One of our regulars wants your input about how much financial backing parents should give to their college students. Here is what she is thinking about.
“Our son is planning on moving off campus for his sophomore year so he’s looking at apartments. We agreed before he got to college that we would help with his college, including living expenses, as long as he maintained HOPE (3.0 GPA). Now we’re trying to decide what we will pay for and how much per month. He does have a part-time job and we expect him to contribute some as well. We don’t want to put an undue burden on him such that he would have to work more than 20 hours a week but we also don’t want to pay for everything so that he’s just turning around blowing his money on whatever he wants. We want him to feel like he’s responsible for his education as well so that he’s more likely to continue to study and go to class. All bets are off of course if he drops below a 3.0 GPA.”
“I’m curious what level of support other parents provide for their college students. We were thinking that we would cover his apartment and a little more to help with utilities (~$400 a month total) but he would be responsible for food and anything else he would need. Of course when he comes home or we go to visit, I’m sure we’ll make sure he’s stocked up, fill his tank up, buy him the occasional pair of jeans or new shoes but it won’t be a regular monthly contribution to his account. He currently has a small car payment for the truck he bought from us (yes, we’re those parents who didn’t just give our kid a vehicle when he turned 16!) and he pays for his own gas and any meals off campus or whatever else he does (party) while he’s away. We pay his car insurance and cell phone bill as well and will continue to, again, as long as he maintains the GPA.”
“We really don’t want him to take out student loans if he doesn’t have to and would rather he saved money over the summer and continue to work part time next school year. Neither my husband or I had any help from our parents once we graduated high school so this seems pretty fair to us and we consider it a blessing that he could potentially graduate without any debt. He is our only child and we are financially able to contribute to his college expenses but we’re also not the parents who like to give hand outs.”
I think this is a great topic and I can tell you what I saw with my students at ASU. I had many, many students who were working multiple jobs to pay for college. It was clear that because of the bad economy their parents were not able to contribute as much and the students were having to make it up through work, scholarship and loans. I really felt bad for some of my students who were working so much that they didn’t get their classwork turned in. Then they would get a bad grade and really what’s the point then. Many of them had jobs at stores and such to pay expenses but then also took jobs like at the student news station for experience relevant to their field of study.
I do think that the students paying for some, if not all, of their education had a much higher stake in how well they did. (I really like Techmom tying her financial support to his GPA. I think that’s smart.) Some of my favorite students were soldiers. They always worked so hard and were so appreciative to be there and not in Afghanistan. I always give very high recs to my solider-students.
Techmom also sent our questions for the end. (Thank you Techmom. I wanted to watch the Oscars and your blog helped me!)
“Should parents pay everything for their college student if they are able?
Should students be required to work while going to college?
How do you encourage your college student to apply for scholarships after their first year? Seems like it’s a big deal when they’re in HS but beyond that, no one goes looking for scholarships.
Do you have any other stipulations about what you pay for vs. what your college student pays for?”