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Should you make your kids help pay for college? Will the added financial burden strengthen their resolve or cripple them with stress? Studies show that students who invest in themselves tend to care more about their grades. Having skin in the game is a powerful motivator for excelling in the classroom.

The Current Cost of College

The cost of college continues to rise every year. Many public universities cost more than $20,000 a year and private universities can cost more than triple that. When tuition, books, room, board, and additional fees all stack up, the bill can be jaw-dropping. Scholarships and grants only do so much.

The average student pays roughly $15,000 a year on college. Only six out of ten families save for children’s education. By the time senior year of high school is wrapping up, these families have only saved an average of $18,000, barely enough to cover the first year. It may be time for your kid to start chipping in and closing the gap.

Kids Who Pay Up Try Harder

There’s a fine line between scaring your kid into dropping out and motivating them to perform better. College students who receive significant financial help are more likely to graduate than those who don’t, according to a recent study by Laura Hamilton, a sociology professor at the University of California.

She also found that grades fall as financial support from parents increases. Too much help means that they won’t drop out, but they will stop caring about grades. Scholarships, work-study programs, and grants boost grades. Working less than 20 hours per week at a part-time job is also linked to better grades. 

Make The Investment Part of A Bigger Plan

Make sure that your kid is fully aware of the commitment they make when choose to pursue college. It’s a lot of money to throw around. Have the conversation before they apply to colleges.

Getting into their dream school can be heart-wrenching when they realize it’s four times more expensive than any other school. The typical college graduate can pay off their student loans within ten years. If they’re up for the challenge, then apply away.