IT HAPPENED TO ME: My Mom Used My Student Loan Money for a New Car and New Apartment

The way she treated me, she made it seem like I was the worst student in the world. They were having money troubles, so I was surprised when she told me they had put down a deposit on an apartment and she had bought a used truck.
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August Rose
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The way she treated me, she made it seem like I was the worst student in the world. They were having money troubles, so I was surprised when she told me they had put down a deposit on an apartment and she had bought a used truck.

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Despite the fact that she’s always been abusive toward me, I’ve felt obligated to keep my mother in my life because she is my family. When I found out I wasn’t going to have enough money for college yet again, I dreaded telling her about it. She always guilt tripped me when it came to my needing her help paying for school, blaming me for not being good enough and not getting enough grants and scholarships.

It wasn’t like I was a bad student; I was a great student. I got very good grades and one year I was even working two jobs and participating in four clubs. But she made it seem like I was the worst student in the world.  

I would get letters saying I made the Dean’s List yet again, but my GPA was never high enough for her. When I had two jobs, she accused me of not working enough and made me feel guilty about not being able to pay for my tuition. I wanted to be able to fully support myself. I hated having to rely on her to help me pay for college. Many times, I considered dropping out rather than asking for her help. But I knew if I dropped out, I would lose my chance at making a better life for myself.  

I asked her to take out a Parent PLUS loan for me and she agreed on one condition: I was to make the payments when I was done with school. I figured this was the best option for me considering all the horror stories I had heard about taking out private loans. I tried to make it so she had to take out as little as possible. I knew how to live frugally because I grew up in poverty. It was nothing new to me to have to live on a tight budget.  

The way financial aid worked at my school was this: A couple weeks before school started, I received $2,500 maximum to pay for books and living expenses. A couple weeks after school started, I would receive another portion of my refund. Because of the way the Parent PLUS loan works, I would receive a certain amount and the rest would go directly to my mom in the form of a check and she would have to deposit it in my bank account. This was just how we had to do it and there was no way around it, according to my financial aid office.  

My mom agreed to deposit the check into my bank account as soon as she got it. I trusted her to tell me when she got the check.

Over the next couple of weeks, I was getting used to my classes and the whole thing slipped my mind. We talked a few times about her new boyfriend. She was going to be moving in with him and they had been looking for cheap apartments. They were having money troubles, so I was surprised when she told me they had put down a deposit on an apartment and she had bought a used truck. I wondered how she got the money, but just assumed that her and her boyfriend were working more hours so they’d be able to pay for things.  

I randomly remembered over a month later that she was supposed to be getting a refund check, so I logged into my student account and checked my bill. Turns out she had received a refund check three weeks before that! And the check was for $1,800! And she didn’t tell me about it.  

I texted her immediately asking why she hadn’t told me about receiving the check. She told me that she and her boyfriend needed the money for their apartment and for her new truck. I was completely shocked. She knew I needed that money to pay rent, to pay bills, and to buy food. I had talked to her about having to live on such a tight budget and how I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford food.

I was absolutely livid. I immediately looked at her borrower agreement to see if what she was doing was even legal. And it wasn’t. On the promissory note, it specifically says the proceeds of the loan are to be used for authorized educational expenses and any loan proceeds that can’t be attributed to educational expenses must be repaid immediately.  

I told her if she didn’t deposit the money in my bank account, I would contact my school’s financial aid department and see what I could do to bring some kind of legal action against her. When I told her this, she finally agreed to give me the refund, but she would only put small amounts of money into my account each month since *she* needed the money more.  

This whole fiasco has caused me to seriously consider cutting my mom completely out of my life and I’ve distanced myself from her significantly since this whole thing went down. I was willing to have her in my life despite the abuse, but this time she took it too far.