Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter


Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

Should You Pay Your Grandchildren’s College Tuition?

Written by Roger Wohlner on February 22, 2011 in Retirement  |   6 comments

Should You Pay Your Grandchildren’s College Tuition? By Roger Wohlner To answer this question, first you have to ask yourself several more. The first question is, can you afford to pay your grandchildren’s college tuition? If not, that’s the end of the discussion. Being able…

Should You Pay Your Grandchildren’s College Tuition?
By Roger Wohlner

To answer this question, first you have to ask yourself several more.

The first question is, can you afford to pay your grandchildren’s college tuition? If not, that’s the end of the discussion. Being able to afford it is not just a matter of having enough money on hand right now. It’s also important to determine if funding your grandchildren’s education will endanger your ability to fund your own retirement.

Then there are the non-financial issues. Will your grandchildren value their education? As cold-blooded as this may sound, are they a “good investment”? For example, how would you feel if you were paying for your grandchild’s college education and after two years he dropped out? The answer will vary from family to family and grandchild to grandchild. It’s your money. You are free to treat each grandchild differently, based on the situation.

Assuming you have the financial means and the desire to do this, paying your grandchildren’s college tuition (and other related costs) is a great way to transfer wealth to subsequent generations of your family.

In my opinion, this is a gift to both your grandchildren and your children. As the parent of a current college student and a high school senior (plus a college graduate), I would have welcomed the support of my parents if that had been an option. Even with scholarships and other financial aid, college costs are a burden on parents and students.

If you’re thinking about paying your grandchild’s tuition, here are some strategies to consider:

Pay the tuition directly. Currently, the gift tax exclusion is $13,000 per person per year. This means you can give $13,000 to whomever you want each year without having to pay gift taxes or having this amount deducted from your unified gift and estate tax credit. If you are married, you can double this annual gift tax amount.

However, if you pay the tuition directly to the educational institution, this amount is exempt from gift taxes and doesn’t count against the unified credit. This only applies to the cost of tuition, but you could also combine the direct payment with a regular gift if you want to cover additional costs such as room and board, books, etc.

One caution: A gift is just that—a gift. If you put stipulations on the gift, it doesn’t qualify. Be sure that the recipient will spend the money on college costs before making the gift. (If you’re looking to give or lend money to your grandchildren for another purpose, check out my post on lending money to family members.)

Contribute to a 529 college savings plan. These plans are offered on the state level. They generally come in two flavors: accounts that allow for the use of various investment options (individually or in age-based funds) or prepaid tuition plans that allow you to buy “units” of future tuition at institutions in your state.

If the child beneficiary doesn’t attend a school in the program, there are allowances for the benefit to be used elsewhere. A grandparent (or anyone else) can make contributions annually up to the gifting limits described above. Alternatively, you can make a lump-sum contribution of five years’ worth of gifts ($65,000, or $130,000 for a married couple) to each grandchild’s account.

This is not only a great way to fund all or a portion of a grandchild’s education, but it is also an excellent estate-planning vehicle for wealthy grandparents who want to remove assets from their estate.

The 529 accounts are not owned by the grandchild, but typically by one of the parents, with the other parent as the contingent owner. The owner does not have to be a parent, however. Unlike the old custodial accounts, these accounts never become the property of the child beneficiary, so if the child decides to ride off into the sunset with her “true love” at eighteen instead of attending college, she can’t get her hands on the money.

Another note of caution: Several of the prepaid tuition plans have run into financial problems and have declared that they may be unable to fulfill the promise of prepaid tuition.

Whether you choose to directly pay some or all of a grandchild’s tuition, give him a direct gift, or fund a 529 savings plan, all of these options allow you to transfer assets from your own estate to your grandchildren. These strategies are also a great way for you to give, in my opinion, the greatest gift of all—a college education and the lifetime of opportunity that it can provide.

Roger Wohlner, CFP® is a fee-only financial advisor at Asset Strategy Consultants. Roger provides advice to individual clients, retirement plan sponsors and participants, foundations, and endowments.

Follow Roger on Twitter; connect with him on LinkedIn.

Read More:

529 College Savings Plans Are Best For Saving For Your Grandchildren’s College Education
Bonds and the Bonds Market: A Basic Primer
The Volatility Index – Much Ado About Nothing
Annuities: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


  1. Editor, Equifax Personal Finance Blog says:

    Comment from Tim on ActiveRain:

    As a parent of a son in college, Any help would been great., its so expensive and really doesnt need to be that costly. Its sad so many deserving kids cant go to school. One book costing over $200 !! Yes that absurd and greedy as hell. But what are you going to do? They have you tied to a fence post if you want your kids to further thier education. If the grandparents can help with college it would be nothing but a huge plus for thier grandkids.


  2. Editor, Equifax Personal Finance Blog says:

    Comment from Victor at ActiveRain:

    Being able to get a higher education is so much more important than material things because it will pay off in preparing you for a career in the future which will lead to a prosperous life.


    • Ott says:

      This is very valuable imairnftoon. Most people think that grants can only be applied to tuition, but some grants can be applied to other college expenses. My son was able to apply a grant to purchase a new laptop for college while his best friend was able to use a grant to pay the deposit on his Toronto apartment.If the student or parents are willing to do the research, they can find all sorts of college grants to apply for.

  3. Christina F says:

    When paying for a child or grandchild's college tuition, one might consider what many corporations do when offering tuition reimbursement. Have the child (through jobs or scholarships or whatever) pay for the first semester of tuition and fees. When the child receives the report card, the gifter can pay the next semester tuition, etc. Thus the child recipient always has some of his or her own money on the table — that is some serious motivation to stay in school and do well as measured by good grades. When the child graduates, the gifter can then give the tuition and fees from the final semester as a gift to get the child started with his or her career. Win, win for all.

  4. Editor, Equifax Personal Finance Blog says:

    @Christina F – That's a very interesing incentive strategy. Have you tried it with your kids or grandchildren?

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

Leave a Comment

Name :

Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Retirement Archive