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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Big Q Blog

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The Slowdown Hits Home

A student's financial situation changes after she is accepted at a prestigious, expensive university.

Kayla is going to be a freshman at a prestigious university, which was her first choice for college.  Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more expensive institutions of higher learning in the country.

When Kayla was making her applications, her family was in good shape financially, but just before she was accepted, she learned her father had been laid off from his job as a software engineer.  In order to send Kayla to her first-choice school, her parents intend to dip into their retirement accounts. 

Should Kayla allow them to do this, or should she go to the less expensive state university, where she was also accepted?


Here are some resources that might be useful:


Balancing kids' college and retirement saving

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

Pay for College (CollegeBoard) 


Photo by Daniel Moyle available under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.


Posted by Rebecca Bivona-Guttadauro