Are SA students spoilt rotten?
Children who receive for financial aid from their parents get worse grades at university.
Recently, a relative of mine, a young university student, ‘Jane’, complained that she needs a top of the range tablet because her laptop is dated.  Jane is quick to forget that a year ago she pressed her cash-strapped parents to buy her the expensive laptop.  Now she wants a top of the range tablet – disregarding her parent’s inability to buy luxuries.  She doesn’t worry where the money comes from. All she thinks of is spending that money.

According to recent media reports, Jane is not alone when it comes to students who won’t think twice about blowing their parents’ hard earned money.

‘R3 798 a month living expenses’

A survey by youth marketing and recruitment company Student Village showed that the country’s students blow up R3 768 a month (R45 000 annually) An average person in South Africa spends R25 000 annually. 

During the year 2014 South Africa’s 970 00 are expected to spend R41.1-billion. And who is going to foot this massive bill? Most parents and family members, with 14% of the money expected to come from students’ part-time work and 10% from bursaries.

 What do they spend on?

Rent is the major expense across the board.  Students also spend a lot on cellphones. It was found that black students used most of their money on petrol and car repayments. Indian students blew on entertainment. Coloured students majored on fashion and takeaways and white students spent on alcohol and cigarettes.   

More money, lower grades

Wealthy parents who shower students with too much money might be doing them a disfavour according to a study by Laura Hamilton, an assistant professor in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts at the University of California at Merced. According to the study ‘the more money (in total and as a share of total college costs) that parents provide for higher education, the lower the grades their children earn.’

In other words, students who received minimum parental support had a higher grade than the ‘spoilt’ students. 

More money, higher chances of graduation

However, the study also revealed that students who got a lot of support from their parents were more likely to graduate than students who got little support from their parents who are likely to drop out of college due to lack of funds. 

Link financial support to student’s goals

Hamilton did not discourage parents from giving full support financial support to their offspring’s education, rather to set clear expectations about grades and deadlines for graduating. She also encouraged parents to focus on what they are paying for to avoid paying for non essentials. Wealthy parents should encourage students to take unpaid internships as a way of teaching them to be more responsible. 

What I leant from these studies is that as parents we should not blindly dish out cash to students. Rather we should demand accountably for every cent and also demand good grades for our hard-earned cash. 

How much financial support do you give your kids attending university or college? 

Read Parent24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Everything from parties to pre-schools in your area.

Jobs - Find your dream job

Reporting Accountant

Cape Town
Network Finance Professional / Prudential
R310 000.00 - R360 000.00 Per Year

Java Developer

Network IT Recruitment
R450 000.00 - R500 000.00 Per Month

Financial Manager

Communicate Recruitment: Finance 3
R750 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Month

Property - Find a new home