Why did 17 million students go to college?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by iloveemoticons, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Good point. Honestly I believe a lot of skills cannot be easily learned just by going through formal education. People skills, organization skills, etc. You can learn them without going to college.

    And not every subject can be taught effectively in a semester time frame, and definitely not by mostly reading and writing papers. For example, political sci degrees don't breed politicians. :) In many subjects it's up to the students to figure out how to apply what they learn by seeking internships and experience on their own, and it's just not as effective as, say, learning theories and doing it side by side. For instance, I know speech therapy students who have to do lab work every week with kids after classroom training. Of course I'm tossing this out as a theory too; in real life, too many obstacles stand in the way of having "labs" offered in some subjects.
  2. Gazpacho

    Gazpacho Well-Known Member

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    This sounds flippant but is pretty true. Imagine you have millions of 18 year olds, suddenly without the structure and guidance of being in high school, trying to figure their way around the "real world". They would be trying too hard to keep their heads above water that they wouldn't have time to think about who they are and what they want. Mistakes would often not be forgiven. What adults can they turn to for guidance in a hard time? Probably not their bosses. How would they meet peers who haven't grown up exactly like they have, in the same towns?

    College allows these 18 year olds to transition gradually. Work part-time jobs to prepare yourself for working full time ones. Failing an exam from partying too hard sends a message without potentially severe consequences, as might happen from failing to show for work. Ideally, you would find faculty role models you can talk to. You get exposed to people you haven't grown up your whole life around. All in a secure setting.

    In other words, college provides a semi-structured semi-independent transition period that many 18 year olds absolutely need.

    By the way, what would happen if all those 18 year olds entered the workforce? Unemployment rates galore!

    Because you're smart, articulate, good at thinking, and relatively lucky (at minimum, not unlucky). I know plenty of people who are all those things but unlucky.

    That's my biggest issue with higher education--the cost. College is invaluable for many reasons, especially the ones I mentioned above, but it can cost a lot. For most--certainly not all--students, their best option is a state school or low cost private school, unless they have a scholarship or wealthy parents. The booming for-profit colleges disgust me.
  3. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    The for-profit colleges make me extremely uncomfortable. And yet... and yet, in a place like California, where the community colleges are so backlogged with students that the colleges have said that an associates degree, normally two years, could take most current students four years due to lack of availability of classes, a lot of students are turning to the for-profit colleges because they see them as their only option. I am not loving that situation.

    And there are some for-profit colleges that are reputable and of good quality, but the big-guys give the entire sector a bad name.
  4. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the links! I actually didn't know who Murray was before this, but after reading some of the stuff, I ditto your :scream:

    I don't buy Vedder's argument that because college grads aren't getting jobs, that they shouldn't have gone to school or higher education should be cut in some way. I think college is a great experience for anyone who wants to go and I don't think higher education is only worthwhile if one can get a job out of it, but it's also a great place to learn more about oneself and the world, which is just as important IMO.

    Of course there's no problem if that's what people want to do; the problem is that many college grads don't have the opportunities to pursue what they want to do (I don't know the exact data but probably a higher % now than before). And I think part of that is due to the terrible economy right now, but I think part of it is systemic and global. The same thing is happening in India and China right now, maybe on an even bigger scale. They're pumping out a million new engineering grads a year by some estimates and struggling to find ways to open up more opportunities for these grads, because many of them are un/underemployed as well.
  5. jlai

    jlai Title-less

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    Most people do go to college to get an education but they want a middle-class job too.

    I actually find formal education -- I mean the system through which you get formal degrees -- to be overrated and for liberal arts I actually learn just as much reading and even experiencing (like travelling and living in different places). For example, I don't think studying a sociology course on poverty helps unless you actually visit and live among the poor for a while. Nor do I think you can grasp cultural studies without living in that culture for some time.
  6. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    I think people with hustle skills are always best off. They thrive in good times and bad, in and out of college.

    Since this has come up......it will be interesting to see what is going to happen with community colleges in the next ten years or so, as the scrutiny that for-profits have been experiencing is spreading into nonprofit education. Ohio has decided to base state funding not on enrollment, as was traditionally the case, but on course and degree completion. This is going to create a very interesting situation for community colleges in particular, as their completion rates are not high, for a whole lot of reasons. At the same time, Ohio CCs are probably going to become, for want of a better word, dumping grounds for students from universities who need developmental or remedial classes, which have a very high failure rate. This is actually a plan, not something that will evolve; the state government wants state universities to stop offering remedial classes altogether and leave it to the CCs.

    My prediction for this is that Ohio state schools and especially CCs will start lowering standards in order to get as many students to completion as possible, but we shall see. I may wake up to a new governor tomorrow morning and then all of this may or may happen (but is predicted to go on). Or state colleges may set their admission standards very high to eliminate the struggling student pool and CCs will massively raise taxes on their home counties. I don't know.

    Now you can say, well, that's just Ohio, and well, that's just community colleges. But not so fast. Ohio's education overhaul (there's a lot more to this) is being watched with great interest by other states because all states are struggling to fund higher education and the idea of pay for performance is very attractive to many legislators. California, for example, is looking at the problems of funding CCs when half of all new students need remedial courses and most of them fail, in more ways than one. Something has got to give, indeed.

    The federal government has just convened a panel to define "success" for community college students with the intent of possibly using that definition to determine federal funding. Universities are taking note of that as well, because guess who is next. And all of that basically started because the same issues that affect for-profit schools affect colleges as well. The bottom line is that government does not want to give loans to people who aren't going to be able to pay them back or grants to people who aren't likely to graduate, regardless of the type of school. This makes sense. But oy, the implications.

    President Obama has said:

    "I've called for...producing 8 million more college graduates by 2020 so we can have a higher share of graduates than any other nation on earth. In a single generation, we’ve fallen from first to twelfth in college graduation rates for young adults. That’s unacceptable, but not irreversible. We need to retake the lead."

    Colleges are thrilled. Enrollment is way up. Everybody is happy, because the more educated people are, the better, right?

    Again, not so fast. South Korea has a lot more college graduates than we do, which means, in competitive American terms, that they are better than us and we need to catch up. Right? And even worse, the South Koreans tend to scorn the "soft" degrees in things like economics or sociology or literature; they study engineering and hard sciences, all the areas where we are behind and need to catch up. And what has this gotten them? Crippling debt and high unemployment for young people.

    So many good intentions...so many possible roads to hell. Or not.

    I'm just glad I am not in charge of any of it.
  7. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Murray is the co-author of The Bell Curve, a book that many people see as racist. So when Murray starts talking about how most people aren't capable of doing college-level work and so shouldn't be there at all, the response of many who know this is, "Oh, and just which 'people' do you have in mind there, Dr. Murray?"

    He's also a devout libertarian, which is pretty rare in academia, and it shows in everything he says about college.
    PRlady and (deleted member) like this.
  8. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

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    Or potentially severe consequences, not necessarily for yourself, if you do show up at work hung over or still intoxicated. Depending on the type of work.
  9. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    This is not unique to Ohio. In NYC in 1999, the CUNY four year colleges stopped offering remedial classes, and now all students who would need remedial classes must take them at a community college. The CUNYs determine who needs remedial classes (and thus who is eligible for admission to a "senior", four year college) via things like SAT scores or placement tests.


    The CUNYs did raise their admissions standards, but not to a "very high" point at all. IMO, the SATs needed for the CUNY senior colleges are still fairly lowish - CR 480, math 480/500. But the colleges feel that at that level, the kids don't need remedial classes in math and English.

    I don't have any problem with four year colleges (public and private) turning away students who are not ready for college-level work, so long as there is a place for those students to get caught up. So long as the ccs (or something else) are there for such students, I'm not opposed to this idea.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2010
  10. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Does CUNY gets its funding based on its student success rate? If not, then the situation is not the same at all. The remedial classes thing is not, by itself, a particularly worrisome issue. Having funding depend on student success when the dropout/failure rate in remedial classes is so high, however, is.

    Again, unless the funding at CUNY is tied to student success, the issue is not the same. The standards would have to be raised not just enough to prevent remedial students from getting in, but also to ensure that the students have a high likelihood of staying in school and completing all their classes--if that is the route the universities choose to take. It's only one possibility of many.

    And speaking of funding.....there is a lot of talk these days about an education bubble. Student loan debt is not just a problem for students.

    Student-Loan Debt Surpasses Credit Cards.
    Higher education's bubble is about to burst
    Will Higher Education Be the Next Bubble to Burst?
    The Bursting of the Academic Library Bubble
  11. skaternum

    skaternum Grooving!

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    Um, why? That's over $32K per year. If average in-state tuition to a public university is about $11K and fees and books might run another few thousand, what did she use the remaining almost $18K for? Living expenses? On the surface, this seems like another case of poor decision-making. If the student and/or family has to borrow that much for college, maybe they need to look at other options. Did she work through school? Did the parents contribute anything? Was it a private school?

    Unrelated to the above: I just don't buy the argument that students have to incur so much debt. If you're looking at it as a purely financial decision, then it's a bad decision for most students to incur massive student loans, given how long it will take to recoup the investment. If you're looking at it as a personal fulfillment / enrichment decision, you have to be willing to pay the price for your enlightenment without an expectation of payoff.
  12. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    You make an excellent point.
  13. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    My daughter who graduated in May, and who is making 8 something an hour at Barnes & Noble, just got her notification of her first student loan payment this month. $100 a month for ten years, for about 11K in loans. And she is complaining that this burden will be on her "forever"!

    I don't know whether to laugh or cry. She went to a private college that now costs $55K a year, half of that was covered with grant scholarship and her dad and I paid the other half. (And I saved for her college from the time she was seven and one lucrative job gave me most of the money.) She's my only child and her half-siblings on her dad's side are much older, she didn't have to split the pot with another near-age sibling. I am glad she owes that money and has to pay it back, she should contribute to her expensive education and she is damn lucky she owes that little.

    As to whether that expensive education was worth it, well, she's well-educated and underemployed. Time will tell what comes of all this. It took me eleven years to pay off my student loans, undergrad and graduate, because I was making so little money my first six years out of college I was basically in default, but I turned out to be a good risk for a philosophy major. It is just too hard to predict what's going to happen to whom, which is the only reason I don't agree that "too many" are going to college.
  14. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    http://www.campusgrotto.com/colleges-with-the-highest-total-cost.html

    Rather depressing, isn't it? Both of my kids went to a school on this list :(. We paid for it, now we're done!

    My son was a philosophy major too. But had a double major - philosophy and political science. He just started law school. That he had to cover. He got about 60% in a school given in merit scholarship, for the rest, he got a loan.
  15. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    You know what I realized from the experiences of some of my friends? If one wants to go to grad school, going to a pricey school is not really the best value. My friends who decided to go on to grad school said they didn't feel going to a pricey school really gave them a significant advantage when applying to grad programs. From what they said, the undergrad "brand" can help, but that can be balanced by the fact that being in a top undergrad program can make harder to get a high class rank, etc. and actually put them at kind of a disadvantage with grad school admissions.

    Oh noes :yikes: Wall street had often pointed to student loans as a model of how securitization is done right, etc. But they've been wrong before (understatement of the century!) so I really hope this student loan situation doesn't develop further...
  16. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    My son did go to a top undergrad school. And he is in a very good law school. But, it is not as "top tier" as his undergraduate school. For several reasons. Foremost is that he wants to practice in NJ or NY, so it was necessary to go to a school where he would learn local laws. The school he is in is a smaller school, but many of the NJ judges went there and it has an excellent reputation in NJ/NY/CT. It really doesn't matter what it's position is nationally, since the system he wants to work within is here. Obviously a school like Yale, Harvard, or Cornell would be nice, but not necessary ($$$$) for his purposes. The second reason we chose the school he is in, was that they gave him a huge amount of money :):):):):)!
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  17. Civic

    Civic New Member

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    One of my former neighbors started college with the intention of being an opera singer. She majored in music with a specialization in vocal performance. She has a lovely voice but by the time she graduated she realized just how competitive a field opera is. She applied to every opera apprenticeship program in the US with no luck.

    After graduating from college, she worked for a couple of years at a library while auditioning with regional opera companies when she could scrape together the money to travel to the auditions. After two years of this, she accepted that she wasn't going to have a career in opera. She was dating a law student at the time, and decided to give law a try.

    She attended law school at a large public university in the Midwest, made the law review and went to work for law firm in the Chicago area. She didn't like the work but it paid very well and she had over $30,000 in student loans to pay off. After 5 years as an associate, she left the law firm and began working in public interest law. It doesn't pay as well as corporate law but she enjoys the work, she's respected by her peers and her salary affords her a comfortably middle class lifestyle.

    My former neighbor is an African-American woman who grew up in a blue collar family. Perceived wisdom would dictate that she major in something more practical like business administration but that wasn't her dream at the time. Her dream was to be an opera singer. She has never regretted majoring in music. Even though the opera career didn't work out for her, she is glad that she at least tried. I can't help but wonder how Murray would have viewed her choices had he encountered her when she working as an interlibrary loan clerk.
  18. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Civic, you would be surprised (I certainly was) at how many music and art(s) undergrads wind up in law school. Something to do with that side of the brain :D.
  19. SceneIt

    SceneIt DoneIt

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    To answer your questions above: No, she did not work through school - she babysat a little in the summer months, she was too much of a prima donna to get a job; her parents contributed nothing but her mom co-signed on student loans; it was a private out-of-state college and supposedly she did get some sort of rowing scholarships but they must not have been for that much obviously. But her father would always brag about how prestigious her schooling was compared to my child who goes to an in-state public college.
  20. skaternum

    skaternum Grooving!

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    :violin: Yeah, that's pretty much what I thought. But you get the last laugh now, huh?
  21. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Please look at the list I posted up thread. At $40K - $50K per year (without scholarship money) it would be very easy to accrue that level of debt. And before someone says this person could have gone to a state school, 1. She might have majored in something where only a few schools offered it. 2. She might live in a state where there are only 1 or 2 state schools.
  22. iloveemoticons

    iloveemoticons Well-Known Member

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    Congrats to your son! :40beers: I think it's rare for students to be offered that much money (60% of tuition), usually I've heard around 25% or 50%, so that's awesome.
  23. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I will admit to being a pro-college bigot, but I'm not alone. At our college, even the receptionist has to have a bachelor's degree. I think that's a little over the top, personally. To me, the job requires personality and intelligence more than a degree in Fine Arts. We do have a growth plan that allows the receptionist to move onto a recruiting position, so it's sort of like "paying your dues." That's why the degree was required: having someone without a college degree become a college admissions counselor doesn't quite sit right.

    I work for one of the colleges on that list. The pay isn't huge, but the benefits are good, including vacation/holiday time. One of my benefits is a four-year tuition scholarship for my children. My DD has to cover her rent and food. We give her a small allowance to make sure she has some cash, but she works at a restaurant. Oh, and she's studying for a Bachelors in Food Service Management. She's employable because her college program includes several food safety and handling certifications that have been earned as part of her program of study.

    The economy and unemployment definitely impacts the original article's statistics. I'd like to see an adjusted or comparison to other times - I remember when restaurants had openings that could fill the entire newspaper. Thanks to the flexible schedules that the food industry can offer, many families cobble together child care arrangements that cost less than a corporate job requiring a formal day care enrollment. A certain number of hours can also provide medical benefits for less than an independent policy; important after college if one hasn't found a position in the desired field.

    Many of the food chains offer tuition assistance to entice better employees to work for them. They provide some mentoring/support for employees who are going to college, which is great for first-time college students and many stay with the company after they graduate, hoping to use their degrees to move up. The chains also have formal management development and training programs along with a structured work environment and promotion opportunities. For that matter, even a gas station attendant can become a Regional VP, given time and experience. There's a pre-determined ladder that they can see and figure out how to climb, rather than dealing with the whims of small businessmen/women who could let you go if their nephew needs the job.

    I also know that people work "off the books" at other jobs, which they wouldn't want to reveal out of fear of the IRS. Underemployment is a big issue; I know a woman who works as a waitress part-time, but she also does bookkeeping. She puts "waitress" on her tax forms and declares her tips, but not her off-the-books bookkeeping job earnings. During tax season, she takes a vacation from the restaurant and makes a lot of money doing taxes.

    In the US, the food service business is a major industry and we're obsessed with the concept. Look at the number of foodie shows on television - many people dream of being a successful restauranteur or chef. Working in a restaurant is a great way to get on-the-job experience without the risk of going it alone. Prospective franchisees are encouraged to work at an existing business they're thinking of buying into, to be sure they understand the workload and responsibilities other than money. Having a business school knowledge is an asset in food service to deal with the financing, human resources, organizational planning, accounting and legal needs of the business. You can go broke paying others for their knowledge, or you can gain that knowledge yourself.

    One last note: the US really encourages students to go to college right after high school. Students are often covered by their parents' insurance plans. Most merit scholarship programs are based on high school performance, not work experience. Athletes are recruited, sometimes too aggressively, to become part of one college or another as they wait for their big break in professional sports. Having a college degree can open doors in a better economy.

    A coworker of mine went to college on the GI Bill after serving in the armed forces. He told me that he didn't regret the experience because he grew up during that time and was better prepared to focus on his education when he was discharged. His concern was that people his age who went to college right after high school had six years more experience, were earning more money and had already been promoted one or more times. In a way, he felt like he was a late bloomer. IMO, he was much nicer to work with than those age-peers. He understood team building far more and was trustworthy.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2010
  24. Auntie

    Auntie New Member

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    My high school senior gets unsolicited mail from about 1/3 of the colleges on this list. I find the whole thing a bit :confused: . Her SAT scores are pretty impressive but she's not a genius. I get the distinct feeling that she is being targeted because we live in a well-off zip code. One of my other friends suggested that the colleges are just fishing for applications so their admissions numbers will look better. The whole thing feels a bit swarmy to me.

    Cruisin - I am totally jealous that you are done with the whole college thing. I have eight more years!
  25. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! We were pretty happy about it. He's a very smart kid and works really hard.

    Both of my kids got unsolicited mail from more schools than we can count. It was generated by SAT courses and testing. They get put on lists.

    We had them in school with 3 years of overlap! It was a killer, but we got through it. We had invested wisely when they were born and had the benefit of long term investing and high interest rates at the time. We were lucky. It still was a struggle, but not as bad as it could have been. Good luck! Hope you like pizza ;).
  26. FigureSpins

    FigureSpins New Member

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    I work in college admissions and you're right: they purchased your daughter's information because it met certain criteria that they were looking for; location is certainly one of those criterium.

    To prevent unsolicited mail from colleges, make sure to "opt out" of all communications when the student registers for any website or standardized tests. I also recommend using a single, special email address for all the college services so that your regular inbox isn't innundated with mail. Being consistent with name, address, email, etc. on every service also helps match up all the electronic data that comes from a variety of sources. (Application, test scores, electronic transcripts, financial aid, recommendations, etc.)

    If a student doesn't specifically opt-out when registering with the ETS/College Board/ACT/etc., the testing service will include the student in their "available for recruiting" files. Colleges and universities are able to purchase lists of names from that list and they can specify criteria like sports, arts, music, test scores, major, gender, geographic location as well as demographic information. It's a race between the colleges to flood the students before the other schools' mail/email arrives and they get overwhelmed.

    Theoretically, the test services collect that information to do statistical reporting on the testing outcomes and effectiveness. A nice side bonus is that they collect a fee for giving colleges matched lists. If you do get emails that you don't want, just unsubscribe - the link is required to be on the email. For mail, a simple email to the admissions office can put you on the "Do not contact" list. Just be aware that, should the student apply later on, that has to be reversed or they won't be sent any mail about their application.
  27. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Even if that were so, $130k in debt is excessive. It'll constrain her future choices. In addition, she's at very high risk of defaulting on her loans. Doing so will, literally, destroy her future plans. She's cooked, unless her parents have the funds to bail her out.

    I know it's easy to accrue this level of debt re: college. But is it smart to do so? Is it the best choice re: your future? How will doing so impact your future choices re: choice of job, choice of career, and in the case of your parents, their ability to retire, etc?

    Even if her major was only offered at a few places. Even if there were only 1-2 state schools in her state. Was this worth it? I'd argue that she's made an extremely dangerous choice - as has her family, who cosigned for what are obviously private loans (at this level of debt, there would be private loans involved), which come with some rather harsh terms.

    In my estimations, in order for her to be able to pay off this level of debt under normal student loan terms, she'd need to be in a job, right out of school, that pays her at least 120,000 per year, and she'd need to devote 15% of her income to paying down this debt (which is more than what's normally recommended - this repayment plan will hurt), in order to keep up with the repayments. If she can extend the terms of the loans to 30 years (not sure if that's possible with the private loans), she'd need to make about $70k right out of school to be able to make her loan payments. At least that's maybe do-able, depending on her field. It's do-able if she's a petroleum engineer. Not so much if she's a library assistant.

    When the average salary for a college grad is about $45k, how likely is it that she'd get a job that would pay her enough that she could make her loan payments? Maybe her parents can handle her loan payments while she's getting herself on her feet. Can her parents handle an extra $800+ per month?

    I'm guesstimating that if she can extend the terms of her loans to 30 years, the lowest monthly payment she can get (which will basically mostly cover the interest on the loans, plus a tiny bit toward principal) would be about $800/month. It can't go much lower, because it would extend the repayment beyond 30 years, and that's not something the lending agencies will agree to.
    skaternum and (deleted member) like this.
  28. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    ^^ I agree and appreciate your concerns. I was just showing how a debt like that can easily happen. Especially if the kid gets into an Ivy or just below Ivy school. They factor the prestige into the debt/earning ratio. For some students that level of debt is foolish. What I wonder is why (maybe she did) she didn't do some sort of work/study program at the school for reduced tuition or R&B.
  29. skaternum

    skaternum Grooving!

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    I'm sure I'll get a verbal smack for somebody for saying this, but I think it's the whole entitlement thing. Kids feel entitled to go to the best school they can get in. Parents overindulge, to the point of destroying their own retirements. Pretty much the same entitlement mentality that got us into the mortgage and credit card crisis. Just because someone will loan you a million dollars doesn't mean you should borrow it. Nobody wants to make the hard choices. Nobody wants to think seriously and realistically about the future.
  30. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    I did work study while in school and it doesn't reduce the cost of tuition. It's included in financial aid but it doesn't reduce the amount you have to pay like grants or scholarships. Theoretically, you could use money from work study to pay tuition but you would need a work study position that has enough hours. The most hours any of my work study positions had was 20hrs/wk and I didn't use it for tuition. I don't know of any students who did. I used it for food (I commuted), bills, etc.
  31. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I hear you. When my son went to undergrad school, we paid, he went to a more expensive school. We all agreed it was the best choice for him and we were able to manage it. But, for Law school, he had to get a loan (we told both kids they had to pay their own way after undergrad). He chose to go to a school that gave him a significant amount of money and chose to live at home to keep his debt down. I guess, he is learning that he is not so entitiled ;). My daughter is now thinking of getting her master's and is looking into schools and loans. But, she is currently working and saving.
  32. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I thought I remembered students getting a break in some costs doing work/study, but I may have misunderstood how it worked.

    I was fortunate that my family could pay for my education (of course back then it was $6,000 a year :lol:). My husband put himself through school, working and taking loans. That was tough for him, so my husband and I agreed that we would pay for our children's undergrad education. We were fortunate that when our kids were born, investing in long term secure products was at prime rate. Our families were also very good at giving savings bonds and money toward education as gifts, when they were little. We were able to make up the difference, without too much hardship. I will say, however, it is much easier to breathe now that we are done with tuition payments ;).
  33. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    For some students, yes, it is entitlement. However, I think for a lot of students, you really think that going to this Ivy or this baby Ivy will make a difference in your life circumstances. It doesn't help that counselors and administrators push students to go to the top schools. I remember as a high school senior, I had friends who got half or full rides to state schools (Temple, UPitt, etc.) who went to Ivies because they thought that going to an Ivy would give them more connections for grad school and life. They also thought the quality of education would be different at the elite school. Additionally, we had a principal who subtly pushed kids to attend the Ivies and then would gush about how many kids went to an Ivy. Plus, a lot of us thought "If we're lucky enough to get into those top schools [let's face it, the overwhelming majority of applicants to these school get rejected] then we should be grateful and attend."

    I'm not saying it's wise thinking but when you're 17, 18 your reasoning isn't as well developed as it is at 22.

    However, the education bubble that Prancer referred too isn't just the result of students attending top tier schools. There are tier 2 private colleges and universities as well as for profit school to contributing to this mess as well.
  34. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Add to that the pressure from the Ivys that accept you. They do not take "no thank you" well. They assume that if they accept you, YOU WILL GO. My son turned down one Ivy, they badgered him for 2 years, telling him he could still go there next semester. He was happy where he was. Not that he saved us any money there :lol:. But, I can see where a student could feel pretty important with an Ivy courting them that way.
  35. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Even back in my college days, work/study was simply an on-campus job. The uni would reserve certain jobs for students who got work/study. The advantage re: being work/study was that you were given priority for those jobs. But after my first year at college, I refused work study as part of my financial aid package, as I realized that the off-campus jobs in the area paid more, and the jobs I wanted on campus weren't part of the work/study program. But if you're at a school where there aren't a ton of decent off-campus jobs, work/study can be very helpful. But all it is, is a job. No additional benefits beyond holding a job and getting paid.

    One program that sounds a bit like what you mentioned, and which can work out well for a student financially, is trying to become an RA - resident assistant. This is the student who lives on the dorm floor and organizes events for the residents, helps maintain the peace, etc. Many schools will give you free or reduced-cost room in exchange for being an RA. My school did more - free single room, plus a very small salary. But free room was a major bonus. Very helpful, financially.
  36. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    But you can't just blame the kids. Their parents have to be behind them on this. Most kids who get into Ivies have been aimed at the Ivies their entire lives; that's the POINT of going to college.

    Colleges aren't seeing quite as many parents who are willing to put themselves into debt to pay for their children's tuition, but there are still a lot of them around, and there are still plenty who just can't see the opportunity to attend a top school pass by, no matter what. As a society, we don't have a particularly good record for putting off what we can't afford today if there's a chance we can pay it off tomorrow.

    You really can't blame them; the message that college is the key to success comes from everywhere. And if college is the key, then a really great college must be the golden key. Perfectly reasonable, as long as people keep in mind that going for golden keys they can't afford is what put so many people into debt.
  37. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    Everyone I knew in HS got an unsolicited application from Harvard. I joked that this must be how they get their super-low acceptance rates. :rofl:

    I completely agree. If anything, law/medical school is where people I know accrue the most debt (anything close to six figures), but at least when you have the degree, you have at least SOME hope of getting a job that will repay it.

    There's really no such guarantee of repayment for a six-figure debt for a bachelor's degree, even when you're an engineer. It just doesn't happen. Unless you go to Wall Street, but then again it helps if you've got a finance-related degree. :p (My cousin just got a sweet Wall Street gig that pays super-good money with a bachelor's in financial engineering. :lol: Something tells me not many college grads are as lucky/devious.)

    The thing is that many Ivies will give you money! If your parents earn less than $200K (which honestly, is most parents), then tuition is FREE at Stanford. I think all of the Ivies, and many just-below-Ivy schools, offer need-based aid. If you're accepted and you need the money, you'll get it. Some of it will be loans, but no way would they let you graduate six figures in the hole. That's just irresponsible.

    I had a college classmate whose parents simply refused to pay for college after she started, and she just told the financial aid office and they were like, "Okay" and adjusted her aid accordingly.

    I think many not-so-prestigious-but-still-private colleges are expensive with little aid and families assume that ALL private colleges are this way when they're totally not. You have to compare all the packages you get when you get them from each individual school.


    ETA: Just asked my sister, who works at a non-profit about student debt, and apparently Stanford's feeling the economic pain and not doing free tuition exactly anymore. (Under $60K incomes qualify for something close to it.) Oh wells, it was an awesome pledge while it lasted. :lol:
  38. Prancer

    Prancer The "specialness" that is Staff Member

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    Stanford isn't the only one (although I think the cutoff was only $100K, not $200, and even then didn't apply to everyone :)). Endowments are down across the board, some by quite a bit; lots of colleges are cutting nonfederal aid to students.

    While not exactly what you are asking for, this study is often cited as evidence that college graduates who get jobs in depressed economies face decades of lower wages.

    http://mba.yale.edu/faculty/pdf/kahn_longtermlabor.pdf
  39. skaternum

    skaternum Grooving!

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    Agreed. I didn't mean it was the only factor, but I think the entitlement problem is a major factor.
  40. modern_muslimah

    modern_muslimah Well-Known Member

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    Oh, ITA! Just about all of the girls I was referring to in my posts were definitely pushed by family, guidance counselors, and pushy principal to go. We all got good grades all of lives and most went to my alma mater with the express purpose to getting into a competitive college. Even as a child, I was taught college was the way to be successful.

    Even when you get that tuition bill after all federal aid and state aid sources have been used up, you think "well, the degree is an investment and it's worth it."

    So you're right. When you get the message that college is the key, you end doing an unwise thing like going to $$$$ private U with the brand name and taking on private loans with higher interest rates in the hope that you'll get an edge in life. No one thinks "gee, maybe I won't be able to get a job that help me pay the bills and loans once I get out of college."

    Still, I know I blame myself partially and so do some of my friends. I should have done more research.