Parents won't share how much they're willing to pay?

<p>I'm trying to narrow down schools, and cost is a big factor. I have some good academic scholarships and personal savings, but nothing that comes close to footing the bill. My parents are willing to help me out, but they refuse to give me an estimate. They say that how much they contribute will be determined by my behavior over the next few months. </p>

<p>Historically, my parents and I have had an up and down relationship. I get great grades and stay of out trouble, but our personalities really don't mesh well together and we argue a lot. They keep telling me I need an attitude adjustment or they will not cover anything.</p>

<p>I'm really struggling with this situation. I'll be making some tough choices soon, and not knowing our financial situation is really hindering the process. Advice on what to do?</p>

<p>You have my sympathy. It's a very difficult situation to have parents that try to control you this way. You'll have to look at your behavior.. if you really feel you're the one to blame and they are justified, then you have some hope of control.. but if they are just going to constantly be pulling power plays, then I think you're better off doing what you can to be independent of them.. meaning maybe community college and work. Another option is to try to get them to improve with some family counseling.. Feel free to ignore this opinion if it doesn't fit.. but I just foresee more of this in years ahead.</p>

<p>You need to count on them paying zero until they say otherwise. Have a safety you can afford alone. That may be a CC part time, but that's the way most go to college.</p>

<p>Are you a senior this year? I don't know why exactly, but many otherwise great kids go through a period when they drive their parents nuts in the months before they leave for college. Here it's often referred to as "fouling the nest". Anyway, I sympathize with both you and your folks if that's happening...it's a tough time but it gets better as everyone relaxes. Do your best to understand their stress (and your own) and realize that you soon will have more independence but still need to abide by their rules and be respectful. Respect is key to dealing with parents!</p>

<p>I agree - really concentrate on being respectful. My 16-year-old son "stays out of trouble," too, but he can say some really inappropriate things to his dad and me. That matters! Remember who is paying the bills. You will be away from them soon, so just try to hold your tongue. It would also be to your advantage to help around the house when you're not even asked. If my son did that, it would make a world of difference.</p>

<p>"Historically, my parents and I have had an up and down relationship. I get great grades and stay of out trouble, but our personalities really don't mesh well together and we argue a lot. They keep telling me I need an attitude adjustment or they will not cover anything."</p>

<p>I also vote for doing your best to find a place that you can afford without their help. Perhaps your attitude will improve enough for them to offer to pay $X, but by the fall they might be ticked-off again. What happens if you do make it through year 1 but they are miffed about something when the tuition bill comes due for year 2, or 3, or 4? Go back to your list, run the numbers again, see if you can make any of those places work without money from your parents.</p>

<p>Okay, this might be bad advice, so caveat emptor ;)</p>

<p>I would ask them politely how they would like you to approach your selection of college by April if you're not presently able to discuss financial contributions, and explain that at this point, it is important to understand the distinction between "can afford IF we decide to help" and "can't afford EVEN IF we decide to help." </p>

<p>Explain to them you are willing to assume the maximum fed student debt of $5500 for your first year, and how much you expect to be able to contribute through work, but that beyond that would require co-signers and you're hoping to keep your debt-load to national acceptable standards. Ask if they would walk through net cost calculators at respective schools and identify whether an option is "actually fiscally viable IF you choose to assist me," or "NOT actually fiscally viable even if you DID choose to assist me."</p>

<p>Then ask them to outline what criteria by which you can judge your "attitude adjustment" so that you're more in control of your future and you have clear guidelines of what it will take to select and access the right fit ;)</p>

<p>I know this is a PITA, but perhaps they don't actually understand the impact of their behavior. You will need to lead the way on this to avoid nasty surprises/disappointment, and of course, keep a safety lined up.</p>

<p>I have some good academic scholarships and personal savings, but nothing that comes close to footing the bill. My parents are willing to help me out, but they refuse to give me an estimate. They say that how much they contribute will be determined by my behavior over the next few months. </p>

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<p>You've been given the roadmap, so follow it.</p>

<p>That means:</p>

<p>Respect curfews
Do what you're told
Don't talk back
Don't use a "tone" when answering their questions
Do your chores on time.
Do extra chores without being asked.
Know where your stuff is, and put it away.</p>

<p>Don't make your parents "mother you" all the time....waking you up, telling you to go to bed, reminding you to do your homework, finding your stuff for you.</p>

<p>Engage your parents in conversations...treat them well, interact with them, don't just treat them like a WALLET.</p>

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<h2>Then ask them to outline what criteria by which you can judge your "attitude adjustment" so that you're more in control of your future and you have clear guidelines of what it will take to select and access the right fit </h2>

<p>Very good. Write down what they say and have you each sign it. In some way, include a mention that no one is perfect, so a minor mistake here or there should not be enough to be a problem. (And I mean MINOR....like accidentally leaving dirty socks on the floor.....However, coming in at 3 am or getting drunk is NOT MINOR.)</p>

<p>That said...</p>

<p>you do need to know the score. If you're a model child, then how much will they spend? Could this be "bait and switch"? Is it possible that they don't have the money and are COUNTING on you to misbehave so that they can blame not paying on that?</p>

<p>Historically, my parents and I have had an up and down relationship. I get great grades and stay of out trouble, but our personalities really don't mesh well together and we argue a lot. They keep telling me I need an attitude adjustment or they will not cover anything.</p>

<p>==================</p>

<p>I'm "reading between the lines", but here goes....</p>

<p>If "personalities aren't meshing" because of typical Parent/teen issues regarding differences common between the generations, then just "lay low". If your parents are conservative (or liberal) and you're the opposite, then don't engage them in those topics. If they're religious and you're not, then lay low about your personal feelings. </p>

<p>It's not worth losing college money assistance over "opinions"....especially since opinions change as kids age/get jobs/pay taxes, etc. At some point, you may find yourselves more on the same page.</p>

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<p>That advice about stop using electronics as a shield is GREAT. </p>

<p>To every young person out there....it's rude to be constantly texting, etc, while family is around.</p>

<p>There is a natural conflict built into the process: it is YOUR life but it is THEIR Money. Several things can help:</p>

<p>1) Understand fear/aggression. Your parents may be terrified/in denial about the high cost of college. By postponing the conversation, they postpone dealing with the challenge. They may have 0 dollars and be embarrassed by that. If they have 0 dollars for you, you are going to get hammered into misbehaving because they need you to "mouth off" so they can say "sorry, no money from us for you."</p>

<p>This is a classic sandbag operation and it's a scary thought -- but be alert to the possibility. </p>

<p>2) Invite them to "own" the fears. Ask, politely, if the thought of college costs are scary to them. Ask if they are worried about you earning a degree. </p>

<p>3) Give words of appreciation -- groceries, a roof over your head, a computer, -- even a bed and pillow didn't materialize out of thin air. They made these things possible. Let them know that you value what they have provided. </p>

<p>4) Don't torture yourself. Instead of pinning your hopes on an expensive private college, look for bargain priced solid colleges that will want you. Sure, go ahead and apply to an expensive choice -- but consider it a long shot -- like buying a lottery ticket. It'd be great if it works out but you aren't going to plan that it will. </p>

<p>Keep positive. Try and see the world through your parent's eyes. There are hints around about how they are doing financially -- you just have to figure out how to read them.</p>

<p>Do they know where you applied? Do they know how much the colleges will cost? Have you and they finished your financial aid forms? You say you'll be making some tough choices soon, but the bottom line is they will also need to be involved in the choices you make because chances are they will be footing some of the bill. Perhaps if you engage them in the decision making and have a calm discussion surrounding the schools you can choose from they will stop making comments about your attitude and you will get a truer sense of what they can actually afford. Just because you can get in, doesn't always mean you and your parents can afford those schools. It's a two step process...you get in and you and they decide what is affordable. Mostly that should happen BEFORE you apply but there are many, many kids that report in on these threads where that doesn't happen until the acceptances arrive.</p>