A College Kid Lying to Parents About Tuition: What Would You Do?

by TTMK on January 28, 2013 · 4 comments

One thing I feel very strongly about is the value of education.  There is no doubt that a person with a college education will generally be better off than one without.  Of course there are tons of exceptions, and this may not be a rule, but generally speaking it’s clear that a college education is a better path to an income earning potential than not having one.

Another thing I am passionate about – just like many of you, I’m sure – is integrity.  It’s just the right thing to do to live one’s life with integrity.  This means honesty and fairness, having a moral compass to do the right thing.  While nobody is of course perfect, we can strive to behave with decency.

Both of these attributes – valuing education and integrity – intersect in a situation I remember from way back when in college.  First of all, I was fortunate enough to have received help from my parents for my education.  Therefore, I feel a profound sense of appreciation for their sacrifices and generosity.  At the time, back in the day, I might not appreciated to the extent I do now, but I still kept it in mind when studying and trying to get good grades.  Of course my primary motivator was my own success – but I didn’t want to disappoint them and I even showed them my grade reports as I got them.

With that as a backdrop, the situation I was referring to was of a guy who apparently was in college, living on his parents’ dime, yet not attending classes!

I didn’t know this guy personally, but he was the boyfriend of a friend of a friend.  He was in one of my classes, and I saw him out and about sometimes, but didn’t have much connection with him.  But the way the story went (second/third hand), his parents were paying out-of-state tuition for him.  Very lucky guy, as that wasn’t cheap.

However, they gave him the money to make the payments.  Now, at first glance that might seem to have been their big mistake, but one should be able to trust a normal, responsible kid.  Anyway, the story was that he dropped out of school midway through.  Instead, he took his parents’ money and used it to spend on his girlfriend and going out most nights.  He even moved in with her.

Now, I didn’t hear any of this from him, but the story was pretty clear.  And its one that I just couldn’t image anybody doing.  It made me sick at the time, and even then I had very definite thoughts that I wouldn’t ever want to get to know.

After a number of years, the story came back to me with a different perspective.  Now the perspective is one of a parent.  While my kids are young, I couldn’t fathom them doing anything like this.  It just seems beyond comprehension.  Frankly, anger wouldn’t really be what I would feel if it happened, but rather it would be deep, intense disappointment.

What would a parent do in that case, after being swindled?

What do you think?

What would you do, as a parent, if a kid pulled a stunt like that and took tuition money and spent it on himself (or herself) and going out with friends and living with someone?

Have you heard of anyone wasting their parents hard-earned money in this way?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

AverageJoe January 28, 2013 at 2:17 pm

My sister-in-law refused to let her parents (who were paying for college) see her grades. They were smart enough to make the check directly to the school (not her), but she wouldn’t share how she was doing. If I’m paying…I’m seeing the grades before I spend another dime.

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TTMK January 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Yep, if I’m paying, I want to see the grades. Absolutely. It seems inconceivable to me that a kid could get away with that!

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The College Investor February 2, 2013 at 6:52 pm

The house of cards will eventually fall down, and his parents will inevitably have loads of disappointment with him that he will have to deal with. I think it happens a lot, just not on that scale.

As a parent, once it was discovered, it would be cut-off time. Not in terms of love, but definitely no more money, ever again.

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jim March 21, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Financial cut off time is exactly right. Under those circumstances I would make him/her sweat their guts out trying to figure out how he/she was going to pay for rent/food etc and I’d probably let it go up to the point of their being on the brink of homelessness and hungry. Then, when they’d had enough of the real world, I would allow him/her to come home and I would bust his/her ass to the point where they’d be on a very strict schedule and working their asses off. That type of conduct is outrageous, but it does leave me wondering how the parents raised this kid in the first place – for him/her to have acquired such a disrespectful attitude.

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