Parents: Let your kids help pay for college

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Parents’ Financial Support May Not Help College Grades
Tamar Lewin/NYT

Parents saving for college costs, take heed: A new national study has found that the more college money parents provide — whether in absolute terms or as a share of total costs — the lower their children’s college grades.

Students from wealthy families are more likely than those from poor families to go to college, and those whose parents pay their way are more likely to graduate. But according to “More Is More or More Is Less? Parent Financial Investments During College,” a study by Laura Hamilton, a sociology professor at the University of California, Merced, greater parental contributions were linked with lower grades across all kinds of four-year institutions.

“It’s a modest effect, not big enough to make the kid flunk out of college,” said Dr. Hamilton, whose study was published in this month’s American Sociological Review. “But it was surprising because everybody has always assumed that the more you give, the better your child does.”

The negative impact on grades was less at elite institutions than at other private, expensive, out-of-state colleges. The higher graduation rate of students whose parents paid their way is not surprising, she said, since many students leave college for financial reasons.

…“There were some affluent families who thought their children were spoiled and didn’t pay the whole cost, and there were some families who had scrimped and saved and borrowed from family members and taken out loans,” she said. “And the affluent families aren’t hurt the most by the lower grades, because they had the connections to call the head of NBC or the N.F.L. and get their child a job. It’s more of a problem for the middle-class parents, who worked hard to pay the college costs, used up their retirement funds and are out of money by graduation time.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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One thought on “Parents: Let your kids help pay for college

    John A. Bartelloni said:
    January 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    When I was enrolled at Virginia Tech (1971-75), my parents paid for roughly half of my room and board. I paid the rest. In my summer jobs, I usually made a ton of money and I waited until absolutely the last moment necessary to return to Blacksburg. On more than one occasion I did not get back to campus before classes started. Before my last fall term, I had been out at a Chi Omega soiree with some buddies who didn’t want a few GMU TKEs to know where we were headed. My friend MJM’s orders were firm – “Lose ‘em, Bart.” Well, they tried to follow, but I lost them all right. I also ended up wrecking my father’s car because Guinea Road near Twinbrook had been re-routed due to construction. The next morning, my father mentioned his car was banged up and inquired, “Aren’t you supposed to be back at school now?”

    The summer job was over. I boarded a bus the next afternoon.

    My brother Bill also made very good money in his summer jobs. He also worked in the dining hall on campus, but doing the same never occured to me. He is now a Vice President of an insurance company.

    Jerry, my brother who is now a CPA and the CFO/CEO of a foundation, put himself through GMU working as a Safeway cashier. He made more money than any of us and paid for his entire education. He also bought a house in Kamp Washington his junior year. After about a year in the dwelling, he rented it out and moved on campus when the first dorms opened. He wanted the campus experience of his older brothers.

    My youngest brother James attended the Naval Academy Prep School before matriculating at USNA. Mids say that they get a free education “shoved up their (orifice) one quarter at a time. My folks gave him a car to have at school which he used frequently to visit the woman at Virginia Tech who is now his wife and the mother of his four children. He currently runs his own investment fund and consults for Beltway bandits.

    I agree. Making students pay for part of their education is a very sensible notion. It sure worked for the Bartellonis of Willow Woods Drive.

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