We made an agreement, in junior year of HS, that I would fund young adult-ness, whether that was at a college or just plain cash. I’m obligated to the equivalent of 4 years of tuition, room and board, and books / fees at a state university.
The older one did 1 year of college, for which I kept my end of the bargain. She had a small loan for the remaining amount. Then she decided not to continue, so now I’m giving a monthly stipend that she’s using to basically build a life: pay off a car, furnish an apartment, save money, etc. She has a job that she bitches about, who knows where she’s going next, but I’m not that sold on the blanket statement that a 4-year degree is essential to a good life, or even remotely causational.
Second one graduated in June, now he’s just living at home paying nothing and getting no stipend. Same deal - I’ll pay the equivalent of 4 years’ worth at state schools. He doesn’t want it now, he’d rather get it when college starts, which he’s now looking at and much more intentional than 12-18 months ago when everyone else was just going to Mizzou and figure out a major and a path while there. He’s actually very interested and intentional about audio engineering now, which wasn’t even on his radar during high school, so if he’d just picked somewhere, I think he would have regretted it.
For the next 2, their deals will likely be different. Next one to graduate, she’s not likely to get into a 4-year college. And I would be very reticent to give her a big fat lump of money with no strings attached, as she’d likely blow it on Genshin Impact or other plushies, so I’ll be more actively involved in that situation. I’d like to support her, so probably paying for community college classes, maybe renting her an apartment close to a job where she pays me a little bit of money to get used to the practice, etc.
Last one is likely to go to culinary school, so my support for him might be 2 years’ worth of that, then 2 more years’ worth of young adult stipend as he gets settled. Which might be necessary, if he wants to maybe save up to start a restaurant or buy a car or move to Alaska or get a job on a cruise ship or whatever.