Funding your Future

Holly Palmer, Staff Writer

As we reach the halfway point in the school year, all the seniors are thinking about college: where to go, what classes to take, and—most importantly—how to pay for it. For the lucky few who earned scholarships, paying for college is not an issue.

Other students must turn to state and federal aid, such as FAFSA while some have generous parents who provide their college-bound kids with a blank check.

Those who don’t fall into one of these categories must pay for college themselves. However, according to a recent study, those generous parents who pay for their kids’ tuition might not be doing them any favors.

A national study conducted by Laura T. Hamilton, a professor at the University of California-Merced, researched parents paying for a student’s tuition and the effect it can have on a student’s grades and attendance.

“Parental aid decreases student GPA, but it increases the odds of graduating,” Hamilton said in her research article.

When students don’t need to have a job, they have more free time and are more likely to go to class.

However, students also have more time for a social life. “The more you have these extras, the more you can get dragged into the party scene, and that will drag down your GPA,” said Hamilton.

If a student doesn’t have to work during college, he or she will have less of an excuse to not go to class, because of the extra 20 hours or more of fun time every week.

However, good attendance doesn’t always mean good grades; grades depend more on motivation than anything else.

People love spending money that is not their own and have few qualms about wasting it. When their parents are paying the bills, students feel little motivation to get good grades. It’s not their money they’re spending so it doesn’t matter if the money is wasted.

Professor Hamilton said, “Parental investments create a disincentive for student achievement.” Students don’t try as hard when they’re not spending their own money and tend to work only as hard as they have to.

The same goes with scholarship earners. Once they get the scholarship, they think they’re being handed their degree and college is taken care of but this is not the case. Students on scholarship need to maintain a minimum GPA to keep their scholarship, and because of this, many students lose them.

“You have to do just enough work so you don’t lose your scholarship,” said Mr. Tom Herrett, who attended college on a naval scholarship. Just enough work might be more than is expected.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, at the University of Utah, 64% of freshman students during the 2011-2012 school year received financial aid while only 47% of all undergraduate students received financial aid. This statistics shows that many freshmen lose their scholarships after their first year of college.

“Students don’t realize that high school is somewhat easy,” said Ms. Tina Mitchell, Bingham’s scholarship advisor. “They forget you have to actually do homework [in college].” Many students lose scholarships in college because of this.

Students who don’t have to pay for college don’t take college as seriously as others. Everyone wants life delivered on a silver platter while they enjoy an easy life living in the caribbean. However, studies have shown that students get better grades when they pay their own tuition because they care more about college and expect results from their hard work.

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