‘My Mum Drove Me to the Bank and Told Me to Get a Loan’

The mini-series we did on how people paid and are continuing to pay for their educations was so interesting that we’re continuing it, one story at a time.

NH writes:

“My parents didn’t pay for any tuition, not because they couldn’t afford to but because they didn’t want to. They saw my education as my responsibility. My mum drove me to the bank and told me to get a loan, so I did.

“The loan was very low interest and as long as I was still in school full time I did not have to pay interest on it. I ended up blowing through the entire $25,000 loan with school and books and partying and travelling home to see my family (again if I wanted to go home I had to pay).

“I quit the program I was in and moved home. I ended up living with my parents and working like a beast to pay back all the money I owed. I ended up getting the loan paid off in a year and a half and then promptly moved back out of my parents house to a nice little apartment on my own. I am still going to school part time since its all I can afford right now and am almost completely credit card debt free ($500 FTW).

“I’m not resentful towards my family for not giving me money or a little help, I’m actually very thankful they pushed me out on my own and made me work hard. My mum will offer me cash every so often (I think she feels guilty, my sister is eightyears younger than me and is spoiled rotten/will be going to post secondary soon and my parents have already told her they will pay for first year…), but I always refuse. I know that sometimes I could really use the extra cash, but to me it feels like quitting to accept the help.”

Share your story of paying—or not paying—for education: logan@thebillfold.com


20 Comments / Post A Comment

iffie (#1,911)

This seems pretty healthy to me. My parents didn’t pay for my education either. I have a child and don’t expect to pay for his. I’ll help him along but I don’t see it as my responsiblity to pay for something that transitions him into adulthood and occurs when he’s an adult.

Tuna Surprise (#118)

My ex boyfriend’s parents were these types (i.e., if you want to go to college, you have to do it yourself) and the result was that although 4 kids started college, only one graduated. But the three that didn’t graduate all had student loans. They had enough money to pitch in but just chose not to do it.

I ended up paying for two semesters of tuition for my ex (at community college, and he still never graduated) mostly because I felt so grateful my parents paid my tuition.

iffie (#1,911)

@Tuna Surprise How is it the parent’s fault that the siblings didn’t graduate? That is not a fair correlation. At some point people have to be responsible for their own shit.

ghechr (#596)

@iffie I don’t think it’s the parents’ fault that they didn’t graduate; however, in my experience, kids that are left entirely on their own have a lower success rate. Parents have no obligation to help out- by paying a part outright, by assisting through the loan process, maybe co-signing on loans, what have you- but I no one can deny that it doesn’t hurt.

LDW@twitter (#1,216)

I think this kind of approach seemed less harsh when tuition wasn’t quite as outrageous as it is now. But I have a hard time with parents not at least pitching on or making some sort of compromise i.e. we cover tuition but you’re on your own for room and board and books.

Daily I see college students who are fully supported by their parents and never seem to learn the value of a dollar or appreciate the education they’re getting, so I get the mentality behind parents refusing to fund their kids’. But if in the end it means that you’re child will end up not finishing, owing a lot in student loans, or both is it really worth the lesson?

deepomega (#22)

@LDW@twitter Or you could, um, not go to a school that costs as much? Like go to a good state school, or go to a school with a fucking huge endowment and get scholarships.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@deepomega Your second point is a thing I think a lot of people don’t know — the fanciest school you can get into will probably have the best financial aid for you!

LDW@twitter (#1,216)

@deepomega In-state tuition at a good state school will still run you $5000-$15,000 which is a lot of money for a lot of people. Cost is relative.

I work at a university and I see what you’re saying @LDW@twitter about students supported by their parents not appreciating the education they’re getting and I think half of it is because they’re not paying for it themselves and half of it is simply because they’re only 18 or 19 and haven’t had a chance to really stop and contemplate what they want to do and what they want to learn. There’s this weird cultural myth in the West of “if you take time off, you won’t go back!” but is that really the case? Or really such a bad thing? I applied to colleges right out of high school too, but decided not to enroll because I was looking at the courses offered and couldn’t see a single one I wanted to take. And since I’d be paying for it myself with loans, I didn’t want to pay money just to keep mindlessly drifting through another school term. So instead after high school I moved out, got a job, spent four years figuring out who I was and what I wanted to do and how to manage my money and my relationships and my life, and then when I was 21 I went back to school and studied something I was interested in. I find it so weird that there’s this belief that you find yourself in college, when it can work just as well if not better if you find yourself then go to college. Maturity can come from being forced to be responsible with money but it can also just come from time.

fake coffee snob (#2,227)

@deepomega Still, check this out

@Deb of last year@twitter I agree that the weird pressure to go to university/college right out of high school is not good. What about the pressure to start your professional/master’s degree right out of university? I don’t think this is as widespread because I think there’s still more of a push to get an undergrad, although there’s a greater necessity now to have a second degree than there used to be (right?).

When I finished university I was burnt out on school and couldn’t fathom going back for another round, let alone applying for grad school on top of everything else I was doing in my final year. Four years later my interests are completely different anyway, which makes me wonder if I were more passionate about what I thought I wanted to go into back in undergrad, would I have been more motivated to do the applications?

deepomega (#22)

@LDW@twitter Definitely true. But relying on loans to cover those costs, or people just paying for them, is only going to make them more expensive.

iffie (#1,911)

@deepomega There’s also this amazing thing that noone wants to do because it’s deeply uncool which is community college! I totally went to community college for 1.5 years then transferred to the closest state school, which is a really good state school and noone knows that I went to community college. This is a thing people can do! There are lots of ways to get educated. It’s not fun to talk about being realistic. It’s more fun to trade horror stories of crushing debt.

AND! If your parents aren’t helping you out and you’re in school they should probably stop claiming you on their taxes which would allow you to file as a single/head of household filer. You are now poor because you’re a student which then opens up a lot more financial aid options. Right? I think this is right.

iffie (#1,911)

@iffie Actually, based on my comma/grammatical errors people might be able to tell I went to community college.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@Deb of last year@twitter
I cannot thumbs-up this enough. All of my in-laws went to university and now they owe a crazy amount of debt because their parents pressured them into studying straight out of high school.
The eldest actually dropped out after his first year and is now a head developer at a company making mega $$$. His parents still talk YEARS LATER about him not finishing, like he’s a failure, even though he’s living comfortably, with a successful career.
I want to SHAKE THEM.

editrickster (#279)

@iffie YES! I went to community college for 2 years, paid $30/credit hour (this was in the early oughts + amazing funding at the time in my county) and lived at home and worked a part-time job. I took lots of photography classes and interesting sciences, like Astronomy, along with my gen eds and paid for it all out of pocket or with grants/scholarships. It was, still, the best financial decision I have ever made. And I got a hell of a lot more personal attention in my classes of 30-ish at Community College than I ever did in Giant Lecture Hall at State U. The classes there were really top-notch and the staff there worked very hard to make sure everyone had access to the resources available to succeed.

State U had those resources too, but you had to go hunting for them in such a big place.

At the time, it kind of sucked to watch my friends from high school go off to college, but it was such a huge amount of money for ‘the four-year experience’. Plus, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do when I was 18. There was a lot of ‘figuring out’ that was a lot more palatable at $300/quarter than $3000/quarter.

I still have student loans from finishing my bachelors (approx. $23K between me and my mom) that I am still plugging away at. I’m 30 now and am shooting to have the ones in my name paid off by the time I’m 35.

Fig. 1 (#632)

My parents informed me in Grade 10 that 1. I was going to university right after I graduated high school, (no “year off” to “travel or work”) and 2. I was going to pay for it myself. I just finished paying off my loan 6 years later (22k total, thanks be to Canada) and while it was not enjoyable, it didn’t totally suck either. My four other siblings are in the same boat, but I’m not too worried as pay scales for pharmacists and engineers are decent.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@Fig. 1
There needs to be a “thumbs down” I can do for your point no. 1. :-(

Slutface (#53)

My parents didn’t pay for college either and would make fun of me for wanting to go. I’m not sure why, but I think it was just them projecting insecurities on me about how their own lives turned out (wish I knew that then though). I got a scholarship my first year and worked part-time, then two jobs over the summer. The other three years I took out loans and worked full-time. I went to a state school and graduated ten years ago. I have a lot of school loan debt, but it was worth it and while I’m not happy in my job, I have a good pension and benefits so I’m going to stick it out. Anyway, I consider my student loan debt worth it because it got me out of the depressing house and away from my parents.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

I can’t believe your parents would make fun of you for wanting to expand your horizons and create a career for yourself through education.
I’m glad you showed them and got yourself a decent job – good luck with your student loans!

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