The simple answer it NO, no matter how much you love your child, trading in retirement savings for the cost of your children’s tuition is a pretty bad idea, especially when there are alternatives. This is usually the case when one of the child’s parents works for a university. So today, I am going to focus on the financial aspect of getting your child a college degree[1].

Here is a real story. This weekend someone came to me for a financial decision analysis. Let’s call her Julie. Julie has a daughter who would like to go to the University of Arizona[2] next fall as a freshman. The out-of-state tuition is a little over $30k per year. Alternatively, Julie’s daughter could also attend a school in the Cal State system (she is a professor here) and use the fee waiver benefit. For anyone who is not current on the Cal State costs, the academic year is about $6,500 including fees, but if you are a Cal State employee, you can pass on up to 6 credit hours to your child for almost nothing. This means the academic year will cost you around $3,400. So Julie came to me to ask what the impact of sending her daughter to Tucson would have on her life.Read More