Why, yes, they do.
I get asked this a lot. "Will your kids go to college?"
My answer: Sure, if they want to and they know what they want to do. We are junior college people simply because of the cost and the belief that 18-year-olds don't need to go to another state to party and do stupid things. Call us crazy.*
*If your kid got a scholarship to an out-of-state college and is doing well and not being incredibly stupid with drinking and sex, pat yourself on the back. It does happen. A scholarship is a different story, too ... partying on my dime is not gonna happen.
So here's what we are telling our high schooler now.
Work hard because you'll probably need to take the GED and also if you take the ACT your scores will help determine any scholarships or other help in college.
If you aren't sure what you want to do with your life at age 17 or 18, for God's sake don't spend $30,000 on college. I don't have that kind of money and I'm not going to take out loans for it because I need to RETIRE and DIE IN STYLE someday. And if you take out loans for that amount, I will laugh at you every time I see you.
I am not raising my kids to be in debt just so they can appear "normal" and like everybody else who goes that route.
COLLEGE VERSUS NO COLLEGE
Case study: My husband. His parents weren't going to pay for college. He worked. He went to college at age 26 and got a degree to be an engineer at age 29 WHILE WORKING FULL-TIME. It cost him $30,000 total in school loans and he's now a working engineer. We paid off the loans within a few years before having children.
Case study: Me. I went to junior college over the course of TEN YEARS to get a 2-year degree and paid for it myself. I now have an AA degree which doesn't really help me with my writing and proofreading career but it's nice to say I have it. I don't know how much it cost me in the end but I wish I had saved all that time and invested the money instead :-)
Case study: My father. No college. Worked as a letter carrier for enough years to retire at age 55. In the meantime he was traveling to Hawaii and other fun places in the USA. He will be 67 this summer and is still doing just fine.
Case studies: Some family members. All three kids went to college and their parents paid. If you can afford that, congrats, but make sure you have saved for your OWN future because there is no guarantee that your kids are going to help you out later. If you can't afford that, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING GOING INTO DEBT FOR YOUR KID, WHO IS ABLE-BODIED AND ABLE TO WORK? Two are teachers, which you need a degree to be. The other would have had a promising banking career but he fell ill. This is a case where the kids did it the "right" way and honored their parents in the process. I often say you won't appreciate it unless you pay for it, but I do every now and then see someone who appreciates it when it is given to them. Of course, these are MY family members, so they have that Swedish grit and they rock, obviously.
Lawyers, doctors, licensed therapists, chiropractors, pharmacists, engineers, vets, etc. Yes, please get a degree. Pay a lot for it with or without your parents' help and then pay back your loans quickly using your decent-sized paychecks.
Be who you are, kids. If you are one of those rare kids who wants to be something major, go to college whenever you want. There is no rush, though. If you want to work for a while, that's cool too. If you want to live at home for a while and go to junior college and save money while you also work, then you are obviously one of my children and you will not be going into debt. Congratulations.