Family stretches finances to fund daughter’s studies

Published 8:27 am Thursday, July 20, 2023

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DEAR ABBY: My daughter is attending a pricey college. She will be taking out the maximum of student loans, and we will slowly but surely eat through our entire savings to pay for it.
Her college hires resident assistants (RAs) to help freshmen adjust to college life. In return, the RAs receive free room and board. This would be a tremendous financial help to our family and might also allow us to pay off some of her unsubsidized loans next year.
My daughter has agreed to apply to be an RA for her junior year, but since then, she has become despondent. She says all her friends are moving off-campus and she’ll be “stuck” in a freshman dorm. I am sympathetic to her concerns since the social aspect of college life is important. On the other hand, my husband and I are making tremendous sacrifices so she can go to her dream school.
She’s generally outgoing, likes socializing and is temperamentally well-suited to an RA position. So, to be completely honest, I’m angry that she’s viewing this opportunity as a burden rather than an opportunity to significantly improve her and our family’s financial situation by taking a job that could be rewarding.
Am I wrong to ask my daughter to apply for this position? If we were a wealthy family, I would never ask, but we are not. I’m afraid she will face greater sacrifices down the road if she enters the work world with substantial debt. – NOT MADE OF MONEY IN NEW YORK

DEAR NOT MADE OF MONEY: Although your daughter is enrolled in a pricey college, she appears to be lacking in financial acumen. If she were more mature, she would recognize that this job would benefit your entire family. Because she isn’t, it is up to you and her father to impress that fact upon her.
Of course socializing in college is important, but taking the RA position won’t entirely preclude that. Being an RA would give her valuable leadership experience, which could help her in the future. Many graduates remember with great fondness the resident assistants they had in college and the guidance they provided.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law constantly calls my husband and is always reminding him not to forget her. If we don’t answer the phone, she’ll leave a message asking, “Where is my son?” Then she’ll add, “Don’t forget about your mother.”
I’m tired of it, and my husband won’t put a stop to it. He says she’s his mother and he needs to respect her. I feel like even after all these years she hasn’t cut the cord, and he is still attached. Any advice? – ANNOYED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR ANNOYED: Your mother-in-law appears to be insecure and to crave more attention from her son. This has nothing to do with you, so my advice is to ignore any message that isn’t meant for you, and try to be less critical. If being told not to forget his mother bothered your husband, he would deal with it. Trust me on that.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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