I know that a lot of parents around here plan to pay for whatever school their kid gets into and I'm not willing to do that. BUT I am willing to pay for a 4 year college with reasonable tuition (similar to what the UCs charge) because I know that making your kids pay their way through college with no assistance at all is a good way to make sure they don't get a college degree. Even kids whose parents help out are taking 5 years (or more) to get their Bachelors these days. Without assistance and without coming from poverty (as I did) and so can get a lot of aide, it can be impossible to finish. This is exactly why I want to help my kids with college expenses. If I can spare them this, I will. However, I don't feel like I need to beggar myself to get them into a "good" school no matter what it costs. Many, many kids go to the local community college and then on to a state college and do just fine in life. If that's what my kids have to do to get a degree, then that's what we'll do. Now Mini-Mac has other ideas. She wants to go to places like NYU and UofM because they have top-knotch drama programs. But she's already figured out that Tisch School of the Arts at NYU is probably not happening because of the costs of living in NYU on top of the school. We could actually afford UCLA up to a point (she'd have to work some for living expenses but we'd be able to pay the school costs and rent) but I'm not sure she's going to get the grades to get in.