Is PayPal still useful for students?

Is PayPal still useful for students?

Paypal Management


According to the PayPal website, the final functionality on their student accounts ends on September 22, 2018. However, since they stopped parents from paying back in April and transferred any outstanding balances to the parent account at the same time, these accounts have been dead for a long while. So, is PayPal still relevant for students and what are the alternatives for managing your money in high school and college?

More Than Just Pocket Money

Teen spending is a big-time market in the United States and much more than just a way of managing an allowance of a few dollars. It is estimated that U.S. teens spend $172 billion per year between them. At the other end of the scale, this includes college costs like food, accommodations, leisure and socializing as well as the occasional book or two. Still, despite the startling figure they have to spend between them, with virtually no experience in managing money in the real world, many teens still struggle. Financial problems are only one of the many issues that can ruin your freshman year at college.

The PayPal Student Account

In 2009, PayPal saw an opportunity to help with this situation, and hopefully, create loyal PayPal customers for life at the same time, and so, they created the PayPal Student Account. These innovative accounts ran for seven years and were aimed at helping parents to provide cash in a simple, straightforward way to their student childrenwhile at the same time,keeping an eye on spending. Unfortunately, their simplicity and extra features, such as money management tools aimed at teaching students how to control their finances, were outweighed by significant fees. Students were charged 2.9 percent plus 30cents to receive money within the U.S. and 3.9 percentplus 30cents if the cash came from overseas. Add to that ATM charges of $1.50 and a $3 charge for bank withdrawals, and the cost of this convenience soon mounted up.

So, is PayPal still relevant for students?

That depends on the age. PayPal does not allow accounts for anyone under the age of 18, as they cannot enter into a legal contract in the U.S. However, PayPal can still be useful for older students. Once over the age of 18, students can receive money quickly and easily from their parents and pay safely and securely online without disclosing their private details. These days, PayPal can be used for almost anything online, from buying your groceries to buying your seat at the big game or even buying your place at the gaming tables. You can even apply for PayPal credit, which is like a card-free credit card account. However, these are stand-alone accounts and parents will have no control or oversight on how the money is spent and they don't provide easy access to your cash.

PayPal Money Pools

One significant advantage of PayPal for students is the new Money Pool feature. It allows groups to contribute to joint ventures without any single individual having to take responsibility for a significant amount of cash. Members can pay in what they like when they like, and with a clear record of all transactions, there is no room for disputes. It's ideal for that spring break adventure or that sports team trip.

What are the alternatives?

Now that the PayPal student account is gone, what are the alternatives for parents and their student offspring? Prepaid cards are one of the most popular ways to provide funds for students, both at home and when they are away at college. The advantage with these is that they do not need to be attached to a bank account and can be topped up at any time, but still, may be tied to a single store brand or supermarket. Many banks also offer prepaid debit cards, which are attached to the parent's account, yet have the student as an authorized user.

Alternatively, the major banks, such as Bank of America, Capital One and Chase, all offer student or teen bank accounts that provide some of the features of an adult account, although these usually need to be tied to the parent account as a guarantor. Many of these allow parental control of spending, which may seem harsh to the student, but will usually make the parent feel more willing to contribute funds.

Finding ways to financially support students at college while making sure that they manage their money effectively has always been an issue. The demise of the PayPal Student Account is an unfortunate backward step for all concerned. However, with a bit of digging around, there are still plenty of ways to find that balance between parental control and student freedom when it comes to finances.

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Why Working With Special Populations Doesn't Make Me A Good Person

What you're missing from the bigger picture.

"What do you do?" might be one of my least favorite questions. Let me tell you why.

I am currently a registered behavior technician at a wonderful program (MAP) nestled in the heart of North Carolina. Usually, when I tell someone what I do, their response is either an uncertain nod or a plain look of confusion. At that time, I break it down by saying, “Basically, I work with children who have autism."

Now, more times than not, the response I receive is along the lines of, “Wow, that's so amazing of you", or my personal favorite, “Good for you. I could NEVER do that."

I understand that working with special populations isn't for everyone, just like being a neurosurgeon isn't for everyone. But, working with special needs children doesn't make me a good person, a saint, or a hero. Every time someone tells you he/she is a teacher, do you gasp and express how much you could NOT be a teacher?

What about when you meet a pediatrician? These people work with children just like I do. I'm certain if you spent one day in my shoes you would see just how much you COULD do my job.

Maybe not all of the technical work, but after a day with these children, you would be humbled by how much you could learn from them.

After all, these children are just children. They want to be accepted just like every other child.

They want to be understood and to be part of a community just like the rest of us.

My job has given me the opportunity to get to know a handful of the more than 3.5 million Americans on the spectrum. I've gotten to know each of their personalities, their quirks, and what makes them unique. I can't help but imagine a world where everyone gets to know these individuals as I have.

A world where we accept all of those who might appear or act different from us and educate ourselves on these populations. A world where that education helps us see that they aren't so different from us after all.

Working with individuals with special needs doesn't make me a good person, because I do it for selfish reasons.

I work with them because I don't know what my life would be like without them. They have taught me so much and changed my life in so many ways. I get to play a small hand in these children's lives. I get to help them learn fundamental life skills you and I take for granted.

But, I also get to leave work every day having learned a lesson. These children have taught me to be a better version of myself and to appreciate even the smallest of things life has to offer. Each day they challenge me to laugh more, have more fun, and not take myself so seriously. They show me more love than I ever knew possible. Maybe it isn't with their words. Maybe it's with the smiles and giggles when we're singing their favorite song, or the way they look at me when they finally get something they have been working so hard to learn.

The hugs, the kisses, and the moments where our two worlds collide and we finally connect; these are the moments that remind me how much these children have to offer the rest of us. If only we would take the time to let them teach us, we would be more selfless, less judgmental, and have a greater appreciation for life.

April is National Autism Awareness Month.

My hope is that this month we work to spread awareness for Autism, as well as other special needs. We take this time to learn something new, to help educate others, and to stop looking at these individuals as though they need special people in their lives to help teach them and focus more on opening our minds to the things they can teach us.

Explore Odyssey's featured Autism Awareness content here.

Cover Image Credit: Katharine Smith

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Self-Employed Entrepreneurs Deserve Your Respect, I Learned That From My Father

The "do it yourself" mindset is something I have always looked up to.


I respect those who have a vision for their life that does not necessarily fit the cookie cutter idea of a 9-5 job. Their vision does not fit just one job title, taking on so many roles in their life. They care so much about their career that they take matters into their own hands and do it themselves.

This "do it yourself" mindset is something I totally respect and look up to. When a vision is so widespread it cannot be contained in a 9-5 job. Whether it be a side hustle, a self-made business, or an idea you are trying to expand. Wanting to branch out and start your own work environment is outstanding.

For an entrepreneur, it's not all about the money. If it was, they would have probably chosen a more "stable" job. Instead, they perceiver through various obstacles that fulfill their dreams. The self-made business is way more than the money you can make, it's about what someone can do with the money; expand their brand, or support themselves and their loved ones. It's rare in today's world to find someone who genuinely just loves their job and is not just focused on the paycheck. Entrepreneurs enjoy their work.

But most importantly, they love what their work is, what it stands for, and how it affects and impacts others. Their work can leave an impact which is essentially the whole reason why they work so hard. It's the sense of accomplishment after finishing a difficult yet fulfilling project. Those who are self-employed work long, fluctuating hours in order to see their vision come to life. They do what it takes to accomplish their goals; struggle through financial obstacles, slow periods, and self-doubt.

My personal experience with this subject is very close to my heart. My father has worked for himself, being a contractor for 10 years. I never understood the extent of his hard work until recently. I see his hard work displayed through his enthusiasm to begin a new project. The "before" and "after" pictures are absolutely astonishing. My father built his own business remodeling houses along with various other jobs for others.

Seeing my father take on a new project is so inspiring. He will be so excited, talking about the vision he has for this old, dated kitchen remodel he's doing. He will totally transform this kitchen into a modern, clean-looking space. Just this total transformation is amazing to me. The blood, sweat, and tears he puts into every project are unremarkable. But, it's not the only thing I respect about him; it's about why he chose to work for himself in the first place.

My father is the type of person to have goals, visions, and inspirations. He does not just settle for the status quo. He is constantly finding new design ideas and implementing them in his projects. The best part for him? Seeing the look on his client's face when he reveals his work. He has such pride in his work. He had such a vision that he took a risk to start his own business, not knowing how it would all pan out.

Luckily for his hard work ethic and extreme talent, I've watched as my father grew his brand into something so successful. This never came without some hard times along the way. To me, that's what it's all about when you first decide to be a self-employed entrepreneur. The amount of respect I have for people who decide to take this risk and spark their dream into reality is unspeakable.

If you have a dream, it is definitely possible to achieve. I've watched my father grow his talent from the ground up in order to make a living. Take your passions, dreams, and goals and run with them. If you have a vision and want to make a difference, you should go after it and build off of it. Being original, working hard, and making a difference is most definitely respected.

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