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professordeb
09-16-2010, 04:51 PM
Hmmm ... seems like this is mostly about going to school in the U.S.
My DD just went off to school a couple of weeks ago in another province. What she chose to study is not available at most schools but it is the passion of her life - Marine Biology.
She received $1,500 for an entrance scholarship and $1,200 bursary from the school and about $150 grant from the province in which she is now attending. She was also a recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the YMCA. We have some money set aside for her in an RESP (Registered Education Savings Plan) which hasn't seen much growth. We don't have a high income so when she applied for OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Plan), they are providing her with about $6,500 for the year in loans/bursary/grant (mostly loan). We figure by the time her first year is over, she'll have owe the OSAP portion.

Our financial income has gone down considerably since I haven't worked in over a year (some health issues). Daughter has been promised that the bursaries will continue over the next three years if income continues to be about the same - and it likely will. However, a couple of things.

She has not been able to secure full time employment and that could be a challenge once again where we live.
All the monies in the RESP will be depleted after this school year ends.
It costs us plenty just to get her between her school and home. If we do the driving, hubby loses three days worth of pay (no, I can't make a journey that far); it would cost in excess of $600 to travel by train and closer to $1,000 to fly with an hour's journey to get her at the airport and then another hour back again.
Her tuition/food/room/textbooks etc exceed $17,000 per year and then factor in the travel factor. Can you say OUCH with me?

How on earth she could ever come out of school debt free boggles my mind. A small consolation is that if she maintains her grades, some of her loan debt is "forgiven" = written off. However, I can see her easily having more than $40,000 debt after her she gets her degree. Oh yeah, and did I mention that she wants to go for her doctorate so figure in about another 3 years of university. Man, I hope for her sake that she gets a job that's six figures cause she'll need it.

One last thing, I get to do this all over again beginning next September when my son goes off to university. He'll have about $11,000 in his RESP and will be going to school about 2.5 hours away so things hopefully will be cheaper - at least for him.

When I read reports and hear things about how our government doesn't want to discriminate against anyone going to college/university and that all should be allowed to go if they wish, I shake my head and think "someone should tell all those poor souls that they will likely have a boatload of debt when they do get around to graduating".

PDilemma
09-16-2010, 04:52 PM
That may be true, but I doubt a few flat-screen TVs in the dorms are entirely responsible for increased tuition costs. e'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 didn't say this mentality was raising tuition.

But I have little doubt that it is raising room and board costs. My alma mater has built new apartment style dorms and the cost for those is substantially more than for the traditional two or three to a room and share a massive bathroom with half the floor dormitories. At a recent alumni event, the president of the college said that fewer students are requesting the traditional dorms even though they are much cheaper.

jlai
09-16-2010, 06:18 PM
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).
(snip)
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.



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.


The government does subsidize public Univs quite a bit, but a large part comes from the state government revenue, and state legislators back up bills to support public univs' pet projects because it's good economic development thing for their district, so there's no incentive to be cost-effective at all. And once the pet project is built/created, voila, univs keep coming back for money to maintain those projects.

Add to that the increasingly decentralized univ trend. Every public U around my area wants a satellite campus. ANd once they have a satellite campus they want that campus as a separate insitution. Don't have the students for it? Don't worry. File a house/senate bill to tweak the student population calculation formula. Your legislators will back you up! :P

Oh, did I mention that junior colleges are becoming like ISDs? So many of them are now college districts, not a single college now.

And I don't recall angry parents or students showing up in those legislative hearings to protest. Perhaps had they done that, there would have been more public pressure to keep costs down.

And if univs start getting scrutinized the way government agencies do perhaps they won't be so "daring".


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.


Aaaahhh, back in my generation, the older generation was complaining about how us college kids having it easy and not cramping like 5-7 people in our dingy apartments to save costs. :D I guess it's just what we are used to, and that's why I'll not be raising my kids just so they're used to super-nice stuff at a young age

ETA: Shoot, I lost my whole reply to Prancer. Now I have to wait to go home and do it.

Aceon6
09-16-2010, 06:26 PM
Aaaahhh, back in my generation, the older generation was complaining about how us college kids having it easy and not cramping like 5-7 people in our dingy apartments to save costs. :D I guess it's just what we are used to, and that's why I'll not be raising my kids just so they're used to super-nice stuff at a young age

I think that's got a lot to do with rising room and board charges. A generation ago, most kids (and their parents) were satisfied with a bed, dresser and desk and one large, shared bathroom at the end of the hall. We weren't allowed to bring anything that plugged in other than an alarm clock and a lamp. The meal plan was Mon-Fri only and only good for one dining hall. We didn't question it.

Now, operating costs are much higher. I would imagine that most students use at least $50 in electricity a month, much more water than we did, and need full internet access. They demand more food choices and more personal space. It's just a different time.

Debbie S
09-16-2010, 07:16 PM
Add to that the increasingly decentralized univ trend. Every public U around my area wants a satellite campus. ANd once they have a satellite campus they want that campus as a separate insitution. Don't have the students for it? Don't worry. File a house/senate bill to tweak the student population calculation formula. Your legislators will back you up! :P

Oh, did I mention that junior colleges are becoming like ISDs? So many of them are now college districts, not a single college now.Depending on how satellite campuses are set up, that can actually be a money-maker. In my area, every university wants a share of BRAC (relocations due to military base closings in other areas) - in some cases, satellite facilities are being built near the bases that will see growth, with courses geared to defense/high-tech. But these are for professional training and continuing ed, and the cost will usually be paid for by the employer (fed gov't or a contractor), so it actually earns money for the school. These 'campuses' are for working professionals to take classes after work and on weekends - no residence halls or dining facilities - basically just a classroom building. And most of the universities getting in on this are also offering on-site training (adjunct goes to the workplace) and online courses. This has the potential for big profit for the schools.

Most of the community colleges in my area have several campuses spread throughout their county, b/c the counties are big - offering more locations mean they serve more students, and a large portion of these are people with full-time jobs. A lot of them are not necessarily working toward a degree, but taking courses for training/promotion purposes, and they either pay the cost in full or their employer does. Community colleges also play a key role in retraining workers to enter high-tech fields (as opposed to the manufacturing jobs they once held) - this is much cheaper for both the workers and the community than a 4-year degree program and has net benefits for society (less unemployment/welfare recipients).


Now, operating costs are much higher. I would imagine that most students use at least $50 in electricity a month, much more water than we did, and need full internet access. They demand more food choices and more personal space. It's just a different time.My first 2 years in college, we had to pay something like $10 a semester to have a small refrigerator in our rooms. Then, at the end of my second year, it was announced that we no longer had to pay the fee, b/c the fee had originally been enacted to discourage students from having them b/c of the increased electricity costs, but the campus had upgraded their wiring (which happened several years earlier but apparently no one actually thought about it until then, lol) so that refrigerators in dorm rooms didn't increase costs/strain the phys plant. The year after I graduated, the college wired all rooms with a data port (still in the dial-up era), so they may have regretted not having that extra money, lol.

My college used to have dining halls in almost all the dorms. That was part of their marketing - small college, community atmosphere, etc. A couple years ago, they closed quite a few of them so there was basically one dining hall per dorm cluster - a large budget deficit was the reason, helped along by the decreased endowment. They have also consolidated some other student services and have eliminated some faculty and staff positions. I imagine most other colleges are doing the same. But costs are still rising (although the college has lowered its caps on student loan amounts and has increased grant aid.....which begs the question of why don't they just lower costs, b/c I imagine the portion of students paying in full - thereby subsidizing those who cannot - is probably pretty low).

made_in_canada
09-16-2010, 08:16 PM
In the US do the individual schools disperse student loan money?

I must admit that seeing some of these tuition costs is making me very thankful for my cheap tuition ($4000 for the year, though only 7 classes for the year).

overedge
09-16-2010, 08:37 PM
That may be true, but I doubt a few flat-screen TVs in the dorms are entirely responsible for increased tuition costs. [snip] 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 know you are talking about the US situation, but I do want to point out, from the Canadian perspective, that increased salaries and tenure costs are not primarily responsible for driving up the cost of tuition. Government funding of post-secondary education is decreasing, and universities/colleges don't have much choice other than to increase tuition to make up the shortfall.

http://www.cfs-fcee.ca/html/english/media/mediapage.php?release_id=1168

Nekatiivi
09-16-2010, 08:39 PM
This discussion is making me very happy that going to university is free in Finland! We students are even given about 500 euros each month to cover some of the expenses. Because 500 euros is berely enough to pay the rent in bigger cities, especially in Helsinki where the rents are very high, most of the students also work. And some take loan. There is a limit how mutch rent you can take for studying, and it is 300 euros per month if I remember right.

But if the university had fees, I am sure my father would do anything to pay my studies. Eat only porridge, sell our house, sell his soul to Devil. He is very serious about education.

jlai
09-16-2010, 08:56 PM
I lost my detailed reply once so I won't type it again, so I'll just summarize:


I think the average public college tuition is somewhere between $7000-$12000 a year

I was at the low end of that range. Had I needed more, we would have found the money. As I said, many folks think they live cheap and I think my folks are cheaper than most people I know but others have lived even cheaper than I did and rolled eyes at my "extravagence" (like the ones who live with 6-8 folks in an apartment who could roll their eyes at me in my college days.)


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.


-When my brother went first, my parents seriously considered drastic measures but those would not be normal US solutions either.
But like you I actually don't think parents have to pay. I wish I could work off campus and go to school part time but that wasn't an option to me.


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.


Or try distance learning. Or read the book and try to take placement exams. (I did that. I placed out one year of college.)
Or instead of complaining about univs driving up costs, form coalitions and testify against them in legislative budget hearings.

Debbie S
09-16-2010, 08:57 PM
In the US do the individual schools disperse student loan money?Essentially, yes. Each college has a financial aid office and the staff there handle loan applications and disbursements. In the case of federal loan programs, the office staff is responsible for following government guidelines and distributing/receiving the loans - the gov't gives the money to the college directly and not to the student, I believe. After the student graduates and starts repaying the loan, I believe payment is made directly to the gov't's loan processor.


Government funding of post-secondary education is decreasing, and universities/colleges don't have much choice other than to increase tuition to make up the shortfall.Yes, that's an issue at public universities in the U.S., too. Our state had a freeze on undergrad tuition for the past 4-5 years or so, but with the budget cuts over the past few years, that freeze was lifted this year and tuition was increased by a couple percentage points. But that's nothing compared to annual increases at private colleges, which is what I was talking about. Private colleges don't get gov't funding, except for student loans via the process I described above.

jlai
09-16-2010, 09:00 PM
Depending on how satellite campuses are set up, that can actually be a money-maker.

Most of the community colleges in my area have several campuses spread throughout their county, b/c the counties are big .

In that case, have these pet projects pay for themselves instead of playing number games with filed bills getting legislators to exempt univs from whatever matching requirement they're supposed to fill.

Community college districts have been raising taxes -- pretty much all of them I know of (and I read newspapers from all over the state so I do know).

Prancer
09-16-2010, 09:56 PM
Let the federal government take over the university system, and subsidize the cost of uni via raising our taxes?

That would be a political solution certainly, but it is unlikely to happen and does not, in any case, offer any helpful solutions to people trying to foot their tuition bills now, which I thought was the point.


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).

And in this state, at least, building money at state schools cannot come from tuition; building money is always separate, so one is unrelated to the other.

Sorry, Obama. But you are wrong on that one.

It will be interesting to see whether the luxury campus gets more posh or fades away. We have already passed the the peak of the 90s baby boom; the traditional student population is declining and will decline pretty steeply from here on. The majority of college students in the US commute; they do not live on campus at all.

The decline in the traditional student population has colleges scrambling for new students, which pretty much means older students. Older students usually don't live on campus (some do; most don't).

So....make the campuses more luxurious to attract and increasingly rare "customer" or stop putting money into something that is going to be less necessary as time goes on?

Meanwhile, two thirds of the classes in the US are taught by adjuncts.


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.

Miami of Ohio raised tuition specifically to make the school less affordable and thus more selective.

rfisher
09-16-2010, 10:15 PM
But if the university had fees, I am sure my father would do anything to pay my studies. Eat only porridge, sell our house, sell his soul to Devil. He is very serious about education.

What is sad is that many parents do this and their children blow it off. I have a student whose mother works two jobs to keep her from needing any loans, yet the student puts in minimal effort. Another, older student, whose mother postponed her retirement to help pay for her daughter's education who got pregnant (at 40) and is considering dropping out. A faculty member sacrifices a lot to pay for her son's education and he can't be bothered to go to class. She makes excuses about how she doesn't want him to work because school's so hard. School is hard when you don't actually attend. These are the parents who should tell their kids, "If you want it, you pay for it, or get a job."

KCC
09-16-2010, 10:43 PM
My universities continue to call me every year to ask for money for things like new climbing walls, upgrades to the student union or football stadium, scholarships for semesters abroad, etc. I've declined every year because I am helping my nieces and nephews with their school expenses, but really, these schools need a new script. I think I actually started laughing when they told me about the climbing wall.

GarrAarghHrumph
09-17-2010, 02:33 PM
Or try distance learning. Or read the book and try to take placement exams. (I did that. I placed out one year of college.)
Or instead of complaining about univs driving up costs, form coalitions and testify against them in legislative budget hearings.

In the US, reputable, regionally accredited (and thus acceptable to universities) distance learning programs tend to be as expensive as, if not more expensive than on-ground courses. And the financial aid often isn't as good. So it's not a cost-saving measure here.

But the CLEP tests - those are the US exams that people can take to place out of college-level coursework - that can sometimes work. It depends on the university, though. Most US unis will accept CLEP exam credit, but at many unis, having exempted out of a class via CLEP may not bring you closer to graduation. How many unis now handle them is that they'll waive you out of that particular class, but won't actually grant you the credits, so in effect, you'll have to take a different class instead of that one. It's not that you get ahead re: credits - you'll still need X credits in order to graduate. This does vary by university, though.