PDA

View Full Version : University Student Debt, and How to Control It



Pages : 1 2 3 4 5 6 [7] 8 9 10

mpal2
09-18-2010, 01:02 AM
I dunno. I dropped out of high school with something like a 1.78 GPA and I made it, so I hate to tell students it can't be done. But things were a lot easier back in the Stone Age.

My dad had a very low GPA too. I still swear that he has an undiagnosed learning disability. He won't admit it though. I don't know how or why he decided to focus on getting a college degree but he made it and he went back for a couple Masters. I guess some things do come down to will power and drive.

jlai
09-18-2010, 01:45 AM
they think the solution is to invest in the best possible "name" school they can at whatever cost, so their child can tap into the network.

A lot of people also don't consider their children's personalities when making these decisions.

That's like my parents. We were going to be first-generation college grads and my parents wanted us to graduate from big name schools. Going to a less prestigious school wasn't an option. Because of that I ended up applying for top public univs (thank god I wasn't so dumb as to do private school). But the one I attended didn't suit me--I needed a smaller school with a more flexible curriculum. I kept wishing I could go to community college or some other school for cheaper tuition and some "vocational courses" (e.g. paralegal education) and returning to a big-name school to finish up. (I would also stand a bigger chance of getting a job on-campus that suited me at a junior college.)

Had my dad not been the stern paternal type I could have talked to him, but I couldn't talk to my family, and I ended up being rather unhappy through college because I didn't feel I got the education I wanted because of cultural and familial expectations. (I was expected to be in the "academic track" because of my grades, not the "vocational track", and that in turn kept me from pursuing a combination of both which was what I wanted.) So throughout my whole college career I kept looking around for alternatives (which is why I'm so familiar with various placement exams, correspondence courses, distance learning and so forth. :D )

Were I and my family naive and uninformed? Yes.


Yes, I've never heard of distance learning classes being cheaper in and of themselves. You might be able to find a school that has a lower tuition rate than others, but that's no different from physically attending a school that has a lower tuition rate.

I've taken distance learning courses from like ten univs, so I'm a pretty good "course shopper". My alma mater used to offer distance education two three ways (one as part of an intra-university system deal being the most expensive). But the courses offered by the continuing ed dept (ie no- degree-granting) were reasonable because there were no fees and they sometimes tagged on things like library database access. I think these cheaper options become less available now though.

Anita18
09-18-2010, 02:06 AM
Hmmm...huge debt and living in San Francisco. :yikes: I was thinking maybe she's working in a specific field where a large city is really necessary. But then...

Oh dear....that just comes across as a punchline of cruelty
Yeah my sister loves SF and was thinking of living there even before she had a job, but my parents live close enough to the city (2.5 hours) so I advised that she live at home, commute to job interviews, and save her money. She had a friend who moved there before her job hunt and all of her savings were going to be depleted in a few months. That's really scary.


Most college students have no concept of credit, paying back loans or budgeting when they go off to college; why would they? So paying back loans is something that they grasp only on a vague conceptual level while at the same time having unrealistic expectations about their post-graduation income. Most schools don't have classes in personal finance, particularly not for college prep students and parents generally do a terrible job of teaching their kids about money in any practical way.
I don't think it's that hard. I already had a good concept of loans and having to pay back things and automatically got into the habit of paying the entire balance on my credit card each month. I have NEVER carried a balance on my card, ever. My sister is the same, so I think it's how we were raised even though my parents never sat us down to explain things specifically.

Or maybe it's our frugal genetics. :lol:


:yikes: I just read an article about what not to major in, and that was almost exactly the example cited.

Her chances of getting what most people would call a "real" job are better in a big city, but they still aren't good.

It used to be that if you got a liberal arts degree from a good university, you could count on getting a 'real' job, but that is no longer true. In this economy, you need practical skills that employers can put to use from the first day on.
Even in my generation, I'm finding that most people who majored in liberal arts (religious studies, women's studies, English, history, etc) eventually go to law school. It'll certainly raise your salary potential, but considering how expensive THAT is, and how dreary the job prospects look now for graduates, that's not a sure thing anymore either...


I dunno. I dropped out of high school with something like a 1.78 GPA and I made it, so I hate to tell students it can't be done. But things were a lot easier back in the Stone Age.
But again, it depends on your personality. You're obviously a smart person, so you eventually figured it out.

I have a friend from HS who's...not that mentally capable. She still wants to pursue an art degree and/or work in movies but has no way of comprehending the work that will take. Her parents are still taking care of her and want her to do something relatively simple like accounting but she's so naive....

Prancer
09-18-2010, 02:11 AM
That's like my parents. We were going to be first-generation college grads and my parents wanted us to graduate from big name schools. Going to a less prestigious school wasn't an option. Because of that I ended up applying for top public univs (thank god I wasn't so dumb as to do private school). But the one I attended didn't suit me--I needed a smaller school with a more flexible curriculum. I kept wishing I could go to community college or some other school for cheaper tuition and some "vocational courses" (e.g. paralegal education) and returning to a big-name school to finish up. (I would also stand a bigger chance of getting a job on-campus that suited me at a junior college.)

Parents want the best for their children. It's just that "the best" isn't always. There are so many high school kids here who are on a track to Prestigious U chosen by their parents and some of them will fall off even before they get there. I can already see the cracks. And I have, since the first day I was in a classroom, seen kids who have no desire to be in college at all but are there because their parents decreed they would go.

OTOH, I am also seeing a lot of kids who have their hearts set on going to Prestigious U and it's just not going to happen because their parents, who used to be pretty well off, can no longer afford it. Then they end up at community college or commuting to the state university and they resent it all very deeply. Lots of those kids won't make it, either, because they see their college as something of a punishment rather than the opportunity it is.

I am working with at-risk student populations right now and first-generation college students are among the highest risk for dropping out, for all kinds of reasons. There's a lot of pressure and stress put on the Firsts. And if they crack, the shame is terrible to see.

:lol: I did go to community college and did become a paralegal; I have no regrets about anything, but transferring from a two-year career-program to a university screwed me six ways to Sunday and cost me a year and a half more of school, so you may have been better off in terms of tuition, if not in terms of jobs.

jlai
09-18-2010, 02:30 AM
I am working with at-risk student populations right now and first-generation college students are among the highest risk for dropping out, for all kinds of reasons. There's a lot of pressure and stress put on the Firsts. And if they crack, the shame is terrible to see.

:lol: I did go to community college and did become a paralegal; I have no regrets about anything, but transferring from a two-year career-program to a university screwed me six ways to Sunday and cost me a year and a half more of school, so you may have been better off in terms of tuition, if not in terms of jobs.

Well, paying for my college is the best thing my parents did. I wish I figured out the system sooner to help cutting costs while pursuing what I wanted, but such is life. I got the degrees and everyone was happy.

That college experience has actually turned me into a lifelong learner. Because NOW I'm studying without worrying whatever my folks think--just for my professional development and my own enjoyment.

Re: transfers. Never had that problem because I had so many placement exam credits I could afford electives--just that my alma mater was restrictive as to who can take what so it wasn't easy taking courses across colleges. And very few internship courses in thsoe days

Prancer
09-18-2010, 04:17 AM
Re: transfers. Never had that problem because I had so many placement exam credits I could afford electives--just that my alma mater was restrictive as to who can take what so it wasn't easy taking courses across colleges. And very few internship courses in thsoe days

Yes, but if you had gotten the paralegal AS you might have .

In my case, all of my paralegal hours transferred, but none of the credits did because career credits don't count for anything. I had to take several non-major upper level courses to earn credit to make up for those extra credit hours. It was a right royal PITA finding junior/senior level courses that didn't require a lot of prerequisites I didn't have, and sometimes I couldn't. I anticipated getting my bachelors after one year, as I entered the unversity as a senior; it ended up being two and change. I would have been much better off just doing a university parallel program instead of a degree program and transferring directly, but who knew?

I also hated being a paralegal about 99% of the time :shuffle:.

jlai
09-18-2010, 05:31 AM
Interesting. My school's English dept. doesn't require a lot of prerequisites, and the BA programs don't have many major and minor requirements. But as I said my U didn't let anyone sample courses across colleges--I couldn't just go and take a few courses in their business school or then in journalism school or anything like that. (ie I had to be a business major to take business and a journalism major to do any serious journalism courses.) It would have been easier for me to pursue interdisciplinary studies at a junior college or some other state U.

Back to the topic: Two of the univs I once took a course with still have their continuing ed dept running (separate from their degree-granting distance ed program) and their 3-hr non-semester-based courses are still under $280.

ETA: A side gripe: My Alma Mater is having more dept split-ups. Statistics has decided to become its own dept and no longer part of Dept of Math. Writing is now its own dept and no longer part of Dept of English. Not to mention a movement to move all freshman courses to a completely different college together.

NOw I remember why I hated that school.

overedge
09-18-2010, 05:42 AM
One program I have seen work here is PSEO (http://www.ode.state.oh.us/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEPrimary.aspx?page=2&TopicRelationID=695), in which students take college courses for credit while in high school with the student's school district paying the tuition.

We have a program like this in my area, and I'm glad to hear that it works in some places....because it doesn't in ours. The program is supposed to be for students that are actually capable of college-level work, but what happens in actuality is that the high school teachers push all the kids they don't want to deal with into the college classes. So the classes are a nightmare, even for the high school kids who want to be there.

Prancer
09-18-2010, 07:52 AM
Interesting. My school's English dept. doesn't require a lot of prerequisites,

Right. But as I said, they had to be upper level non-major classes, so I had to take something else.


We have a program like this in my area, and I'm glad to hear that it works in some places....because it doesn't in ours. The program is supposed to be for students that are actually capable of college-level work, but what happens in actuality is that the high school teachers push all the kids they don't want to deal with into the college classes. So the classes are a nightmare, even for the high school kids who want to be there.

Wow. What kind of requirements does the program have? Here, the kids have to have already completed all their high school requirements in each subject they plan to take in college, must have and maintain a certain GPA (varies with the college) and are supposed to have demonstrated enough maturity to handle college classes. They enroll like any other student, so no one ever gets entire classes of PSEOs; I think two is most I've ever had in a single class and some years I don't get any at all. I've had a couple who were :eek:, but for the most part, they are good students and do very well.

I've also learned a lot about what constitutes an honor student at most of the local high schools, which has been interesting. :shuffle:

genevieve
09-18-2010, 08:57 AM
Well, paying for my college is the best thing my parents did.
Really? From your post below, it sounds like college was a really miserable experience for you. Perhaps if they had not paid for all of it, you could have had more freedom in your educational pursuits.


We were going to be first-generation college grads and my parents wanted us to graduate from big name schools. Going to a less prestigious school wasn't an option. Because of that I ended up applying for top public univs ... But the one I attended didn't suit me--I needed a smaller school with a more flexible curriculum. I kept wishing I could go to community college or some other school for cheaper tuition and some "vocational courses" (e.g. paralegal education) and returning to a big-name school to finish up. (I would also stand a bigger chance of getting a job on-campus that suited me at a junior college.)

Had my dad not been the stern paternal type I could have talked to him, but I couldn't talk to my family, and I ended up being rather unhappy through college because I didn't feel I got the education I wanted because of cultural and familial expectations. (I was expected to be in the "academic track" because of my grades, not the "vocational track", and that in turn kept me from pursuing a combination of both which was what I wanted.) So throughout my whole college career I kept looking around for alternatives (which is why I'm so familiar with various placement exams, correspondence courses, distance learning and so forth. :D )

jlai
09-18-2010, 09:10 AM
Really? From your post below, it sounds like college was a really miserable experience for you. Perhaps if they had not paid for all of it, you could have had more freedom in your educational pursuits.

Anyway, I brought the story up because I do agree parents don't owe their kids college, and working and doing some smaller and cheaper school/junior college would have helped me oh-so-much (smaller but less segmented departments that allow me to take courses across depts without jumping through hoops). At the same time if parents want to offer financial support it can be done.

This is really not the place to go on about my life, but I've learned a lot about myself and confronted my own demons. Not everyone gets a chance to do that at a young age--especially not those who have had helpful parents guide them half their life.

I guess this is when I should say life isn't just about the success but the journey or whatever. :)

elka_sk8
09-18-2010, 02:22 PM
How does the song go- "I wish I knew what I knew now, when I was younger?"

That kind of sums up my experience with student debt. I always did really well in school, got good grades, yet had no concept of debt at the age of 17. My dad, bless his heart, was supportive and drove me around to lots of schools for visits- I settled on a small liberal arts college. I was the oldest, and neither of my parents had higher than associates degrees- they wanted us to succeed and didn't want to restrict our choices- but my dad also was not upfront with how much thay would be able to pay. After I got my scholarships, federal loans, etc., they took out a parent loan to cover the majority of the rest of the bill (which I didn't find out until midway through my first year). In truth, I got a lot more aid from the provate schools I applied to than the public ones, and I was going to end up with loans regardless. And the school was a good fit for me in a lot of ways- I was really shy back then and would have been lost at a big state school. The experience and opportunities I had there helped me get into grad school (with a research assistanship, so no debt there) and I now have a good job that I love. But when it came time to start paying my loans back (both mine and my parents), the enormity of the situation overwhlmed me. In some ways I wish someone gave me a good shaking back then and said "we can't afford this."

My youngest sister is worse off- more expensive school, less aid, and she ended up becoming a teacher, although she'll get a fair chunk of her loans repayed by teaching in a title 1 school.

Our middle sister, who always lamented that she wasn't as successful academically as us, ended up being the smartest of us all. She stayed at home and went to local colleges for her associates and bachelors' degrees while working, paid for college herself, and emerged debt free. She's about ready to buy a house while the rest of us are trying to pay off our student loans :)

jp1andonly
09-18-2010, 03:25 PM
I graduated with my undergrad with no debt. My parents paid the majority of my education, with a few scholarships here and there. I lived away from home and they paid for that as well. I was responsible for my own spending money which i would earn in the summers. My dad never made me work during my undergrad as he wanted me to concentrate on school. I was VERY lucky to have parents who gave up so much (new car, vacations ,dinners out) to make sure I had an education.

My 2nd and 3rd degrees my parents also helped out with along with living expenses during degree #2. I did however take out a loan that was about 8000. My 3rd degree I was working so we divided payments of tuition in half (i pay a course, they pay a course). No debt with that one.

Right now I'm doing degree #4 and am paying for it myself. This one is quite expensive so I will probably have some student debt but again I'm one lucky gal to have parents who were able to put money aside while i was growing up so I didnt end up with a huge debt load

PDilemma
09-18-2010, 03:38 PM
Right. But as I said, they had to be upper level non-major classes, so I had to take something else.



Wow. What kind of requirements does the program have? Here, the kids have to have already completed all their high school requirements in each subject they plan to take in college, must have and maintain a certain GPA (varies with the college) and are supposed to have demonstrated enough maturity to handle college classes. They enroll like any other student, so no one ever gets entire classes of PSEOs; I think two is most I've ever had in a single class and some years I don't get any at all. I've had a couple who were :eek:, but for the most part, they are good students and do very well.

I've also learned a lot about what constitutes an honor student at most of the local high schools, which has been interesting. :shuffle:

One of the objections I had to the school I just left was that the counselor was enrolling any junior or senior who wanted to take one in dual credit or even college courses at the local college. There were juniors who had serious deficiencies in reading comprehension and writing skills and barely made Cs in regular high school courses that were being enrolled for this fall in on campus college courses for their last year of English rather than in regular senior English. When I suggested that there should be a minimum GPA and that they should still have to take senior English, I was told that I was being negative and just attempting to protect my job since I taught senior English.

(And these kids were only getting Cs in English because their grades were padded with all the busy work we were required to give them under the new grading policies...but that's a different story).

manhn
09-18-2010, 04:19 PM
I graduated with some debt (which I can easily pay out now, but since interest is tax deductible, there's no point in doing so). I had scholarships for much of my undergrad and my parents paid for the rest (books, student fee, they even bought me a car). Any money I earned from part-time jobs (I had one during the year, two during the summer) was my discretionary money.

I didn't have to get loans until law school, where I could only secure a small entrance scholarship and my parents could no longer afford my law schooling and my sister's graduate studies. My parents and I kept it simple--I lived at home, I didn't travel, etc. My biggest sacrifice was not attending Worlds, even though it was in my back yard. Beat that!

I was also fortunate that I graduated just before the government hiked up tuition by something like 300%. That's why I am always reluctant to tell my younger cousins, nephews and nieces what to do when it comes to saving money for college. Their situations are quite different from mine.