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    Students whose Parents Pay Their Tuition: Do They Get Lower Grades? Possibly.....

    I haven't read the entire research paper that this article summarizes, but the summary makes some really interesting points.

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2...s-lower-grades
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    My parents paid my tuition. I had a scholarship that paid for my courses, but not my books, student fees, parking pass, etc. My parents paid for those. Had I never received a scholarship, they would've paid for the balance.

    Not sure if those studies take into account the issues of scholarship. By virtue of a student earning a scholarship, the parents were not directly putting in as much money toward their kids' higher education. And by having a scholarship, it's a pretty good chance you were gonna do pretty well scholastically.
    Last edited by manhn; 01-14-2013 at 07:18 PM.

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    The first thing that came to mind for me was "But how does that correlate with graduation rates?" because there is a mass of data showing that the main reason college students drop out of school is lack of money. And sure enough:

    the study found a positive association (even controlling for other factors) between increased parental contributions and graduation over five years. In an interview, Hamilton said that she explained this finding (even if apparently contradictory with the results on grades) because those with minimal levels of parental support have a much more difficult job paying for college, and those who can't pay, can't graduate. "Kids who don't have funds, they don't stay," she said.

    Anecdotally, I think students do best if they have some vested interest in their own success but are not burdened with a lot of obligation.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    I have not read the article in detail, just skimmed over it. I have to completely disagree with this. My parents paid entire educational expenses for all their children and everyone had at least a master's degree. We did get assistantships for schools for graduate work, which paid for all the graduate level expenses. My brother pays for his son's college expenses (all of it) and there is no sign that the kid will drop out. When parents emphasize the importance of good education since childhood, there is not much chance of the kid not completing a degree, regardless of who pays for the education. If the kid values education, he/she will complete the degree. It does not have to do with the 'blank check' this researcher is talking about.

    I find even the topic of this study rather meaningless, and I don't believe she is right in her conclusion. I have not looked at the details of her work, so I don't know what segments of society she was looking at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    The first thing that came to mind for me was "But how does that correlate with graduation rates?" because there is a mass of data showing that the main reason college students drop out of school is lack of money. And sure enough:

    the study found a positive association (even controlling for other factors) between increased parental contributions and graduation over five years. In an interview, Hamilton said that she explained this finding (even if apparently contradictory with the results on grades) because those with minimal levels of parental support have a much more difficult job paying for college, and those who can't pay, can't graduate. "Kids who don't have funds, they don't stay," she said.

    Anecdotally, I think students do best if they have some vested interest in their own success but are not burdened with a lot of obligation.
    Yup. Even an A student can't keep attending college if s/he can't pay for it or get scholarships.

    I think the most important thing is that you don't squander your time in college. I know I pick my classes more carefully now that I'm paying my own way through a certificate. (Although I don't have to do any GE classes because I already have a bachelor's.)

    My parents paid for most of my tuition and I'm incredibly grateful for it. I know how lucky I am, and how much money that was. I didn't choose to party over attending classes. For some kids who have no idea how much money college costs, it's easy to see how they could spend all their time partying. My grades weren't stellar, but I still insist I was not smart enough to go to my alma mater in the first place. But I'm doing pretty ok in life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I have not read the article in detail, just skimmed over it. I have to completely disagree with this. My parents paid entire educational expenses for all their children and everyone had at least a master's degree. We did get assistantships for schools for graduate work, which paid for all the graduate level expenses. My brother pays for his son's college expenses (all of it) and there is no sign that the kid will drop out. When parents emphasize the importance of good education since childhood, there is not much chance of the kid not completing a degree, regardless of who pays for the education. If the kid values education, he/she will complete the degree. It does not have to do with the 'blank check' this researcher is talking about.

    I find even the topic of this study rather meaningless, and I don't believe she is right in her conclusion. I have not looked at the details of her work, so I don't know what segments of society she was looking at.
    I don't think the topic is meaningless at all. As Prancer pointed out, the ability to pay has a lot to do with a student's ability to graduate. So how parental support affects the student's performance, as opposed to other kinds of support (e.g. scholarships, paying your own way) is a very useful question.

    Also, in addition to correlating support with graduation rates, the study is also looking at who pays the student's tuition and its relationship to the student's grades. You can get lower than average grades and still graduate.

    And the data were drawn from three longitudinal federal studies, so I don't think the study focused only on one "segment of society". It's good that the students in your family worked hard to use the support from their parents, but the study seems to suggest that might not be the case for everyone whose parents are paying their way.
    You should never write words with numbers. Unless you're seven. Or your name is Prince. - "Weird Al" Yankovic, "Word Crimes"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I have not read the article in detail, just skimmed over it.. . . I have not looked at the details of her work
    Yet:

    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    I have to completely disagree with this. . . . I find even the topic of this study rather meaningless, and I don't believe she is right in her conclusion.


    I find her research valuable, even if you don't, because it supports something I have believed to be true based entirely on personal experience--and personal experience is not conclusive.

    When my son started college in the fall, I applied my particular personal experience in this area to set up the requirements we put on him, because I had come to believe that if we simply paid all his bills, he wouldn't try as hard. It is, if nothing else, good for me to be able to point to something more objective.

    I think this work is interesting in terms of my particular students as well. As someone who works with at-risk students, I am always interested in knowing more about what constitutes an obstacle. And there again, this is similar to things I see, even in very poor students--students who have scholarships with stringent requirements invariably do better than students who have scholarships with loosely defined requirements who do better than students who have grants.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    The problem is that most parents who give a lot of money are apparently less than demanding about expectations. Then, Hamilton said, the students find college to be a great experience, and not one they are going to endanger by failing. "They say 'I want to stay there, but I'm not going to work too hard while I'm here.' They stay in college but dial down their academic effort."
    I think this is true in many cases.

    On the other hand, there are kids like me who felt obligated to make the most of the buttload of money my parents shelled out for my college by working their tails off. I was shocked by kids who had no sense of duty or gratitude to their families for making a top-notch education possible and couldn't believe they'd take it for granted. But maybe I'm just weird.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LilJen View Post
    I think this is true in many cases.

    On the other hand, there are kids like me who felt obligated to make the most of the buttload of money my parents shelled out for my college by working their tails off. I was shocked by kids who had no sense of duty or gratitude to their families for making a top-notch education possible and couldn't believe they'd take it for granted. But maybe I'm just weird.
    If you're weird, I am, too. My parents paid about a third of my college costs. About a third was from scholarship and the other third grants and loans. Part of the deal with my parents was that if I lost the scholarship, I would be responsible for that share of the money. And they expected good grades regardless and I felt I owed it to them to work hard. My friends in college who had parents helping felt the same way.

    I find the widespread notion that not paying your own way makes you a bad or spoiled or lazy person very unfair. My parents paid for our college partly because my father was kicked out by his father on his high school graduation. He was barely 17 years old. He lost a great life opportunity because of that, and he struggled for years to find a way to get an education after that. He did not want to put his children in that position. It was not his motive to spoil us or to make us lazy. And that is certainly not how it turned out, either.

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    I wonder how this corresponds with grades obtained in public school prior to college - did they account for that?

    In Denmark, everyone gets a state stipend, plus free tuition. The grades are obviously a wide spread, some people do well, some do poorly.

    One of the big factors I have seen is whether or not your parents have any college degree - people from non-academic families seem to struggle more to adjust, and have less support (some have none, aka why are you wasting your time, I did fine without a degree)

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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    rly.

    One of the big factors I have seen is whether or not your parents have any college degree - people from non-academic families seem to struggle more to adjust, and have less support (some have none, aka why are you wasting your time, I did fine without a degree)
    That may be a key point. OTOH some parents that don't have college degrees really invest in their children so they can be well educated. Mostly though I think if the parents are educated, they value education and pass it on to their children.

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    Anecdotal only. My FIL had a 3rd grade education. He paid for my husband's first degree (Baylor), my SIL's BA (Univ of Kansas) and Master's in Library Science (University of Arkansas), my BIL's degrees through his doctorate (MIT and Harvard) and another BIL's undergraduate degree (University of Arkansas). He also paid all living expenses which were all off campus. On the other hand, both my father and stepfather (who both had HS diplomas) refused to fill out the financial aid forms for me because "it was none of their business" what they made.

    Got the Air Force to pay for most of my education.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vash01 View Post
    That may be a key point. OTOH some parents that don't have college degrees really invest in their children so they can be well educated. Mostly though I think if the parents are educated, they value education and pass it on to their children.
    I would expect that parents with a college degree would be the ones to pay for their children's here in the US - as they would know the tuition cost and save in time, and value the education? I'm just wondering how it all fits together...

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    Quote Originally Posted by maatTheViking View Post
    I wonder how this corresponds with grades obtained in public school prior to college - did they account for that?
    I was wondering that as well. How did entrance test scores and high school grades compare across the two groups? Also what socio-economic level did the students come from? It is possible that if students perceive that their parents are sacrificing to help pay for their school, they would be more motivated than those with wealthier families where the money is easy to come by. How much does the family value education? Did the study account for these factors?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    I was wondering that as well. How did entrance test scores and high school grades compare across the two groups?
    The impact of parental contributions on grades was lower (but still present) at highly competitive institutions. Generally the grades were lowest for students with high levels of support from their parents at private, out-of-state and more expensive colleges.

    I would assume that students at highly competitive schools would generally have had very high grades in high school and very good entrance test scores.

    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    Also what socio-economic level did the students come from? It is possible that if students perceive that their parents are sacrificing to help pay for their school, they would be more motivated than those with wealthier families where the money is easy to come by. How much does the family value education? Did the study account for these factors?
    Significantly, she also controlled for factors such as parental socioeconomic status. She argues in the paper that high wealth levels are associated with higher parental financial contributions, but also with other factors that contribute to academic performance (such as better high school educations, high aspirations for higher education, and so forth). Without controlling for socioeconomic status, those other factors may mask differences in patterns based solely on parental financial contributions.

    And here she found -- across all types of four-year institutions -- the greater parental contributions were, the lower the student grades were.
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    I'm not sure if the study has identified a causation issue -- that kids who don't have a personal financial stake in their education get lower grades than students who do -- or a correlation issue -- that kids whose parents pay more of their way tend to be wealthy, entitled, and not necessarily as smart as their peers. It's a little hard to make much from the article because it doesn't really describe the methodology. For instance, take this paragraph:

    The impact of parental contributions on grades was lower (but still present) at highly competitive institutions. Generally the grades were lowest for students with high levels of support from their parents at private, out-of-state and more expensive colleges.
    I'm not sure what schools fall into which group. There are some private colleges that are very expensive but extremely competitive. They are others that I remember people joking about as the places where the kids of the really wealthy would go because they couldn't get into the good schools. At the latter schools, I can definitely see the privileged kids taking their educations for granted.

    Also, it seems to group kids based on the more total money the parent pays. My immediate thought is that would skew the data. There are a lot of merit-based scholarships that are awarded regardless of need, especially as top schools compete to get the "best" students. Those kids may still be from extremely wealthy families and, without scholarships, would have had their educations paid for. An example is my stepbrother, whose mother is extremely wealthy. He was a straight-A student, had a perfect score on the SAT, and was the top individual scorer nationally in the Academic Decathlon his senior year. Not surprisingly, a lot of schools gave him generous scholarship packages. Then, two years into school, he won a scholarship from Kodak that paid for his final two years of his Ivy League education. In the end, his parents paid very little of his undergraduate tuition and expenses, even though they would have paid it all. So by basic the analysis on how much parents pay, it may identify a group of children from wealthy families, but exclude from that group the children of wealthy families who are most likely to have academic success.

    Another thing that needs to be considered is the impact of legacies and parental wealth on admissions decisions. Legacies get preferences and a lot of rich kids get admitted because the school sees potential donor dollars flowing from the family. At Yale, we used to talk about how different the professional and graduate schools seemed to be from the undergraduates because students had a much lower sense of entitlement. It would not surprise me that, as schools become more expensive and administrations are more and more desperate for donations, the same kids who the author has identified as the ones whose parents pay the most are ones whose family wealth gives them easier pathways to admission at schools that are more academically rigorous than to which might obtain admission under a purely need-blind admissions process.

    The article also makes a point that the children whose parents pay for school tend to be more involved in the Greek system than the other students. That is hardly surprising if the other students have to work outside school or are more focused on achieving their goals. (Also, many scholarships have GPA requirements, so students who need money from outside sources may not have the same opportunity to slack off as their wealthier counterparts.) I suspect a study comparing involvement in the Greek system with grades would show that students who are actively involved in fraternities and sororities get lower grades on average. Just the time demands of the Greek system and the distractions they provide would seem likely to impact grades. On the other hand, as much as I dislike the Greek system, I do see how they can help students network once they graduate.

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    This emphasis on college grades is also highly amusing to me. I thought my grades were pretty subpar for my school. I wouldn't bother applying to med school with them. But they haven't exactly held me back in life. I'm far too lazy for med school anyway.

    The only time when your college grades really matter is if you're applying to graduate programs. I don't think many employers even bother checking - they only care if you can do the work, not that you're book smart. And of course, connections and experience matter much more than grades nowadays.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reckless View Post
    The article also makes a point that the children whose parents pay for school tend to be more involved in the Greek system than the other students.
    I don't believe that it does. The part about the Greek system is talking about her book, not her study.
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    Every single job I've applied for has asked for my college transcripts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michiruwater View Post
    Every single job I've applied for has asked for my college transcripts.
    In the private sector in the US, a transcript is rarely required. Employers typically verify the dates and degree against what's claimed on the resume. My GPA mattered only twice... getting into grad school, and getting a first interview for a management training program once I completed my MBA.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

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