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Dad & Daughter No Longer Speaking After He Said She 'Sabotaged Herself' By Going To Community College For Free

Photo: Gladskikh Tatiana / Shutterstock
dad and daughter arguing

The stakes have never been higher when it comes to planning for college and a future career, and it causes inordinate anxiety for students and parents. But one dad on Reddit has taken that stress to a whole new level.

The dad withheld his daughter's college fund because he believes community college is self-sabotage. 

College costs have been soaring for decades. From 1980 to 2020, the cost of a degree rose 169%, and it's gone up a further 4.7% since.

A traditional four-year degree has become absolutely untenable for most, without taking on a staggering debt load that often has life-ruining consequences.

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For many families, this means they have to find savings wherever they possibly can. As the dad shared in his Reddit post, his daughter found what she thought was a great solution — the local community college.

Community college would be free for his daughter, but the dad insists all his kids go to a state school. 

"I have college funds for all 3 of my kids," the dad wrote, "and had an agreement with them that they would receive it after graduating high school as long as they attended a state university." 

He made this rule because he "wanted to set them up for success later on, and I knew future employers would take them more seriously if their degree was from a legitimate 4-year college."

   

   

But most parents — 44% according to one 2018 survey — aren't able to save enough for college due to the consistently rising costs

So when the daughter's mom told her about a program at the local community college that waives tuition for students who are the first in their family to go to college, she jumped at the chance. Suffice it to say, her dad did not approve at all. 

He refused to give his daughter her college fund and told her community college is self-sabotage. 

The conflict came to a head when his daughter was filling out financial forms for college and asked her dad for his tax documents. He wrote, "I told her that she shouldn’t be asking me for my information if she was going to use it to do something that I’ve made clear I don’t support."

He accused her of being sneaky and "taking the easy way out" by skipping out on a state school, and when things escalated he "stormed out." 

   

   

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His daughter then worked with the financial aid office at a state school to allow her to apply without her father's financial information, but by the time the process concluded, she had missed the deadlines to attend in the fall.

Now, they're no longer on speaking terms. He insisted that if she had just followed his rules in the first place and gone to a state school rather than "sabotaging herself," none of this would have happened. She disagreed, of course, and moved in with her mother after falling out with him.

Community colleges are a frequently overlooked resource that can lead to better opportunities and massive savings. 

The dad's concerns about community college are understandable. The job market is so rife with elitism, and so many entry-level jobs require master's degrees nowadays, let alone a bachelor's, that it's easy to understand why a community college might seem like a terrible move.

But it's a wildly shortsighted view. Most students use community college as a launchpad to a more prestigious university. It doesn't matter if you started at community college, if you ultimately graduate from Harvard, your degree is from Harvard!

The advantages of a community college — smaller class sizes, more flexibility, and on average a third of the price — allow students to both academically and financially prepare themselves for the transition to a four-year college in ways other students usually can't.

That's a far better decision than taking on staggering debt to go straight to a four-year school. Community colleges of course miss out on the freshman-year experience of living away from home in a dormitory, but for many students that's easily outweighed by the benefits. 

The bottom line, this dad is wrong about his take on community college, and it's hard not to assume that it's based on the very snobbery and elitism he's hoping to combat with his rules. That's understandable. His approach, not so much. 

"Judgemental" and "controlling" were words used by Reddit commenters over and over again. And as far as sabotage? There's no way around it — it's not his daughter's actions that messed up her college trajectory.

One commenter put it perfectly. "What she wanted to do was sensible and responsible. What you did was vindictive and controlling," the person wrote. "You showed that you were happy to hurt her in order to maintain control. You're the one who sabotaged her future, not her."

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.