Tuition Fees and Student Loan Debt: A Shock?

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

  1. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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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.
  2. 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.
  3. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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.
  11. 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.
  12. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like the industry is VERY different in Australia :)
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. Southpaw

    Southpaw Saint Smugpawski

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  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. 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.
  19. 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:
  20. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill 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.”
  21. madm

    madm Active Member

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    Wow, as a retired technical writer who worked 30 years (4 teaching tech journalism at a university and 22 working for a major computer company), I can't tell you how valuable good writing and critical thinking skills are!!! Some of my former writing students (tech majors who were required to take a tech writing course) became managers at my tech company, and one commented to me about how valuable his tech writing course was to his career. He spent 50% or more of his time writing memos/proposals/email/etc. and doing presentations. As an undergrad, he never dreamed his job would involve so much writing. He couldn't have gotten where he is today without good writing skills. Communication is everything in the professional working world.

    I interviewed many job applicants throughout my career, and I learned a lot about each person through their resume and cover letter as well as writing samples and answers to difficult questions (esp. behavioral interview questions). If an applicant can't speak and write clearly, they won't get hired by any reputable company. IMO students who attend liberal arts colleges, where more writing is required than in large public universities, fare better in professional companies than do students who excel at taking multiple choice exams. The key to getting a job these days is not so much a factor of where you went to school but more a factor of what job experiences you've had (e.g. internships) and who you know (professional contacts open doors to job leads).

    P.S. My personal philosophy about the purpose of college is to teach you how to think. Everyone needs good problem solving skills to succeed in life. And since no one works in a vacuum, everyone also needs excellent communication skills.
  22. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    Um, as a person who has a degree in technical writing, among others, and teaches courses in that, among other things, I value good writing.

    But if employers valued good writing, they would hire writers and pay them well, and they do not. And technical writers are among the first to get laid off. The employment stats are lousy for professional writers.

    This is not to say that employers don't value people who can write well; writing by itself, however, isn't high on most priority lists. It's something you do in addition to your primary job.

    When did this become some sort of either/or, where one either goes to a small liberal arts college or is doomed to four useless years of multiple choice exams? :confused:

    Again, I am talking about DEBT.
  23. purple skates

    purple skates Shadow dancing

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    When I was doing my research on colleges, I ran across Kalamazoo College. I had never heard of it before. Apparently you have to have really high grades to get in, and from talking to people it is a really good school.

    That said, how can anybody think tuition and room and board totalling $45,000 a year for a small college in Michigan is worth it?
  24. madm

    madm Active Member

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    Sorry I digressed a bit. But the question of the worth or value of an education must be weighed against the cost. If all degrees were equal, everyone would choose the cheapest college and just get their degree from there. Depending on what one wants to do for a career, one should attend a school where there are many courses in one's field to choose from, the professors have credentials/real-world experience in their field, and class sizes are small enough to allow for discussion. It may cost more to attend a school with 25 students per class and professors (not TAs) doing the teaching and grading, but it may be worth it if one gets more out of the experience than say lecture classes of 400 students. For students getting a general education in common non-specialized majors (e.g. chemistry, biology, computer science) there may be good options to get a degree from a smaller state university at a fraction of the cost of a larger institution. I know one student getting a chemistry degree from Metropolitan State University of Denver for only $2600 per quarter out of pocket. Colorado kicks in about $1100 per quarter from a state opportunity fund for residents. This seems like a bargain to me.
  25. reckless

    reckless Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting that the title attacks "liberal arts colleges," but never actually identifies any graduates from any. It identifies a graduate with a degree in creative writing from an unspecified school, a graduate with a business degree from University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and a graduate with a biology degree from what I suspect was Middle Tennessee State University (since the bio major met with the career counselor there, something usually reserved for alums). That's really a technicality though.

    I think the issue we're dealing with here -- and where our disagreeement lies -- is focused more on the fundamental question of what kind of training do people need for the jobs they ultimately will hold. College and university has been sold for the past 30 years as a right of passage and the stepping stone to a well-paying career. I believe that is largely due to a few factors and that is an issue that I have long thought we should have been examining.

    First is the loss of well-paying manufacturing jobs. It used to be that a middling student could gradute high school, go to work at a local factory, and make a decent, middle-class living. When the factory jobs died or were moved to right-to-work states where they no longer provided the same level of wages, there was little alternative to college and university.

    Second is the absence of good vocational training in our schools. In the 70s and 80s, a lot of vocational training was eliminated because it had been used in discriminatory ways. Minorities and the poor got put into vocational tracks while wealthy whites got put into university tracks. But the reality is that vocational learning is useful and many kids could go from high school into trades.

    Third is the difficulty that some unions place on entrance. Apprenticeships in some unions is extremly difficult. It can take years before someone earns a good wage, so that acts as a deterrent, even though we have a lot of demand for skilled tradespeople. There also is a problem in some unions that you have to know the right people to gain entry. That also leaves some unions with the reputation of being racist and sexist, which keeps them from expanding. (Plus you have the anti-union sentiment from the right, coupled with corruption and political miscalculations by many unions that only substantiate the criticism.)

    So I definitely agree with you that we have a lot of students today who 20-30 years ago would never have been in a university. For a lot of them a four-year education today is a waste of money and they should explore alternatives. But I also think we as a society should be doing more to help kids find those options and make them easier to access. Right now, expensive, private trade colleges or the military are often the only way to become a mechanic. We also should be helping make middle class parents find something "less" than college palatable. The kid who wans to be a mechanic should not be considered a "failure," but in many places he is.

    However, that doesn't mean traditional education is worthless to other students. What bothers me is to see students who should be at four-year colleges and universities, who have the academic prowess, and who would develop great skills through liberal arts educations are now being told that they should be looking at trade schools, taking engineering or computer science courses because those will provide jobs after graduation, or should go to two-year schools that feed into four-year big public universities over four-year liberal arts colleges to save money instead of getting a "worthless" degree. At some point, we will need the next generation of policy makers, civic leaders, diplomats, writers, educators, etc. We'll even need the next generation of scholars and artists, too. I hate the way that higher education is being discussed only in the context of its utility, as if the only measure of the value of an education is how much money a person will get back from the amount they spend to obtain that education.

    Take the example offered earlier of the guy who is working as an attorney in NW Arkansas. The poster suggested that he wasted a lot of money because he wound up back in Arkansas after going to Columbia and Vanderbilt Law School. That's one way of looking at it. But another way of looking at it is that the guy spent four years living in one of the great cities in the world and interacted with some of the brightest students in the country at both schools. He probably could have stayed in Arkansas his entire life and would have a lot less debt, but he would have had a very different life experience. Maybe it was only going to Columbia and Vanderbilt that made him realize he wanted to return to Arkansas and his life would have been very different and full of regrets had he never left. I think we are too quick to devalue that part of an education in these discussions.
  26. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Actually I haven't looked into it THAT much because Mini-Mac is only a Freshman and also because I want her to do this research because it's her dream. I only looking into it enough to identify the top 10-15 drama schools by rep and see what sorts of tuitions they charged.

    I knew her dream of going to college in NYC to study drama and be a Broadway actress was not really financially feasible if she just expected us to pay for it so I showed her some numbers and got her thinking...

    That would be UCLA. :D

    But she has to get in first. It's the hardest of the UCs to get into, I think. There is also UC-Berkeley but she's adamant about moving away from home for college and it's only 45 min. from our house. But U of Michigan is not that expensive for out-of-staters and is supposed to have a great musical theater program. I have no idea how hard it is to get into though.

    Of course, none of this is real to her right now so maybe she'll change her mind when the time comes.

    If they go to my alma matter and want to be a doctor, they have a 95% change of getting into med school. And all the aide there is based on need so cost isn't really an issue.

    This assumes they get through the chemistry or biochemistry program though. It's tough. Which is why they have such a high success rate at getting kids into med school.

    Now, Prancer, these people have above average critical thinking skills due to their liberal arts degrees. ;)


    I had a liberal arts degree from a small liberal arts college. I got it back in the late 70s and it served me well. It helped me do well in my chosen career which has nothing to do with what I got my degree in.

    But I will tell you, the world has changed since I first started working. A lot of the people doing my job do not speak English as a first language and their writing and speaking skills are HORRIBLE. But, in spite of what I was told all through school, no one seems to care. All they care about is that the person have a BSCS or preferably a MSCS. And are able to churn out code.

    Which means I couldn't get an entry level job in my field if I were starting out now. No matter how great my critical thinking skills are or my writing skills.


    And part of this is that EVERYONE is getting a college degree. The kid who doesn't know what he wants to do with his life is competing for those McJobs that will help him sort it out with people who have either years of experience or college degrees. This is how MacBoy ended up back in college even though it was the exact wrong thing for him.
  27. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    Believe it or not, I don't find it particularly appealing, either. But you still haven't even mentioned the word "debt." If you don't find the idea of new college graduates saddled with loads of debt and little means to pay that debt alarming for the graduates because they are, after all, well educated, then you are one of the few. People in academia worry about it all the time--because we cannot sustain the current college model. People can't afford it.

    Ah, yes. Graduate schools, where smart people go to rack up more debt.

    In technical fields, this is absolutely true. And it's increasingly true in other fields, and this trend will continue to increase as we continue to import skilled workers, which we are expected to do more and more.

    Or they're trying to. Most of them don't. And frankly, most people really don't need college training in order to do the work required in most jobs, which is why people with degrees can't find jobs. There are way too many people with degrees for the very few jobs that actually require them.
  28. mgobluegirl

    mgobluegirl Well-Known Member

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    I can't speak for the musical theater program (which I've heard is indeed quite good), but on the whole, it's harder to get into Michigan as an out-of-stater. And sorry to disappoint, but Michigan is very expensive if you're not in-state. Last I checked, tuition and fees for out-of-state students were somewhere near $40,000/year.


    I feel like I need to put in a plug here for the big state school experience. I was a science major, and I sat in my share of big lecture classes. Just to illustrate, my organic chemistry class had 500 students in it, and it was one of three sections. Throughout the four years, I took a variety of multiple choice and short answer/essay tests. None of this was a bad thing. In the large classes, there's a bit of a sink-or-swim element to doing well, and as far as I'm concerned, the earlier you learn to "swim" the better. There was no hand-holding in my college experience, and learning to be self-directed in my learning has served me more since college than any of the actual material I studied there has. At most medical schools, the first two years are lecture-based, and when I got to med school I was comfortable with that environment. I watched classmates who had gone to smaller schools and were used to a discussion-based format struggle at the beginning. And all those multiple choice tests weren't a waste either. Taking and doing well on multiple choice tests is a skill, and medical entrance and board exams are multiple choice as well.

    College was an awesome experience. I LOVED feeling like I was a part of such a big community at a big institution, and I can write well and think critically to boot. I was fortunate enough to go to a great public school, and my education cost far less than it would have at a small, private liberal arts school. Smaller is NOT always better.
  29. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Well at least with medical school, the salaries still support the level of debt and there is still demand. :D

    Their website said more like 35,000 which is also about what UCLA costs. Are you telling me they lied?! (Kidding, I know they are trying to attract students.)
  30. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    In a lot of cases, a private school offers more financial aid. In my area, a lot of small private schools have more expensive tuition but room, board and fees are much lower. Total expenses often even out or are lower for students with decent tuition scholarships when compared to the state's universities. The small state colleges, on the other hand, are a bargain in both tuition and other costs. My alma mater is a small private college that heavily recruits from a neighboring state with a lot of success because their total costs are cheaper than resident costs at state schools in that state.

    For nephew, we are interested in one of the public universities that he could live with his dad while attending, taking room and board out of the equation.
  31. genegri

    genegri Active Member

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    I thought the same way you do until very recently when I checked my university's current tuition. When I was a freshman (1998) it was around $24,000 a year and I thought that was astronomical. Well presently it's over $40,000, just tuition. And the master program I did in the same university now charges close to $60,000 a year, tuition only. :yikes:

    College tuitions have increased much faster than living cost, and yet faster than salaries. Mainly because they now receive much less help from states. I don't know how Europe manages to give next to free college education to all citizens.

    But I bet those people will never be put in managerial positions. Their career paths have severe limitations and they tend to reach dead ends quickly.

    That being said, I find good writing skills not crucial in today's business world. It's "nice to have", but far from necessary. Critical thinking is important. Networking with the right people, skillful self promoting, playing office politics will get one farther. Yes, I am feeling very cynical today. :slinkaway
  32. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    They would have exactly my job - a lab tech at an academic research lab whose salary is low, but protected since it's paid for by NIH grants. :D Definitely higher than minimum wage though, and I lucked since I have a relaxed boss and we don't work even 60-hr weeks.

    It was only more amusing since my boss's lab setup was completely new and both techs that he hired were biology majors from smal liberal arts colleges. :p Apparently everybody from UCLA was going to med/grad school or had no lab experience. Going to a small school definitely helped, since it was a lot easier to get lab experience if the professors are open to working with students.

    Although, NIH grants have been drying up, and I graduated before the economy went to crap, so it was probably exceedingly lucky that I got the job I did. I'm still paying back some loans but it was less than $10K. And my parents gave me an old beater car to drive, so I didn't have car payments when I first started out. And I had roommates sharing living expenses with me until I moved in with my now-fiance last year.
  33. Scintillation

    Scintillation New Member

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    I went to a big public university and I loved it. Yes the campus was huge and the students numerous, but there were smaller communities within each separate college and major. I had friends outside the music and psychology buildings, but going in to those places felt like entering a small town outside of the behemoth big 10 campus.

    I was lucky enough to avoid undergrad debt, but plenty of my friends have quite a bit to pay off. One of them got a degree in chemical engineering and was hired before we even graduated. After 2 years of working for this company down in Alabama he was supposed to be moved to another location, but they decided to let him go instead. He decided to move back to this area since he loves it so much, but he still hasn't found a job here and yes those loans are starting to press down on him. I feel like he should be more open to moving where ever there's work but no he wants to stay right here. I hope he finds something soon.
  34. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    You'd be surprised. Though it is the better communicators among them who end up as managers, many of them are leads of some sort.

    The problem is, if everyone's writing sucks, then that becomes the standard.

    Believe me, I'd love for my superior skills in this area to count more but they are seen as "nice to have" and a "little bonus" so they give me a boost but it's a very small one.
  35. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    UCLA lists their tuition and fees (including room and board) for in-state students at $31,902 per year. U Michigan Ann Arbor lists its tuition and fees (including room and board) for out-of-state students at $51,976 per year. That's a $20k difference per year. Multiply that by four years and ignoring that U Michigan charges more to upper level students, you'd save $80k if she went to UCLA instead of Michigan.
  36. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Higher taxes on the country's people and more support from their federal governments helps. But with the current economy, free or next-to-free tuition is becoming more and more difficult for these governments to be able to offer. The UK, for example, recently reworked its tuition costs, raising them significantly, compared to what they had been. In Spain, where most uni courses cost 1,000 Euros or less, extreme overcrowding is leading to student protests - 790 students in one upper division classroom at U Valencia, for example. So I'm not sure that, in at least some European countries, the free or low cost model will be able to continue, at least not as it was.
  37. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I guess I misread something. Okay, no UofM for Mini-Mac!
  38. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Coming from an expensive region of the US, I've heard that some of the midwestern/western public unis can be cheaper than the in-state tuition in my area, even if you pay out-of-state tuition. Perhaps that's true v. the in-state rate at the UCs as well? So although U of M isn't one of those, there may be others that end up being worth looking at.

    Unfortunately, I don't remember which schools those are, so I'm of no help to you on that one. Sigh... :drama:

    But you mentioned your daughter specifically wants to study music theater? Then I'd add Oklahoma City U to my list from earlier.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2012
  39. RockTheTassel

    RockTheTassel Well-Known Member

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    I envy anyone who could call Michigan not that expensive. It was my dream school, but I'm out-of-state, and I couldn't justify paying that much. :(

    I am, however, at a large state university that I love. While I wouldn't describe it as prestigious, it's certainly respectable, and it was the right choice for me. It may be intimidating at first, but you learn to find your niche at big schools. There are a lot of people, but the diversity is appealing, and it's worthwhile meeting people from so many different backgrounds. I love how many opportunities there are for things like research, internships, and studying abroad. This semester, I have two small (about thirty students or so) discussion based classes, two big lecture hall classes, and two one-credit PE classes (horseback riding and fencing). Even in many of my larger classes, we often split into groups and the professors are very approachable, so I don't have the "just a number" feeling that's a common criticism of larger schools. I feel like I get to experience a little bit of everything, and I don't have to worry about paying off such an enormous debt after graduation.

    I can understand why someone would favor a small private school for the sense of community and more relaxing atmosphere. I'm sure it's great for students who can afford it. But I don't think it's worth a lifetime of debt when it's just as possible to have a wonderful experience at a state school.
  40. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I need to start squirreling away all these college mentions. :lol:

    For myself, I went to a small, private college prep high school and then a small, private liberal arts college. I loved HS to bits and was pretty happy in college. I'm very, very, very glad I went to college straight out of HS as I don't think I'd have ever gotten my degree if I had gone to work first. I certainly haven't been successful at going back to school since then.

    BUT

    I do think my college choice was probably the wrong one for me. It was too much like my High School. A big state university might have challenged me more in non-academic ways (i.e., personal growth) and it probably would have forced me to major in something more tangible which would have made getting a job easier.

    The thing is, you can only know these things in hindsight sometimes. I mean, if I knew that personal computers would be invented and that I'd be in this field for decades, I would have gone to one of the 5 universities that had a CS degree (assuming I could get into them). But at the time I was only vaguely aware of such things and thought I wanted to teach and write and other non-hard science stuff.