I was recently asked, "How do you afford college?" Well the question is rather personal in my opinion but I wanted to respond, "what do you mean? I already went to college and I paid for it already." But I don't think the person knew they were being offensive so I just responded with "Oh I know college is so expensive." Then I continued with small talk and left on a happy note.
The truth is I do not feel that it is my duty as a parent to pay for my children's college education. I am not alone in my thinking either. If you search the web, or ask a certified financial adviser, they would agree that it is not a good idea to use your future savings, retirement, 401k's etc to pay for college. Give the gift of a good retirement to your children instead. They will be young enough to work and pay back their loans and not have the worry of carrying your financial needs as well.
Another very good friend of mine confided that she not only pays for her child's education but is also sending $1000 a month to her 23 year old for living expenses. Her 'child' is doing well but was not thrifty with her class scheduling and must take a few more classes before graduating. By 'thrifty' I mean that when YOU are funding YOUR own education you make sure that you are on the right track and you don't sign up for the wrong classes accidentally.
Another friend is in the same boat. She has already decided that her youngest will not be going to college, it just is too expensive for them. I asked her why not stop paying for the oldest now and allow him to pay his last 2 years, to which she replied, we tried that option but he said he just won't go. OK, so there you go problem solved. He can get a job and let the youngest go to college.
I love my children, and sure I do not want them burdened with extra loans, so I will do what I can but I will not forfeit my retirement, nor will I ring up crazy bills that weigh the family down. Rather I will help when I can, educate them on getting scholarships, and leave the rest up to them.