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I have a 529 plan for my daughter (only child) that I have been investing in for her college. She is in 8th grade right now and just applied for and got accepted into a private and exclusive high school that she very much wants to attend. I want to be able to help her with this but it is $11,100 per year just for the tuition! That is not something that I can cash flow with my current income/expenses. Anybody have any ideas how you might be able to use funds in a 529 plan to finance this? (Technically not allowed I assume)

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Options are key in high school.

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If you use the 529 for high school, how do you plan to pay for college? It doesn't get any cheaper from here on.

Swivelguy said: If you use the 529 for high school, how do you plan to pay for college? It doesn't get any cheaper from here on.

Your preaching to the choir. That is my point but being overruled by the ex-wife and my daughter. Daughter has stated she would rather go ROTC or take student loans for college if necessary to be able to go to this high school. I am also hoping/praying some stock options I have from my company may be worth enough in 4-6 years to pay for a decent chunk of her college expenses.

What sort of gain do you have in the 529 plan?

I have very little gain due to the 2008 market collapse. I think I have invested something like $22,500 into the account (over a period of 8 years) and it is worth $26K today.

You may just want to remove the money and close the account. There will be about a $350 penalty and you'll pay income tax on the $3,500 gain. It may be advantageous to have the money go to your beneficiary and have your kid pay the tax.

So anyway, just as a good guess, you'll be able to walk away after taxes and penalties with close to $25,000.

Skyvue said: Swivelguy said: If you use the 529 for high school, how do you plan to pay for college? It doesn't get any cheaper from here on.

Your preaching to the choir. That is my point but being overruled by the ex-wife and my daughter.


Explain that if your alimony and child support payments were so high and the divorce wasn't so expensive you would have been able to afford the private high school tuition.

tripleB said: Skyvue said: Swivelguy said: If you use the 529 for high school, how do you plan to pay for college? It doesn't get any cheaper from here on.

Your preaching to the choir. That is my point but being overruled by the ex-wife and my daughter.


Explain that if your alimony and child support payments were so high and the divorce wasn't so expensive you would have been able to afford the private high school tuition.


Zing!

tell your daughter to go to a less expensive school

Skyvue said: Your preaching to the choir. That is my point but being overruled by the ex-wife and my daughter. Daughter has stated she would rather go ROTC or take student loans for college if necessary to be able to go to this high school. I am also hoping/praying some stock options I have from my company may be worth enough in 4-6 years to pay for a decent chunk of her college expenses.So you tell them that you'll pay for 4 years of school - if they insist on it being highschool, then they are on their own for college.

Being in 8th grade is too young to know what she really wants anyways. At that age, the grass always looks greener on the other side - of course she's going to choose to give up something in the future in exchange for immeditate gratification. The biggest thing is to be sure to hold her to the deal and make her live with the consequences. If college was part of the divorce/support agreement, it may even be worth going in front of a judge to make the modification official - because you know that, no matter what you do/say/pay now, she's going to be expecting college money 4 years from now.

Not only how would you pay college, but also, what happens after roughly 2 years? The money in the 529 is only enough to cover approximately 2 years of school. It would be a shame/waste to have her change schools halfway through. Almost better to have her do her freshman year in public school and transfer her sophmore/junior year. If the school is prestigious enough to make a difference on college applications it's better to have her graduate from the more impressive school rather than start there and have to explain why she transferred out.

Also, keep in mind, it's not just tuition at a private school. There's all sorts of events, uniforms, etc that will require money. Any chance at a scholarship?

If you can't make it work, just tell her you really wanted a pony growing up and didn't get one either. You eventually got over it and so will she.

Skyvue said: I want to be able to help her with this but it is $11,100 per year just for the tuition!

NO private high school is worth $11k per year tuition! It is either work $20k+ because it's one of the top 100 high schools in the country and 90%+ of graduates go to Ivy League schools, or it's worth nothing.

Public school's cost about $10k per student per year. What is your private school doing with the extra $1k that makes it worth paying $11k more for? the $10k at the public school is a sunk cost that you are already paying. You are effectively paying $11k to get $1k more of value over a "free" public school.

BBB, it's not just a function as to how good the private school happens to be. It's a function of the private school compared to the public school. You are starting from the false premise that the value of the school somehow equates to the tuition. It simply isn't a case.

Where I grew up, nobody sent their children to private schools. The only exception was if someone was specifically looking for a Catholic school education. The richest of the rich went to public schools. There was no value in taking their kids away from an excellent free public education.

Where I live now, anybody who can possibly figure out a way to pay for private school does so. The impact of involved parents pulling their kids out of public schools to go to private school has really helped to hasten the demise of the public schools. Parents don't want to send their children to a school in which only 20% go to college if another school sends 95%.

I wish that our private schools were only $11,000 a year!

There are some public schools out there that simply aren't acceptable. I have no idea how this applies to the OP and his daughter.

The intent of this thread was to ask for creative ways to get money out of my 529 plan not whether I should pay the high school. (But appreciate everyone's opinion!)

For the record, the main reason my ex is pushing this particular school is because it is all girls, very small and she very much believes in a catholic education. In other words, it is the type of education she had and believes in. The ex doesn't ever consider the price or value of something which is probably one of the reasons she is my "ex" wife.

As somewhat of a frugal person, the price tag is killing me.

tripleB said: Skyvue said: Swivelguy said: If you use the 529 for high school, how do you plan to pay for college? It doesn't get any cheaper from here on.

Your preaching to the choir. That is my point but being overruled by the ex-wife and my daughter.


Explain that if your alimony and child support payments were so high and the divorce wasn't so expensive you would have been able to afford the private high school tuition.


10 years ago when I was newly divorced I would make such comments but have grown mature enough to understand they don't help any. You learn to live with the decisions you made.

I think InsuranceExpert already gave you the right answer - just withdraw from the 529 and pay the penalty and taxes for that.

I agree that spending so much on education is highly questionable if it poses any sort of financial difficulty. But you haven't hinted that you think the public schools are an option. Your daughter's claim that this high school is more important than her college options is ridiculous of course, but she's just a dumb kid. I don't think you can reasonably hold her to that in 4 years. But she'll again probably have perfectly good public options available then that are affordable, so I wouldn't worry that the private high school is going to ruin her future or anything.

If anything, a public high school might be easier for her to excel, get that 4.0, and get into the AP classes and sports/extracurriculars she wants.

If you go the private school, have a good conversation with your daughter about the sacrifices being made and the expectations you have.

Id set some rules such as minimum grade point average, staying out of trouble, less money for college, she getting a part-time job at some point, eating mac 'n cheese for every meal, dumpster diving for food & clothes, etc.

(Also, be prepared for extra costs now that she will be hangin' with kids that have more money and are overindulged by their parents.)

Not what you asked, but what does the divorce decree say? Are you obligated to pay for private school?

Can you just say No?

IIRC, in some states you aren't off the hook for child support until after the student graduates college or declines to go to college. After paying child support for 4 years, my dad was prepared to contribute support through this obligation, while my mom was not required or prepared to contribute anything. If you've got a similar obligation it might not be possible for you to get out of it, whether by force of law or your ex-wife.

ellory said: Not what you asked, but what does the divorce decree say? Are you obligated to pay for private school?

Can you just say No?


Divorce decree doesn't say anthing about. I am not required to pay so I can so no. Two problems with that are my daughter REALLY wants to go and she is a very good kid so I have trouble saying no to her. The other is if I do say no, my ex-wife could take me back to court to have child support recalculated. My income today is almost double what it was 12 years ago when it was originally set so that could potentially cost me even more than the school. The ex now lives in MA where the child support guidelines are more generous than Ohio where I live.

Seems like the only advice is simply to close the account and pay the taxes and penalty. I am not willing to do that as I would take money out of some accounts that are supposed to be for early retirement before I would go that route. I was hoping to hear about some sort of loop hole where I could use the 529 funds directly.

Skyvue said: The other is if I do say no, my ex-wife could take me back to court to have child support recalculated. My income today is almost double what it was 12 years ago when it was originally set so that could potentially cost me even more than the school. The ex now lives in MA where the child support guidelines are more generous than Ohio where I live.Well then what about offering to pay X% of the tuition costs, and your ex pays the remainder? Since you're stuck with the payment might as well try to minimize the impact. You can also pay with funds that would have otherwise gone into current-year contributions to the 529, informing daughter that college scholarships/student loans will be a necessity as a result.

My initial thought upon reading this thread was to just tell the 8th grader no. The more I thought about it though, if she's a very good student who you would anticipate going to a high priced college, the 26K might not make a huge dent in college tuition anyway.

I don't understand how a catholic who believes so much in what she was taught can get divorced.

Back to the topic though - high school is ONLY for getting into college. If this high school will get her into the college she needs to go to (and otherwise she won't go to that college) then go for it. I highly doubt this is the case though (of course, I don't know the local public schools if they're good/bad). Don't let your daughter or ex-wife force you to do something unnecessary just because they like it. Think about the future - can she still get into Ivy league (or whatever) going to public schools? Can't she get her catholic education from church/extra curricular activities/parents?

Not to dis on your ex-wife too much, but again, I can't understand how she can divorce if her catholic education was so good.

Skyvue said: Two problems with that are my daughter REALLY wants to go and she is a very good kid so I have trouble saying no to her.

I guess since the divorce you don't spend too much time with your daughter. Thirteen year old girls REALLY want everything. I bet she REALLY wants a new sidekick phone. And she REALLY wants to go to the mall and buy the new Jonas Brothers CD. And she REALLY wants to go to the Mylee Cyrus Concert next week.

Don't base your decision on what a 13 year old girl thinks she wants. Base the decision on rational adult analysis of the financial situation. You also need to learn to say "no" to your daughter. Learning to hear her daddy say "no" to her will be a more important lesson than anything learned in 4 years of private school.

Obama4Prez said: I don't understand how a catholic who believes so much in what she was taught can get divorced.

Back to the topic though - high school is ONLY for getting into college. If this high school will get her into the college she needs to go to (and otherwise she won't go to that college) then go for it. I highly doubt this is the case though (of course, I don't know the local public schools if they're good/bad). Don't let your daughter or ex-wife force you to do something unnecessary just because they like it. Think about the future - can she still get into Ivy league (or whatever) going to public schools? Can't she get her catholic education from church/extra curricular activities/parents?

Not to dis on your ex-wife too much, but again, I can't understand how she can divorce if her catholic education was so good.


Not only was this good Catholic woman fine with a divorce, she also had an affair which caused it.

tripleB said: Skyvue said: Two problems with that are my daughter REALLY wants to go and she is a very good kid so I have trouble saying no to her.

I guess since the divorce you don't spend too much time with your daughter. Thirteen year old girls REALLY want everything. I bet she REALLY wants a new sidekick phone. And she REALLY wants to go to the mall and buy the new Jonas Brothers CD. And she REALLY wants to go to the Mylee Cyrus Concert next week.

Don't base your decision on what a 13 year old girl thinks she wants. Base the decision on rational adult analysis of the financial situation. You also need to learn to say "no" to your daughter. Learning to hear her daddy say "no" to her will be a more important lesson than anything learned in 4 years of private school.


TripleB,
This all makes sense and your correct. However, she is not a spoiled kid and we do say no to plenty of things. In fact she is always telling me how she is the only 14 year old in her class without her own cell phone. She asked for an iPod Touch for Christmas and that was another "no". I have no problem with that word when it comes to most things. In this case she is asking for a better education. I think that is a little different. She could go to the local public school (average ratings) with her friends and cruise by on only her god given smarts. Instead she is asking to go some place where she fully knows school will be much harder and competitive and she won't know a single person (initially). I feel like rewarding that drive because I know for sure at that age I would have went wherever I was going to have to study the least!

Not sure if your a dad yet? Hard for dad's to say no to their only kid, especially when it's your daughter.

My friend sent her daughter to a ivy league east coast school for high school. (Beaause she spoiled her daughter and gave her what she wanted)

What did she come home with after 3 years? A $60,000 bill and an abortion.../sigh (One that she didn't tell her mother).
What did she bring back from going to an ivy league school? I am not sure, she is an elementary teacher now
We could've had that at public school without the $60k bill

Okay Brian, you need to stop talking. You are not an expert in girl schools.

I took a 10,000 dollar a year pay cut to leave my teaching job at a public high school and take a job at an all girls Catholic school where the tuition is about 11,000. If she has a good public school alternative then that's great, and maybe you should discuss it with the ex wife and say is this school really 11,000 dollars better than the public school?

However, the differences between the Catholic school and the public school are huge. First of all, educational research supports that girls excel when exposed to single gender education. Also, do you remember high school? It could be a hard and cruel place. Here, the Cliques and nastiness are really kept to a minimum. It doesn't take much to kick a girl out of our school so bad behavior and bad grades are not tolerated. There are no special ed classes, no homecoming queen, no boys making sex jokes, and girls don't wear make up to classes. Girls are polite and respectful to teachers-- imagine that. It's a kinder and gentler place where we teach about spirituality, service to others, and lots of curricular activities to keep them busy in a constructive manner. The halls are full of girls drinking coffee and discussing calculus. Is everything perfect? no, but we are miles ahead of the public school.

The mission of the Catholic school is to provide a quality education to all girls, even those who have difficulty paying. One third of our girls are on financial aid and you should really talk to the school and apply for aid.

I agree that the goal of high school is getting students in to college and we get them into very good colleges. We have an entire college counseling team to help them sculpt their applications. Also, the graduates of our high school stay close to each other and provide one of the precious networks that Fatwalleters are always talking about.

I think that you should not look at this like should I buy my daughter a 44,000 dollar Jonas Brother record, and think that it might be something valuable. You should visit the school on open house and really see what you think about it.

I agree that you should talk to her about sacrifice and other things that she will have to give up. Talk to her about what you will have to give up, too.

Finally, I'm going to warn you that 11,000 dollars is only the beginning. Everything is going to cost money at this school. She's going to have to buy her textbooks,(ask the teachers for the ISBN's and purchase them used on the web rather than at the official bookstore) pay hundreds of dollars for sports, money for field trips, it will never end. Is there a way that you can agree with your ex and your daughter that you will pay the tuition and she has to pay for ANY other expenses. She might readily agree because she doesn't know how costly it can be, and that will make Mom the bad guy who has to say no when Latin club is going to the Vatican.

Good luck. If you give in, try to feel good about it. Not that your daughter would die in a public school, but there are a great many benefits to a faith based private education. Good luck with your decision.

Wow, great feedback. I really appreciate that!

The public school option for her is a relatively small (110 kids per class) rural school. The test scores place them right at average in Mass. Nothing great but certainly not an inner city school where you will worry about violence and other issues.

Around here, everyone knows that the private Catholic schools are where the money is. Parents believed their kids were angels since they were in Catholic school. So, they would trust their kids implicitly, go out of town, etc. Therefore, it's also where the best drugs and parties were.

Just a counterpoint to consider - it may not be the same where you are.

Skyvue, I have sons around high school age and we put a lot of thought and effort into their high school. If you don't know a LOT about this private school and other easy and not so easy options, you really should catch up on that. Test scores and (actual) class sizes were one good basic stat we checked out. Graduation rate, college attendance rate, and colleges attended also had a lot of value for us. Good high schools should have this sort of info available (the HS we picked puts the list of colleges on banners in the school).

I also know how hard it can be to "force" a child into a school he doesn't want. We did that, had a miserable year. So we let him shop for his school the next year - private or public, really no budget. Long story short, he wound up back in the same school after a lot of research, onsite tours, and even starting school at another. But his "buy-in" has made a big difference this year. So I highly recommend pulling your daughter into this research - even if it doesn't change the decision, I think it may give her a valuable appreciation of where she winds up.

Most schools have AP/ accelerated classes for the bright kids. Science clubs, model UN, you name it. I have kids, they're smart, and there were / are plenty of opportunities in public school.

You could also consider after school enrichment and other programs- far cheaper than what private school will cost

I went to public school and I turned out just fine!

SlimTim said: Skyvue, I have sons around high school age and we put a lot of thought and effort into their high school. If you don't know a LOT about this private school and other easy and not so easy options, you really should catch up on that. Test scores and (actual) class sizes were one good basic stat we checked out. Graduation rate, college attendance rate, and colleges attended also had a lot of value for us. Good high schools should have this sort of info available (the HS we picked puts the list of colleges on banners in the school).

I also know how hard it can be to "force" a child into a school he doesn't want. We did that, had a miserable year. So we let him shop for his school the next year - private or public, really no budget. Long story short, he wound up back in the same school after a lot of research, onsite tours, and even starting school at another. But his "buy-in" has made a big difference this year. So I highly recommend pulling your daughter into this research - even if it doesn't change the decision, I think it may give her a valuable appreciation of where she winds up.


While I think my ex has had some influence, this is mostly my daughter's decision. She visited several schools and this is the one she wants to go to. I would not be struggling with the decision if it were any other way. They fact that she seems so genuinely into this particular school is why I find myself now considering doing something I never "planned" (budgeted) for. Everything I can find out looks very positive for the school in question. It is an all-girls catholic school with about 65 girls per class. 90+ percent attend college.

tripleB said: I went to public school and I turned out just fine!

I went to public school as well and in reality where I grew up, there was no other option. This is why I am struggling because I don't have a feel or appreciation for how much better this other school may be. For me, high school was about playing sports and trying to get out of any work possible!

tripleB said: I went to public school and I turned out just fine!

Funniest thing you've ever said on FWF.

Skipping 21 Messages...
Options are key in high school.



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