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American study says students more likely to do worse with parental funding

By River Reporter Feb 21, 2013

Study shows that parents funding students may actually have a negative impact.

Laura Rietz

Parents’ financial help to their children to get through university might cause them to get a worse degree, a new US study suggested. 

The University of California found that students who do not work for their fees and living costs are more tempted to delve into the university social life instead of concentrating on their degree.

Negative effects

Laura Hamilton, sociology Professor at UC and head of the study, said: “Students with parental support are best described as staying out of serious academic trouble, but dialling down their academic efforts.”

She added that parental funds provided the time, money and proximity to get involved into college life and peer cultures, which had potential negative effects on student performance.

The professor analysed students’ grade point average (GPA) by comparing the likelihood of gaining a degree to the amount of financial support they had from family or other sources.

Some disagree

It turned out that students whose parents made $90,000 (£58,000) per year, but did not receive any financial help from them, had an average GPA of 3.15, whereas those whose parents earned only $5,000 had an average GPA of just 3.04.

Alex Lemon, 22, a 2012 KU graduate with a BA in Business Management, said: “I don’t necessarily agree with the hypothesis. I got a 2.1 and I had not only help from my parents, but also a student loan. Still, I studied hard for my degree.”

Nevertheless, Chris Eccles, a director of Employment for Students, is convinced that students having a part-time job while being at university is a crucial step to helping students mature and succeed in their later lives.

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