Getting Along in College

Tina says her daughter will be a college freshman this year. Should she work while in college, or should Tina budget money to send her each month?

QUESTION: Tina on Facebook says her daughter will be a college freshman this year. Should she work while in college, or should Tina budget money to send her each month?

ANSWER: Either one is fine as long as we’re not taking out debt. If you can help her and she doesn’t have to work, and it doesn’t put your family in a strain, then that is fine as long as she’s living according to the guidelines and the value system of your home.

Our three children all worked while they were in high school and all worked summers between college. We were able to fund their living while they were in college. We did not require them to work. Between classes and during the summer, they’re not just going to hang out and do nothing. They worked during the summer.

But the requirement was that they had to live their lives consistent with our household’s value system. Otherwise, they don’t get our household’s money. They are not going to be a drug addict or a drunk or living with some girl or guy, or that kind of thing. You are going to go to class and get your grades. You are not down there to party—you are down there to learn.

Yes, you can have fun and have the college experience. We are not control freaks. But I’m not going to fund you if your life is inconsistent with what I believe is good for your life, because I love you. That was our deal.

Research says that kids who work 19 hours a week in college carry a higher GPA than those who don’t. Our situation was a little different. We didn’t require it, but we don’t allow people to be bums in the process, either. They are required to live their life in a way that is consistent with our value system to get our money.

If you’ve got a different value system and different things you believe, you ought to tie your money to that. You might be more or less strict than me. But as for me and my house, that’s how we’re going to do it. That’s not child abuse or control freak. If they want to pay their own bills, they can do whatever they want to do. But if I’m giving them money, then I get a say. I will make that statement regularly, often and loudly.