Daughter's Boyfriend Offering to Pay Part of College Expenses

Updated on August 26, 2014
L.L. asks from Lincoln, NE
23 answers

My daughter just started her college education. Her boyfriend has suggested that she not apply for loans because he can help her pay for her expenses; tuition/books, etc
I get uncomfortable when the topic comes up. I get concerned there will be resentment between the two of them. What if they break up, will he want to be repaid? I am not fully aware of all the concerns I have, just that I have them, and I want to discuss this with them.

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Ideas on what I can say when we all sit down to discuss this would be helpful as well.

Thank you so very much!

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answers from Chicago on

No, (Boyfriend), THere are some things people just need to do on their own and prove to themselves they can do it.

That is a sign of power over her, you do not want that ...

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I think she should apply as normal. If he wants to chip in and help in paying those and/or getting her supplies that is so nice of him...but if he flakes or they break up, she will have the funds readily available.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Wausau on

Nope. Noooope. That is a possible red flag for the relationship - it can be used to control and manipulate - but it is also flat out stupid from a legal standpoint.

If she has loan debt and they marry in the future, he can pay it off then. Until such time, a woman needs to be able to stand on her own, or she is never more than a child.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

No way.
Let him help pay her loans when she graduates--IF he's still in the picture.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Where's he getting all HIS money? No way. Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

To me that's just violating some boundaries. Adults don't pay for other adults' expenses, including education. The one exception to that, in my mind, is a parent paying a child's way through college. And of course a married couple going to college would share those expenses.

I would be careful how I handle it with them, though. Be sensitive to whatever it is he is trying to do and gently steer them another direction if at all possible.

In the meantime I am going to tell my daughter that I am not going to participate in the arrangement if she decides to go forward because at that point she has declared that she is a grown woman ready to make her own life decisions. Grown people are not entitled to be supported by other people. And if a young adult does not want to abide by their parents' reasonable wishes then he/she is not entitled to be supported either (including college expenses).

I would assume his intentions are good (even if maybe they aren't) but I would not go along with it ultimately.

Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

First of all, it is not his responsibility to be paying for her education. RED FLAG.

I have a firm belief that is not in common with most parents on MMP but I believe it is my job as a parent to pay for my child's education and make sure she graduates from college debt free. Her job is to maintain her grades and focus on her education. My daughter is very appreciative of the fact that we prepared and saved for her for many years in order to provide her education. She shows this appreciation by maintaining a spot on the Dean's List with 4.0+ GPA, being involved with leadership at her school, and preparing for her future success. She just started her Sophomore year.

What is the BF's motive for wanting to pay for your daughter's college?

How much older is he?

What is in it for him? Yes, there is something in it for him somewhere.

It is your daughter's choice but I would not allow anyone to pay something like that for me because I refuse to be "owned" by any individual.

If she is a starting Freshman, most of the 1st year expenses should already be taken care of, especially tuition.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Welcome to mamapedia!!

I would say THANK YOU, but NO THANK YOU....why? For reasons you listed...

1. What happens if they break up?
a. who will then pay for her expenses?
b. will he demand payment in full?
c. will he have "strings" attached to the money?
d. what will happen if she takes a class he doesn't approve of?
e. what happens if her grades aren't up to par??

I'd love to know WHERE he is getting the money from. I would tell my daughter - it's great that he wants to do this. However, you are young and do you KNOW if this is the man for you??? If not. Then say thank you for your generosity. I will go for scholarships, grants and student loans.

If he insists??? Have them write up an agreement about how long, how much and what is expected - repayment, etc. and what will happen in the event of a break up?

It's great to have someone who is willing to do this. However, unless they are married? I would say no thank you.

Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

How old is your daughter? How old is the boyfriend? How long and how well do they know each other? What has been their experience when they've disagreed? Has their relationship weathered difficulties? Why does he want to do this? Do they expect to marry? If so, what happens if they break up?What are each persons expectations for how to use the money. How will the money affect their relationship?

There are too many unanswered questions for me to even consider an answer. Unless they are both over 30 and experienced much in life to include other relationships and been independent and are self confident I would out of hand say a strong no.

I can't visualize how this situation could be successful if your daughter is just a couple of years out of high school.

If this were an older friend of the family with no romantic involvement I'd still question it. Strings always attach to money given or loaned. The strings are frequently not obvious. Money elicits deep emotional responses.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My big question would be - WHY does he want to do this?
Are they having sex and this is how he's paying for "services rendered"?
What happens if they break up?
If either he or she walks out - who's left holding the bill?
See - it kind of makes her dependent on him - and that kind of dependance might have some strings attached.
I've heard of newly wed HUSBANDS doing this.
Is this his way of proposing?
If she's 18 or over, then she's an adult and can make her own choices.
But she should really think about what the possible problems might turn out to be.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Isn't her financial aid in place already?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

eeeeee. i don't like it. it probably comes from a really good place, but this is guaranteed to cause an obligation/gratitude cycle that could easily spiral into insanity. if he wants to buy her A Book, that would be fine (those suckers are stupidly expensive, a topic i could rant about for several hours), especially if it's a birthday or anniversary gift, but anything over that is really pushing boundaries.
if they're still together when she graduates they can work on paying off the loans together.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Discuss these questions/concerns with her. They are valid. After that, she makes her decision.

Is her bf significantly older? That could cause problems in the long run, but there's probably little you can do about it.

I generally agree with everyone else that this isn't a good idea. There's definitely something in it for him.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

She should take out loans to fund her college education. If they marry someday, he can then feel free to pay off the debt.

For what it is worth...I don't necessarily see "red flags" because of his generosity. He could be just a genuinely nice person who loves your daughter and wants to help her. However, they are not married and I believe your daughter would be taking advantage of her boyfriend by excepting such a generous offer. (I realize he wants to do this but if things don't work out, he may feel taken advantage of at a later date).

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Dear L.,

If she just started, she should have filed her FAFSA last February/March. It sound like there are other problems here. If she is young (just out of high school) then she needs to sit down with you and come up with a budget! I can't believe she already started and you did not have this conversation already. If she is in her mid-20s, than as long as you are not supporting her, I do not think you have a lot of say in the matter.

When I wanted to go to college (in-state school but lived on campus and was 5+ hours from home) my parents sat me down and we created a budget and discussed who was paying for what...there was no ambiguity or false expectations on anyone's part because we had discussed it all in advance.

I do not know why your daughter's boyfriend would even be in this conversation. It is not his business - unless he is trying to find a way to control her.

Happy Parenting!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Tell her to get the loan and he can help her pay them off. If he wants to help her pay for things beyond room and board and tuition, that's fine, but I would insist my SD have her basic fees covered upfront. Most colleges require a certain amount before you can even register for classes. Then she can ask her BF for help with the books, supplies, gas money, etc. IMO, I also see it as taking ownership of her own education. I took out my own loans and worked so I had my own money for my degree. We are encouraging my SD to do the same, nevermind her BF's nice paycheck. It's her brain and her sweat equity, so to speak. We have provided a small college fund for each kid, but it won't cover 100% of expenses unless THEY contribute. So far (2 kids) it's worked out well that they have some ownership in their education and they understood our financial limitations upfront. I also like the idea that any agreement be in writing with a third party (lawyer? legal advisor) reviewing it. That way she is covered if he retaliates and takes her to small claims later or stops paying or something.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I suggest she apply for grants and loans, whatever is not covered, IF he really wants to pay for that, then they need to get a legal agreement about how it will work exactly in case of a change in their relationship.

IF once she graduates and he still wants to pay the loans, then he can do that.

It seems like a lot of a responsibility for someone you are not related or married to to.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

She is awfully young to enter into this type of arrangement with a boyfriend she can't have been with for all that long. It's hard to know what the future would hold.

Is he so financially flush that he can afford this? It's nice if he's trying to protect her from a lot of debt and interest rates, although student loan interest is fairly low and there are legislative efforts underway to keep it there. However, if he is trying to control her in any way by controlling the purse strings, that is a huge red flag. What happens if she breaks up with him or wants to pursue a line of study he doesn't approve of? What if she wants a college social life that doesn't include him? Will she "owe" him because he is funding this, or a portion of it? Are you covering some of her expenses as well? How will everyone know what their obligations and duties are? What happens to her future if he drops out of the picture?

Did he go to college himself and he wants to help with this opportunity? Did he not go, and wishes he had? Is he a young person with no sense of how this sort of thing might play out over time?

The whole thing makes me nervous - as it does you. I'd say to trust your gut. If you all sit down to discuss it, I would start with asking him (in as non-judgmental a way as possible) to outline his feelings, his motivations, his budget, his expectations (for her attention, for repayment, for everything), and even the particulars of how he envisions actually making the payments (check to her, to you, to the school, or on line payments which would mean he would have her account information including everything she's charging at the bookstore, etc.). Get a sense of his awareness of her privacy, both personal and financial.

Even if he seems sincere and well-meaning, he may just be naive about all of this.

I wouldn't make any decision there at the table. Tell him you'll think about it and get back to him. If she is doing all of this on her own and you're not paying anything, you may not have any say over anything. But if you are in this too, you have a big influence and responsibility.

I think you can insist on a repayment contract (or a "this is a gift" contract) which an attorney should review.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

could you provide background on how the boyfriend is able to contribute? are you able to contribute and choose not to, which is certainly valid?

how much of a boyfriend is he??? living together for 5 yrs vs met online 2 weeks ago.

realistically how likely is your dd to get a well paying job after college to be able to pay him back or pay back her loans if she goes that route.

Also accepting a gift of $300 for text books ( do they even have those anymore?) is different then accepting a loan of 3,000 to cover housing or tuition.

Write up some sort of an agreement, if you want to be really safe hire a lawyer,
I'm not sure how old your dd is, if you could force her to accept or not accept, so the decision might be her's

the points you raised are valid points, basically what does he get out of doing this for her? and what will be her attitude towards school.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Have her make a list of pros and cons. I paid for community college for all my kids and they paid for the rest of their 4 yr degrees if they decided to go to that next educational level. The ones that did took out loans and then cut expenses and worked 2 jobs to pay off the loans in 1 year. I'd say to make sure your daughter is at a college that isn't going to put her in financial straights for years to come as she chips away at a $$$ debit with a job that pays $.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

He should not be paying for her education, That is her responsibility.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I'd take your daughter to an attorney, ask the question and see what he or she says about future liability. There's a catch here and I'll just bet that lawyers have been around the block enough to know where the potholes are that she might be navigating...

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If she is on her own and going to college, not dependent on you for her college money tell her there are tons of things she can do and get free money for college.

There are scholarships, tuition aid grants, and financial aid. Why struggle to pay for college when, if you look hard enough and use a financial aid counselor, you can go for free?

2 moms found this helpful
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