Just under 30 percent of parents today say they are planning to pay for their kids to go to college, according to a brand new report released by Fidelity.
But FOX44 found one Central Texas family toughing it out and footing the Baylor bill for not one, but FOUR family members at the same time – with one more on the way.
A Dallas-area couple is going back to school with their kids in Central Texas.
Paul and Debbie Tkach are joining two of their kids who are already enrolled at Baylor. This makes four current family members all studying at the same time.
Their son Joey is a film major, while their daughter Suzie is a political science major – each planning to attend grad school. In addition to this, the parents have signed up for the university’s online MBA program.
There is a chance all four could walk the graduation stage together next year – despite one of the kids lobbying against this.
“Nothing really much has changed in that area, in that we’re even beyond the original crazy Baylor family,” Debbie says.
Can the family that studies together stay together? Well this one does, and they’re all involved.
“100 percent honest, it’s very tiring. And sometimes you’re like, ‘Wow, why did we do this?’ But in the end, I know it’s going to pay off,” Debbie says.
While Suzie does homework on campus, Joey is in class one building over – and 86 miles away from Waco, Paul and Debbie are doing the same thing. They are a new age Baylor Brady Bunch.
“A new found respect for what they’re going through, yes,” Paul says.
“I thought it was a joke at first. My parents always joke around about how, ‘Oh, we’re going to move to Waco and just keep an eye on you, or something,’” Suzie says.
The matriculating mom and dad have enrolled in Baylor’s online MBA program. This comes more than 20 years after Debbie received her undergrad from the university – when she met Paul at the IHOP across the street.
“We had two of our three kind of out of the nest, and we had a little more time on our hands – or at least we thought we would,” Debbie says.
“I’ll try to call my mom and ask her, just to talk or anything, and she[‘s like,] ‘Oh no, I’m doing homework right now, I can’t talk.’ And I was like, ‘I thought I was the only one that was doing homework,'” Suzie says.
The Dallas-area parents are juggling classes with full-time jobs – not to mention raising three kids.
Their youngest son, Joshua, is in high school – and guess where’s he wants to go to college.
“We’ve always said, ‘You have to get your education.’ That’s key for us. And for us to demonstrate that by going through it with them, I think is a way for us to show kind of like, we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” Debbie says.
The financial undertaking of putting two generations simultaneously through college can seem unbearable.
Nationally, in 2017, families paid nearly $24,000 on college tuition. According to Baylor’s current pricing, the Tkach’s are pushing $207,000 this year.
“Joey and Susie were both awarded some pretty decent scholarships. Then we added in our tuition, but we have gone to finding government funding, and Paul’s on a veteran’s scholarship. It’s not huge, but every little bit helps,” Debbie says.
Despite the stresses, no one’s denying Papa Bear is the biggest fan of all.
“My dad rocks Baylor every single day. He goes full out with the hat, the jacket, even sometimes like sweatpants that have, like, Baylor logos on them,” Suzie says.
Come next year though, it could all be worth it. For a chance to walk the stage together for some family fun.
“My son thought about delaying his graduation a semester so we could all four go across at the same time. Because he’s all for it, he’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s mess up Suzie’s day!,'” Debbie says.
“I may stick around an extra semester just so I can have my own little day for graduation and not have her stealing my thunder,” Suzie says.
Paul and Debbie say online made the most sense because it gives them flexibility with work and the kids. And with three graduations currently lined up almost simultaneously, they will get a little breather with the youngest still about a year away.