Allowance for College Students – The Benefits and Drawbacks

February 13, 2015

Saying goodbye to a child leaving for college is never easy. Even though you knew the time was coming, it can be bittersweet. You’ve taught them right from wrong, good from bad, and how to be responsible, but now it’s time for them to fly using their own wings. So just how much should you help out?

Allowance for College Students - The Benefits and Drawbacks

College is certainly expensive, even when parents have planned for it. With tuition, books, and living expenses skyrocketing, you need to ensure your child has the necessary dorm room supplies and bedding from sites like Residence Hall Linens. After all the essentials are sorted out, additional finances need to be addressed. So the question is, should parents give college students an allowance? While there is no one ‘right’ answer for all families, there are some pros and cons that can be taken into consideration.

The Pros

When you send your child to college it is usually because they have dreams of working in a certain occupation. Some fields and jobs require degrees beyond a Bachelor’s, so if you want your child to be able to get grades that will get them into a Master’s program or medical school, you might want to help them with an allowance. This will enable them to focus on their studies without having to worry about money. The more time they have to spend on studying the better their grades will be. You can also reward them for a job well done, encourage them by sending something like a coffee gift card for all those hours in the library.

Another benefit of giving your college student an allowance is it can free up time they might spend working a part time job and instead be able to join clubs or groups they are interested in. While clubs or groups may seem unnecessary, these are often places where they meet like minded students who share their interests. These students can be a valuable resource for helping with difficult classes or homework and oftentimes these people are just the ones your student may want to network with in the future.

The Cons

 Some kids head off to college without any clue of what they want to do with their life. While college is meant to expand their minds and expose them to a wide variety of interests, some kids learn more about what they want from their part time jobs. You can share job search websites, such as Snag a Job, with your children to help point them in the right direction for choosing a part time job. They could work for a professor on campus who happens to capture their attention and draw them into a new field of interest. On the other hand, it’s also common that a bad part time job can give them reason to stay in school.

Part time jobs play a huge role in teaching students time management skills. It’s not always easy to juggle working and school, so students need to learn to plan how they will get everything done, from working their required hours to getting assignments in on time.

Another benefit of part time jobs is they teach money management skills. If parents refuse to pay for unnecessary items, young adults quickly figure out what’s important and what isn’t.

Communication is Key

Whether you choose to give an allowance or not, you can always change it. Telling your student what you expect from them is important, especially if you decide to give them an allowance. Having clear expectations will guide them down the right path to making good decisions in college, which can lead them to making good decisions throughout their lives.

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