Husband (33M) and I (31F) disagree about saving to pay for son's college tuition

a child's life should not be better than his own

Well then good news! Chances are good it won't be. My parents' generation could go to school full time and still make enough money to pay their tuition and living expenses, then get a good-paying job right out of school, buy a house, have a pension, etc.

People in college right now don't have a prayer of doing that. In addition to how much harder it is for a person without a degree or experience to get a good-paying job in the first place, even if they could it wouldn't pay enough to cover the ballooning tuition costs.

Who knows how much worse it'll be 18 years from now? 18 years ago the average cost of tuition and fees was $15k at private schools and $3.4k for (in-state) public school. This year it's $33k at private schools and $10k for public. I don't have good access to average wages for high-school-diploma-only jobs across that time period, but if we assume a college student working a job is (usually) not doing much better than minimum wage, it went up from $5.15/hr to $7.25/hr in the last 18 years.

Private school costs went up by more than 100%, public school costs increased 200%, minimum wage jobs went up by 40%. Not even close to keeping pace. Is there reason to believe this trend won't continue?

If it does continue roughly along this path, 18 years from now students will be less able to even make a dent in tuition than they've ever been before, so loans will be ever more of a necessity, and big loans at that.

Maybe the job market will be better for college graduates in two decades than it is now, but even still that's a whole lot of debt to start out with, which is a big delay in how long before you can get the down payment put together to buy a house, start saving in earnest for retirement, or saving for your own kids' college.

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