We are once again circling the post where I was mad at my daughter for choosing a middle of the night train arrival. In my original post, I said that as I was paying for the ticket, I could tell her to switch the time to an earlier arrival.

Some people agreed that this was well within my right because I was paying. Others said it didn’t matter who was paying, she is an adult and should be treated as such.

So with that in mind…

If a parent is paying for college of their 18+ child, does the parent have the right to tell them what school to attend, or does the adult child still have the right to decide?

Personally, I think the child has the right to choose the college that is best for them. Yet, I also get that some schools are more expensive than others, and there are financial considerations to consider. I consider the college question one that should be decided jointly between the two parties- with both sides being honest and open.

But at the end of the day- who wins?

Does the person paying for college have the right to have a greater share of the vote?

I agreed with my daughter that her particular university was perfect for her. But as she was accepted into two schools that were “higher ranked or known”, I did wonder if going to a bigger “name” was more important. She also received very large merit scholarships to two very good institutions- should she take the money and run? But in the end, we let her choose. And we have not regretted that decision.

Does the person paying have the biggest say in the decision.

Discuss

64 thoughts on “Who Chooses?

  1. I agree with you. The student should choose. He or she will be studying and making a life towards full independence at the chosen school for the next 4 years; the student needs to be completely committed to the choice … and excited about the experiences ahead.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. To me it’s important for both to discuss and decide what’s best. The student is the one that has to put all the work in after all, and I wouldn’t want to go to a college that I didn’t like. Then again, coming from someone who had to pay for herself to go to college, I might be reluctant to complain about anything knowing that it was all being paid for. That’s definitely something to appreciate. To me there are multiple factors.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Picking the “right fit” for college is key. It’s half the battle, as the college becomes your child’s “home” for the majority of the year. As for the cost, that’s a loaded question. Here some input. If money is not a factor, the child can attend any university. Unfortunately, for most of us, this is not the case. Money always seems to factor into the decision making process. So, an upfront and honest discussion is needed between the child and parents. The parents can state that we have “x” amount of money set aside for you for college. You will be responsible to pay the balance. This could be via grants, scholarships and loans. As long as all parties understand their responsibility, it should be the students decision in the end. But, another item not mention is that the child is 18. No where does it state that the parents are required to pay for their child’s college tuition.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. We paid to a point, meaning that each child was afforded a specific parental contribution toward school. After that it was scholarship $ and then student loans to make up the difference. We only had so much to give and with that in mind attempted to offer as much guidance as we could on affordability and academic excellence versus wants/goals/total cost. Ultimately they all made their own choice on school, all stayed in-state, and all took various levels of student loan debt into adulthood. One-the oldest- who went into nursing is still paying on loans well into her 30’s after bouncing around through three different programs. In reality-she made the decisions and is now, still literally paying for those decisions made as an adult at 18.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I think some may understand the bigger picture, but a larger percentage see the immediate benefit without understanding impacts to the future, often because the future is just an ethereal concept. They haven’t lived enough with concrete consequences to project their choices/outcomes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And that goes back to, should the age of majority be changed to 21, including voting rights and military service? I’m not looking for an actual answer, just thought to ponder

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Are all 18 year olds adults in the real sense? Mature enough to take decisions about a world they have yet to step into? I guess the parent-adult child relationship is of utmost importance here. A joint decision in a sound atmosphere shouldnt be very difficult.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I agree that the student needs to decide so they go to the college that is right for them. The financial person does have a right to explain to the student what they can afford and will pay so the student knows the consequences of picking a college out of the price range

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Of course you’re right (as you are about most things!). My only caveat with college is that parents need to provide a balanced look at schools, degrees, careers, and finances. I also think parents should not pay for college entirely, a car entirely, a cell phone entirely, or housing entirely.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. As others have said, I believe the parents–or whomever is paying–need to make clear how much they are able to spend, and within that budget the child should have the right to decide which school they want to attend. If they want to go to a more expensive school, they should be prepared with a plan to earn or raise the excess money.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I agree that the child should be able to choose which college to attend, as they’re the ones to experience that choice through location, classes, and such. But, as you mentioned, conversations should happen about finances and what’s realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter told me that less than half of the kids who start in college actually graduate, and that only 30% of people in us have a college degree. I wonder how this all works together…

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Our son, who was valedictorian, had tons of extracurriculars and almost perfect SATs, got rejected by eight out of nine schools. So, there was no choice. Our daughter was recruited for swimming and had many choices. She went on several recruiting trips and chose where she liked the team, the coach, the atmosphere. We were surprised when she called a coach and declined one school that was prestigious. I think in the work place she has some regrets. But it was entirely her decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To be fair, my daughter applied to about 18 schools and maybe got into half, and her rejections included her first choice school, so after that it was the consolation game…she wanted to go Ivy but the Ivy she got into she liked less than the school she chose. But personally I think she made the right choice

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Next time you could say, I will pay 100% of any ticket and pick you up if you arrive in this window. If you want to arrive in a different window, I will pay X% and you can pay for the uber. And then I would add, I love you and I love picking you up so much but it’s too stressful for me to do it in the middle of night. I don’t feel like a safe driver then.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. After a discussion between child and parents, I think the child should choose the school in which he/she is most comfortable. The feeling of comfort and security will, hopefully, result in a successful college experience providing opportunities for a rewarding future career.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Our older two were not the greatest students in high school so I told them that I wasn’t paying for college and if they wanted to go, they’d have to pay themselves. I wasn’t about to spend a lot of money AND have to fight with them to attend. Our youngest knew she wanted to go to college, had a career in mind and made all her own decisions about where she wanted to go, visiting several colleges on a school sponsored field trip and with a girlfriend. Once she picked, we did the applications for financial aid. We got loans for the first two years and then were extremely fortunate (double edged) that because my husband got injured at work and was disabled, the last two years she got grants that paid for the whole tuition. Even luckier, because of the disability, the Education Department forgave our loans so all that has to be paid back is the portion our daughter took out on her own, about $10,000, which is really not that bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m so against someone saying “I pay, so I decide” as I’ve seen it too often as a much abused power. I was brought up in the third world where parents commonly decide what career their children will be allowed to follow, by deciding what they feel has value. This is what has caused my reaction throughout this discussion being that the choice should be with the individual concerned – with the student, with the adult child.

    That said, it is also our job – as parents – to bring up our children to be able to make good decisions for themselves once they reach adulthood and, of course, the payer gets to set out any financial constraints within which the student may decide.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’m going with no. It is way too easy for parents to use money as a way to hold kid’s futures hostage to their own wishes or manipulate them in a way that goes against what the kid wants. As in, you go here, take these classes, get this degree or I don’t pay. I feel that parents should instead agree to pay X amount of money towards the college education and the kid can decide from there where it is spent. Anything above and beyond that is on them.

    That said, every kid is different and different scenarios can require different arrangements. Say a kid that really isn’t all that motivated and shows all the earmarks of a kid that won’t finish school or pass classes, but wants to go anyway, you may want an arrangement where they pay for classes or get loans themselves with the understanding that you will reimburse them that same X number of dollars after the fact if they pass and/or graduate. Kind of a “if you do your part, we will do ours.”

    As for the situation with the ticket, that is a little iffy. Again, it is way too easy for parents to use money as a leash for their kids, so saying that you get to decide if you are the one to pay isn’t exactly right. If you were the one to actually go purchase the ticket rather than just paying them back, then you have more room to be the one to make the decision of timing, but it really should still be what is acceptable to them. There are definitely pros and cons to both sides on this, but there is a line that shouldn’t be crossed into manipulation and control.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. You already have some wonderful comments. Since safety is the issue with the middle of the night arrival I think your daughter should listen and consider your point of view, and honor it, it’s a small thing. The school thing should be a discussion and an orderly consideration of the factors. it’s a gamble letting them pick, but I think they can only invest their time well if it is their choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I think it should definitely be a collaboration. If it isn’t there will likely be resentment on the side of the child. As a parent of course we want to be in control. But that’s not realistic. With my own children we discussed the budget, their scholarships, the schools they found appealing, and we openly discussed all the options. The parent isn’t the one attending the university and they need to remember this isn’t about them it’s about their child’s experience.
    I was given strict ultimatums when I was in college so I made sure there was open communication with my own children. I had no need to control my children’s college scenario. ( I don’t get why parents do that). My folks didn’t want me to go far away and I did resent that they had so much input on the direction of my future.. I actually graduated in 3 years rather than 4 simply because
    I wasn’t at the school where I wanted to be. So, I graduated early, decided to get married, drove to California, and at 20 was set on a future that really could have waited a bit. . I realize now I should have stayed in school longer, gotten my masters right after graduating etc. But I couldn’t wait to get out on my own. I probably wouldn’t have rushed to do that if I had been given more independence as a student.
    I was lucky that My own kids were really responsible. But I raised them that way. It paid off and both sons bought their own homes by the time they were 24 or 25. Sometimes I think if your child is raised knowing their financial parameters then they are more confident and in control and , they handle responsibility without issue. .
    I don’t think parents should tell their children what to major in or what school to attend. But I think there has to be reasonable discussion and input. Especially if a parent is helping pay. But college should be a total experience and not strictly for the child to follow in the parent’s footsteps. Some parents don’t realize how restrictive they can be. I personally let my children follow their dreams college wise. It worked out for my sons.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. In a perfect world, parents and their college-bound children collaborate together on the best options. Young people are considered adults at age 18 for many things. According to science, most people’s brain development doesn’t reach full maturity until about 25 years old. That’s a big span of time in which to make stupid decisions without any input from someone more mature. I agree some parents may use financial assistance as a way to manipulate and I also agree it depends a lot on the child/young adult. I liked SIDEWALK FACE AT EAGLE-CROW-OWL’s solution. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I feel college should be best fit for the kid first and foremost, then the money with the understanding that if it’s a hardship for the parent, the kid will need to carry a bit more of the burden. It’s a tricky situation for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Well, I paid my own way, so I of course decided. And paying my own way, I went to Junior College for the first two years because, yes, it was cheaper. And they had an almost all PhD faculty anyway and there were no freshman classes with 500 students either. Later, I worked and took out loans while attending full time. I paid them off, so I definitely know the cost and value of all those years 🙂 If you’re paying, I’d say you get the greater say

    Like

  21. When I went to college, I was choosing from a trio of colleges that were all acceptable to me. I chose the one that offered the largest scholarship. My parents were not in a position to pay for much of my college needs. I understood in high school that I had to work hard at my studies and get high grades if I wanted to go to college. I never felt that they “owed” me a college education.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are kids owed a college education? That’s a good one. I know that I made plans to send my daughter to college. However, my daughter was/is an exceptional student who works hard, so I didn’t have a problem paying. However, if she were less studious or hard working, I think my financial contributions would change accordingly

      Liked by 1 person

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