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Paying for Good Grades

Paying for Good Grades

Paying children to get good grades is a debatable subject for many. Parents who advocate it have several reasons why they provide their kids with an "academic allowance." Opponents are concerned it sends the wrong message - that it is the grade that really counts and not the child's efforts. Some think it sets children up to lack motivation, not just in school but also in other areas, unless earning money is at stake. While these criticisms are valid, many parents disagree.

Benefits for Paying for Good Grades

Benefits for paying kids for receiving good grades are:

  • It provides an incentive to maintain high grades. Motivation comes in various forms and sources. Some children enjoy acing a tough test, making the honor roll, or love a challenging class or excelling in school in general. Others just need the extra push. A monetary reward can be a lingering incentive that hovers in the back of the child's mind when they may be tempted to slack off just a little bit.
  • It highlights the importance of education. By providing your child with money when they receive decent grades, it sends kids a signal that you're serious about their education.
  • It might save money in the future. It is known that high-achieving students have better chances of earning merit-based aid and scholarships when they enroll in college. Because paying for grades provides kids with the extra motivation to work for these good grades, it could just be a strategic investment. And, while numerous factors determine if a student will receive a third-party scholarship or merit aid, it certainly doesn't hurt for them to have good grades.

Establish a Plan

If you are considering paying your children for good grades, you need to go in with a plan. For instance, if you are not fond of the idea of rewarding your child money to get good grades, perhaps you can motivate them differently - maybe a little more screen time. But, you should insist they complete all homework before you allow this reward.

You will also want to provide a certain level of "quality control" by looking over their assignments first. This can help you identify areas where they may be experiencing difficulties and will provide you with a chance to offer assistance when required.

You can choose to pay your reward in cold, hard cash. You can also choose alternatives, like a trip for ice cream or dinner at a favorite restaurant.

Regardless of what incentive you offer, be sure you provide them with verbal encouragement and praise if they work diligently on their assignments. Even if they did not do well on a particular task, let them know how proud you are of them for putting in the effort.

Kids and Finances

Offering an academic allowance can also show your child you value education and spend money on things you prioritize in life.

Even after your child has earned their incentive, there are still more life lessons they can learn. For instance, they can understand a certain amount of work or effort is involved in earning money. This might encourage your children to save and spend money more wisely as they grow up.


Both sides of the debate on whether to pay for good grades have valid arguments. Whether academic allowance works well will depend on the child. If you decide to pay for good grades, it is good to explain your reasoning to your child. Providing an academic allowance without explanation might not produce the results you're looking for.