The Case Against Saving for College

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About Jeff Bogle

Jeff Bogle is a stay-at-home dad who writes about parenting and All Things Childhood: kindie music, books, toys, gaming, & culture at Out With The Kids. He is married to an adorable redheaded gal and has two lovely little ladies under the age of 10 who provide him with countless hours of humorous in-home entertainment, and who get to do, hear, see and play with more cool stuff than you can possibly imagine. He considers himself one of the luckiest guys in the world, although he needs to be reminded of this fact from time to time. Jeff also blogs for The Good Men Project.


  1. D.R. Bartlette says:

    I can see both the author’s point of view as well as some of his critics in the comment section. First let me say I teach at a community college, after graduating from (and teaching at) a traditional 4-year state university.
    So my first point is this: I agree that a college education isn’t for everyone. Doing well in a formal, academic environment – even one as low-key as a comm coll – requires certain skills that not everyone possesses. That’s not to say that they can’t be taught (and should be, but usually aren’t). But not everyone is cut out for it. Learning a trade is a perfectly valid, and less expensive, way to go.
    My next point is, as a corollary, that a college degree *is* an important part of any modern, healthy economy. We as a society should be encouraging as many young people as want to, to pursue higher education, and not just as a means to a corporate job. Our next generation of great thinkers, artists, and leaders should have the kind of well-rounded education that we (supposedly) offer at 4-year colleges.
    However, for those of you who are on this “let them work their way through college” bandwagon, you are sorely mistaken. People with no college education usually can only get low-paying jobs; just paying for your living expenses eats up the lion’s share of their incomes. Paying several thousand dollars a year for college is often a *significant* hardship for them. Not to mention that all that work takes away from study time; studies show that the more hours a student works, the more likely they are to drop out. Therefore, I think we need to go back to our pre-Reaganomics system whereby higher education is almost entirely funded, so that any student who wants to go doesn’t have to go into massive amounts of debt. And neither would their parents – which would free them up to afford just the things Bogle suggests (which are excellent suggestions, BTW!).

  2. The only thing a 529 account does is make you unable to qualify for grants when the time comes. Instead you’re eligible for high-interest government debt that compounds by the hour and is dispersed to a dizzying disarray of loan handlers, each with its own convoluted way of handling things. The students whose parents are buried in consumer debt get a free ride, while I have to pay thru the nose for everything out of my single-income salary to the tune of ~$15K/year. I would NEVER suggest saving, saving, saving to ANY parent.

  3. Nick Jurczak says:

    As a current college student there are things that I can say I agree with here but a lot that I disagree with. Sure that $29,500 is only going to get your child one year of college. Sure you can spend that extra money on something fun for your child. Look at the large picture ramifications though. Most high paying jobs like to see a college degree. Even internships typically want seniors. You may be giving your child the experience of a lifetime but I also believe it should be the child’s decision as well if they want to go to college and it should be something that you should talk to your child with while they are in high school when all their friends are also thinking about it. If they were to tell you that they really want to go to college and you spent all the money, you might just earn their scorn rather than a happy relationship with them later in life.

    • I would hope that a happy relationship with one’s kids wasn’t dependent upon the parents paying for their adult children’s education. While most parents want to help as much as possible with costs of higher education, they don’t owe it to their kids to provide one. And if the kids actually scorn their parents for not providing it, then there’s something more deeply wrong in that relationship than can be fixed with a paid-for college degree.


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  2. [...] Jeff Bogle, a stay-at-home dad, makes a great cogent argument for not saving that money for college. There are so many better things you could do for kids with that money: [...]

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  4. […] suburb and start a parenting blog, OWTK, or Out With the Kids. Earlier this year he wrote a provocative against-the-grain post about how he and his wife, who also works in finance, stopped contributing to their daughters’ 529 […]

  5. […] suburb and start a parenting blog, OWTK, or Out With a Kids. Earlier this year he wrote a provocative against-the-grain post about how he and his wife, who also works in finance, stopped contributing to their daughters’ 529 […]

  6. […] suburb an' start a parantyun' blog, OWTK, er Out Wit t'Kids. Earli'r thishere year he wrote a provocatif' agin-t'-grane post about hoe he an' his'n biddy, who also wurks n' finance, stopt contributyun' ta thar dawters’ 529 […]

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