According to a new study, if you had paid for some of your college tuition you may have done better on that psych final. The study, published in this month’s American Sociological Review, suggests students with some of their own “skin in the game” may work harder, and that students with parents paying for their tuition and other expenses feel more free to take on a more active social and extracurricular life. But this attitude can hurt their GPAs and therefore hurt their chances in the job market later. Boy, this study is really putting that Golf Pros and Tennis Hoes mixer you have later in a dark light.
The study is based on figures from three large federal data sets that allow parental contributions and grades to be compared.
From the study:
“When parents pick up greater absolute amounts and shares of college costs, it affects GPA across the income distribution, though the effect is steepest at families earning over $90,000. At that level, and controlling for other factors, parents not giving their children any aid predicts a GPA of 3.15. At $16,000 in aid, GPA drops under 3.0. At $40,000, it hits 2.95.”
Author Laura Hamilton of the University of California, Merced., said the damage of this is seen more clearly with families with less money. Wealthier students can rely on connections and further help from parents but more middle class students cannot. Students without those connections “have to have the 3.0 in order to pass the initial resume glance,” she said.
Hamilton found grants, scholarships, work-study, student employment and veterans benefits don’t have this negative effect on GPA, but loans do, along with direct parental aid. Money from your parents and loans don’t have the strings attached responsibility weight that a grant or scholarship does.
But Hamilton isn’t saying that parents shouldn’t give their money to children during college, but they should come up with some sort of strategy where the college students have to pay them back some of it or at least get a part-time job partly to feel responsibility and to also appreciate what it means to make and manage your own money.
Learning about money should be a college course but it seems to be missing from the national college curricula and so many students find themselves clueless when they graduate and start making real money. “We learn about everything else before we learn about money,” said Alexa von Tobel, founder of LearnVest, an online personal financial education site. So if you can start even just learning how to budget money in college, you will be ahead of the pack. And it will definitely help you out more than that tennis hoes mixer.