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Flunking Out Of College: Should I Allow My Adult Children Move Back Home?

Updated on October 24, 2015

So is your adult son or daughter flunking out of college? Having been a college student myself that witnessed students partying while I studied hard and and maintained a high GPA while working a part-time job to pay my tuition, I must admit I had very little respect for those who ended up on academic probation. It is pretty hard to flunk out of a US college or university, so I hate to tell you this, but your son or daughter must have been working pretty hard to get to this place. There are certain circumstances where I might understand someone failing course, such as death in the family, or having to work several jobs to pay for tuition. On the other hand, I have very little respect for people whose parents pay for everything and they still fail their courses. Students who do not have jobs have all the time in the world to study and very few excuses for flunking out of college. I even knew students who never studied and were able to buckle down a week before midterms and finals, so it is possible to pass your courses in most circumstances. Most universities even have learning centers for students struggling with certain subject, and many diligent students use these. So it make someone who does not even crack a book to study look a bit lazy. I mean if you want to waste your own money like that, great. But why do your parents have to pay for that?

I do not recommend procrastination and cramming, but just being apathetic and not trying is a waste of money and time. Unless a college student was suffering from a major illness or experienced a traumatic event, most likely he or she was partying or just not studying in order to completely fail. Failing in certain programs like bio-med are understandable because there is a high attrition rate due to the hard coursework, but if your teen is failing art history courses you might want to ask them if they ever cracked the books. Most colleges and universities put a student on academic probation before they are expelled, so most students have known about their grades well in advance and were given time to rectify the situation. There are also tutoring services to help students struggling with their grades, so if you are footing the college bill and your son or daughter is still failing most of their courses, there is really little to no excuse for this! As a parent you might want to reconsider paying for your son or daughter's education if you notice they are failing their courses. This is not harsh because often people will only appreciate things they have to pay for themselves.

Some college students argue that they did not know courses would require so much time set aside for studying, but this is something everyone should keep in mind before applying to four year universities. If you are looking for an easier course load it makes more sense to first apply to a community college or a technical school to take one or two course, but having a full ride paid by your parents' to a major university and not respecting their money is slightly disrespectful. I had to pay for college myself, and in certain circumstance I think that students who are partying should have their parents stop footing the bill. Maybe if these college students had to pay for their own books and tuition they might take college a bit more seriously, and finally see it as an opportunity to learn rather than a chance to just hang out and socialize. On the other hand, some college students are mature and simply realize that school is not for them, which in that case they will drop out and get a job. However, if you have the opportunity to finish your degree it is for the best because this is experience that you can put on your resume, and you can always get real world experience working at a job as you pursue a four year degree.

Mom, the dog ate my college schedule.
Mom, the dog ate my college schedule.

Moving Back Home Might Be The Solution

In America there is a big emphasis on people moving away from home when they turn eighteen. Personally I was happy to move away from home, but that is only because my dad buys into the popular American notion that kids should leave home at adulthood. However, here in the US I know many families where the kids still live at home, and many of them are working professionals in their thirties. I see nothing wrong with kids moving back home, as long as they are working and contributing to the household. I am not talking about people who are not working and dropped out of school. If you drop out of college and move back home I think the first thing you should do is get a job and help your parents.

As Americans we do waste a lot of money on our emphasis that everyone should maintain their own separate household. If it were up to me I think it would be great for my sister and I to live with our mom, but our dad does not like this idea. I truly have to admire the cohesive Asian families where several generations work and live together. However, one friend who is first generation told me that second and third generation Asians are less into this lifestyle now.

In this economy we could definitely save money and resources by filling some of these larger houses. So if you have room at home and your son or daughter is struggling at school, ask them to move back home on the condition they will look for work and reconsider their academic plans.  Maybe they will attend trade school, join the military, or even go back to a four year college when they realize they have to study a bit more than they did the first time around. Just let your adult children know there is an expectation of them finding work if they move back home, and that they need to contribute money to the living expenses of the household.

Moving Back Home Does Not Need To Be Permanent

If after a year an adult child has dropped out of college and still cannot find a job, perhaps they have little incentive to try. Sometimes the college of life where you have to pay for your own bills and food can be a great incentive to get someone motivated. College is not for everyone, and in today's world, it is a bit disconcerting how people keep recommending everyone goes to school, which is usually just a catalyst for more debt. What about the college bubble everyone is promoting, but very few are talking about. There is a sizable part of the population that has not paid off their student debt in full, and paying back student loans can be economically draining.

Some people are not academically motivated, and the jobs available upon graduation will not always pay off the college loans. Ironically, sometimes a college graduate will find a job that does not pay much more than a person who only has a high school education, and then they have to pay off the student loans in addition to this. So if a person does not have a drive to obtain a higher degree, working a few part-time jobs, or finding full-time employment after high school might be better. A student who drops out of the first or second year of college will still have to pay back the loans, and they will not even have a degree to show for it. There are many cases where just getting a job after college would be preferable, and create less debt all around.

I loved college, but I learned many people just do not want to go. Actually, I know quite a few people who never went to college and make more money than I do, so using college as an economic bargaining chip is kind of a funny concept. It might just result in apathy for adult children who are told they must go. Perhaps letting people find their own way in the world while knowing they have to pay their own bills after a year is a better option.


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    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 2 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Those are all good points, Aya.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 2 years ago from The Ozarks

      This is very sound advice. College is not for everyone. Some people without a college education make much more money than those who have one. Also, sometimes having large extended families living together can work, as long as everyone agrees on what each person is required to contribute to the general fund.