Skip navigation

Why university shouldn’t be a free ride for your kids, even if it could be

.

 

All in costs for post-secondary education in Canada can now easily top $20,000 a year.

.

As a parent or grandparent, you may have saved and put yourself in a position to cover all of these expenses. If you are in that position, you have a decision to make: Should your offspring head off to the ivory towers with all of their expenses covered — allowing them to focus solely on getting good grades (and having some fun)?

.

As a financial planner, I find the answer to this question tells me a lot about a client.

.

There is no wrong answer, but I certainly have a point of view. My wife and I share the view (to my children’s chagrin) that our kids should pay for some of their post-secondary education. Our feeling is that university or college is a time to learn more about the world, and also to add another level of personal maturity and responsibility. Financial management and budgeting are an important part of that education.

.

Quite a number of my clients who have ‘bombed out’ of university, almost always, those are kids whose parents are affluent.

.

As it turns out, having the student take some financial responsibility brings with it a number of positive benefits, not the least of which is improved marks. A U.S. study from 2013 found that the more money parents paid for their childrens’ college educations, the worse their kids tended to perform, at least when it came to grades. The study, by Laura Hamilton, a sociology professor at University of California, Merced, found that larger contributions from parents were linked to lower grades among students at a variety of four-year colleges.

.

If you think about it, this shouldn’t be surprising. If, as a student, you put your own money on the line, you will tend to take your education more seriously. You will be less likely to skip classes when you realize how much each class is actually costing you.

.

One person who sees the implication of this first hand is Sabrina McTaggart, an Ottawa-based Career Coach for young adults. Her clients mostly fall into the 15 to 25 age group.

.

“Quite a number of my clients who have ‘bombed out’ of university, almost always, those are kids whose parents are affluent and have had their entire education paid,” McTaggart said, adding, “I have never seen a student who has had to pay most or all of their own way, who has dropped out in the same way.”

.

When directly asked whether parents should pay for everything, McTaggart says “no.”

.

“I think you are doing your young adult a disservice,” she adds. “They should have some skin in the game.”

 

Ted Rechtshaffen

NATIONAL POST

August 21, 2015

 

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: