How Much Should Parents Financially Support Their College-Aged Kids?

Study – Students Who Pay Their Own Way Have Less Risky Behavior And Feel More Adult


College. Photo courtesy of 401(K) 2013(CC ShareALike)

This article, by Brian Maffly from The Salt Lake Tribune, examines the potential tradeoffs facing parents in determining how much financial support to provide for their college-age children. A study using survey data on a large sample of undergraduates at four universities found that high level of financial support were correlated with riskier college behaviors and less of a sense of personal responsibility. The study recommends a middle ground between complete financial support and no support at all in order to encourage students to pursue academic goals while also developing a sense of adulthood and self-sufficiency. Parents of college-aged students will benefit from this empirical evidence for a balanced approach to supporting their kids into adulthood and for helping them avoid destructive behavioral outcomes during formative college years.

Finding Responsibility In College

All parents want to support their children as much as possible, whether it’s financially, emotionally or academically. It’s hard for many parents to find a balance between providing adequate support and enabling a self-destructive lifestyle. As mentioned in this article, it’s better for parents to err on the side of less financial support, which can enable students to spend more time and money partying instead of, perhaps, working a part-time job, which increases personal responsibility. 

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