Skip to comments.Graduating with degrees in debt
Posted on 06/17/2007 11:52:39 AM PDT by Graybeard58
My friend's son is moving back home. He is in debt, his mother says. "Up to his eyebrows."
Well, join the club.
Most Americans today carry about $8,000 in credit card debt, which sounds like peanuts to some of us out here, staggering under far more. Lots of this debt goes to all the doo-dads and gee-gaws that we once considered luxuries and now view as staples. But more, far more of that debt is going toward the very lubricant that Americans have been indoctrinated into believing will grease the economic ladder for them: Education.
Education, which Thomas Jefferson once proclaimed as the "great equalizer of the conditions of men," has become the great albatross of the working class. The difference between what a high school student can hope to earn today versus what a college student earns is the difference between Dinty Moore beef stew and bouillabaisse.
A college graduate earns almost twice as much as a high school graduate over his or her lifetime, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Add to that the attendant social and cultural benefits (college graduates tend to vote, read and attend cultural events), to say nothing of the soupcon of wisdom that students might inhale, and you've got a time-tested vehicle for success.
Here's the catch: You have to be as rich as Croesus to afford it. Either that, or you have to embrace indentured servitude. The average cost of a four-year private institution is $22,218 a year this year, an increase of almost 6 percent over last year, reports the College Board. The organization adds that tuition will increase an average of 10 percent each year for public schools and 6 percent for private ones.
College tuition has grown faster than family income for the past 15 years but that hasn't stopped families from doing whatever they can to get their progeny into the higher halls of academia. It is a tragic equation that is tearing at the middle class, leaving it caught between a rock and a hard place: Throw your children to the demons of debt or consign them to a life of dead-end jobs and missed opportunities.
The worst of it is that we are living shoulder-to-shoulder with what USA Today calls "the wealthiest generation in American history." The problem, if you could call it that, is that the people grabbing that wealth are typically over 55. Wealth for older families has actually doubled since 1989. For those 35 to 50, wealth has shrunk. They cannot manage to save and they are smothered by debt.
I graduated from college in 1984 with a debt I then considered crushing: $10,000. For 10 years, I sent little paper stubs of $117 a month off to Wachovia Bank in North Carolina. That seems like chicken feed now, but, remember, I was working in newspapers. Chicken feed is what they pay you.
Today, the average college student is graduating with more than $19,000 in debt, if they're lucky. Go to a "good" (i.e. expensive) college, and it's worse. USA Today reports on students who have six-figure debt, like Rutgers University graduate Joe Palazzolo, who graduated this year with a master's degree in public policy and student loans of more than $116,000. (That's an $800 monthly payment).
College costs will continue to accelerate, and you don't have to have a college degree to figure out why. There's a huge demographic bubble of kids in the college-age group, so it's a buyer's market from a college's perspective.
To make themselves attractive to students, they add fripperies like spas and widespread Internet access, to say nothing of trendy coffee shops, rock-climbing walls, state-of-the-art health clubs and princely dining halls. The University of Vermont recently spent nearly $100 million on student amenities, including an artificial skating pond. Boston University upped the ante with six racquetball and squash courts, a competition pool, a recreational pool, two gyms, a jogging track and a 35-foot rock-climbing wall.
Washington State University boasts the largest student weight and cardiovascular center in the country, a natatorium that features a leisure pool with a water volleyball net and water spa that can accommodate more than 50 people. Ohio State University's $140 million gym includes a natatorium with five pools and two spas, golf hitting stations with putting greens
What, you may ask, does this have to do with Plato?
Ah, but you would have to be a college graduate to answer that.
And that would cost a lot of dough.
Well, duh! If colleges are intent on becoming more like luxury resorts, then of course tuition is going to go up.
A college degree is worth zilch. Add a legal degree, or MBA, or PhD and you might have something. but that would require getting some kind of decent grades at some point. Seventh grade is when they start to notice grades, so that is when the wheat starts to separate from the chaff. Party, get a truck, get a job at McDonalds and disappear in the chaff, or read some of the assigned books and get the grades. It’s never too late: witness the 73 year old who hopes to pass the high school exit exam so he can get married and join the army. If he had done this at age 18 he would be high in the cabinet of his country and on the BOD of an international bank or own a $10 million house in Tennessee and be in Congress.
I can relate... :(
College tuition will continue to increase at exponential rates as long as congress keeps fixing the problem by making more money available.
The more student loans available the more the colleges know they can ask for and get from the students.
Greybeard is correct. An undergrad degree for anything other than science or engineering is asympotically approaching a Wizard of Oz degree. (All political “science” types can look up the word “asymptote”.) Of course, the next step is govt sponsorshop of all college education, followed by govt jobs for the vast majority of graduates who have no discernable skill, followed by “equal rights” and “diversity” requirements so as to provide positions for those entirely incapable of producing income. Such is life. Remember, we already have provisions for the talentless: Rap, civil servants, and - most important - politics. (Common, think of ANYTHING that Gore could really do...)
It won't go away and the universities will continue to increase fees because there is no incentive to do otherwise.
True. But those loans are, at the end of the day, government backed against default.
They have the added “bonus” of not being able to be wiped away in bankruptcy either.
The kids are getting screwed and congress is helping lending institutions do it.
What a wonderful country! Or to quote that great american, Don King, only in America.
If somebody thinks it might be neat to have an income of $50 million a year like those others who clearly aren’t really all that much smarter, they might take a look at what opens doors. Unless he is the son of an elite family already, he will have to take the graduate school route, and physics won’t get it done. Law is the road to success in America. But, get the grades in high school and then in college so you can get your way paid. Be a Corporate lawyer and all doors will open.
And once again I’ll post this, just so it college doesn’t seem hopeless and out of reach financially. It is possible to graduate with your bachelors tuition free.
Dual credit during high school will earn an AA, with no tuition. Many, many states have merit scholarships that provide full tuition and books, if you score high enough on the ACT/SAT and attend a state university. In Florida it’s called Bright Futures, in Georgia, I think it’s called the Hope Scholarship.
Of course, to make this work, you have to attend state universities, and be fortunate enough to live within communiting distance (thus eliminating housing expense.)
I sincerely doubt that there is any significant difference between, say, and education at Harvard, and one gained at UMass or Boston College. Except that, when on job interviews, you can drop the name “Harvard”, get ooh’s and aah’s and much more moolah. Meanwhile, not a single person among the the Forbes 500’s top 50 has a degree from an ivy league school. Homeschooled kids routinely outscore students from the nation’s top private schools on standardized exams.
Man needs a little cheese with that whine, the last I heard the united state military was still paying tuition after active duty service. So save your money, don't be a coward, saddle up!
Oh, it worked for me!
OKAY, I realise anecdotal ain't much, but I know that our son would not be where he is if we, and his older brother, had not pushed him after the Masters thing. Heads up the Equity derivatives research dept. for a large intl bank now.
Never with a BA or Masters would he have gotten this far....Beat out the MIT,Harvard, Yale guys who laughed when they saw he came from Flori-DUH for his first job at JPM on Wall St.
As I said, anecdotal-totally- but illustrate what advanced degrees can do for ya...BTW, taught at Florida while going and No Debt at graduation....We are blessed with our kids beyond our understanding....
So why do I (as an engineering student) get labeled a bigot when I tell arts students that they won’t find jobs when they graduate? Dare I speak the truth?
Thats not the problem. The real dirty little secret here is every middle class parent is paying his kids tuition. AND the tuition of 1 or 2 minority or poor kids tuition. On top of that many private schools are sitting on huge endowments that they WON’T touch.
Georgia State, York University (Canada), University of Texas at Dallas. I paid as I went, occasionally using the GI Bill, working full time and never went into educational debt.
Putting your kids in college right out of high school is only one possible way of them getting a piece of paper to hang on the wall that says they know how to use a library.
But, but but --Bill Clinton said --Everyone that wants to go, should be able to to college....
AND- I think they are already by what I see/hear....
” 73 year old who hopes to pass the high school exit exam so he can get married and join the army.’
Would that be the 2nd Geriatric Corps?
Also read through this link to find many more thrifty ways of educating yourself or children for cheaper.
Gary North link.
As colleges become increasing more female-dominated and many of those women still wind up being child-bearers and raisers, I question just how important a college degree is for some of them. Are they just trying to land a college-educated man or are they actually intending to use their degrees for some job in the real world?
Yes, some women obviously do - either by desire or necessity. But I know all sorts of women who went through college and are doing nothing that would justify the debt of going off to college.
My belief is that you shouldn’t attend college nowadays unless you know what sort of degree you are looking for and intend to benefit from.
Have no fear, the government is here to help. They are looking at forcing divorced parents to pay.
As my ancestral Irish mother said, if you can't pay for it in cash, then you dont't need it. That advice has never failed me.
Worth zilch in terms of ability to perform on the job, but increasingly necessary to even get in the door for an interview.
Employers don't want lazy, surly slobs who can barely read. Screening for that on your own is an assault on diversity (which is our strength) that will get the EEOC on your neck. So instead you make up an unrelated BA requirement and let the college system do that screening for you.
“Of course, the next step is govt sponsorshop of all college education, followed by govt jobs for the vast majority of graduates who have no discernable skill...”
This, of course, is where we get our brainless federal bureaucrats, excluding those involved in national security. They are completely counterintuitive, contribute nothing to society and needlessly harass productive businesses and citizens, all the while worshipping their god - the Marxist state - and molding society to serve big government.
I believe the founders completely covered the nature of the government leech in the Declaration of Independence.
“They are looking at forcing divorced parents to pay.”
They already do in most states.
If you are divorced parents, you have no choice about paying for your children’s college education.
You HAVE to pay for it.
That is strange. Once a kid is eighteen, their claim on their parent’s should be zero.
The average college student will spend more than that on their first car.
Or buy a junker as most of us did. Kids today spend more money in iPods and other crap than they do on anything substantial. I rode a bicycle between classes and the dorm.
The only debt my wife and I ever had were school loans and a mortgage. Then again, 40 years ago the instant-gratification generation hadn't been born.
And to those with an $8k balance at 21% APR... F-'em if they're too stooopid to figger it out.
I agree, with two exceptions-
1) If the divorcing couple make an agreement to pay for college, that is a contract and it should be enforced.
2) Children should be penilized because back when they were five, their parents decided to hold them back from kindergarten so that they would be the biggest kid in class next year. Given that and other state kids requiring to be at least five at the start of kindergarten, you have many kids who will turn 18 shortly before or at the beginning of their senior year of high school.
I had no debts when I graduated college in 1979. My father bought 100 shares of General Motors stock when I was a toddler under a state law that exempted it from taxes until I turned 18. The stocks were sold when I turned 18 and the dividends plus the stock sale paid for two years of college at a state university. The other two years were paid for through my hard work, social security payments (my father died during my junior year) and some scholarship money.
The following are Fortune 500s that filed briefs in favor of “affirmative action” in the Michigan “Grutter v. Bollinger” (Michigan University) case.
E.I. Du Pont De Nemours
Ernst & Young
Johnson & Johnson
Nationwide Mutual Insurance
Proctor & Gamble
General Motors Corporation
A college degree us NOT worth zilch. My four kids all have degrees (only one a MA in History) and they are doing quite well. Two, including the MA in History are in the Army, and one makes over 200K per year, another about 100K with an engineering degree from Georgia Tech.
Our universities are doing a great job educating, except of course for the liberal propaganda.
“they cannot manage to save and are covered by debt”
These are some of the same “sub prime” idiots who are now losing their homes. If you choose to live like a millionare on middle class wages, what can one expect? These are the same values bding passed along to their kids who are “up to their eyeballs in debt.”
Well, let's see. You can go to the local community college for two years. I received a catalog from one of the local CCs this week and in-area tuition was something like $700 per semester for 18 hours. Or, as someone pointed out, you could use the military to pay your way. Or you could go to a local state college for about 2/3 of the quoted tuition (UT Dallas estimates a full time student's costs at $14k - $18k per year).
Don't know the answer to your question, Kev, but the engineering firm I work for is looking to add 200-400 engineers, but zero arts majors. I guess Power Plants don't need a fancy paint scheme.
Makes sense, because if you go according to the Consumer Price Index, today the average would be $20,014.34.
“That is strange. Once a kid is eighteen, their claim on their parents should be zero.”
I agree that it is strange, but it’s also the law here in Indiana.
In addition, if you have two children, as I do, the child support does NOT drop to 50% of what was being for both of them when one leaves home for college. It stays the same!
The reasoning in the law is that since it takes 75% of the child support paid for two kids to support one kid, dropping it to 50% would deprive the other child of the needed 25%.
I was stunned to find both of these things out, but it is written into the Indiana Code.
Child support law is way out of whack in many states.
I paid for my 4 year degree myself, because my folks made too much money to qualify me for aid. I did borrow money, but I paid it off the next summer... get this.. by WORKING a JOB... and one that I got when I was 14 and KEPT to this day, getting promotions and advancements, still only seasonal and part time. And I am paying for Law School now, again, with some debt, but I pay it as I go also, mostly. But I work, I study and I drive a 5 year old once new Car that my folks co-signed for but that I PAID for also.
As a side note and one poster mentioned the Fortune 500 non Ivy demographics... The VP of our Human Resource Dept DOES NOT HAVE A COLLEGE DEGREE, and she is making 6 figures plus. When a job says “Or Equivalent Experience”, it means it. What’s wrong with my generation... and I see it all the time.. is they would rather be on MySpace playing than WORKING. And the kind of jobs they try for are Malls, Retail or worse.
Corporate America, the BIG companies will take interns. NON PAID, and those almost ALWAYS lead to a real job and a career path. But that seems beneath most folks these day. I could rant on this, but I see it everyday and thus have NO sympathy for those who treat college like a 5 year vacation on Daddy’s or the Taxpayer’s dime, then whine about how much they owe for the party later. BAH !!!
Just a thought:
Once you get above a certain level it is all anecdotal. For inspiration you read J. Paul Getty’s autobiography. Yeah, that’s the ticket.
I have not been talking about getting a ‘job’ but about kicking open some doors.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.