Just Because My Parents Pay My Tuition Doesn’t Mean I’m Spoiled

There seems to be a general idea in college that if your parents pay your tuition, you’re spoiled. Since apparently, your parents paying tuition implies the student doesn’t have a job and have Mom and Dad pay for everything.

I understand how lucky I am to have parents who pay my college tuition. I know countless other students have to pay their own way and/or take out student loans. I wish college would be more affordable so my luck wasn’t just luck, but a common thing.

But no, I’m not spoiled because my parents pay for my tuition.

For one thing, I’m in a public in-state college, so tuition is cheaper than most colleges. Second, I have a partial academic scholarship that makes my tuition more affordable. Third, I live at home, so there are no housing costs.

And fourth, I didn’t grow up well-off. My family was really broke when I was a kid. My parents both worked multiple jobs at one point to put my two sisters and me through school, since we attended a private Jewish day school.

And no, private school doesn’t mean I’m spoiled, either. Our religion has always been important to my parents, and they sent us to the school to give us a Jewish education and an appreciation for our religion and culture. (Now whether I actually gained that appreciation is a story for a different article.)

I was not given everything I wanted growing up. Any toys, books, etc. that I received were birthday or Hanukkah gifts. More often than not, though, they were from my grandparents. They’ve always a major presence in my life, but when I was a kid, my grandparents were a godsend for my parents. They babysat, got us clothes and toys, and made their house like a second home.

I always had to pay for the things I wanted on my own. There were many times I paid my parents back for things they purchased for me, even down to 99-cent songs from iTunes. I babysat to earn money on top of my meager $3 weekly allowance, which often came biweekly if at all (my dad was a bit forgetful when it came to allowance). I split the cost of my first smartphone with my parents and cover the repairs to my piece-of-crap laptop. I was never just given money for things, and certainly not for brand clothes or concert tickets.

I had to earn everything I got.

I got a job and worked 25-30 hour weeks, attended college full-time and somehow kept up a 4.0 GPA, maintained a new blog, and had some semblance of a social life.

I stayed in my job for longer than many others would have, considering it had a negative work environment that damaged my mental health. But I needed the money for rent, bills, food, gas, and anything I wanted because my parents were already helping out by covering half my rent and nothing else. While I’m currently unemployed, I’m looking for a job and certainly don’t rely on my parents to pay for everything.

Financially, things are better for my family now. We’re able to fit tuition for my sisters, myself, and my mother, who’s getting her master’s, into our budget, and still have budget space for necessities and the occasional unnecessary thing.

My point is, it’s unfair to claim that all people whose parents pay their tuition are spoiled.

Yes, some of those people most definitely are spoiled, but not all of us are. I hate to pin it on luck since that feels like a weak defense, but that’s kind of what it is: luck. We are lucky and blessed enough to have parents who can afford something we know many others struggle with.

A student can have their parents paying their tuition and still have a job. They can still be paying for their own things and not rely on Mommy and Daddy to pay for everything. It’s unfair to make such implications and statements when the group of actually spoiled students is tiny compared to those of us who don’t fit the stereotype you have in your head.

So do us all a favor and realize that to accuse all students whose parents pay their tuition of being spoiled often are not. We work, had to earn things, and have to pay for things on our own just like you.

*Originally posted on Odyssey

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