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Rich Deadbeat Parents Who Refuse to Pay for College

Are you a rich deadbeat parent?Bad parenting sign
I'm specifically talking about parents, who make six-figure salaries, but aren't willing to help their children pay for college.

Earlier today I talked about this breed of parents with Sandy Baum, an economist and senior policy analyst at the College Board and one of the nation's foremost experts on college costs. She co-authored a new study on student and parent borrowers that I wrote about earlier this week:

College Debt: 12 Facts About Student Loan Borrowers

We ended up discussing a subject that clearly irritates Baum (and myself): Affluent parents who have the means to pay for a big chunk of the college tab, but don't. Here's what Baum had to say about parents refusing to kick in money for college:

"It appears that parents are erring too much in the direction of believing, 'It's not my problem, it's your problem.' They don't want to cut into their lifestyle to pay for college."
Baum has heard of parents making $150,000, who seriously complain that they can't pay for college because it would hurt their standard of living. "It's hard to believe that parents think their responsibly ends at age 18," Baum added.

Deadbeat Parent Examples

Actually, I had the opportunity earlier this year to hear from affluent parents, who justify their behavior, and college students who have been hurt by their parents' miserliness. I received 50 comments after I wrote the following post for my other college blog:

Getting Financial Aid as an Independent Student

I wrote that piece after hearing from a college student whose parents make $130,000 a year, but had saved just $8,000 for her and her twin brother's education. The brother and sister will have to pay the rest of the tab.

And I've heard even worse stories. I think the following tale of deadbeat parents is the most stunning that I've run across:

My parents made over $200,000 last year and don't help me with school at all. At the rate that I'm going maybe I'll never graduate. I work Monday through Friday 7AM to 5PM and make $14,000 a year. I'm going to community college which the out-of-state tuition is $330 per credit hour. Say I take 10 credits a semester 10x $330 is $3,330. For three semester (I'm behind and take summer classes to catch up) that would be around $9,990 a year spent on school alone. Books? Transportation? Rent? Phone bill? Food? ....
My parents are fully capable of assisting me, but they choose not to. My father, who is a doctor, doesn't want to work the extra time to help so he works minimum hours to just get himself by.

Affluent students, whose parents refuse to pay for college, are highly vulnerable because they aren't eligible for the kind of generous financial aid packages that middle- and lower-income students are eligible for. On paper, these well-off families should have the financial means to pay for college, but they have dumped the burden on their teenagers instead.

Shame on these deadbeat parents!

Lynn O'Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes at TheCollegeSolutionBlog.com. Follow her on Twitter.
Bad parent image by Selvig. CC 2.0.

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