On Your Dime

Is your college student an academic slacker? Or have those high school honor roll grades slipped into a category that’s more B-minus than A-plus?

The reason, according to an intriguing new psychological study out of the  University of California, may have to do with who is bankrolling the bills.  And if the answer is mom and dad then chances are your child may be officially in the coasting category.

It turns out that college students whose parents significantly underwrite their higher education costs are more likely to have their grades slip than those young adults that pay their own way or rely on grants, loans, work study, veteran’s benefits  and scholarships. (Researchers noted these funds are increasingly difficult to access.)

The study did have a silver-lining that may have some tuition-burdened parents breathing a sigh of relief: The parent-supported students included in the study had lower grades but higher graduation rates than their self-supporting peers.

“Students with parental support are best described as staying out of serious academic trouble, but dialing down their academic efforts,” UC researcher and sociologist Laura Hamilton wrote in the study which recently appeared in the American Sociological Review.