Fortunately, for students heading off to college, or those that are currently enrolled, there are several different sources of money to choose from to cover the tuition, books, room and board and other costs of college. Does the students’ academic success depend on who pays for their college—be it themselves, parents, scholarship or financial aid? Some studies show that some students are more diligent when it comes to school work and more likely to obtain a college degree, depending on where the money is coming from to pay for their education.

Students Pay

Some students pay for their own college education while working at the same as going to college. Others work ahead of time to save enough money leading up to the four years of college to earn a degree. Either way, students that pay for their own tuition tend to pay better attention to their academics because they have a vested interest in doing well—their hard earned money.

Not only do students that pay their own tuition and college fees tend to work harder on academic achievement, but they are also more likely to take it the distance to earn a degree.

Unfortunately, working to pay for a college education can also inhibit some students. For some students, it takes a toll on their time because they have to work full-time, go to school full-time and find time to do homework study and take care of their personal lives. The students who pay their own way also may be less likely to participate in college life activities because they are short on time.

Parents Foot the Bill

When parents pay for college, it can go one of two ways. Students may appreciate how hard their parents have worked to cover this expense, which is especially true in minority families, such as Hispanic and African-American families. This gives the child incentive to do well in school so as not to waste their parents’ money.

College experts say that no matter the income level of the parents, the parents and the child should have a payment agreement that correlates with academic success. For example, the parent may agree to pay for the child’s entire college education as long as they maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Other parents may pay upfront, but require the child to make a certain grade in each class. For example, the parent will pay 100 percent of the class if the child gets an A in the class. For a B, the parent may only pay 90 percent of the course, so the student owes their parents 10 percent of the cost of that class.

Again, this gives the child an incentive to do well in the class even though Mom and Dad are footing the bill.


Students that are attending college on a scholarship have a built-in incentive to do well. All scholarships have built-in requirements that students must meet to continue to receive their scholarship money. Typically, the requirement is to maintain a specific GPA and to stay out of academic or legal trouble while in college. As long as the students do this, they typically keep receiving their scholarship money. Kids going to college on scholarships tend to do what they have to do to keep their scholarship money coming in.

This is especially true of kids that would not be able to afford to go to college without the scholarship. Again, this tends to be low-income families that do not have other ways to pay for their child off to earn a college degree.

Financial Aid

College students that receive financial aid are also on an income-needs basis. This means that without the financial aid, it may prevent the student from going to college at all, or would require them to start at a local community college rather than head off to a four-year college or university.

Academic success and financial aid may propel students to do well because students know they have to pay the money pack after they graduate. If they don’t do well, then it is a waste of their own money because even though the students didn’t have to come up with the money upfront, it is their money that they have to pay back on the backend—after graduation.

Some financial aid is based on performance as well. This means that if the student receives financial aid one semester but fails, then they may not receive financial aid the following semester.

Other students mistake financial aid as “free money.” They do not fully understand that they have to pay this money back so that it is worth their effort to do good academically so that they do not waste the money.

Does the students’ academic success depend on who pays for their college? According to some studies there is a correlation between college success and the payment source, especially when the student has a vested interest—either paying for their own college, holding on to a scholarship or parents that will only pay when certain criteria are met.

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