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jlai
09-16-2010, 01:29 PM
Why are you harping on Americans? Is the US truly the only culture that prioritizes those things?



Well, there were plenty of stories about the close-to-zero savings rate in the US. Anyway, I fully expect to be blasted for being un-pC here, but thee're creative ways to finish college with little debt and that's what this thread is about. (Darn windows keyboard, can't type)

rfisher
09-16-2010, 01:41 PM
When my husband and I got married, he had an Associate's Degree in computer science and got a job as a programmer. He worked full time, we had health insurance, blah blah blah. But again--we were both healthy, he never got laid off (although it's been close a few times), I didn't get pregnant, etc., etc. There's more to it than just being fiscally responsible. Your niece's husband could be the most fiscally responsible person in the world and that certainly gives him a huge advantage, but he was still just one bad accident away from disaster.

That's very true. They didn't get pregnant until both were out of school and employed. He is an accountant who researches EVERY single purchase. It's a family joke. My niece taught first grade until this year. She'd rather lay out by their pool and do crafty stuff. Noone in the family has any illusions as to who is the responsible party. (She can't help it. It's in her genes. :shuffle: )

michiruwater
09-16-2010, 01:46 PM
Right now I have $9000 in debt and am in my senior year, entirely because my father wants me to have as little debt as possible. I am more thankful to him than I can say. Anything that wasn't covered by grants and the like he tried to pay off if possible, which wasn't always (thus the $9000) but that's not a terribly large amount compared to a lot of people I know.

GarrAarghHrumph
09-16-2010, 02:05 PM
Quite a few Chinese parents I know mortgaged their house/flat/apartment to get their kid through college. It's not uncommon at all.

My uncle did that as well, to put his kids through college.

millyskate
09-16-2010, 02:26 PM
My parents generously helped me through my undergrad. They paid for rent and a bit more, whilst means based scholarships paid for tuition and part of living expenses. I worked through college to pay for the rest.
They have often helped me out since I finished my degree. Despite having very low income that qualified me for aid, they were able to help by spending wisely through our whole childhoods.

At the age of 28, I know want to do a Master's degree. I have spent 5 months working on a small Island in the Arctic to save up, and still don't have enough to pay tuition fees.
The truth is, university tuition is way too high. I don't know how I'll make ends meet, but I've been postponing this so much that it's kind of "now or never".

Prancer
09-16-2010, 02:31 PM
Which means what I used to pay for tuition is about what most are paying now for a public college.

I think the average public college tuition is somewhere between $7000-$12000 a year, depending on who you ask. When people talk about students graduating with massive loan debt, they usually aren't talking about students from public colleges.


And with a much lower income than $56,000.

Well, I should think so, since I am assuming, based on other things you've said, that you went to college more than a couple of years ago, which means that the average income at the time would have been considerably lower, too.


So paying for college is not undoable like most make out to be.

Most Americans go to college, so I am not sure who the "most" making it out to be undoable are. What people are saying is that it is a struggle and that people have to make hard choices, whether they do it before they start paying tuition or after, and sometimes things don't work out.


Anyway, I fully expect to be blasted for being un-pC here

:huh: I don't see anything remotely un-p.c. in what you are saying. I will say, however, that while I would have no trouble at all doing without all the things you listed--and can and have and know many others who have as well, and thus I don't consider any of it exceptional--I wouldn't have one child support me financially so the other could go to college. I realize that's cultural, so that makes me the un-p.c. one, but that just wouldn't happen--provided, of course, that I have at least two children to begin with and one is willing to do that for the other.

OTOH, college for my children is not my number one priority and never will be.


but thee're creative ways to finish college with little debt and that's what this threadis about.

And that would be great if people had some. But read the thread--there are no creative solutions on offer. Depend on your parents. Save money. Get a job. Join the military. Take out loans and hope you can pay them off. Look for scholarships. Go to cheaper schools. Do a two-and-two.

It's the same set of options that people have had for years. There are websites devoted to this topic and they list the same options. Meanwhile, tuition keeps going up at a much faster rate than income.


My uncle did that as well, to put his kids through college.

Lots of people do that. I think it's foolish in many cases, but it's common.

El Rey
09-16-2010, 02:31 PM
I'm astonished that one can graduate debt free on their own. If you received a full ride based on merit I guess that's one way, but most of us don't. That article says one should work at least 30 hours. I went to school full time and worked about that many hours making around $10 an hour. How many weeks are in a semester? Around 20? So let's say I'm able to pay for the fall tuition and have the next 20 weeks to come up with the money to pay my spring tuition. That means I'll make around $6,000 before taxes. That's enough to cover tuition at a state college here in Texas, but how in the hell am I supposed to live? Because I didn't have the luxury of living rent free with my parents. And believe me, working 30 hours a week is not going to give me the money to buy any real estate either.

GarrAarghHrumph
09-16-2010, 02:36 PM
I'm astonished that one can graduate debt free on their own. ...And believe me, working 30 hours a week is not going to give me the money to buy any real estate either.

I *know*. That's why I'm getting a copy of his book - waiting for its arrival from the library. I'm not sure how he did that, exactly. Especially not in Amherst, MA, which although is cheaper to live in than Boston, isn't cheaper by much, IMO.

Everything else he mentioned, I nodded my head at, but the real estate thing - that, I need to read.

GarrAarghHrumph
09-16-2010, 02:39 PM
Re: mortgaging home to pay for college tuition for kids...


...Lots of people do that. I think it's foolish in many cases, but it's common.

It was foolish in his case as well, IMO. From what I could see, he could have paid for tuition at UMass Amherst, or Bridgewater State, or any of the better quality public unis in his home state of Mass. Instead, he chose to send his kids to Catholic college. Which I get - I mean, I do understand his religious choice, but at the same time, he mortgaged his house (and his and his wife's future) to pay for their college tuition... knowing there was a high likelihood that he'd need to sell the house at the end of all that so he and his wife could afford to live. Everyone in the family thought he was nuts - even the devout Catholics in the family though he was not making the best decision on this one.

GarrAarghHrumph
09-16-2010, 02:47 PM
But read the thread--there are no creative solutions on offer. Depend on your parents. Save money. Get a job. Join the military. Take out loans and hope you can pay them off. Look for scholarships. Go to cheaper schools. Do a two-and-two.

It's the same set of options that people have had for years. There are websites devoted to this topic and they list the same options. Meanwhile, tuition keeps going up at a much faster rate than income.


Hmm... Creative solutions...

Let the federal government take over the university system, and subsidize the cost of uni via raising our taxes? That's how many, many foreign countries handle this. Uni in some other countries is free of tuition, and in still others, is far lower cost than in the US, because their universities are subsidized heavily by their government. It won't happen here, though. Just not going to fly. And there are repercussions to having the gov't subsidize unis - it's not all smooth sailing.

So another idea is to take advantage of the countries that do allow students to go to uni free of tuition, even for people who are not a resident or citizen of that country - and there are a few of those. Thing is, you need to become fluent in the local language. Icelandic, anyone? And you do still need to be able to cover the cost of housing and etc. But I do see US and etc. students do this. It's not commonly done, but it is done. You also need to be academically qualified to get into a European uni, which in most cases means at least 3 AP exams or SAT II subject exams, scored well.

El Rey
09-16-2010, 03:11 PM
I know many disagree with me, but I've never understood why our schools have to be so fancy. I know they add amenities so they can be attract students and for the use of students who live on campus, but I didn't appreciate having to pay that huge fee for our on campus gym with the rooftop leisure pool that I didn't use once. I don't know who pays for other things on campus either like the massage parlor, hair salon, etc cause I never once saw them busy enough to think it paid for itself.

manleywoman
09-16-2010, 03:36 PM
I know many disagree with me, but I've never understood why our schools have to be so fancy. I know they add amenities so they can be attract students and for the use of students who live on campus, but I didn't appreciate having to pay that huge fee for our on campus gym with the rooftop leisure pool that I didn't use once. I don't know who pays for other things on campus either like the massage parlor, hair salon, etc cause I never once saw them busy enough to think it paid for itself.

YES! There was an article about this very thing in the Chicago Tribune earlier this year. One of the universities in Indiana (Bradley?) was offereing students single room dorms with maid service :eek: for an extra $5000/semester. The thinking was that so many of these kids grew up as children of baby boomers, and were always given their own room and bathroom growing up, that they couldn't learn to share as adults. Nor did they even want to. So they interviewed kids who were willing to go into that much more debt each semester to get their own space. Disgusting.

Never mind the debt thing . . . imagine how their lives are going to be after they graduate and have to learn to live with a roommate, or share a bathroom with a spouse eventually.

One of the things I loved about Obama well before he became President: when he had just won the Illinois Senate seat, he used to do a weekly podcast on whatever issues were important to him that week (wish he still did it). One of them was a lecture he gave at Loyola University here in Chicago. A student got up and asked him about dealing with rising tuition, and he threw it right back at the kid and basically said that if the students keep choosing the schools based on how many big screen TVs and foosball tables they have, the schools are going to keep purchasing those items and therefore tuition will go up to compensate.

PDilemma
09-16-2010, 03:54 PM
YES! There was an article about this very thing in the Chicago Tribune earlier this year. One of the universities in Indiana (Bradley?) was offereing students single room dorms with maid service :eek: for an extra $5000/semester. The thinking was that so many of these kids grew up as children of baby boomers, and were always given their own room and bathroom growing up, that they couldn't learn to share as adults. Nor did they even want to. So they interviewed kids who were willing to go into that much more debt each semester to get their own space. Disgusting.

Never mind the debt thing . . . imagine how their lives are going to be after they graduate and have to learn to live with a roommate, or share a bathroom with a spouse eventually.

One of the things I loved about Obama well before he became President: when he had just won the Illinois Senate seat, he used to do a weekly podcast on whatever issues were important to him that week (wish he still did it). One of them was a lecture he gave at Loyola University here in Chicago. A student got up and asked him about dealing with rising tuition, and he threw it right back at the kid and basically said that if the students keep choosing the schools based on how many big screen TVs and foosball tables they have, the schools are going to keep purchasing those items and therefore tuition will go up to compensate.

This.

I went to see a professor of mine before he retired and moved away a few years ago. He told me that the students' mindset about what their living experience in college would be like had changed immensely. He felt like for generations there had been some expectation that college is a time when you would live on a shoestring in small quarters shared with other people. But students were starting to come in his last five years with the notion that they should have all of these amenities and it should be as comfortable or perhaps even more comfortable than living at home.

I know I saw that attitude with a number of my students as they graduated and went away. Many kids would go away to school for a semester then transfer back to the local college because the dorms were uncomfortable and they didn't like sharing a room, and they didn't get a garage for their car, and they were used to having their own bathroom and so on.

El Rey
09-16-2010, 04:27 PM
In order to save money I went to a Jr College away from home. I had a scholarship that paid for all of my tuition plus half of room and board, so it really was cheaper just to live there. I think all I had to pay was like $500 a semester. It was a Jr college but was rather large that it was more like a small university. I had to share a room and we had communal bathrooms. And they weren't fancy at all! Not individual showers with curtains but literally communal showers. We had a student center with the cafeteria and a couple of games and pool tables. And a computer lab. That's about it. And really, that's all I needed. It was also a small town of about 10,000 that was 30 minutes away from any other place, so there wasn't much to do there either. But I was there to get my core curriculum out of the way. We're there for education, right? So I really don't understand why universities need all this extra stuff.

Debbie S
09-16-2010, 04:33 PM
But students were starting to come in his last five years with the notion that they should have all of these amenities and it should be as comfortable or perhaps even more comfortable than living at home. That may be true, but I doubt a few flat-screen TVs in the dorms are entirely responsible for increased tuition costs. At most private colleges, when a new dorm or student center or academic building is built or refurbished, the school launches a capital campaign. At state schools, there is a similar process, although they are also able to get funding from the state (depending on the economy).

Tuition and room and board are designed to cover daily expenses and operating costs. Of course, if you have more buildings and more TVs in the dorms, that increases utility and maintenance costs, but academic-related expenses likely have the biggest effect. Maintaining top-notch research facilities and having the latest technology (wireless network in all buildings, smartboards in every classroom, state-of-the-art media equipment, etc) is what makes schools competitive, and that gets expensive. And then there's the competition for top faculty and the tenure setup that gives professors lifetime employment, with increased salaries each year and (I believe) a nice pension when they retire.

I agree tuition has gotten out of control and I would be curious to see an accounting of what the dollars go for, but I doubt TVs and game tables are responsible for 50K (comp fee at most private colleges) annual costs to students.

I have always suspected that colleges just like to raise tuition and fees a certain percentage every year, and they all kind of look to each other so that they stay in the same range. There was actually a lawsuit against a bunch of schools about this very issue when I was a senior in high school - fed gov't accused them of collusion and anti-trust violations. I can't remember exactly what the resolution was but it certainly did not keep tuition costs down.