If Your Parents Pay For Your College Education, Does That Mean You’ll Get Lower Grades?

If your parents offer to pay for, or help you out with, your college education, could they be doing more harm than good? You would think no, right? But a new study was just released that states that the more money parents give their kids for college, the lower their grades will be.

This study looked at the students and parents in a bunch of different schools, considering both the competitiveness of the institutions and the socioeconomic statuses of the parents. Researchers found that grades were the lowest for students who were getting a lot of support at private and more expensive colleges. But throughout all of the different factors, the result remained pretty much the same: the more money parents shelled out, the worse the grades were.

Hm. I’m not really sure how I feel about these results and this study. On the one hand, I can understand why this would make sense. Kids who are willing to pay their way through school using their own money might be more invested in their education. They also might be more likely to understand that if they don’t do well, they’re basically losing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars. It’s easier to waste money when it’s not yours, but when you’re the one signing the checks, you’re probably more likely to make sure you get the most out of the experience.

But on the other hand, I sort of don’t agree with this. I think grades have more to do with a student’s general attitude towards school and a parent’s general attitude towards school. I guess I’ll use myself as an example. My parents paid for my entire college education, but I think I still did pretty well. Honestly, looking back, I don’t think I would have done any better if I had paid for school myself. In fact, I think I put more pressure on myself to do better, because the entire time, I had my parents breathing down my back, reminding me that I better do good because they were the ones footing the bill.

So is this study saying that in order to get better grades in college, you need to tell your parents to put away their checkbooks? Not so fast. Another pattern this study discovered was that students who got the lowest grades might have been getting parental support in the form of money, but they weren’t exactly getting any pressure from their parents to do well. In fact, when it came to parents who pushed their kids to get good grades and who had high expectations of their kids, it didn’t matter how much money they paid: the kids still got good grades.

What I’m going to take from that is that it really comes down to a combination of things: how much money your parents are paying and how much pressure your parents are putting on you to do well in school. So if your parents are paying your entire college bill and almost never encourage you to study or go to class, you’re going to get lower grades. Obviously! But if they’re paying your whole bill and they’re setting some clear guidelines for your schoolwork, you’re going to do well. Obviously! That makes a lot more sense to me.

One other thing this study found? Kids who don’t pay for their education are more likely to graduate. Think about it: if you’re paying for college, but you just can’t do it anymore financially, you’re probably going to back out of it. Makes sense.

Basically, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having your parents financially help you out with college. If they’re able to do that, and if they still encourage you to work hard, I think it can only be a benefit. And I’m kind of over people saying that you’re spoiled and entitled if they do. If your parents want to help you out so that you don’t have to be buried under a pile of debt when you graduate, what’s wrong with that?

In the end, how good your grades are really just comes down to one thing: how hard you work for them.

What do you think about this study? Did your parents pay for your school or are they going to? Do you agree with this or disagree? Tell us in the comments.


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Posted in: Beliefs
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  • Indigo

    My parents pay for the private school I go to… Not college, of course, middle school, but I seem to be getting good grades. I’m the only one in the grade with straight A’s, so…