When planning for a New Hampshire divorce that involves children, not enough parents give due thought to how they will pay for college. The younger the children, the less likely this is to come up. However, the sooner parents tackle this problem, the better it is for everyone involved.
Child support typically ends when a child reaches adulthood, which is also when they begin college. Failure to make arrangements could cause the homemaker parent to become the only one financially supporting the child at college.
According to CNBC, some states do require couples to address how they will contribute to college expenses in their divorce papers. While this may not include exact dollar values, it does put basic measures in place to ensure college students get some level of support from both parents.
While this is a good start, parents need to spell out what they can. One option is to establish a 529 plan for college expenses. Some parents may decide on the percentage they will pay of specific expenses. Others may choose what expenses they may tackle instead of others. Here are some of the most common ones to consider:
- Laptops and textbooks
- Room and boarding
- Tuition and fees
- Phone service
- Meal plans
Another CNBC article notes that parents can expect to pay around $20,770 for a four-year public college and more than double that for a private nonprofit college. This includes boarding, tuition and fees. College expenses have also been rising steadily at about 3% per year. Ultimately, one of the main benefits of tackling this problem early on is that neither parent may need to drag the other back to court in a few years to get help with college expenses for their child.