"Instead, we are paying for her education at half the price (but still over $26,000 a year) at an in-state school," writes some mother to advice columnist Amy Dickinson.
This takes me back to my teenage years, in the 1960s, when my parents told me they couldn't send me to a private school (after my French teacher talked up Middlebury College to me). I didn't consider it an option to complain, though I felt bad about it.
My parents paid all my college expenses, and the notion of taking loans to make up the difference never came up. It was a different culture back then, at least at my house. You understood that you bought what you could afford, and it showed bad character to mope about it, and you didn't want to be ungrateful or selfish. And if I had crossed the line into a display of such bad character traits, my parents would never have considered writing to an advice columnist about what to do about their complaining, ungrateful daughter who won't value what is good about the college we are able to pay for.
Ask Amy says: "Your daughter needs to learn a lesson tougher than any course she will take in college: that she is responsible for her own success and happiness, now and beyond," and maybe she should transfer somewhere she likes better and, along the way, figure out how to cover whatever expenses exceed the part her parents can pay. That's good advice for the daughter. But I prefer advice columnists who go straight for the letter-writer's problem when the letter-writer is saying somebody else is a problem. There are always implied problems belonging to the letter-writer, beginning with the problem of lacking your own ideas of how to extricate yourself from your problems.
What did you do to raise a daughter who would put on a display of complaining like that? At the same time, I look to myself and wonder why I accepted the limitation, imposed by my parents, of attending a big state school and had no idea of how to explore the option of going somewhere else.
The culture has truly tipped, with everyone feeling entitled to things they can't pay for and assuming somebody else over there will pay somehow, some time, and I shouldn't have to think about them.