Dad Who Refuses To Pay For Daughter's English Degree Asks If He's Wrong For Funding Sons' Medical School

Dad refuses to pay for daughter’s degree, and English grads let him have it.

A photograph of a girl reclining on the back of a chair, looking upset as her dad argues with her in the background. Violator22 /

Having the opportunity to receive a college education is both exciting and incredibly important in today’s age, and we live in a world where our options for paths of learning can feel limitless at times.

However, even with all those choices, there are still many biases that pit fields of study against each other. Most notably: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and the humanities, or arts.


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One dad proved the STEM vs Arts bias is still alive and well by refusing to pay for his daughter’s degree in English.

“I sat down Jane last night and told her that if she decided to go through with the English degree, I would not support her at all and that she would have to take out her own student loan,” the dad wrote in a Reddit post to the subReddit “r/AmITheA--Hole.”


This subreddit is dedicated to sharing conflicts and allowing the poster to receive feedback or advice on the situation from other users who act as neutral third parties.

This dad shared his conflict with his daughter, Jane, about her chosen degree path, and his role in financing it.

He begins by explaining that his 21-year-old daughter has gotten accepted into her dream college before adding, “...the only thing is that Jane got accepted to do an English degree.”

In comparison to Jane’s two older brothers, Mark and Leo, who are 28 and 30 respectively, and now well-paid medical doctors, Jane got a late start in pursuing a further education.

When she was 18, the family had encouraged her to start looking for schools, but Jane “claimed that she was not ready and wanted to have a 'little rest.'” The poster then explained that her “little rest” consisted of “going out with friends and traveling the whole of last year with her boyfriend.”


All of these endeavors were paid for by her father, and now that she was feeling ready to re-enter the world of education, her parents had offered to pay for her tuition, on one condition.

“We made her promise that when she did apply to university it was for a degree that was worth it.”

The dad explained his reasoning behind such a promise, claiming that his daughter was going through “a weird phase” where she wanted to pursue more creative career paths.

He clearly did not value these dreams, and hoped she would settle for an “actually useful degree,” but Jane’s mind was apparently made up.

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“Fast forward a year later we find out that Jane's gone behind our backs and applied for an English degree.”

The dad was frustrated by this decision for Jane to “be herself" as he put it, and sat his daughter down to explain that if she did not change her degree to something more suitable, he would remove his financial support, and force her to take out her own student loan.

“At this, she began crying claiming that I was the 'worst dad ever' and had always favored her brothers over her (because I had paid for their university fees).” The dad claimed that this was not true, since he paid for all of her travel expenses, and his request for her was not unreasonable.

His sons, however, thought he was being too harsh, and that he should support his daughter’s education, regardless of what the degree was.


In the final comments, the dad claimed that he wasn’t making his choices out of sexism. He wrote: “I want her to do something useful which she can live off instead of depending on me for the rest of her life. I don't even know if this is something she really wants to do or if it's another way of trying to rebel against me.”

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The English majors of Reddit did not find that reason to be a good enough excuse.

One user wrote: “[You are The A--hole]. If it was because you paid an equal amount to her travels as her brother's education I would say [not the a--hole]. But because she chose a degree you "disapprove" of, you are punishing her.”

Dozens of commenters with English degrees flocked to the thread to call out the dad’s clear undervaluing of the humanities degree, citing their impactful work across many different fields.


“I’ve been a librarian for ten years and have helped thousands of people,” one user wrote, and another chimed in to share that they had dedicated their career to teaching low-income immigrants English. “I changed the lives of thousands and thousands of people.”

Another cited their income with an English degree: “Signing off as another English major who made 160k last year. I'm a program manager for a software company.”

These replies and more go to show, a degree in a humanities field such as English is not in any way inherently worthless or lesser than a medical degree.


In fact, soft skills such as critical thinking, creative and technical writing, speech, and analytical skills covered in humanities courses are often essential in the workforce. They can give an employee an edge that others might not have, even if their degree is in medicine or engineering.

The arts are frequently undervalued, underfunded, and overlooked, but that does not make them worthless. A person’s passion can make any degree grow into a thriving career, and an English degree has just as much potential to make a difference as any other.

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Hawthorn Martin is a news and entertainment writer living in Texas. They focus on social justice, pop culture, and human interest stories.