughter is committed to attending culinary school instead or our son feels passionate about joining a start-up or has a savvy idea for launching his own app. My hubby and I will do a happy dance!

To send four kids to college, we could end up paying as much as, gulp, $800,000.

College is just getting too darn expensive. Even though our kids are still little, we often fret about how we will be able to afford sending them all to the fancy universities we went to. According to the College Board, the average tuition cost for a private university is now over $50,000 per year! Meanwhile, in-state public school can cost almost $25,000 annually for out-of-state students. Quick math: to send four kids to college, we could end up paying as much as, gulp, $800,000 when all is said and done. Those costs are for the 2017 to 2018 school year. Imagine what college will cost in 10 years when my kids are old enough to attend.

We are, in fact, so worried about the cost of higher education, it was a factor in our recent decision to move to a state with a variety of good state schools that cost less than $10,000 per year for in-state residents. We want our kids to have the choice of going to college if that is what they want and what we feel is best for their individual needs.

That said, I'll be the first person to admit that after my parents spent a small fortune on my college education at a private university, I sometimes wondered how much I really needed my impressive-sounding degree. Sure, maybe it got my foot in the door at my first job, but almost 20 years later, I can't remember the last time an employer asked where I went to college. I can't remember the last time anyone did.

Of course, certain professions require a degree. If one of my daughters has aspirations to be a doctor, then, duh! And I get that college can provide life lessons outside of what you learn in a classroom, like how to drink until you puke (shudder!), but, yeah, the thought of my kids going to college scares me both financially and because I worry about the kinds of potentially dangerous situations they could wine, uh, wind up in. So it's cool if college isn't in my children's plans. I still feel confident their futures are more than bright.