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Where parents' dough really goes

By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 22, 2004
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Bumper sticker: "My kid and my money go to the UA."

Reality check: Your kid goes to the UA. Your money often goes somewhere else.

Happy Family Weekend. For once, students will be the top dogs in their families as they demonstrate knowledge of Tucson and the campus. They might introduce their new roommates, take their parents to restaurants or even bring out some books from under their bed and pretend they've been reading them.

But when the air of graying hair clears, the suitcases are sealed with one final zip and mom and pop catch their flights home, college life will settle back into an all-too-common top-down order: student dependency on parent money.

Creative writing sophomore Brittany Parish gets $600 a month from her parents and doesn't have to worry about rent or utilities because her parents also own an apartment complex in town.

Parish said she spends her money on shoes.

"I'm going to sound like such a spoiled brat," Parish said. But friends beside Parish said she was a tolerable brat because she generously spends money on them as well.

"I'm not going to spend it all on myself 'cause that would just be stupid," Parish said.

Parish added that her money also went largely to sustenance.

"You'd be surprised at how quick you can spend $500 to $600 dollars on food, literally," she said.

And while Parish's allowance may seem like an ideal setup, it comes with its own system of checks and balances.

"My mom has access to my bank account, so she checks what I'm spending it on," said Parish. "And if she feels that it's being spent inappropriately, I hear about it."

Parish said she thinks the money might be her parents' way of trying to compensate.

"I'm convinced it's because my parents feel guilty because they don't come to Family Weekend," she said. "They're like shipping me out across the county and they're like, 'Okay, we'll give you money to live, but we're not going to come see you.'"

When asked if she would rather have her parents come down and see her instead of getting the monthly allowance, Parish said no.

"I'm not going to lie," she said laughing, but continued to say she would like her parents to visit.

Alina Ramirez, a pre-physiological sciences sophomore, works at Park Student Union. She has nice parents too.

"They pay my cell phone and if I need money, they'll give it to me," Ramirez said. "If I don't have enough money from what I make from work, I'll ask my mom, and they'll give me 50 to 100 dollars."

It would behoove parents to begin asking for receipts. Ramirez admitted that she has lied about money a couple of times.

"I think last year I asked for money to go to Spring Fling but I told my mom I needed it - I don't remember - to pay for a book or something," Ramirez said.

While Ramirez said she is reliable with money, she said she also likes to splurge on clothes and going out. To save her own money, she sometimes asks her parents to dish out the dough.

Undecided freshmen Max Cereske and Kevin Flanagan worked over the summer and use a lot of their own money. They said they ask their parents for money the few times they need it.

And they haven't lied to get the green. Yet.

"Not yet, but I might have to," said Flanagan.

Pre-business freshman Max Voege's parents do not have access to his bank account.

"They just put a crapload of money on my CatCard," he said, explaining he uses his parents' financial aid for food.

Voege said he buys clothes with money left over from his summer job.

While Voege has a backup source of income, there are tales of woe coming from his friend, pre-business freshman Alex Hendricks, a victim of campus crime.

"I don't work," Hendricks explained. "I had a bike, but it got stolen ... I was planning on getting a job until my bike got stolen. So I am on no income besides my mom."

Hendricks' mom put $1,600 on his CatCard earlier this year and puts money on his debit card upon request.

Hendricks said he spends money on chewing tobacco pouches, energy drinks for all-nighters and poker.

Both Hendricks and Voege play poker for the fourth floor of their Sonora residence hall - a.k.a. "SO4."

Hendricks said he loses about $5 to $10 a day at the game.

"And miscellaneous things," continued Hendricks about his expenses. "Like fold-out chairs and vibrate ... no not vibrators, but vibrating back massagers and lubrication for my hands - I have dry hands."

The fact is, parents will always be providing for their children. And it doesn't have to be money all the time.

Pre-physiological sciences freshman Dominic Witter said he has only used a little of the money his mom gave him and smiled when he said she was coming for Family Weekend - and bringing food.

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