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Parents Paying For Mediocrity

Try to explain this puzzling data and conclusions, based on a national study:

  • The more college money parents provide, the lower their children's grades
  • It "lowering" is modest in size, and not great enough to lead to a child flunking out, but it is significant
  • The "lowering" is less at elite institutions, compared with private, expensive out-of-state colleges
  • When parents pay a child's way through college, graduation rates are higher...but usually with mediocre G.P.A.'s
  • Students with the lowest grades were those whose parents paid their way without discussing parental expectations, student responsibility, etc.
So, what is your explanation (and remedy) for this perplexing set of data and conclusions?

Source: T. Lewis, "Parents Financial Support Linked to College Grades," New York Times, 1/15/13