Accept a Gift or Not?

Updated on April 10, 2017
R.V. asks from Nine Mile Falls, WA
22 answers

Our oldest daughter is graduating high school this year. She got accepted to 3 great Colleges. Although she has her heart set on one of them, we had to make practical decision and go with the one which offered the most in grants and scholarship and, choose the one close to home which is great because the University waves the room and board which is over 11k. With that, we still have remaining 5k to borrow.

My parents who currently lives with us offered to lend us 2000 to pay part of the loan or as graduation gift of $1000. Either one is a blessing for us. However, my husband doesn't want to accept gift or charity from anybody including his or my family.

My husband was rejected when he asked his parents for help for a down payment on a car after graduating from High School, So he refuses to ask for anything or accept a gift from family.

I am torn for I don't want to disrespect my husband and his request to not accept the gift from my parents. But I'm also hurt for I don't want to dissappoint anybody.

Your advise is greatly appreciated.

Thank you

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So What Happened?

I am grateful for everyone's support and for everyone's genuine advice. I too feel the same way about the money. The gift is coming from people (my parent) who loves and care for us and our children. We should be grateful and not prideful.

After a long conversation with my husband, we are in agreement with everybody not to accept the loan. However, we will be willing to have them put the money in her bank account to help with misc. College expenses.

On a separate note, my husband and I took a tour with our daughter to the College for two days, besides getting an additional $1500 in scholarship, she was also offered a work study which starts during the summer. Yay! We're excited about that.

Thank you again for your time in reading and responding to my question and I apologize for the delay in writing back.

We feel bless that my parents are offering to give our daughter a gift towards her college education.
On a side note, my parents both retired a year ago. While they were in the process of selling their 6 bedroom house, we offered for them to live with us for a few months, (rent free).

Although, I wouldn't mind having them stay with us, they are very independent and still prefer to have their own place.

Again thank you for your time

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More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to mamapedia, R.!

Congratulations on your daughter's graduation and acceptances!!

A gift is a gift - with no strings attached.

Your parents live with you currently. Do they pay rent to you? If they do? Why not use that money towards your daughters education?

If your parents are offering a GIFT? then your husband should NOT be able to decline it since it's NOT FOR HIM. Again, it's a GIFT - NOT A LOAN.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Congratulations on your daughters impending graduation!
College is a 4 yr (or slightly longer) process and you've got to keep in mind it's not just one year you'll have to come up with money for.
If your parents are offering you a loan - you'll have to pay that back - and if they NEED to have it paid back - they probably can't afford to offer the loan in the first place.
So turning it down is probably a good thing to do.
A gift is something you don't pay back.

What I'm not understanding is why they are offering the gift to you when it's your daughter that's graduating.
If your parents want to wire her some cash from time to time while she's at school - then YOU (and Hubby) aren't accepting gifts/charity - your daughter is.
(And I don't think your daughter should take it if it's a loan from your parents.)
It would be wise for her to get a work study job to also help earn the money she needs to get her degree.

I think it's a good idea for everyone to be clear on the finances, how much things are going to cost and how long it's going to take to pay off student loans.
There is also the consideration that your parents may be on a fixed income if they are retired and need to keep an eye on their money.
A financial planner can help everyone address the various needs of everyone's ages and stages and how to fund it all.
Good luck!
Starting college is exciting but it'll be even more exciting when she earns her degree and gets a job in her field of study!

Your daughter should also be applying for scholarships - there are all kinds.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

A gift doesn't have strings attached nor does it require to be paid back.

Your husband needs to stop holding everyone hostage to his hurt from his step into adulthood.

If your parents want to give a GIFT, then that's up to your daughter to accept. NOT her dad.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Are they gifting to you or your daughter?

If they are giving you $2000 toward her education I'd probably not do that. Her education is your responsibility and arrangements should have been made years ago in order to avoid loans. I'm sorry, I believe it's my responsibility to get my daughter through college debt free so she has better opportunities for saving and preparing for her future when she starts out on her own.

Are there strings attached to this "loan"?

If they give your daughter $1000 as a gift then that is your daughters money to spend as she sees fit and hopefully she'd use it toward her education or something she needs for her education.

We don't have the whole background here because it sounds like you've had previous loans from parents and financial issues.

Before my daughter accepted any money, I'd make sure there are no strings attached and it's clear if it's a gift or loan.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I would not borrow $2000 from anyone but a bank. I see nothing wrong with accepting $1000 as a gift though. A gift is a gift and it is really not your husband's place to say no to a gift that is not his.

(We too made the practical choice for our daughter re: which school to attend so she could graduate debt free. It was not her first pick schools but things have worked out. She is now in the honors college, and holds a few leadership positions for next year/sophomore year and she is grateful to not have to pay back loans)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Take the gift, as it is no strings attached. Forget the loan nonsense as this could cause trouble down the road and go against your husband's wishes. It is utterly ridiculous that your husband won't allow her to accept a gift. He needs to get over that. I can see him having issues with a loan, but not a gift. The loan vs gift is only 1K difference; don't have a ton of drama over that amount. Take the gift and move on.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

While it would be amazing if we all had a lot of money to pay for our children to go to college...most of us don't. That's why there are grants and scholarships. Don't you feel guilty at ALL that you are not able to send your daughter to college and pay for all of it. Most people can't.
On to your question....I would not accept a loan. I don't like owing anyone money. If it is a gift to your daughter then she can chose if she wants to accept it or not. Your daughter can also get a job. Lots of people do that when they go to college!
Your husband is being a bit petty....his parents didn't help with a down payment 18 years ago!! My goodness, that's a long time to hold a grudge.
BUT...I would never accept any money without you and your husband on the same page. If he isn't, then you don't take it.
Sounds like a good ol' fashioned discussion needs to happen between you two.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

It's a gift to her, not to you or your husband. Tell him to back off and not bother her about what she does with her graduation gifts.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would accept the money as a gift to help pay for your daughter's education. Your husband was hurt in the past, but he needs to get over that and realize that it's time to put his daughter before his pride.
Your daughter should also plan to get a work-study job on campus. I worked all four years of college to help pay for it.
Congrats to her on getting accepted to three schools!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Your parents live with you, so unless they are paying rent you have been giving them a great "gift"!

As for the gift/loan - I think grandparents should want to give their granddaughter a graduation gift!! So, if you accept the loan, what is her gift? And if she accepts the $1000, in my opinion, a "gift" should have no strings attached. If she wants to spend that $1000 on a beautiful watch to wear at college, she should be able to do that. It just doesn't sit right with me to give a "gift" which is really no fun at all!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Your husband has a great deal of pride, because his pride was hurt by his family. But he doesn't have the right to turn down your parent's gift to his daughter for her graduation. Your daughter needs to be able to thank them for that gift.

These are your parents. This is YOUR daughter. He doesn't have the right to this decision.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Binghamton on

Aren't your parents in a way taking a gift from you if they live with you? You could remind your husband of that. And it doesn't mean you haven't saved best you could. College is expensive. I plan to help my grandkids if I have any and my kids have been fiscally responsible but just don't have all the tuition. It'd make me happy to help. Finally, your husband can't stop them from gifting your daughter the $1k. It's what lots of grandparents do. Some pay for all of college! So seems easiest for them to gift it to her and she uses it for tuition.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I personally would. We accept gifts. I don't think I would do a loan. Would you accept another form of help? If so, this is just another type of help.
My husband and I tend to make decisions in the best interest of our family as a whole. So we wouldn't take a gift if there were strings attached.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Congrats to your daughter and kudos to you for opening her eyes to make a college decision based on all the facts instead of following her heart. I know people who are still paying off student loans into the 40's because they decided on a college and borrowed all the money to pay for everything.

Your daughter should be figuring out how to come up with 5K to pay for tuition. Working part time should be able to cover that amount. You can cosign for the loans but she's the one who needs to pay them off. After all you are already saving her 11K in room and board.

You shouldn't take a loan from your parents. If they want to do something have them work with your daughter to buy her books. Those can be expensive even when you buy them used. Make sure she sells them back at the end of every semester because she will not use them again and the money she gets back can help with books for the next semester.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

Sounds similar in some ways to how my husband and I were raised. His parents wouldn't help him out in any way (but as adults, you better believe they have asked us for help more than once, but it's not reciprocated), and my parents have helped us out more times than not with no strings attached.

I can understand your husband 1. doesn't want to be indebted to anyone and 2. maybe a part of him wants to prove that he can do it himself.

But like someone else said, a gift is a gift. Are your parents gifting it to you guys? Or to your daughter? It may not be a bad thing to gift to your daughter and she can use that towards books and put the rest up or something.

You can also ask hubby if this is about him or having his daughter go to college. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and think about someone other than yourself.

Also, check out It's another place to look for more scholarships and grants. You feel like it takes forever to complete the profile part because it will ask some very detailed questions, but what it does is it will send your daughter scholarships that match her profile, so she doesn't have to look for anything. May not hurt to try and see if you can lower that 5k some more. If not, not sure how it works, if your daughter can apply for a school loan or you guys, if she does, she won't have to pay it back until x time after she graduates, that may be an option too if hubby is still being stubborn.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I'm sorry that your husband was disappointed and rejected by his parents. I'm sure that was very hurtful, and it left a scar on his psyche.

But I think it's a shame that he would insist on inflicting that same rejection on his own daughter, to make sure that she is as held back as he was. Don't we usually want more for our children than we had? We try to make the best of what happened to us, and do just a little better for our own kids.

Your parents live with you, so they must be particularly close to your daughter. So you have given them this gift of housing and family closeness, yet your husband will prevent them from repaying that by giving something to your daughter in a time when college expenses are exponentially higher than they were when he was her age? Is he also going to reject scholarships that are based on her achievement and character? I'm guessing he will not. But he wants to prevent people who love her from endorsing her pursuit of higher education, from investing in the many contributions they hope she will make to this world when she graduates with a good education. He's letting his own ego and his own pain play out in the life of his daughter because...why?... he thinks this is an insult to his own earning power? What a shame.

Let them pay $2000 toward her tuition, or have them apply it to her books and living expenses at college. I think it's doesn't make sense to give it directly to her - kids may spend it rather than save it. That's probably why your parents said it's $1000 if they give it to her, and $2000 if it goes toward college.

If your husband still refuses, I think your parents can independently decide to give your daughter a gift, perhaps in a monthly or quarterly installment directly to the college, or directly to her, to underwrite her expenses, her "luxuries" (like going to campus concerts or buying school name sweatshirts and so on, stuff every kid wants). Those are expenses you would probably wind up paying, so let this be their gift to her. Paying the college directly means they would give a bigger gift, right? I'd choose that.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

To decline a gift from people who want to celebrate their granddaughter and help her out would be rude and insulting. The gift is for her, allow her to accept it. She can use it for books and supplies or just to offset some living expenses. If she is moving on campus, dorm shopping can easily run hundreds of dollars in bedding, storage and cleaning supplies, school supplies, etc. not to mention a new laptop or printer if she needs them, etc. Also if the school is close to home, she'll spend money on gas going back and forth, eating out off campus, etc. A college kid can put $1K to good use very quickly. Don't let your husband's petty and irrational stance deprive your daughter of a gift that she can use. Did he not allow your kids to receive birthday and holiday gifts too? This is really no different, other than being larger. While it might not offset the loan, it will be money that you won't have to spend getting her ready to move.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would definitely let your daughter accept this very kind gift. Not sure I would do the loan?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

If its a gift for your daughter I'd say its her decision whether she accepts the gift or not. And I wouldnt feel guilty to accept family should support each other and I'm sure your husband would help his family out if they needed money..


If its a gift for your daughter I'd say its her decision whether she accepts the gift or not. And I wouldnt feel guilty to accept family should support each other and I'm sure your husband would help his family out if they needed money..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Wow, you're in a hard spot. Maybe you can help your guy see that accepting it as a gift (the loan idea might be a little weird) isn't the same as his situation. In time, his feelings might change, particularly if you are able to communicate what you are feeling and how hurt you are.
I know you don't want to offend your folks either. But if he is just not going to budge, I think going behind his back will cause strain in your relationship. (I am not accusing you of doing this, but it might be the only way if he is just outright opposed.) I hope he is loving towards you and willing to value your opinion. But ultimately, you want him to feel respected, even if he's unreasonable in this aspect. I'm sure you feel he is more important than money, and getting that support from you is bound to be important to him. An alternative suggestion might be having them donate the $1000 to the university with your daughter's name on it, provided your husband is less bothered by this idea. Just a few ideas I hope are helpful.



answers from San Francisco on

They're not offering your husband a gift; the gift is for your daughter. So, he can still choose not to accept a gift for himself, but whether or not your daughter accepts one is up to her. Tel



answers from New York on

Say no to the loan but your daughter should be free to accept a gift from her grandparents.

Your husband needs to get over his personal angst. My mom refused to cosign my loan for my first car. Sure I was hurt but I understood her position and made another way. I paid that loan off myself, never needing her help and never falling behind in payments.

The gift should come straight from your parents to your daughter or to your daughter's higher education institution. Problem solved. He doesn't get to dictate what they do with their money or how they interact with their granddaughter who will be 18 and an adult in the eyes of the law.

No disrespect intended to him but he needs to put the bad blood behind him. That was a long time ago. He has a car now and needs to let the past be in the past. Forgive them and himself for holding this grudge.

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