‘I Had No Idea How Much of a Gift This Was Until I Was a Couple Years Out of School’

If you were lucky enough to go to college or grad school, someone paid for it. Your parents, grandparents, yourself, the state, the school. We’ve invited readers to share their stories of financing education. Here’s one from reader LS: 

“My family doesn’t really talk about money. To this day I have no idea how much money my parents make. But the one thing I always knew about money was that my parents were going to pay for four years of undergraduate school, wherever my brother and I wanted to go. It was always just a given, because that’s what their parents did for them. I had no idea how much of a gift this was until I was a couple of years out of school, and some of my friends were putting over half of their monthly income toward loan payments. 

“I attended a public university in my home state, and my parents paid for tuition, housing, books, and food, plus a little extra to cover basic necessities. I had a couple of part-time jobs, but most of my time was focused on school. My senior year of college, I found out about a month-long, graduate-level summer program in my chosen field at an out-of-state university. People working in the industry would be speaking and leading workshops, and it sounded like exactly what I needed to land the job I wanted. The problem was, it cost $5,000, which was about $4,900 more than I had.

“I nervously called my parents, and they agreed to front the cost of the program if I would pay to get myself there and back and pay for any additional costs that came up during the month. We also agreed that I would pay them back as soon as I had a job. The program turned out to be everything I’d hoped it would be, and it helped me land my first real job that fall. With the first paycheck of every month, I paid my parents $500. Handing over than last check ten months later was a huge weight off my shoulders.”

How did you finance your education? (Or, if you didn’t go to college, how did you finance your first years out of high school?) logan@thebillfold.com


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