Thanks, Mom. Again

As much as I loathed my mother’s stubborn refusal to pay for things when I was a teenager, now that I’m older I can see it wasn’t a cruel plot to deprive me, but rather to foster some sense of self-reliance in a burgeoning (if hormone-filled) young woman.

Time to break out the thank you cards and tell her she was right. Again. This time, I’m thanking her for making me pay for my own college education.

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.

So if my Mom had paid for my private liberal arts education, it probably wouldn’t say cum laude on my degree? Thanks for not having an extra $30,000 a year to toss my way, Mom! (This is not to say my mother didn’t support me: I did endless loads of laundry at her house, she cosigned two loans for me, and fronted the money for deposits when I had to move.)

The study also finds that if parents put the fear of God in their children (nicely phrased as “setting clear expectations about grades and progress toward graduation”), even Fully Financed Fiona will do better than the rich kids who are given no such talking-to. Yet another example of research making you say, “Duh.”

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