Rich kids have problems too

Why parents shouldn’t pay the full tuition bill

by Josh Dehaas

Photo by Carsten Schertzer on Flickr

Some students seem to have it all. Their parents send them off to school in gently-used sports cars, they find money deposited in their bank accounts each term and they’re always up for a party because they never have to work part-time.

But a new study in Journal of Adult Development suggests that less wealthy college students shouldn’t envy the rich kids. It turns out rich kids feel more immature, have less defined career plans, and engage in riskier behaviours like drugs.

The conclusion? “Parents who are in position to help should provide a level of support that facilitates progress toward graduation while enabling children to become invested in their own education by contributing to the cost of getting a degree,” co-author Larry Nelson told the Salt Lake Tribune.

The study by researchers from Brigham Young University involved in-depth surveys of 402 undergraduates and their parents at four schools in Maryland, the U.S. Midwest and California.

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Rich kids have problems too

  1. Children who come from wealthy families would definitely benefit from paying for part of their education. The important thing is for parents to set clear expectations prior to their child(ren) graduating from high school.

    I used to work in Financial Aid and I was dismayed by how many children from “high-income families” received very little information from their parents about paying for school.

    We had many circumstances where students were told that their parents weren’t going to help them pay for school, only when the first tuition bill came due. These parents often stated “I worked my way through school, so you will too.”

    My issue wasn’t necessarily with their unwillingness to assist their son or daughter, but with the fact that they sprung this information on their children mere weeks or days before classes were due to start.

    Whether a child comes from a high- or low income family, they deserve to know whether or not their parents are planning to help them pay for school and whether or not they need to make other arrangements. They deserve a basic modicum of financial literacy education.

    Talk to your children well before they start their post-secondary journey!

  2. “We had many circumstances where students were told that their parents weren’t going to help them pay for school, only when the first tuition bill came due. These parents often stated “I worked my way through school, so you will too.”

    This absolutely happened to me back in 1998. I was shocked to be in this position when the government took my parents’ earnings into account for student loans. I was naive, I’ll admit, and it was a learning curve. It took me a long time to get over the ‘sheltered child’ approach. On the one hand, it certainly made me stronger and more resourceful. On the other, I am still somewhat bitter, and find myself jealous of those whose parents did pay for everything (my best friend’s parents outright bought her an apartment, which she later sold and used the profits to buy a loft outright in downtown Vancouver, while here I am still renting in the middle of nowhere). I know that’s life, and life isn’t fair, but it is a shock aged 18. Parents do need to be more open.

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