EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


November 23, 2013

Got grades?: When parents pay tuition, it's a fair request

Dear Doctor,

Our question concerns our first born, who is now a college freshman. He is 19 years old and the college will not send us his grades unless he signs an agreement letting them do so. We are paying for his tuitionand we think it is only fair to see how he is doing.

What do families do who pay for college and do not know what is happening?

In the Dark

Dear Dark,

I am not certain what your question has to do with psychology, but it is one that surfaces in families.

Let me tell you a personal story.

Number one son had adjourned to college. He was clearly enjoying himself in all the usual freshman ways. He was also full of his newfound independence and control. He announced that the college would not be sending the grades, but would advise us as to his status. This would all be according to his schedule.

I accepted his terms bur shared with him that I hoped he had made financial arrangements for tuition, room, food and other necessities, which would amount to a tidy sum.

He responded with shock that we would abandon him at such a juncture.

Not a problem, I told him, once the grades are mailed to us upon the execution of his waiver. This legal process, I pointed out, was in his adult hands.

The papers arrived from his college forthwith. So did the grades, which did indeed reflect his “adjustment” to the college life.

It seems to me it is a quid pro quo. We pay. You produce the grades.

This is why parents must be a devious lot.

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