Why You Shouldn’t Rely On Your Parents To Pay For College

I do know wholeheartedly that in these days it’s near impossible to 100% support yourself while attending college full-time.

Everyone needs help whether it’s through parents, grandparents, scholarships, grants, loans etc. No one should feel ashamed needing assistance to get them through college. Everyone needs it to some extent. However, throughout my college experience I have come across a number of people who I feel would greatly benefit from cutting themselves at least partially off from their parents.

I’m talking about those students who fly through their 4 years at college never once holding a job, always living in the best apartments, eating the best meals, and still have money leftover in their accounts to go out and have fun every weekend. Many of these people I have come across don’t even have a clue what FAFSA means.

If you happen to be one of those people, that’s great for you! So many students would do anything to be in a similar situation. However, I think it is a vital part of growing up to learn what money means and to be able to manage oneself through school and more importantly after school.

I truly believe every student should learn the value of a dollar early on in their college career or better yet during their high school years. Having the help from your parents is a great and wonderful thing, but there a various reasons relying solely on your parents income to get you through college is a bad idea. Here’s why…

Your parents…

  • may not always have enough.
    Four years (or more) in college is a long time. The family business may have been booming the year you began college. Maybe it was making more than enough to support your college endeavors. Unfortunately, this may not always be the case. Sometimes your parents’ jobs will have slow times where they aren’t making as much. Getting laid off is another disappointing but possible situation. It’s not fair to put complete pressure on your parents.
  • may not always want to support you.
    There’s a chance they may have a change of heart when they check their bank account and see you spent their hard earned cash on a designer brand shopping spree… Okay, so that may seem like an extreme example but it’s surely a possibility. Don’t take advantage of them. They’re doing you a huge favor and you should be nothing but appreciative. You should always be ready for the off chance they decide they don’t want to support your college lifestyle anymore.
  • may want the help of financial aid.
    It’s possible your parents have enough money to fully support you. But why should they have to when financial aid is an option? A lot of students assume they won’t be eligible for much, but it’s always worth it to fill out FAFSA and go for some scholarships. You just never know what you may get. The extra money will help you and your parents out in the long run.

Filling out the FAFSA…

  • gives you opportunities for “free money.”
    Yep, you heard that right! My parents were extremely worried when both my brother and I both wanted to attend expensive colleges. They knew they couldn’t fully support us financially so we were banking hard on financial aid. We are still insanely excited and thankful with how much financial support we were able to get just through filling out FAFSA. Sure, we both have a decent amount of money to pay back in loans, but just by filling out FAFSA we were given multiple scholarships and government funding that took a huge chip out of what we may have had to spend or owe.
  • introduces you to available loans.
    Loans may sound like a bad idea. And they can be a pain if you don’t handle them properly. While you are in college, you probably won’t think about them much. Because more than likely you won’t have to start to pay them back till after you graduate. However, loans can be a major blessing. You can usually find almost exactly the amount of money you need to in loans, they will end up boosting your credit score if you make payments on time, and they will teach you discipline through making monthly payments. If you can avoid loans, then great. But if you can take a smaller one out, they can help you throughout college and after.

And last, but certainly not least, it is really smart to get a part-time job. Whether it’s only a few days or hours a week or even just during your breaks, having a job while you attend college…

  • provides you with your own income.
  • gives you more work experience.
  • can supplement your resume.
  • allows you to start saving.
  • helps out your parents.
  • builds character.

Learning how to manage, make and save your own money is a key part of growing up and being successful. Learning these tools throughout college will only better prepare you for after college. It’s great to get the help from your parents. My parents have provided a significant amount for me throughout college. The important thing is to appreciate their help, and do what you can to repay them. Go for scholarships, fill out FAFSA, and get a job even if it’s just during breaks.

Don’t wait for college to end. Learn how to be financially aware from the get-go.

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Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman

Molly Stallman is a senior at DePaul University working toward an English degree with an emphasis on Creative Writing. She also has a minor in Digital Cinema. Molly especially enjoys spending time with loved ones, listening to music, watching movies/television and playing with her dogs. She also has a passion for antiques, crafts, animals, photography and the great outdoors.