Study: Parents paying hurts GPA

By Tiago Zenero, NewsNetNebraka

The more parents invest their children’s education, the worse their GPAs are, a new study developed by Laura T. Hamilton, Sociology professor of the University of California, found.

“Students with parental support are best described as staying out of serious academic trouble, but dialing down their academic efforts,” Hamilton wrote in her research.

What motivated Hamilton to develop the research, named “More is More or More is Less? Parental Financial Investments during College”, was the increase of tuition by universities. She wanted to know if the effort parents make to pay for tuition led to better grades.

Photo courtesy University of California-Merced

But how close are the students of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from Hamilton’s research?

NewsNetNebraska surveyed 123 students at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the results were a little different.

The results of the non-scientific survey found that students that got help from their parents, but also paid some of their own costs, had the highest GPA’s. Students who had no help had the lowest. Of the students surveyed, the average GPA ranged from 3.12 to 3.35.

Chart by Tiago Souza


Sara Mota, Advertising major of UNL, disagrees with the research of Hamilton. In her opinion, much more than only the financial support of the parents influence her academic performance.

“My parents pay the university for me and because I have a great relationship with them, I give my best to be a good student and keep a high GPA,” Mota said.

Working while studying can also be tiring, Mota said.

“If I worked, I probably wouldn’t have time to study and would be really tired during the classes. Even if I tried hard, I believe my GPA wouldn’t be so high,” she said.

Sophie Breuil, Business Administration major in UNL, agrees that money is not the only factor involved. Each student must have a goal, she said.

“Mine is to get my degree,” she said. “I only study to have a good GPA because it will help me in my future career.”

David Warner, Professor of Sociology at UNL explains that many aspects are involved. He said that the group of students analyzed in the University of California and the University of Nebraska are different, so probably the academic development is also different.

Nevertheless, Warner said that there is a connection between working and studying.

“Work and study competes, so students who must work to pay for the University will have a lower GPA,” he said.

Students who receive money from their parents have received it all their lives, he said. If those students take one more year to graduate, the money spent wouldn’t be theirs anyway. That’s different from students who pay for part of or all of their studies, Warner said.

“Only when you start working you learn about the responsibility of money,” Warner said.

In her research, Hamilton focuses that parents support is important, but they must set standards, like a minimum GPA.

That is what happens in Mota’s family.

“If my GPA is below 3.0, I am in trouble with my parents,” she said.

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