Should You Help Your Grandchild With College Expenses?


One of your grandkids is about to graduate. It’s an exciting time and you want to let them know how much they mean to you. Do you show up with cash for their college tuition?

should you help your grandchild with college expenses

Sometimes the answer to this question is obvious. Very few of us can afford to fork over big dollars without endangering our own financial security. And if we have multiple grandkids, the prospect never enters our minds. However, if you have extra cash that’s been waiting for your grandchild to graduate, think again before stuffing it in that envelope.

  • Has this particular grandchild maintained good grades and displayed worthy study habits throughout high school?
  • Has he or she proven to associate with quality people who are serious about life and future goals?
  • Does your grandchild have a career focus that is sustainable for the future job market?
  • Has this grandchild helped to save for their own college expenses?
  • Have you and your grandchild maintained a bond that is sure to last?

If the answer is “yes” to all of these questions, and your budget allows, gifting a portion of your grands tuition may be one of the best investments you’ve ever made.

Therefore, have a heart to heart talk about your hopes and expectations to ensure mutual understanding.

Giving beyond the cash

should you help your grandchild with college expenses

There are many ways to support our grandchildren as they head off to college. Which ones could you do?

  • Send a monthly care package. Ask your grandchild for a list of favorite snacks, candies, and toiletries. You can always slip in a $10 or $20 dollar bill for an extra surprise. And don’t forget the love note from grandma or grandpa.
  • Send an occasional gift card to their favorite coffee shop, deli or restaurant near their college.
  • Set up a time for a once a week or month phone call when you get all the news and encourage their progress.
  • Invite your grandchild to your home for a weekend or holiday and allow them to bring a friend along.
  • Visit their campus and treat them to a shopping trip for a new article of clothing and dinner out. 
  • Pray for them and send cards so they know they’re on your mind. 
  • If you run into a bit of extra cash, contribute to their supplies for a new semester.

Finally, a grandchild launching into the world of secondary education can also present the opportunity for a better relationship. As they face all things new, and sometimes unsettling, they can cling to the old for support–even if that “old” is us.