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College Money


"My father wants to pay for the education of his grandchildren now approaching college age.  One of the children recently asked him for assistance.  This is not something that he did for the first wave of grandchildren, some of whom have outstanding loans.

Frankly, Dad can afford to assist the grandchildren.  It will in no way jeopardize his future care or financial situation.  Do I ask him to help everyone or just let it go?"


This is a great question!  With the cost of college having increased well beyond the inflation rate in the last decade, affording college is a challenge for most families.  Also, loans have become far too common.  Your father helping the next generation to get a college education is a wonderful gesture.

It sounds like your Dad is simply responding to a request by one of the grandchildren, which planted the seed.  I am guessing that you, personally, may have some of the older grandchildren that have outstanding college loans? If so, I can see where you're coming from. That debt will add burden as they start their careers, start families, and save for their first homes. Many college graduates are overwhelmed with and have difficulty paying off their student loans.

I understand how his decision seems to be a bit unfair to the older grandchildren.


Stop and visit with dad.  Lay out for him the situation of each grandchild and ask him if he would consider providing the same assistance to all of the grandchildren.  There are going to be tax ramifications for large gifts, so you need to consult his tax advisor before any large gifts are made.  There are also ways for your father to contribute to their college fund that actually decrease his tax liability, so he is going to want to look into it carefully.

In most families, there are members that earn more than others.  It is likely that some of his children have greater household incomes than others.  Your father may be well aware of that.  There are also state schools and very expensive Ivy League schools.  What I am saying is that there are many factors for your father to consider here with his generous offer.

DISCLAIMER: It is his money, and he may do with it as he wishes. 

He may not feel that helping grandchildren who already are on their own is a necessity.  It is not uncommon to see situations like this in families. Do not be shocked if your father does not see the inequity that you do.