The following question (which has since been removed by the original poster) has been edited and paraphrased for clearer reading.
Why Won’t My Upper Middle Class Parents Help Me Pay for College?
My parents, who are relatively well off (they make $110k+ a year) and are currently only financially supporting my little brother who lives at home with them, will not help me pay for college.
I’m pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Unfortunately, because my parents make $110k a year, I can’t qualify for any grants. The only aid I can get from FAFSA is to take out loans. I’ve been using FAFSA loans to pay for 50% of my schooling (the rest is paid with my own earned money).
It’s very frustrating because I have to work a ton just to be able to pay my way through college, while all of my friends either get grants or their parents help them pay for their schooling. Rather than being able to take classes over the summer, I have to work full time. I am also going into debt, which isn’t the end of the world, but certainly discouraging.
Another thing that is annoying to me is that my parents willingly donate $10k+ to their church every year and have been doing so for many years. I don’t mean to rag on their religious beliefs, but when FAFSA denies me aid by noticing how much my parents make, even though they won’t help me pay for school at all, it’s a bit disheartening.
What should I do?
He adds in a few addendums and becomes a bit defensive:
Edit: I should say I’m not opposed at all to working during school and during the summer. My frustration comes from he fact that even with this, I will still barely have enough money to pay for college. And as bad as it sounds, I’m not about to work 80 hours a week while already taking classes that are pretty difficult while trying to get good grades.
Edit: I don’t mean this post to come off as whiny or entitled. I’m perfectly willing to work for my education. In fact, I would prefer to work rather than have zero job experience when graduating. My frustration comes from the fact that I get zero help doing it, despite the fact that it seems the government does expect parents to at least help pay for college (their income is one of the criteria that determines my aid eligibility). This means money is a LOT tighter than it normally would be or should be. I don’t want my parents to give me a full ride, not even close. All I want is a little bit more wiggle room, wiggle room that the government apparently things I’m not supposed to have, considering I’m not qualified to get aid.
Where does one begin? As you read the comments, he was indeed not treated very “fairly” by his fellow Redditors. Let’s find out why, shall we?
College has become extraordinarily unaffordable. His plight of not qualifying for grants is the plight of many. According to the book, “Squeezed: Why Our Families Can’t Afford America,” many middle class Americans can’t afford college at all.
Many young people are in debt to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars while earning worthless arts degrees from state universities.
Luckily this bright young man is earning a degree in electrical engineering–a STEM degree may very well be worth the debt he will incur.
Statistically he will very likely be able to pay off his college loans with a career in engineering thus he made a wise decision going into this field.
He needs to stay committed to earning money while he’s going to school. It’s hurtful and demoralizing that his parents refuse to help him with tuition, but he will have to improvise and be determined to pay for his education. Like so many others who are in the same leaky and precarious middle class boat who can’t afford today’s college expenses, he will have to learn to become a bit creative in making ends meet.
My parents, who are relatively well off (they make $110k+ a year)
$110,000 a year is not well off. It’s not rich nor is it wealthy by any stretch of the imagination. A couple in the California Bay Area would quickly become homeless making $110,000 a year.
Many people believe that 6 figures is rich or wealthy, when in reality, many upper middle class people are what Grant Cardone dubs “rich poor people.” Like their $60,000 a year middle class counterparts, many upper middle class low six-figure earners are two missed paychecks away from bankruptcy and financial ruin.
His faux rich “well off” upper middle class parents likely can’t even afford to chip in for his college tuition. They have one one other minor child in the home and they both have to work full time to make a living. Where exactly are they well off?
It’s very frustrating because I have to work a ton just to be able to pay my way through college, while all of my friends either get grants or their parents help them pay for their schooling.
With the right motive, execution and a strategic plan in place, he could butter up his parents and absolutely convince them to help him pay for college.
When I was in college, I babysat, cleaned the house, did yard work and helped my mom with odd jobs and running errands. Guess what? She eagerly paid me for it.
Pleasing my mom became my new life purpose. In helping her out a few hours a week, she doted on me while gladly obliging me with a few hundred dollars each month to help out with expenses.
If I had done nothing but beg and plead with her to give me money for doing absolutely nothing, she wouldn’t have given me a dime.
You have to think about how you’re going to earn your money before anyone is ever going to be willing to pay you a single penny.
There are a number of ways this young man can make money for tuition without having to work 80 hours a week.
- STEM students always need tutors and he can make upwards of $20 an hour tutoring part-time
- He could collect scrap metal 3-5 hours a week and earn a several hundred dollars a month
- He could make a stream of YouTube instructional videos on electrical engineering and earn a passive income with ads and super chats
The possibilities of earning money in today’s economy are limitless. He must become accustomed to thinking outside the box by allowing his innovative young brain and his skillful determination do all the work.
Middle class people today have to cease relying on others to rescue them from their financial distress. Letting other people decide how much money you’re going to earn is the road to zero control over your finances and career success.
Another thing that is annoying to me is that my parents willingly donate $10k+ to their church every year and having been doing so for many years.
Many Christians tithe 10% of their income every Sunday at church service. He may not believe in the religious custom but his parents do and for good reason. It extends spiritual goodwill to others and their charity and generosity aids others who can greatly benefit by it.
What he doesn’t realize is, they probably also need the tax break. Upper middle class people pay the most in taxes out of every social demographic in The United States. If this kid ever grows up to make millions, he too will learn to love being a philanthropist. Every penny his parents donate to charity is a tax write off.
People are buzzing about a looming ” college debt bubble.” Predictions abound that there will be another economic disaster like that of the 2008 mortgage loan financial crisis. A college debt bubble may very well be on the horizon and only time will tell.
In the meantime:
Don’t get a worthless degree.
Don’t take out loans you can’t afford to pay back.
Don’t be afraid to branch out and think of new and exciting ways to earn money.
What else did I miss?