How to Ask Your Parents for Money in College

How to Ask Your Parents for Money in College

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Asking your parents for money while you're a college student is never easy -- or comfortable. Sometimes, however, the costs and expenses of college are more than you can handle. If you're in a situation where you need to ask your parents (or grandparents, or whomever) for some financial help while in school, these suggestions should help make the situation a little easier.

6 Tips for Asking for Financial Help

  1. Be honest. This is probably the most important. If you lie and say you need money for rent but don't use the money for rent, what are you going to do when you really do need money for rent in a few weeks? Be honest about why you are asking. Are you in an emergency? Do you want a little money for something fun? Have you totally mismanaged your money and run out before the semester ended? Is there a great opportunity you don't want to miss but can't afford?
  2. Put yourself in their shoes. Most likely, you know how they are going to react. Will they be worried about you because you had a car accident and need money to fix your car so you can continue to drive to school? Or furious because you blew your entire semester's loan check within the first few weeks of school? Put yourself in their situation and try to imagine what they'll be thinking -- and open to -- when you finally ask. Knowing what to expect will help you know how to prepare.
  3. Know if you're asking for a gift or a loan. You know you need money. But do you know if you are going to be able to pay them back? If you aim to reimburse them, let them know how you'll do so. If not, be honest about that, too.
  4. Be grateful for the help you've already received. Your parents may be angels or -- well -- not. But, most likely, they have sacrificed something -- money, time, their own luxuries, energy -- to make sure you made it to school (and can stay there). Be grateful for what they've done already. And if they can't give you money but can offer other support, be grateful for that, too. They may be doing the best they can, just like you.
  5. Think about how to avoid your situation again. Your parents may be hesitant to give you money if they think you're going to be in the same situation next month or next semester. Think about how you got in your current predicament and what you can do to avoid a repeat -- and let your parents know your plan of action for doing so.
  6. Explore other options if possible. Your parents may want to give you money and help out, but it just may not be a possibility. Think about what other options you have, from an on-campus job to an emergency loan from the financial aid office, that can help. Your parents will appreciate knowing that you've looked into other sources besides them.