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Wedding Woes

Money comes with strings, honeys.

Dear Prudence,
I am sending two kids off to college, and my husband and I are able to pay for most of their tuition. I am allowing my children to go anywhere they want and study anything they wish. I do, however, expect that they maintain a GPA of 3.33 (B-plus) at the end of each academic year. I do not think this is unreasonable. If either of my children were to fall behind I would not withdraw funding completely but would contribute only as much as in-state tuition in our state costs. My husband agrees with me. My kids think this is unfair and that most of their friends’ parents will not be monitoring their grades. I don’t need constant updates about how they are doing. I just want to make sure they end the year in good academic standing. My husband and I both paid our way through school with loans, but mostly attended through scholarships. We had to maintain certain averages to keep our funding. Is it too harsh to expect the same of my kids?

—Conditional Tuition

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Re: Money comes with strings, honeys.

  • Hmmmm... these kids sound spoiled.  A lot of kids don't have ANY help for tuition.  I don't think expecting to keep high grades to keep your tuition is asking too much at all.  Sounds like this mom is used to providing everything for her kids, and doesn't know how to react when they protest.  Why is she asking here?  Just lay down the law.

    SaveSave
    OurWildKingdombleve0821kimmiinthemitten
  • OurWildKingdomOurWildKingdom in the 216 member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited June 2016
    monkeysip said:
    Hmmmm... these kids sound spoiled.  A lot of kids don't have ANY help for tuition.  I don't think expecting to keep high grades to keep your tuition is asking too much at all.  Sounds like this mom is used to providing everything for her kids, and doesn't know how to react when they protest.  Why is she asking here?  Just lay down the law.
    QFT. I had scholarships, and when my grades dropped to where I was in jeopardy of losing them, I was told by my parents that if I didn't get my grades up, I would have to transfer. That was good motivation for me.
    MissKittyDangerthisismynickname2
  • @OurWildKingdom you make a good point, if they were on scholarships they would have to keep grades up!

    I don't see it as an issue. Most parents want to see their kids keep their grades up anyways, there's just more motivation for the kids to actually do it here.
    OurWildKingdomSP29
  • Mom should just tell them that this is the Scholarship of Mom & Dad U, if you don't like the terms then don't bother applying.  I agree with PP that these kids are probably spoiled and have never had to "work" in order to get/keep a benefit from mom & dad.

    OP's offer is very generous.  I wish I could have had that offer, instead I'm still paying off my student loans :(

    Same :(
    spockforprezMesmrEwe
  • I don't think that it's unreasonable, but I might take a few other factors into account as well. There were a few classes where i didn't do as well just because i was overloaded that semester, or had a shitty professor and couldn't withdraw in time. (I ended up re-taking these classes and getting an A or B.) I was also in a very demanding accredited engineering program. My parents never cut back funding when I had a rough semester - and that was much appreciated. (I was fortunate that they contributed a lot towards my education, I paid some of the costs, and also had a loan - they did the same for my sister.) 

    We're planning to pay for Wolverine's college/trade education (within reason) - but will probably have some GPA limitations, and maybe some limitations on fields of study. (e.g. if she wants to study underwater basketweaving, she can pay for that herself.)
  • Unless Mom is requiring transcripts before she forks over the money, I don't see how she can enforce this. Not that it's an unfair requirement, of course, but legally speaking the college students wouldn't have to tell her what their grades are and she can't get that information from the school. Technically she can't even get the school to tell her they're enrolled even if she's paying the bills.

    That aside, Mom's right. She can't force them to show or even be truthful about their grades, but she doesn't have to fund their college either. If they're not A-B students now I might recommend a bit more leniency since college classes tend to be harder. If they're already at that GPA or higher, what the hell are they bitching about?
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    OurWildKingdomcharlotte989875VarunaTTscrunchythief
  • They don't have to like it, in fact they are perfectly within their rights to not accept it if they don't like the conditions. Life rarely hands you anything for free, probably time for the little darlings to learn that. I don't feel sorry for them, they are incredibly lucky to have an offer like this. A lot of parents couldn't give this to their children.
                 
    Greenjinjo thisismynickname2
  • Unless Mom is requiring transcripts before she forks over the money, I don't see how she can enforce this. Not that it's an unfair requirement, of course, but legally speaking the college students wouldn't have to tell her what their grades are and she can't get that information from the school. Technically she can't even get the school to tell her they're enrolled even if she's paying the bills.

    That aside, Mom's right. She can't force them to show or even be truthful about their grades, but she doesn't have to fund their college either. If they're not A-B students now I might recommend a bit more leniency since college classes tend to be harder. If they're already at that GPA or higher, what the hell are they bitching about?
    I'm all for FERPA, but that can be signed away. In her shoes, I'd require the kids to sign the paperwork letting me see their grades before cutting a single check - and if they want their privacy, they can pay for it. As for timing, most schools don't require full payment until August, well after Spring grades are posted, so she won't have any trouble.

    Also, does this remind anyone else of this girl?
    thisismynickname2InLoveInQueensscrunchythief
  • thefanciestbecklerthefanciestbeckler Chattanooga, TN member
    1000 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer

    Mom should just tell them that this is the Scholarship of Mom & Dad U, if you don't like the terms then don't bother applying.  I agree with PP that these kids are probably spoiled and have never had to "work" in order to get/keep a benefit from mom & dad.

    OP's offer is very generous.  I wish I could have had that offer, instead I'm still paying off my student loans :(

    Same :(
    Same for me too. My parents couldn't afford to help me with college, no matter where I went. These kids should be grateful that they have this opportunity.

    Greenjinjo
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Totally reasonable.

    DH says our future children are on their own, even if we are wealthy. He had to pay his own way, so do they. I'm encouraging a bit more help.
  • I think that this is so generous! And while it may be difficult to maintain that level of grade, I know for me I work incredibly hard and that doesn't always show in my grades and things like family bereavement definitely made my grades fall, they're still not taking all the money away! 
  • princessleia22princessleia22 Oceanfront Property in Arizona member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    edited June 2016
    My parents did something similar, except they didn't have the money to pay all expenses. We had to start at community college and they paid 100% there, if all grades were passing. If we failed one class, they stopped paying and we were on our own. After community college, they would help as much as they were able.  My brother & sister both failed classes their first year and ended up paying for their own schooling, which they did. My parents paid all my community college tuition because I kept my grades up. When I went away to college, they helped out with about $500 a month toward my expenses all the way through graduation. I had grants, scholarships, some minimal student loans, and worked full time while taking full time classes to cover the rest. 

    ETA: I also didn't go to my first choice college, due to high cost. I did move out of state for school though, because My state didn't have great options for my major, but went to another public state college. I also didn't go to 4-year college until I was 24 and they stopped looking at my parents income for financial aid, because I couldn't get enough aid to afford it until that time. And I am SO thankful for the help my parents were able to provide. 

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    OurWildKingdom
  • Ok, I am going to go against the grain here.

    Sure, the parents have every right to put any restrictions they choose on the money they are gifting.  Their funds, their say-so.  But that doesn't mean it is reasonable or kind.

    A bright Communications major at a regional university could probably pull a 3.3 out of their ass while staying continuously drunk for 4 years straight.  But in a highly rigorous engineering program, a 3.3 may be something only 1% of students could pull off even with intensive dedication and study.  I went to an elite college where a 3.3 would have been virtually unheard of.  Anything over 3.0 was fantastic--and we are talking about students who often had perfect grades in high school and/or perfect SAT scores.  You don't have to be a slacker to not have perfect grades in college.

    This system incentivises easier programs and/or lesser institutions in a very direct way, where choosing the more rigorous option has real-world consequences of being saddled with student debt.  That sounds like the exact opposite of what this parent would want to do.  Instead of an arbitrary GPA, I would counsel them to require that the student remain in good standing, however their institution defines that.
    I get you're point, and you're right that a biology major is going to have a more difficult time than a fashion design major (no offense, fashion designers!).  

    Maybe the parents already know the kids majors?  Maybe they already know that those are reasonable expectations for those particular schools?  I think at most schools, with most majors, a 3.3 is attainable with a lot of hard work.  And I think staying in good standing is perhaps setting the bar too low.  

    I would HOPE that the parents and children have a good enough relationship that they could discuss reasonable limitations to this rule, especially if some fluke incident happens one semester that jeopardizes their grades.  But that may not be the case here.  There's already red flags about these parents and their children's relationship :/

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    OurWildKingdomJediElizabeth
  • monkeysip said:
    Ok, I am going to go against the grain here.

    Sure, the parents have every right to put any restrictions they choose on the money they are gifting.  Their funds, their say-so.  But that doesn't mean it is reasonable or kind.

    A bright Communications major at a regional university could probably pull a 3.3 out of their ass while staying continuously drunk for 4 years straight.  But in a highly rigorous engineering program, a 3.3 may be something only 1% of students could pull off even with intensive dedication and study.  I went to an elite college where a 3.3 would have been virtually unheard of.  Anything over 3.0 was fantastic--and we are talking about students who often had perfect grades in high school and/or perfect SAT scores.  You don't have to be a slacker to not have perfect grades in college.

    This system incentivises easier programs and/or lesser institutions in a very direct way, where choosing the more rigorous option has real-world consequences of being saddled with student debt.  That sounds like the exact opposite of what this parent would want to do.  Instead of an arbitrary GPA, I would counsel them to require that the student remain in good standing, however their institution defines that.
    I get you're point, and you're right that a biology major is going to have a more difficult time than a fashion design major (no offense, fashion designers!).  

    Maybe the parents already know the kids majors?  Maybe they already know that those are reasonable expectations for those particular schools?  I think at most schools, with most majors, a 3.3 is attainable with a lot of hard work.  And I think staying in good standing is perhaps setting the bar too low.  

    I would HOPE that the parents and children have a good enough relationship that they could discuss reasonable limitations to this rule, especially if some fluke incident happens one semester that jeopardizes their grades.  But that may not be the case here.  There's already red flags about these parents and their children's relationship :/
    As someone with a degree in fashion design I can confirm your suspicions.
                 
    JediElizabethShesSoColdOliveOilsMomLadyCatherineDB
  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    monkeysip said:
    Ok, I am going to go against the grain here.

    Sure, the parents have every right to put any restrictions they choose on the money they are gifting.  Their funds, their say-so.  But that doesn't mean it is reasonable or kind.

    A bright Communications major at a regional university could probably pull a 3.3 out of their ass while staying continuously drunk for 4 years straight.  But in a highly rigorous engineering program, a 3.3 may be something only 1% of students could pull off even with intensive dedication and study.  I went to an elite college where a 3.3 would have been virtually unheard of.  Anything over 3.0 was fantastic--and we are talking about students who often had perfect grades in high school and/or perfect SAT scores.  You don't have to be a slacker to not have perfect grades in college.

    This system incentivises easier programs and/or lesser institutions in a very direct way, where choosing the more rigorous option has real-world consequences of being saddled with student debt.  That sounds like the exact opposite of what this parent would want to do.  Instead of an arbitrary GPA, I would counsel them to require that the student remain in good standing, however their institution defines that.
    I get you're point, and you're right that a biology major is going to have a more difficult time than a fashion design major (no offense, fashion designers!).  

    Maybe the parents already know the kids majors?  Maybe they already know that those are reasonable expectations for those particular schools?  I think at most schools, with most majors, a 3.3 is attainable with a lot of hard work.  And I think staying in good standing is perhaps setting the bar too low.  

    I would HOPE that the parents and children have a good enough relationship that they could discuss reasonable limitations to this rule, especially if some fluke incident happens one semester that jeopardizes their grades.  But that may not be the case here.  There's already red flags about these parents and their children's relationship :/
    As someone with a degree in fashion design I can confirm your suspicions.
    As someone with a degree in communications I can also confirm your suspicions. LOL. 

    But I did have scholarships that required me to keep a 3.0. and be involved with a handful of student organizations. With some of the general education (I'm looking at you, Philosophy), that was hard! I definitely felt stressed to keep a 3.0 (with 5 courses per semester) a few semesters there. One "C" on a midterm and I was in tears. And I had a 4.3 GPA at a private, college-prep high school.

    I really agree with @saintpaulgal in general. The letter writers may already know if their demands are in line with their kids' abilities, but for anyone else considering paying for their kid's schooling, this is a good idea. 
    My high school boyfriend partied too much and failed out of college his freshman year. His parents absolutely stopped paying for college. Once he had to pay for it himself, he shaped up and got the degree eventually. I do think parents have to put strings on the money. There are studies out there that have demonstrated that on average, students with a free parental ride are more likely to not take their coursework seriously (not a sweeping generalization folks, just studies saying "more likely..."). 
    ________________________________


    OurWildKingdomscrunchythiefShesSoCold
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