Tuition Fees and Student Loan Debt: A Shock?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by overedge, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

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    Who is serving everyone's non-fat dark chocolate mocha with no whipped cream and no foam latte? Betty White?
     
  2. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    I definitely think that's a very valid point. However, in this thread and some of the others that have been posted on the subject, I see a lot of posts that come across as very hostile to private colleges and universities and strike me as being a bit short-sighted.

    For instance, a lot of people seem to suggest that spending two years at community or junior college before transferring to another school is better than spending four years in college. I don't know how it works in other states, but in California, our two-year colleges are terrible. While some do go on to complete four-year degrees, but mostly they wind up at the lower-regarded Cal State schools, which are underfunded, overcrowded, and growing increasingly expensive. A degree from Cal State LA does not carry the same kind of respect and/or connections as a degree from USC or UCLA. The community colleges also are terrible at helping students who want to go to schools other than the big state public schools, because they don't help the student find out what courses are transferable credits. I know several kids in my extended family who could have easily gone to good four-year colleges or universities, but they went to community colleges to save money. Only one ever finished his degree.

    I'm also very biased in favor of liberal arts colleges, especially ones that strongly emphasize writing. Smaller classes, learning from professors, not TAs, and having to write multiple papers and essay exams are, imo, far superior ways of learning. I'm not saying all big schools suck and all small liberal arts schools are great, but we have so many good liberal arts schools that get overlooked. They are going to be more expensive than a public university or community college, but for a lot of kids, they will provide a better education and help develop superior writing and critical thinking skills than just going to mostly lecture classes at a big university.
     
  3. made_in_canada

    made_in_canada INTJ

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    I delayed university until I was 24 and it was absolutely the best thing I could have done. I had no idea what I wanted to do right out of high school and would have just wasted a ton of money and time if I had decided to go to university right away. I had a really good grasp of a realistic budget by the time I decided to go back to school. I have more debt that I'd like but most of that is from various illnesses/injuries so c'est la vie. I know I'll have a job within a few months of graduating (it's an expanding field) and will be able to pay back my loans relatively quickly. Having said that, I can't imagine being $30-$40,000 in debt like you read about all the time.
     
  4. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: What newsrooms were they polling?! If the reporters I know break $25,000 a year, they're lucky - and that's not counting the furloughs.

    There are plenty of places to get an entry-level reporting job. You just have to move to bumfeck nowhere, get a job at the Daily Localette and slave away for $10-12/hour, though. My paper group hires lots of fresh-out-of-school grads - mostly because the turnover rate is fairly high, not because we're adding positions in any way.
     
  5. misskarne

    misskarne #ForzaJules #KeepFightingMichael

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    Australian ones. Wages are higher here.

    The problem now is that the places in bumfeck nowhere are getting applications from journalists with ten years of experience who are getting pushed out or made redundant elsewhere. Graduates just can't compete with that.

    I know of a cadetship offered with a very well-known newsroom in my city. Of course, every student in my class applied for it. It went in three stages - application, exam, one-on-one interview.

    Of the 150 students in my course, only two made it to the exam. They reported back that they were up against journalists who almost had more experience in journalism than they had years alive! For a cadetship!

    And the last time I made $10 an hour I was 15 years old.
     
  6. madm

    madm Active Member

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    Anyone getting a Master's or PhD from a public university should be able to get financial assistance in the form of a teaching or research assistanship plus a tuition waiver. I just visited one state land grant university with my daughter who wants to pursue a masters in exercise science following her undergrad degree in biology. Similar to my experience and my husband's when we went for our graduate degrees in the 1970s, universities still provide funding for graduate students in the sciences and in some of the liberal arts fields. They use graduate students to help teach the undergrad courses, thus saving the university money on teachers and also helping out the grad students. Unless you are going to a professional school, you can get a graduate degree without incurring monstrous debt. You just have to live frugally because you won't have lots of money left over for rent/food/car/etc.

    Now on the other hand, my other daughter who is beginning vet school as an out-of-state student is going to have to pay a whopping $40,000 per year for tuition. There are no tuition breaks for professional students, and the workload is so heavy that she cannot work while in school. She can work during the summers though. I am just sick that she is going to be $160-200K in debt when she graduates. She is lucky to have some family money from grandparents to help pay her daily living expenses, so she doesn't have to borrow for that. It is too bad that she could not get into our state vet college where tuition would be half of this, but she didn't get in and vet school admissions are very difficult to obtain, so she had to go where she was accepted. I can only hope that her salary when she graduates allows her to pay off this debt in 10-15 years. After the first year, she will qualify to apply for some scholarships, so hopefully she'll get one!

    One smart thing my vet daughter did before professional school was to work in her field for 4 years while also getting a 2-year vet tech degree from our local community college, which resulted in a vet tech certification. She figured if the vet school thing did not pan out, she could always work as a vet tech. It seems odd to me to go to community college after getting a 4-year degree in Biology, but it was smart because it gave her an employable credential in a field that's always in demand.
     
  7. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

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    My nephew graduated high school in 1989. He had planned to attend an in state college but was contacted by Columbia because of great test scores and the fact he was a decent high-jumper, and probably partly because he was from Ark. Long story short, he went to Columbia, figured out really soon he couldn't do track and keep grades so quit the track thing. By then, though, he knew he wanted to stay at Columbia. He graduated Columbia, got a law degree from Vanderbilt. Neither of those two prestigious degrees was much help in getting a job with a good law firm in NW Arkansas. He finally did, though. Today he has a happy family--and lots of debt still. I've never asked him if the Columbia experience was worth the debt, from his perspective as a 2012 father of three, but I have an idea what he'd say.
     
  8. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    Interesting that you brought this up. We have visited one private college so far. Their tuition is $19,000 a year, but they got him down to $4,000 a year based on his GPA being high enough to meet their scholarship standards. (We have a bit of a GPA problem - that concussion he had last year killed his GPA - it's now below a 3.0. Fortunately, his ACT score was good.) Anyway, this particular university has a golf team - this year is its first full season - and partners with another private school that is a Div I school where he could take classes. I'm still very interested in this particular school, but son isn't thrilled with the golf program.

    I was surprised when we visited the college I mentioned above. You see that $20,000 sitcker price and go :scream: not realizing that those schools often have huge endowments and can offer more than state schools.

    In Michigan, community colleges serve two purposes. The first is to offer two-year programs that will lead directly to a job. Police academy, firefighter training, culinary schools. Some specialize in the technical fields such as electronics.

    Their other purpose is to serve to prepare students to go to a four year university. It helps if you know what four-year you want to attend after community college, because if you do, your community college advisors will tailor your curriculum to match the needs of the four-year.

    It took me 13 years to get through college, and another five for my masters degree. Some of it was going to school full time and working part time, some of it was working full time and going to school part time. I am fortunate that the Navy tuition assistance and GI Bill covered my tuition after my first year. I didn't start in my current field at a professional level until I was in my mid-30's. If I have the financial capability to help my son be successful earlier in his life, I will do everything that I can to help him out.
     
  9. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    Agreed. The question then become what does "afford" mean. If someone has to take on debt for something, the argument can be made that they can't afford it, especially since they'll be students and making little to no income to cover it. You can do all kinds of research about what types of jobs you might get and what you're living expenses might be, but it's all just projections. You could have to take leave to take care of sick family member, you could become disabled, you could fall in love and end up living in a state with lower paying jobs, you could unexpectedly have a kid and your living expenses double, etc. Your debt will still be there, though. I just think a lot of people have too blase of an attitude about debt.

    There's of people who did the right things, took on massive debt to go to the prestigious law schools, covered their living expenses with student loans (all those fancy interview suits), got hired by the big firms, and then got laid off from their first jobs.

    I can't even tell you how many people I know who interned for free, as licensed attorneys, sometimes for a year or more, just to get experience. Some of them are from pretty good schools. Some of them are deferred from law firms and receiving stipends, but the stipends are like 1/3 of what they expected to make.

    I understand the POV that reckless has, and indeed prestige is important in the legal world, but I'm glad to have the peace of mind that comes from not having debt because I went to a slightly less prestigious school. It gave me the flexibility to move toward public interest work instead of working for a law firm, which was never my interest. Of course, sometimes I wish I made more money, but there's no guarantee that would've happened and I'm risk-averse.
     
  10. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    I paid just $161 for my Galaxy S2, after factoring in a $250 rebate that expired a week after I got the phone, so I bought it just in time. I was :eek: at the prices Sprint was charging for the iPhones at the time (early July); of course, the prices have dropped since with the iPhone5 coming out now. With the 3G fast enough for my satisfaction (I rarely download videos or other large media files)

    Because I got the smartphone, I actually decided a week ago to disconnect my Road Runner - it's nice to have a utility bill that is only $11/month (for TW's Basic Cable) and no one needs more than one Internet connection. Or 100+ cable channels either. I'll be putting the $$ I save by doing that towards my Discover bill and, when that finally gets paid off, it will be "cash on the barrel" for me except for something like a car repair.
     
  11. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    I know that a lot of parents around here plan to pay for whatever school their kid gets into and I'm not willing to do that. BUT I am willing to pay for a 4 year college with reasonable tuition (similar to what the UCs charge) because I know that making your kids pay their way through college with no assistance at all is a good way to make sure they don't get a college degree. Even kids whose parents help out are taking 5 years (or more) to get their Bachelors these days. Without assistance and without coming from poverty (as I did) and so can get a lot of aide, it can be impossible to finish.

    This is exactly why I want to help my kids with college expenses. If I can spare them this, I will.

    However, I don't feel like I need to beggar myself to get them into a "good" school no matter what it costs. Many, many kids go to the local community college and then on to a state college and do just fine in life. If that's what my kids have to do to get a degree, then that's what we'll do.

    Now Mini-Mac has other ideas. She wants to go to places like NYU and UofM because they have top-knotch drama programs. But she's already figured out that Tisch School of the Arts at NYU is probably not happening because of the costs of living in NYU on top of the school. We could actually afford UCLA up to a point (she'd have to work some for living expenses but we'd be able to pay the school costs and rent) but I'm not sure she's going to get the grades to get in.
     
  12. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah we're not at a public uni, I work at a research hospital. I know that the students can be TA's, but I'm not sure if they get more stipend from that. It's actually mandated in the student handbook that they CAN'T have any other jobs outside of grad school. My coworker tried to do a bit of housekeeping on the side to earn more money, and my boss got pissed about that. Usually he's flexible about extracurricular stuff, but he also doesn't want to get in trouble with the school. And it was mandated in the student handbook - students can't have any jobs outside of school. Which I guess would be fine if you're the usual single living-with-roommates sort of student, but my friend is basically a single mom with two kids, and there is NO support system for her here. It really sucks.

    Yeah I totally know what you mean about vet school. It's actually more difficult to get into than med school, from what I've heard, because the number of schools is so small. Having terrific grades and test scores gives you more options, of course, but not everyone can be a top student.
     
  13. Prancer

    Prancer Dysteleological Staff Member

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    And those are all good things. But in this economy, employers don't much care about superior writing and critical thinking skills. The days when a college degree from a good school meant getting a good job are over and will almost certainly never come back; there are too many people getting college degrees now.

    A good liberal arts education is a great thing if you can afford it, but there are reasons that most students are advised to avoid that route. I don't understand how people can look at the reality of college graduates with an average $25K in debt and no reasonable job prospects and not see why.

    It is increasingly common to see people with four-year degrees going back to school to get some kind of applied credential.

    I agree. But I hate being in debt. I wouldn't have gone to college at all if it had meant taking on debt, no matter how many people recommended it as an investment.

    Tell MiniMac to get good grades at that community college and see what happens: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/education/community-colleges-offer-path-to-four-year-degrees.html
     
  14. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    We are pushing nephew to go to the local community college then transfer to the nearest four year state school. Both would also allow him to avoid living on campus. Since his GPA is not stellar (2.4 right now...should be up a bit if he stays focuses this year), his study habits are not stellar, and he has no idea what he wants to do (came up with psychology after an admissions counselor told him there were monkeys in the lab), my brother and I both feel that he needs to start in a smaller environment and not waste a bunch of money messing around at a university with no clear plan. Unfortunately, every time we get him to understand the financial and other benefits of this plan, his idiot mother gets him on the phone to explain to him that he is a genius, will probably be getting into Duke (because they are looking for kids with 2.4 gpas and no record of activities), is going to "score a 200" on the ACT and get a full ride, and damn it, she is not going to tell her friends her kid goes to community college. Ugh.
     
  15. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

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    Some employers do care a lot -- and can afford to be very selective given the state of the economy. Some don't care at all. It really depends on the field and job. I think you and reckless are looking at very different kinds of students and fields. In the legal field, employers generally care very, very much about strong writing skills and the ability to engage in critical thinking. I do think that a good liberals arts education can help someone develop those skills.

    However, there are plenty of jobs out there that don't require those skills. There are jobs where you'll never have to write a single paragraph. There also are students who, quite frankly, are interested in developing those skills or aren't ready to do so. There are students who may eventually want to become a nurse, but aren't ready for nursing school yet and a local community college will help them build basic skills. And, quite frankly, there are some students who aren't ready to move away from home and the only school near them may be a community college or a large state school. Some people live in an area where that isn't even an option.

    For some students, it makes no financial sense for them or their parents to pay for a college when the student has no direction and/or is just interested in partying.

    These things are highly individual.
     
  16. Prancer

    Prancer Dysteleological Staff Member

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    Yes, they do, and for people who plan from day one to go to law school, that would be a consideration.

    But most people don't go to law school, so if one is giving general advice on college, I would not give advice based on law school.

    And again, if people can afford to go to a liberal arts college, that's great. Most professors send their kids to small liberal arts schools because they know their kids will get the best college educations that way. But for most people, going to a small liberal arts school because the education is great is just not a practical thing to do unless there is a lot of scholarship money involved.

    So yes, it's individual. But for me, debt needs to be a top consideration. Most people are simply not going to be competitive enough to be in a position where it doesn't make a lot of difference.

    When his ACT scores aren't great and his application to Duke is rejected, she will have to start practicing deflection, I guess.
     
  17. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I well aware that most people don't go to law school. That was part of my point. reckless is looking at different people. But you also are looking at a subset of students.

    My point is that advice should be individual, not general. It's not just in the legal field where strong writing and critical thinking are valued. There are others. And, yes, many will not go into fields where it's valued and there may be more important skills to develop for other students and fields. And some students just have different interests and aptitudes. I don't think a liberal arts education is the best thing for everyone who can afford it.

    Prospective students and their parents have to give some hard (and realistic) thought about what the student wants, what the financial and employment realities are, and what schools best fit their needs. It's going to be different for every student.
     
  18. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    And IMHO they also need to think about *not* going to school until the student will actually get some benefit out of it, and about careers that don't require a university degree but can pay really well (e.g. trades).

    There are a lot of students in post-secondary courses because that's what high school graduates are "supposed" to do, and some of them are racking up $$$$ in debt while not really being serious about their education or having at least some reliable idea of what they want to do.
     
  19. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    Yep. With his lack of a resume and his dismal GPA, he would probably need a 36 on the ACT to even have a shot at the kinds of scholarships she is planning on. I'm guessing he won't be getting that. She is also going to be contributing nothing to paying for college, so I told my brother to tell her that unless she has the money, she doesn't get a say.

    As for Duke, my brother is not going to pay application fees for schools the kid will never get into. And, again, she doesn't have the money.
     
  20. Prancer

    Prancer Dysteleological Staff Member

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    I'm looking at statistics on college students overall.

    More than half of students who start college will drop out before earning a degree.

    Those who do graduate with a four-year degree carry an average of $26K in debt, and that amount is growing.

    People who graduate with liberal arts degrees will eventually earn decent salaries if established patterns continue to hold true, but are unlikely to do so within five years of graduation. Liberal arts students, however, will likely do better than their more common Business major peers.

    Forty-one percent of student loan holders are either delinquent or in default, and more have taken deferments.

    And fresh out today: Student Loan Debt Stretches To New Record Number Of Households: Pew Research Analysis

    Shall I go on? Of course people have to look at their own situations as individuals and make decisions based on their individual circumstances. But we're not arguing about individual cases here, but rather about college students in general.
     
  21. Allskate

    Allskate Well-Known Member

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    ITA. Some people just aren't meant for college and some aren't ready yet.

    And broad statistical reports may be somewhat informative or make people think more, but what's right for one person isn't necessarily what's right for another. Generalities are only so helpful. Some people should not be taking on student loan debt at all. For some, it's worth it to take on more. Whether a liberal arts degree makes sense depends on the individual student.
     
  22. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the industry is VERY different in Australia :)
     
  23. mgobluegirl

    mgobluegirl Well-Known Member

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    That isn't really a realistic prospect for an 18-year-old these days. College costs have skyrocketed, but the pay for jobs that kids can get to "work through school" has not, if they can get those jobs. Most kids today expected to put themselves through college will end up with a heavy amount of debt.
     
  24. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    NYU doesn't often give good financial aid. Most of the aid they give is in the form of loans. They are also very pricey, as I'm sure you know.

    Schools that are good for drama include Syracuse, SUNY Purchase, UCLA which you mentioned, Northwestern, Cornell, U Washington, USC, Indiana Bloomington, Stanford, U Iowa, Carnegie Mellon, U Minnesota, Tufts, Michigan State, Penn State, UC Berkeley, U Wisconsin, Catholic U, Yale, Florida State, Baylor, UNC School of the Arts, UNC Chapel Hill, Tulane, U Michigan Ann Arbor, U Illinois Urbana, Ohio State, UCSB, BU, Brandeis, Case Western, Southern Methodist, San Fran State, Bowling Green State, U Arizona, U Florida, Ohio U, Temple, U Pitts, U Miami, Arizona State, Dartmouth, City College of NY, Occidental, U Texas Austin, U Kansas, Wayne State, Rutgers New Brunswick, Ithaca.

    I know I just gave you a long list, but my reason for that is that I'm hoping that you'll be able to find some good quality programs at schools that will be less expensive for you. So you get the long list. :lol: Last thing your daughter needs is to graduate from a drama program with massive debt, and thus not be able to afford to actually try to make it in her chosen field. I've seen too many potential actors and similar end up in that situation.

    And she can also look at the theater program at the flagship public uni in your home state. It may be of good quality, and she'll get the lower, in-state rate on tuition, which can help. A lot of really successful actors and etc. come out less-known programs.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  25. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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  26. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    Something else that may skew those statistics is that there is a difference between a "liberal arts degree" and a degree from a liberal arts college. The former can include a social science or humanities degree obtained from any university. In that situation, an English major could graduate from Giant State University having taken one or two seminar courses in her major during the undergraduate career, having barely written any papers, and mostly having been subject to multiple choice exams and courses taught with teaching assistants. Outside the major, the vast majority of the courses probably were giant lecture classes.

    The latter can be a a degree in science earned by a student who has done plenty of courses in her major, often with extensive lab research (and often working directly with a professor, not a TA, because of the small size of the school). That science major also probably has been forced to take courses that emphasize writing and probably has even had non-major classes that were not big lecture classes. The social science and humanities major from that school will have far more writing experience and probably will have the majority of her courses be smaller classes, and not just the ones from her major.
     
  27. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    I have graduate degrees from these two departments, a significant but not staggering amount of debt, and I'm not working in the field.

    Basically it was an expensive education for an enjoyable hobby, with good intellectual stimulation, that I will probably still be paying for until I retire. I'm not sorry I did it, but I'd be wealthier if I hadn't.

    I was lucky that my parents paid for my undergrad education and my father is still able to help me out with other expenses, although he did not pay for grad school directly.

    An undergrad double major in English as well as theatre probably helped get into publications work, which is how I support myself.

    I also went to UMass for a year and a half of grad school directly out of undergrad, and I didn't take any debt for that because I had assistantships the whole time and lived like a grad student (it was just barely possible to live on $5K a year in Western Massachusetts 30 years ago). But it was a small department, I got frustrated for various reasons, and I felt the need to experience the real world for a while.

    For an undergrad degree in theatre -- treat it like any liberal arts degree, and be prepared to work for free in the field while supporting yourself with other jobs at least for a few years afterward, maybe indefinitely depending what kind of theatre work you want to do.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  28. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    ^^^ My experience in getting my B.A. in English was like the science major you describe, reckless. I went to a very small private college downstate that stressed full and complete comprehension of concepts taught in all classes - there was nary a multiple choice test in sight in every course I took, and short answer and essay questions abounded. We had small classes taught by professors (lot of Doctorates amongst the instructors in every department), and everybody knew who everybody else was.

    I loved my English classes. I took mostly literature-based courses ("Shakespeare" was a required course) and, if I didn't owe SallieMae $21,000 still, I'd go back to school.
     
  29. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    We'll be :watch: to see what her reaction is once he gets the rejection letter.

    Strange that it's fine with her that he has a 2.4 GPA but God forbid he goes to a CC. Can't brag to her friends about that. :confused: Asian parents often compare their kids about EVERYTHING. :rofl:

    Right. I have a cousin who went to Columbia for drama, and she could afford it because both parents are prominent doctors. She now does theater and often volunteers in third world countries teaching English. I'm glad she's able to do what she loves AND give back to the community. It's obviously not a path every 23-year-old can take unless your family is supporting you. Although one of the first year grad students has been delaying his student loan repayment by joining the Peace Corps and now getting a PhD. :lol:
     
  30. Prancer

    Prancer Dysteleological Staff Member

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    I do understand that difference, believe it or not. I have nothing at all against liberal arts college or liberal arts degrees, either. It would be rather ridiculous if I did, don't you think?

    The issue is not the school or the degree--it's the cost. It's the amount of debt the student takes on in order to attend the school. If the student doesn't take on any debt, or very little debt, then more power to the student and the college. If the student has to take on debt to do it, then attending that school is a big risk that gets bigger as the debt level increases.

    I wouldn't know, having never heard of a program like that, but my experience is somewhat limited.

    And what are the job prospects for this student who has a four-year degree in a science from a small liberal arts college?

    Again, it's not the degree or the school--it's the amount of debt the student has to take on to get that degree. I don't know how anyone can look at the stats on student debt and not see why this is a huge problem.

    I don't agree with this entire screed, but he does have a point: How Liberal Arts Colleges Are Failing America

    And some ask Is the Four-Year, Liberal-Arts Education Model Dead? because "top liberal arts programs are already out of reach of more than a few good students.”