A 54-year-old man and his 52-year-old wife set up education funds for their two children when they were young, funded by the children’s grandparents.
High Hopes For Education
The parents decided that the education fund should only be spent on postgraduate study. The man explained: “I have a PhD, my wife has a master’s. Because of this, we decided not to use the funds for our kids’ undergrad degrees and did not tell them about the money.”
The Daughter’s Educational Path
The daughter chose to pursue her passion in the liberal arts, studying music and film at college. The parents were concerned about this decision, particularly around the cost of study and the potential lack of career prospects.
Providing For Herself
The daughter attended a relatively expensive school, but despite her parent’s concerns, she secured scholarships to cover most of her tuition. To make ends meet, she lived in a shared apartment in a run-down area far from campus.
Unused Education Fund
After graduation, the daughter found a low-paying albeit enjoyable job, opting out of graduate school and continuing to support herself. From the parents’ perspective, this meant that the money put aside for the daughter’s postgraduate study would not no longer be needed.
The Son’s Contrasting Pathway
The son, on the other hand, pursued an engineering degree. He did not receive as many scholarships as his sister, and this meant that his studies would come with high costs.
Using His Education Fund
The boy’s parents decided to offer the son his education fund to cover these costs and living expenses. “He was able to get a large and nice apartment of his own close to the school, which is important since his classes are so demanding and he needs a comfortable space to work”.
The daughter became confused as to how her brother could afford such an apartment, so the brother revealed the existence of the education fund to her. She learned that her brother had used his education fund to finance an apartment that would aid his studies, while she had not been offered such an opportunity.
Feeling hurt and confused, the daughter asked her parents why she hadn’t received the same support, and if there was any way to access the funds now.
Parents’ Explanation and Decision
The parents explained that this wasn’t an option: they had hoped she would pursue graduate school, and that’s why they hadn’t used the funds for her undergraduate education. They also mentioned that there would be fees to withdraw the money for non-education purposes, and the funds technically belonged to her grandparents, who could use them as they saw fit.
Tension and Silence
Since this revelation, the daughter has become distant and unresponsive to her parents’ attempts to reach out. The parents grappled with whether they made the right choice regarding the education funds and the implications the decision could have on their relationship with their daughter.
The father went online, requesting the perspective of others. However, he did not receive the validation that he was looking for. Many commenters focussed on how unfair this situation was for the daughter, with one asking: “You paid for your son to have a large apartment to himself close to his school but forced your daughter to pay for her undesirable apartment across town?!”
One reader claimed that the parents had set unfair expectations of their children: “For two people that are so very smart you both sure are stupid”, one reader angrily wrote. “Stop trying to make your children little models of the two of you. Their grandparents gave them an education fund to be used for schooling – you chose to say it could only be used for postgraduate study.”
Degrees Don’t Equal Smartness
This perspective was shared by many other readers, with one concluding: “Just goes to show you that having a PhD and a Masters does neither make you a good parent or smart in any way.”
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