August 18, 2013

College Horrors

I was helping to organize my son's dorm room yesterday when he told me a buddy of theirs, this summer, had all his classes dropped a week before the end of the semester due to non-payment.

His parents were going to pay for his college. If you recall, those of you without kids in college the last few years, all information goes to the student. Nothing goes to Mom and Dad anymore per Federal Law.

The easy way around this is... I have the User ID and Password and I go in and check on everything, paying what needs to be paid and making sure that the financials are all worked out. They tell you to do this at orientation.

Evidently, the kid called home and said, "Mom! You didn't pay my tuition!" to which she replied, "I thought you'd do it!"

And he said, 'Did you want me to put this on your credit card?! I had no idea how you wanted to pay for it!"

And so it went and what a hassle it was to get him reinstated, his Mom paid his tuition, and a lesson was learned by all.

But as my son was relating this story, he said the funniest thing. He said, 'Mom, can you imagine giving ME the responsibility of getting all this right?"

I just sat there thinking about it and he said, 'Mom. I never get anything right when it comes to managing. I'm trying, you're teaching me, but seriously, right out of high school, can you imagine giving ME the responsibility of understanding how all this works and paying it all?"

And I know this may make me sound like a helicopter parent, but the answer to that was... NO.

My son is capable of a lot of things, but this would not be one of them.

I have sent him off to school with the tools required to succeed. He gets himself up, gets his laundry done, cooks for himself, manages his coursework, and gets to the gym. (The gym thing is big in this family. We try to maintain that physical health and eating are both important to keep balanced.) He is learning to manage his stress, communicate with professors, and figure out how to meet his end goal.

This summer we had some successes and some failures in all those arenas. We go over the lessons learned, so that mistakes are not repeated.

But as a parent, I am behind the scenes making sure his dorm is paid for, as well as tuition and fees, and that he has some sort of fall back meal plan since he doesn't have a kitchen this term. Next year when he has an apartment, we'll open a checking account and he'll move into paying HIS share of electric, cable, rent, phone, etc. Next year is the next step, but I'll still make sure that tuition and fees are still managed.

By the time he graduates, my goal is that he is 100% responsible and capable of taking care of himself. It's small steps... and he's getting there.

But yeah, I was surprised when this was how this Mom treated it and more so, that they'd not really communicated.

I bet this semester goes much smoother for them both!

Posted by Boudicca at August 18, 2013 02:08 PM

Thanks for the reminder!!! Oldest son's tuition is due on the 27th. Whew!

Posted by: PeggyU at August 19, 2013 12:35 AM

The no Mom or Dad thing is because with few exceptions, the students are LEGAL ADULTS.

The exceptions being Sheldon Cooper and (my friend from Driver's Training) Mike G, who transitioned from Elementary School to college. Pre-Teens are not legal adults, no matter how much theyed like to be.

I wasn't a legal adult my first semester as the 18 year old majority didn't take effect until 01/01/1972.

My folks helped me set up my first checking account before I went to college and moved a portion of my college savings from the Credit Union to that account before Freshman Orientation.

Somehow I managed to pay my tuition. You couldn't leave the gym they used for registration until you paid, so it was easy to tell that you had paid before you started the semester. (All paperwork, no on-line. They wouldn't let us touch the 3270 terminals attched to IBM mainframe.)

Of course writing my first check for close to $700 was a thing of itself ($120 tuition, $560 room/board, plus some small fees). Note that this didn't include a couple hundred a semester to cover Internet access in the dorm room, or other nifty features found at today's universities.

Posted by: The Thomas at August 19, 2013 11:09 AM

Sometimes the path to total responsibility for teens becoming adults is best walked with baby steps.

Posted by: diamond dave at August 19, 2013 04:32 PM

So he's 90% responsible for himself right out of high school? I'd say you've done a very good job!

Posted by: pam at August 20, 2013 06:27 AM

... you're doing a fine job, ma'am.... he'll get there eventually!.....

Posted by: Eric at August 22, 2013 11:01 AM

Someone we know gave their 18 year old all the money he would need to attend and graduate jr. college. Instead of going to classes,he spent the money and they kicked him out of the house(we're talking clothes in a garbage bag on the street with no car) for stealing.
He's back at home,has a pt job and is in school but I was like, "Really? You set him up for failure". There's no way I'd give an 18 yr old( I don't care WHO your kid is) a check for ALL the money for college and expect him to do the right thing.
PFB out.

Posted by: pfb at August 22, 2013 04:45 PM