College Expenses

College education is a major expense for families with children. Under Illinois divorce laws, parents may be required by the Court to contribute to a child’s college education. even without an agreement between divorcing parents.

How much does a college education cost today?

The cost of a college education today can easily run well into six figures. Tuition can vary by major and students may pay more if enrolled in engineering, sciences, pre-med, computing, or fine arts. 

What is Illinois’ divorce law for college education expenses?

Contributions by parents to college expenses are not calculated using a formula, as they are with child support, but left up to the discretion of the judge. Courts consider that a parent should not have to pay more than he or she can afford. Educational expenses, as defined under the law, include but are not limited to:

  • Tuition and fees
  • Books and supplies
  • Housing, on or off campus
  • Meal plans
  • Medical insurance
  • Medical expenses
  • Dental insurance
  • Dental expenses
  • Reasonable living expenses

How much will a parent have to pay for a child’s college education?

Absent an agreement, a parent will not be ordered to contribute more than it costs for a child to attend the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana. Contributions ordered by the courts only go up to the level of a bachelor’s degree and do not apply to postgraduate degrees.

What does the court consider in determining how much a parent must contribute?

When parents of a child are married, the state does not require them to contribute to the child’s college expenses. Only when parents are divorcing or not married can the court require them to pay for college. Family court judges consider several factors in determining if and how much a divorcing parent should be ordered to contribute to a child’s college expenses. These factors include:

  • Academic performance of the child
  • Standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the parents not divorced
  • Financial resources of the child
  • Present and future financial resources to meet the parent’s needs, including retirement savings

Beermann LLP in Chicago and Bannockburn is an award-winning divorce and family law firm established in 1958. Our legal team includes more than forty top-tier lawyers who have the knowledge and skills to advocate effectively for clients.