The $10,000 Auto Decal

When your child is accepted to college and sends back a “Yes” reply, the school starts sending you all sorts of stuff, including a free car decal.

Minimalists should always be wary of accepting free items, but I have kept two of these free stickers.

These two stickers represent $18,000. That's more than the car cost new.

These two stickers represent $19,000. That’s more than the car cost new.

Here is how they came to cost me so much. In the state of Illinois, there is case law, whereby children have sued their divorced parents to pay for college. And the court ordered it so. Four years at a state school with each entity (mother, father, child) paying one third of the costs. Aware of these rulings, the kid’s dad and I voluntarily entered into such an agreement, saving our kids suing us and the legal fees.

Plus, I want to help them pay for college.

As you can see by the auto stickers, neither student is attending a state school (average cost per year $32,000.) They are attending private liberal arts colleges (average cost per year $61,000.) They are responsible for the difference. Fortunately, they are both naturally intelligent and hard-working and have earned significant scholarships to attend school. Middle son, is on track to graduate without debt, beloved daughter will have some.

Beware free stuff.


12 responses to “The $10,000 Auto Decal

  1. Fawn,
    Beware of using $ signs in your title. It threw your post right into my junk mail.
    The only reason I thought to look was the message popped up just as I was checking my email. It then disappeared into junk.
    Congratulations on raising such wonderful hardworking children.

  2. That’s great that your kids want to go to college but I’m curious as to what career they are looking for with a liberal arts degree. As well, in Canada we don’t have state and private colleges, thus I’m curious to know what the difference is As well, we call it university rather than college (college being for technical training, secretarial, tourism, trades, etc.).

    • Diane–I don’t think the new student knows what career he wants yet. He is planning on taking computer engineering courses. My daughter is studying astronomy and Russian. The difference between private and state schools is funding. State schools receive monies from the state (or province) government. Private institutions rely on tuition and bequests and endowments. The cost of attending a private school is usually more, sometimes double of a state sponsored school. Examples: University of Illinois is a public university, Yale is a private university.

  3. I was wondering if Macalester was selected, I remembered you mentioning it on SLN once. I live just a mile away and if you are so inclined, I’d love to grab a coffee if/when you are in St Paul. Or if you don’t want to meet up with a quasi-stranger from the Internet, that’s ok, too. 🙂 Best of luck to your students!

  4. Two great schools, Fawn. (And it sounds like you have two great kids as well.) 🙂

  5. I’m vey proud of all of my kids, but I guess that is kinda obvious. 🙂

  6. Wow. I didn’t know 18 year-old “kids” could sue their parents to pay for college. ??!! Your kids do sound smart and very capable. Best of luck to them.

    • I had read somewherer that people in the US sue the most than any other country. I found this hard to believe but read elsewhere that the US makes up 5% of the world population but have 70% of the world’s lawyers practising in the US!

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