Why I Won’t Pay My Child’s College Tuition


Sounds a bit harsh, doesn’t it? It may be an unpopular choice to make, but I’ve thought about this a lot, and think it would be best for all involved. First to preface, I’m not a parent. I actually just graduated college about three years ago. Admittedly, it’s possible for this decision to slowly change when I start raising a child, but for now, I think this is best.

I grew up in the Bay Area with a loving family. I never considered us rich, but we very rarely felt stretched for cash. You could say we were a prototypical middle-class family. For me, going to college was always a given, which I realize is extremely fortunate to begin with. I started working as soon as I turned 16, and was always good about saving money for my future education. My parents taught me strong values and how to handle money in a smart-but-generous way, while still balancing fun and preparing for the future.

Even with this preparation, I was still very apprehensive about my college decision and how I was going to pay for school. I eventually decided on a four-year program at a public, in-state school. In California, this is still quite a lot of money, but it is the most affordable four-year degree option. While I am not against going to community college, the nearby community college did not have a great reputation for helping students transfer after two years (it often took students much longer). It was important to me to graduate in four years, so I stuck with my decision to go to an in-state school.

Unfortunately, to make a long story short, the savings that I had spent a few years building up (by working part-time jobs) didn’t go very far, and I felt my only option was to take out student loans in order to pay my tuition costs. I feel into this pattern when paying for school: my student loans covered my tuition and books, and then I’d come home and work an insane amount over the summer to be able to pay for the coming year’s rent, utilities, and food expenses. I didn’t work during the school year, so that I could maintain a higher GPA. Looking back, I wish I would have worked while in school, in order to be able to take out fewer student loans.

My parents could have easily bailed me out of all this. They could have fully funded my college expenses and could have allowed me to graduate debt-free. Instead, I graduated with about $25,000 worth of student loan debt that I’m still working hard to pay off.

My dad compared the whole process to a caterpillar breaking through a cocoon. It takes a lot of struggle, but that struggle is necessary in order to gain enough strength to be able to live as a butterfly. At the time, I wasn’t too keen on this lesson. But I don’t want it to seem like my parents didn’t help me out at all. They are very generous, and my dad has even helped pay off a portion of the student loan debt I still have. I’ve lived a very blessed life, and I’m thankful for it. However, a large burden of my college expenses fell upon my shoulders.

But, in all honesty, this was a good thing for many reasons. It taught me to take personal responsibility for my college experience. I missed less than ten total class periods throughout my entire four years of school. I was paying for those classes, and I didn’t want to take them for granted. I worked extremely hard to maintain my high grades. I learned to live below my means, and to manage my expenses and keep my costs as low as possible while still enjoying my time at school. I rode a bike everywhere for my first two and a half years of college, and I learned how to grocery shop on a budget. Also, while I hate the fact that I’m currently in debt, it has taught me good budgeting habits and helped fuel my passion for personal finance.

I have multiple friends whose parents paid their entire way through school. While they still received a good education and graduated debt-free, many of them took their parents help for granted and didn’t fully learn the value of a dollar and hard work. Of course, I don’t think everyone who had their college expenses paid for ends up not appreciating the importance of hard work. I know they do, but, in my experience, it makes it much easier to take your privilege for granted.

So yes, I’m not planning to fully fund my future children’s college expenses. Will I help them enough so that they don’t go hungry? Of course. Will I provide a safety net if there’s truly no other way? Absolutely. But I want them to learn all the valuable lessons that I did, and take ownership of their college experience instead of taking it for granted. I want them to really want to go to class and soak up as much knowledge as possible, and I want them to learn to live below their means, so that they can realize that a frugal lifestyle is a fulfilling and happy one. 

A lifelong Bay Area native, Matt Spillar graduated in May 2013 from Fresno State with a Sports Marketing degree. He currently works on the Content Management team for DealsPlus.com and has worked three seasons with the San Jose Giants. You can read more of his writing on the DealsPlus blog, or his personal blog. He is also on Twitter

Image via Unsplash

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  • Daisy Tran

    I’m on the same page as you, Matt! We basically had the same college experience financially, and I’m still working to pay off my student loans right now, too. It has definitely made me more financially aware, and I hope my future kids will learn the same 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment Daisy! It’s awesome that you had a similar experience 🙂

  • I am also not currently a parent but if I do have children in the future, I intend on putting money aside for them to attend a post secondary institution – just enough so that they can get by if they choose a cheap/reasonably priced school. I’d like to give them an exact number of how much I’ll pay and then leave the other choices up to them.

    I don’t know how much money that will be, but I’d like to give them the opportunity to graduate (relatively) debt-free if they make financially-responsible choices.

    • Elizabeth, thanks for reading and for sharing your thoughts! This sounds like a great approach to take as well. It lets your children know how much you will be providing and then they’ll have to make a plan to figure out the rest. Seems like a good plan!

  • I was recently slightly tipsy at a bar while on vacation, and struck up a conversation with a few older travelers who had kids that were approaching college age. They were split on how much assistance they were willing/able to provide their kids for college, & I offered my unsolicited opinion: the burden of student loan debt is the single greatest challenge our generation is going to face. The weight of the decisions we made at 17 & 18 years old has a lasting impact and is preventing many of us from buying homes, preparing adequately for retirement, and myriad smaller decisions along the way. Our generation, more than any other in history, is finding themselves shackled by the massive amount of debt we owe. Anything a parent can do to lighten that load on their child (without serious detriment to the parent’s financial health & future) is the best gift ever.

    So Matt, I think your argument is rational and a reasonable approach to parenting your future children. I just hope that the argument gets reframed slightly, from “I’m not going to do XYZ for my children” to “I *will* do ABC for my children in order to get them started on the best track possible”, whether that is starting a 529 account, encouraging them to stay in-state, being transparent about your own finances so they have some context for the sheer amount of money student loans often represent, or even refusing to cosign on a massive loan they want to take out because you know what it will mean for them to pay back after they graduate. I think a parent can do a lot of things other than pay their child’s tuition that will give them the benefit of learning about their finances without the painful and irreparable life lesson that comes from massive student loan obligations.

    I’m sure your kids will learn a lot from your experience, Matt. Best of luck to you & them whenever that time comes.

    • Jenn, thanks for reading and for sharing your assessment. I agree with your points, and while my initial sentiment may come off a little harsh in the article, that’s not my intention. I’m excited to teach my future children about finances and how to handle them responsibly. My goal is to put my family in a good position financially by already setting aside money for retirement and long-term savings goals. In this way, while I may not set up a 529 or directly give my children money for tuition, I will still have means to support them in other ways. Whether that be food, rent, books, whatever. Every child and every family situation is different, so it’s hard to generalize. My overall point is that I want my children to handle as much of the financial responsibility on their own as possible, and I’ll be there loving and supporting them along the way. This is what my parents did for me, and I’m grateful for how they handled it. Thanks again for reading and providing your thoughts!

    • Hi Wayne

      A mortgage can be hard to manage at times as well. Are you going to buy your children houses and pay the mortgage? You do what you want, your life. But giving them constant handouts does nothing good for either of you

  • alyjarrett

    Hi Matt, fellow Bulldog here! I think what I was most surprised by was the fact that a degree from Fresno State cost you $25,000 in student loans, so I looked up the fees on the website and indeed that is the current cost for 4 years, assuming that you received no financial aid.

    This vastly differs from my experience: I filed the FAFSA when I was a graduate student living with my parents between 2010-2012 (I’m a Fresno native), and because you don’t have to report your parents’ income for an advanced degree, I looked completely broke and was only required to pay for books and my parking permit. I probably only spent $200 per semester.

    I understand the difference between undergrad vs. grad fees, but I guess my point is that tuition hikes have made it so that just staying in state is not enough anymore. Most students will most likely have to attend undergrad in their own city so they can avoid paying for extra living expenses, like you did coming from the Bay Area (also side note, since I live in the Bay Area now…I’m curious as to why you selected Fresno of all places? I’ve lived there almost my entire life, so I’m only too aware of the negative things people say about it).

    Of course, attending college close to home means more young adults living with their parents in their early 20s, which some families may not support, but if I wasn’t childfree by choice, that might be the only way I could afford to send my kids to college. Needless to say, the high cost of tuition is just another reason why I and many other people are not planning on having children whatsoever.

    • Aly, thanks for reading and it’s great to hear from a fellow Bulldog! Yeah, unfortunately that’s what it took to reach my 4 year degree, the cost of tuition continues to skyrocket. I was still considered a dependent of my parents, which kept me from getting any FAFSA aid. You’re very right though, if I had stayed in the Bay Area and lived at home instead of moving away I definitely would have been able to have saved money. My reasons for moving were to get out of the house and get the full “college experience” and also to be able to pursue a degree in Sports Marketing that Fresno State offers but San Jose State doesn’t. I’ve heard negative things about Fresno, but I’ve also heard negative things about the Bay Area from people who wanted to leave and experience a new place. I’ve had positive experiences in both places.

      While financially this set me back a little bit, I think moving away from home helped me grow up a TON and really start to take responsibility for things, instead of only relying on my parents. It took adjusting to a new place, living with roommates, etc. All of these things were beneficial to my growth as a person, that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had stayed home. Ultimately that was my choice, and I have more student loan debt than I would have if I had made some different choices, but I’m ok with that.

      • alyjarrett

        I completely understand the benefits of gaining independence, which is why I attended UC Santa Cruz for my B.A. (something I wouldn’t have been able to do without financial aid since one year at a UC costs the same as 4 years at a CSU). While I don’t regret learning how to live on my own and with roommates, when I attended my grad program, I chose to move back to Fresno because I realized that saving money and avoiding debt were more important to me than the institution.

        It’s important for people like us to realize that the fact that we even have those choices in school selection does put us in a position of privilege. Most people who live in impoverished cities like Fresno must attend community college locally before transferring because the expense is too high otherwise. And few have the financial ability to get a four-year degree. I’m so thankful that my parents helped me fund my education, and I still became financially responsible despite the assistance. I’m not religious like you are, but I agree with Dave Ramsey’s idea of leaving a legacy for your kids, and that includes saving for their college–which I’m sure you’d have no trouble accomplishing since you’re smart with money!

        Anyway, just food for thought. I also do marketing in San Jose, so feel free to reach out if you’d like hang with your alumni!

  • Aida Rosalia

    This is SUCH a privileged perspective. I know that you recognize that and may you and your children continue to have this privilege, but I don’t think you understand some other aspects. I grew up in a slightly more “lower” middle class family than you, and my parents always expected me to attend college – this was a given. They also expected me to earn a scholarship that would pay for most of it because while they were saving to help me, they weren’t going to be able to afford it. So when the time came for me to choose where I attended college, it was a state school with the best financial aid offer I had on the table. Tuition and fees were paid for, everything else was living expenses. And admittedly, we differ on some pieces – if I had worked my butt off in college, I wouldn’t have had to take out loans to pay for living expenses that my parents couldn’t afford. Further, if my parents hadn’t desired for me to live in one of those expensive places (the basis of being safe) I probably could have really saved myself some money. And while your kids may still learn your financial skills and you probably won’t have the same concerns as my parents that cost so much money, to allow your child to go into debt is… Yeah, a little cruel. What if something happens to them when they get out of school, such as failing to get a job or they have a child, or unforeseen medical bills? What if this happens five years into their debt repayments? Would you still help them financially then? What if you’re not able to, give years after they’ve graduated for whatever reason? I just encourage you in the future to reconsider the precariousness debt will put them in, because there’s teaching your child the value of an education and money (which I managed to have even with my classes paid for) and putting them on a financial seesaw for the first ten years of their adult life. If you’re so capable on the future, perhaps consider “lending” them the money so that way you can help them achieve the goals you enjoyed achieving without the same burden.

    • Aida, thanks for your comment. I’m a bit confused as to why you’d label my perspective as privileged. In fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite. My overall point is that I worked and paid for college myself rather than relying on my parents to pay for all of it, and it taught me a lot of life lessons doing so. It’s my hope to pass those life lessons on to my children through a similar way of handling paying for college. I have many friends who had their entire college experience funded by their parents, and I think that’s much more “privileged” than funding your own way through school.

      As I mention multiple times in my post though, I am very blessed. Do I have certain advantages that other people may not have? Certainly. Having parents who are still married and both love and support my dreams and goals is HUGE. I don’t take that for granted. I also knew in the back of my mind that if I really couldn’t make ends meet, I had them as a safety net. That’s huge as well, and many other people don’t have that. They never just “kicked me to the curb” and left me alone, but overall, the burden of my finances throughout college fell on my shoulders. I didn’t want to ask my parents for more help, I wanted to take ownership and responsibility of my own life. This helped me learn and grow in a variety of ways that some of my peers didn’t.

      Is letting your child go into debt with student loans cruel? I think that’s much too harsh a way of labeling it. Sure, it’s not ideal, and I will definitely walk with my kids to help them make the best decision possible. But them knowing that they’ll be paying for the majority of their expenses of their own will help them take ownership of their decision. Being saddled with student loan debt like I currently am is not fun, but it’s taught me that I never want to go in debt again and it’s taught me the importance of budgeting.

      As I mention in my last paragraph, I would never let my child starve, and I will definitely step in if they really needed the help. That’s what my parents did for me as well. If they suffered unexpected medical bills, unemployment, etc. I will assist. At that point though, ideally they’ll have learned the lessons I wanted them to learn. There’s so many “what ifs” and every family and child is different, so it’s hard to generalize. Again, the overall point is that I want my children to take ownership of their college experience, rather than have it be handed to them. In the meantime, I’ll be doing everything possible to set my family up to be financially successful in the long-run, with strong budgeting, putting aside significant savings for retirement, and also setting aside money for long-term goals. This money can be used to assist my kids in the future, and I’ll be walking alongside them every step of the way.

    • Marcela Moreno

      I really don’t think it’s privileged at all, nor do I think it’s cruel to let your children go into debt. Every loan I took out in college is in my name, and totally and completely my responsibility. My parents absolutely did not have the means to pay for my college tuition, and even if they offered, I would have declined. The way I see it, I chose to go to a school (thankfully, a very affordable one), join a sorority, etc…my parents already supported my life for 18 years. I also believe that I am a pretty functioning adult with student debt, and more financially responsible because of my experiences. If any of the catastrophes happened, I would able to handle them on my own because as an adult, I wouldn’t want to ask my parents who have their own financial struggles and obligations. I totally agree with Matt and would want my children (if I choose to have them), pay their way through college by working, getting scholarships or whatever. I definitely wouldn’t cut the cord and send them off unprepared–but that’s not what he’s saying.

      • Marcela, we’re on the exact same page, thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

    • Tobi

      I would have to say that a child expecting his/her parents to either take out massive loans or save less for retirement in order to pay for college is cruel. No one is entitled to go to college. There are plenty of great craft labor jobs (electricians, plumbers, etc) that pay well and don’t require a four-year education. The expectation that everyone needs to go to college is just unreasonable. And even MORE unreasonable is the expectation that if one does choose college, they shouldn’t have to pay for it.

  • Lindsay Stadter

    I feel like my college financing experience was inbetween some of these opinions. I worked several jobs throughout school and paid all my bills on my own from what and a cobbled-together set of small scholarships. My parents had saved a little (a *little*) in a 529 that basically funded a computer and less than 1 semester of school. But after that, it was all me. I graduated with my bachelor’s and master’s with about $10,000-$15,000 of debt (I don’t quite remember) I intended to pay off. However, my incredibly generous grandparents surprised me by paying them off for me once I finished school. I feel like this was a great way to go because even though my grandparents could have fronted the entire cost of my education if they wanted to, they helped me learn lessons about working hard, managing money, and living reasonably. Then they offered their gifts afterward to save me from the burden of the (relatively minimal) debt I had accrued.

    • Lindsay, that sounds like an great way of handling things and similar to my experience as well! I love that your grandparents waited until after you graduated to gift that to you, it let you get the full experience of making college your own and learn difficult lessons, but they gifted you the ability to be debt free! My parents paid a good portion of my student loan debt, and it was extremely helpful. So awesome, thanks for sharing!

  • Tobi

    Although I’m not a parent (and hope never to become one) I totally agree with you. I’m also a Bay Area native, but I went to a community college and then transferred to Sonoma State. I have worked since I was 14 and worked my way through all of my education. My parents did pay for my community college (back when I started it was $11/unit) but I paid for university. I am very thankful that my parents contributed what they did and I’m very thankful that they didn’t pay for university tuition. Knowing that I would have to pay back loans meant that 1) I didn’t take out more than I needed, only enough to pay tuition/books and 2) I chose a major that would make me employable and lead to financial stability. When I was working in retail and restaurants I worked with SO MANY people who had degrees in Psychology/Sociology/Art History/etc. I didn’t really understand the point of going to get a degree when it leads to the same job that I had without a degree so it made me think hard about what kind of life I wanted and what I needed to do to get there. Great article!

    • Thanks Tobi, much appreciated! Sounds like you had a great college experience and learned a ton along the way!

  • Cecily

    Great article! I once read on one of the financial blogs I follow that, while your kids can take out loans to pay for college, you can’t take out loans to pay for retirement. That has really stuck with me. It’s really sad to hear stories of parents who’ve gone into so much debt to pay for their kid’s education that they have nothing left for retirement. While I hope that I will be financially secure enough to give my children some support (this is really important to me since my parents weren’t able to), I think this is important to keep in mind.

    I do think our college education system is insanely expensive, especially compared to what our parents paid, but that’s a different article lol!

    • So so true. I feel like it’s like the oxygen mask thing on an airplane; do not put one on your child until you get it on yourself. If you are not on track for retirement you should not be putting money into a 529 or doing something else to pay for your kids college.

  • Seagrape

    I plan to go somewhat middle of the road with my son’s college tuition. I purchased a prepaid plan for my state that covers 120 tuition hours, which will cover a bachelor’s. Anything else will be his responsibility to pay, either with scholarships or loans. My state has several universities that are plenty adequate academically for the average student, and its statistically unlikely my son will be some type of super genius who gets into the world’s top schools. It was important to me to go ahead and buy the prepaid plan, because the cost of college continues to increase beyond inflation rates, and it is not a given that the government will take action to ease the student loan/tuition burden.

  • Irisgeist

    At the time I was finishing high school, the only university in my home country that offered the major that I wanted (biotech engineering) had a quite high tuition cost. Luckily, thanks to my grades I got a 90% (debt free) scholarship. I had the mindset that good education is expensive, and that being in a top institution comes with a price (a painful, but necessary one). I met my SO at college, and coming from a similar financial background, we shared the same opinion. Our thoughts at the moment were that from the time we had a kid born, we would have to open a savings account just to save little by little a college fund that could be used to support (at least in part) their college education.
    Then we moved to Germany, and did my graduate studies in a great program, working at an awesome research institute….having to pay just 100€/semester of tuition (out of where around 60€ were to cover for the public transportation semester ticket). Similarly, he enrolled in a M.Sc. program and then into a PhD, both with similar tuition costs. It really changed our whole mindset; here you have (in general) a whole generation of millennials without the burden of a crippling debt, using their savings to actually invest in their own future. I don’t know yet if we are ever coming back to our home country, if we stay here for the long term, or if we move somewhere else. But the cost of education is definitely a factor that we are considering for weighting our options.

  • Heidi B. Hodges

    I find it hard to believe that’s an unpopular opinion. I think that a new adults should go into college thinking that they are going to have to pay themselves. This helped me avoid hefty tuitions by going to community college before transferring to an in-state four-year school. I commuted to save on housing. I kept my grades up for scholarship opportunities. And I kept a part-time job the entire time. When I needed help financially, my parents were there for me. But with me doing the best I could on my own, they were able to help me where they could as well, without totally supporting me and breaking their own bank.

  • Summer

    As someone who graduated with 40k in student loan debt, I completely agree with you. Does it suck to be in debt this much? Absolutely. But it isn’t parental responsibility to foot the bill for education. If someone’s parents are wealthy, can comfortably afford to pay, and that’s what they want to spend their money on, fine; but I am staunchly opposed to parents going into debt themselves (or otherwise sacrificing their own quality of life, i.e.; compromising retirement plans) in order to fund an education for their post-18-year-old child. Going to college was my choice (especially since I went later in life, rather than right out of high school), why on earth should that burden fall on the shoulders of my parents? They spent countless thousands of dollars raising me to adulthood; the cost of my education is no more their responsibility than the cost of the breakfast I’m about to go pick up for myself.

  • Michelle

    Thanks for being honest about your opinions Matt, I have had a similar experience with my student loan debt. I have paid it mostly by myself the past 2 years and now my dad wants to pay the rest off off for me since he is financially more stable than he was years and years ago (i’m about 1/3 done paying them). So I learned my lesson and how to budget. It is definitely a tough subject though, I feel like if my family had been more financially savvy or knew a thing about budgeting I would have grown up less entitled/jaded about how it all works, but I also don’t want my children to struggle. However, it builds character. Every person needs to overcome a “struggle” by themselves, but the struggle of student loan debt can be very extreme. Hopefully the right approach will become apparent to me when I start my own family.

  • Sabrina

    I liked this point of view. I think it’s very true that a lot of people don’t take ownership of their college experience and end up going because that’s the thing to do and they’re not invested in any of it. The way my parents did it, we agreed that they would cover whatever I needed but that when all was said and done, I would owe them 66% of whatever costs I had accrued while in college. They were covering a third and I had to cover the other two thirds. This allowed me to graduate without any student loan debt (which I know I am incredibly privileged to not have) but also to take ownership of my path through college (it was one big reason I ended up going to community college and transferring as a junior). Now I still owe this money to my parents but I don’t have to pay it back until it makes sense financially. I thought it was a good middle ground.

  • Kimberlynne

    My friend’s parents did something when she was in school that I really hope I’m able to replicate when I (hopefully) have kids. She had to pay for her classes up front (which she was able to do by going to community college and by having a pretty solid savings account from working through high school), but her parents refunded her back the money at the end of the semester for every class she passed.

    I thought this was an awesome solution because she had a great work ethic and learned how to save by paying for classes up front, yet she was still able to graduate debt-free. She was also able to realize the value of her education, since she did end up failing a course and not getting refunded back on that. I remember it being a painful expense for her at the time, but in hindsight she’s really happy her family did it that way because she appreciated her education more than if it had been outright payed for by them. It might not be a solution that works for everyone, but it worked awesomely for her.

  • Holly

    We are going to have our kids know from a fairly young age that we will not be helping pay for college. At that point, it’s either saving for retirement/old age or helping our kids. Not that I don’t want to, but you need to think of your own future, too.

  • Sabrina

    Congratulations on all your success and hard work!!! It is definitely something to be proud of!!! BUT, you cannot possibly know how you will react to an enormous life-altering event like parenthood of a college-bound offspring when you have no children and are barely an adult yourself! What if your child has a disability? What if your spouse insists on paying the tuition? What if the best school for them is just out of their financial reach without your assistance? What if they can’t get student loans because you make too much money? There are endless variables in the lifetime it takes to raise a human being to college age!!! Rewrite this article in 20+ years and you will have some real perspective! The old saying goes “They only people who know exactly how to raise a child are the ones who never had one!”

  • james

    Just don’t have children and the problem is solved.

  • rlloyd3030

    My parents did not have the money for college, and I did not expect them to give me any as well. My grades were mediocre , but at any rate I went into the Army at 17, and stayed in awhile, moved up in rank, and took advantage of college tuition being paid (90%) so I only 10% plus books, misc fees if any and my time & effort. Earned my degree in five years,(BS Business Admin & International Studies) and left the service after a number of years. Got two more degrees (MA / BA) in other areas (Computer Science MA and another Bachelors in History), thanks to the GI Bill . The military got their ten or twenty pounds of flesh , and I accomplished what I set out to do (long-range). It can be done, if you are focused and ditch the partying, and other non-important activities. When I got my last two degrees, I was working a regular job (40-60 hours weeks) in banking and Information Technology and currently do Information Security / Cyber Security. If you want it, find a way, the military may still offer the GI Bill or in-service tuition, but expecting your parents to foot the bill is unrealistic and something your will appreciate more if you do it n your own, and then you will owe nobody anything, in terms of asking for help. That is the difference in my generation (Baby Boomer) and the millennials.

  • Hi Wayne

    I’ve never understood this one. Why would you fork out tens of thousands of dollars for your ADULT child to go to college? Just to be straight: I’m 100% all for college. I encourage my daughter to go when she’s done with HS. But no f*cking way I’m paying for it. My parents didn’t chip in a dime for my education (and they could have afforded to) and I managed to get a BS degree. Quit babying them.
    You want to go to college for free? No problem, join the military like I did. 4 years of disclipine and maturing, not to mention traveling the world for free AND getting paid and having a hell of a great time… then free college.
    If your child is too chicken sh*t to step up and serve their country, then get a godda*n loan, scholarship, grants.
    There’s way to make it happen on your own.
    Put on your big boy/girl shoes, take off your diaper, and be a fu*king adult instead of depending on mommy and daddy