Parents stir debate for refusing to pay college tuition for gay son after coming out

A couple sparked debate online after revealing it would not help their son pay his college tuition after his grandmother found out he was gay and stopped paying for her grandson’s schooling.

The original poster (OP), known as u/throwaway-37463782, posted about the situation on Reddit’s popular Am I The A**hole forum, where it received more than 9,300 upvotes and 3,500 comments. You can find the post here.

tuition fee

Annual tuition for traditional four-year colleges in the US for the 2021-2022 school year averaged $10,740 for state students and $27,560 for international students, according to CollegeBoard data.

For students attending private four-year colleges in the US, the average cost is about $38,070 per year — an increase of $800 from last year.

Parents spark debate about not paying their son's college tuition
Here is a stock image of a father talking to his son. Commenters were divided on whether or not a woman should pay her son’s tuition after his grandmother refused to pay after finding out her grandson was gay.
T Turovska/iStock

Students and parents borrowed $95.9 billion in the 2020-2021 school year, according to CollegeBoard data.

More than half of borrowers with outstanding loans owed less than $20,000 as of March 2021, with 45 percent of outstanding loan debt held by 10 percent of borrowers who owed more than $80,000.

About 23 percent of borrowers were age 50 or older, accounting for $1.59 trillion of the outstanding federal loan balance as of March 2021.


In the post, titled “AITA for refusing to pay my gay son’s tuition after he came out to his family?” the 40-year-old woman said her 19-year-old son turned 14 with her and outed to her husband.

“My husband and I are both atheists and supporters of the LGBTQ+ community and were both proud that our son came out,” the post reads. “But my husband’s mother is a devout Catholic and extremely intolerant of gay people.”

The OP said her children were told from a young age that their wealthy grandmother would pay for their college on one condition: they attend a private Christian or Catholic school.

“She thinks this will keep her from partying, having premarital sex, etc,” the post reads. “I disagree and have argued that my children should get the best possible education regardless of school religious affiliation, but she refuses to change her mind.”

The OP said her son is about to start his sophomore year at a Christian college a state away and the year has already been paid for. Since her son graduated with many college credits, he is scheduled to complete college in three years instead of four.

Recently the OP’s son came home to celebrate his grandmother’s birthday. During the party, he told one of his cousins ​​that he was “talking to a boy” at his school. Though he thought the secret was safe, his cousin told his parents, who told another family member until his aunt and uncle betrayed him to his grandmother.

In response, the grandmother called the OP to tell her that she would no longer be making payments for his tuition and to give him the message that she would no longer be speaking to him.

‘Prioritization of a conversion’

“I’ve told him many times not to come out to his grandma, cousins, aunt or uncle until he graduates from college,” the post reads. “I hate that he can’t be himself, but my husband and I can’t afford his college.”

The OP said she plans to have no contact with her mother-in-law after her other two children, ages 15 and 13, pay their college tuition.

“My son agrees that I wait in the interests of his siblings,” the post reads. “Unfortunately, he will have to take out student loans and pay for his final year. My son is obviously devastated that he’s not getting paid for his senior year of college next year and that his cousin isn’t someone he can trust.”

But now the OP’s son is asking them to cover his future tuition since they have savings.

“We currently have $25,000 saved that we plan to use for much-needed kitchen renovations,” the post reads. “Our oven barely works, our dishwasher doesn’t work at all and the kitchen itself is worn and dated. My son calls me an asshole for prioritizing ‘remodeling’ over his education.”

The OP said she explained that the kitchen was “falling apart” and that even if they postponed the renovation, the cost would still be close to the cost of his private school.

“I feel like an adult and he has to be the one who has to deal with the consequences, not us,” the post reads. “AITA for not using our family’s savings to cover his remaining tuition?”

Redditor reactions

More than 3,500 users commented on the post, with some defending the OP and others criticizing their decision.

“YTA. Not because you can’t afford it and let your grown son find out…but because he said it was his fault he lost his money,” commented one user, receiving more than 20,000 upvotes. “You’re angrier at your kid than at the little chat that erupted in homophobia the first chance it got.”

“NTA. In truth, the problem is your bigoted MIL, not you or your son,” commented another user. “However, you can’t give your son what you can’t afford. He just has to get a student loan, but maybe he could transfer his credits to a state college, which would probably be cheaper.”

“Her title is highkey bs – he hasn’t come out to his family. He came out to someone he thought he could trust and that person came out to him before anyone else,” commented another. “Overall though, I have to say NAH — it’s understandable that you don’t want to throw away your life savings, and it’s understandable that he’s upset about losing his college.”

“As a lesbian this is about your son and personally I would maybe help him find the best scholarships, loans or whatever,” commented another. “Or help him move somewhere else for his final year that he can afford more. It sucks, but… he did this to himself.”

“NTA. Mostly,” commented another user. “I don’t think it’s an obligation to pay for your child’s college education. It’s nice when parents are rich enough to do this, but he’s an adult now… Someone was willing to foot his bills. That has changed. Now he has to pay for it himself. It happens.”

“Sincerely… YTA. They have a gay son and a homophobe paid his tuition,” commented one user. “How can you not think that the situation would eventually explode? How can you not plan ahead when you know the day would come when she would learn the truth and close her checkbook?”

“NTA your son got 2 years of college for free so he only needs to fund 1 year,” commented another. “Go ahead and do your renovations, he knew the terms of the agreement and he chose to speak up about his relationship rather than remain silent. A year of credit won’t kill him.”

news week contacted u/throwaway-37463782 for comment.

Other viral posts

In another viral Reddit post, a woman was supported for defending her parents when they decided to disown her brother for coming out as gay.

A woman shocked commentators when she revealed she plans to marry a gay man because they are best friends. In another post, a man was hailed for refusing to help his estranged family with money. Parents stir debate for refusing to pay college tuition for gay son after coming out

Rick Schindler

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