Why do some people not take instructions seriously, especially about family rules about college fees? We’ve no idea! An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for reminding/telling my daughter we are only paying for four years of college?”.

Here’s the full story for your context.


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The Original Poster(OP) and his wife are well off and very grateful for it. They have four children, and this is about their third kid, Bella. 

“We have a rule for college, and it is to get your degree in four years. We will pay for it, and if you graduate earlier, we will give you extra money for your use.”, says OP. 


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His oldest graduated in four years and has no debt. His second oldest graduated early, took summer classes, and they gave him money that he is using for a down payment on a home. 

“If they are doing a five-year program, we will pay, but if they leave that program for a normal one, then it goes back to four.”, says OP. 


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Bella has changed her major twice already, and she is a junior right now. She told OP and his wife that she is changing her major again. OP reminded her they are only paying for four years. 


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This is where they got into an argument, and she is upset that they won’t pay even though they have the cash. He argues that they told her before and aren’t changing how they do it.


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“By the end of it, she called me an unsupportive parent/jerk who is making her go into debt for pursuing her passion. Am I a jerk if she won’t talk to me now?” asks OP. 


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“Not the jerk. My parents had the same rules as me, and I had the same rules with my kids. Given how expensive college is, this is a common-sense policy.” 


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“Not the jerk. You laid out the situation beforehand and generously are paying for a full university term. It’s a good lesson in responsibility for your daughter to realize you have to stick to commitments, including major, and that school isn’t just fun free time to waffle around countless times.” 


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“Not the jerk. Your daughter needs to figure out what she wants to do rather than jumping between majors. I have a friend who did this, and he ended up with heaps of debt and nothing to show for it, as he tapped out before he finished a degree.

Your daughter is fortunate to get four years of free study. If she takes longer, it’s hardly unreasonable to expect her to find the difference.”


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“Not the jerk. You have the same and extremely fair rules for all your kids. She wants special treatment, unlike her siblings.”


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“Not the jerk. Just because you have the money doesn’t mean Bella is entitled to waste it. I also have to wonder how much this new major is a ‘passion’ if she just discovered it and didn’t pursue it until now.”


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“You are incredibly generous. Bella should appreciate the huge financial gift you have already given her. She needs to learn that there are financial consequences to her choices. Not the jerk.”


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“Not the jerk. Parents aren’t an infinite money cheat code for one to mess around and dip your toe in every major. Pick something and stick with it; otherwise, pay for it yourself. Throwing a fit over getting ‘only’ four years of free tuition is ridiculous when a lot of kids either have to pay all of their tuition or go to a community college.”


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