UMass Boston was recently featured in a superlative ten-minute piece from PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer on the opressive rise in college costs and student debt.
College costs have been climbing for years. Since the early ’80s, tuition and fees have grown 375 percent, almost three times more than median family income. The average public college now costs about $14,000 per year, and private colleges are approaching $35,000.
The national student debt now tops $550 billion. That’s just what’s owed to the government. Nobody knows how much students owe private lenders.
Go watch it here to see some of UMB’s determined and hungry students (who I am sure are not unlike like our UMass Dartmouth friends Joe and recent graduate Ryan), and try to grasp the concept that students coming out of public colleges are starting their lives forty, fifty, and sixty thousand dollars in debt.
I’m sure all that debt bodes horrible for the housing market. And we can bail Detroit out all we want, but no one will be left to buy their cars if we keep producing a generation who, at 22, already have essentially half a mortgage to pay down.
TRANSCRIPT: Student Debt Rising as College Costs Continue to Climb
I say the government bails out Detroit by purchasing new cars for all college graduates. Detroit’s sales will skyrocket and students will either have something to drive to work in or something to live in should they not find work in the downtrodden economy.
One facet is supply and demand as college has gone from a “requirement” for people to get a good job to “the next thing” you do after high school. College enrollment numbers have increased steadily for 20 years
p>From US Dept of Ed…
p>With this type of demand increase it isn’t surprising that prices have gone up as well. I posted a few weeks ago asking the question of why college is so expensive? I proposed the idea that a private high school with 1,200 kids costs about $10,000 to attend (including sports facilities…) so why do colleges of similar size costs so much? I realize there are advanced classes to consider but there are many colleges where the same high school teachers could teach. Plus colleges have a significantly larger administrative overhead which I believe is unneeded. How much is Billy Bulger’s pension costing the State/students? My recollection is the highest paid group of state workers is University management.
p>The attitude of many college students is college is a party place. My daughter finished undergrad with a double major in 3 years (going summers and using AP credits). The reaction from her friends and classmates was shocking. They couldn’t understand why she wanted to end her college life and get a job… The idea of only 3 years tuition (vs. 4… or 5) was completely lost on them. Obviously not all but many of these kids consider college a 4 year, parents paid party time.
p>So… manage the schools better, only go to college for a good reason, find the “bargain” schools when possible, finish as fast as you can, live at home if you can and apply for work/study and every other financial aid program.
You can write good comments when you want to.
the good vs. bad is always in the eyes of the readers and writers. I see many posts rated 6 and I think they are terrible. Go figure…
p>On point, I think education needs major reform especially in the tuition/fees area.
p>Harvard has recently implemented a major initiative for students for financial aid. The program is this… get accepted and if your parents make less than $60K you go to Harvard for free. If your parents make between $60-$180K, they will be expected to contribute 10% of their income so the worst case they will pay $18K of your appr. $50K annual tuition/board/fees… This program’s goal was to put Harvard in direct line with public universities costing students $10-18K per year. I like to call it the “middle class” tuition plan since typically colleges will help out lower income people and upper income people can afford it.
“Professor X” had a piece in the Atlantic about the high number of college students who really don’t need to attend and don’t belong at a college. “Rate my students”is filled with similar stories.
p>Many of these jobs for which a degree is required don’t need a college education, but rather more direct vocational training. Dirty secret — some of them also require a talent and interest that doesn’t come from writing papers.
Sounds like “The Graduate” with Dustin Hoffman going to school for his parents. There are dozens of professions which pay well and require no college degree. I know some parents would be ashamed if their little angels weren’t attending college after high school (“So embarrassing to talk about at pool parties…”) but plumbers make pretty good change and are always in demand.
How many jobs for which no degree is actually necessary screen out candidates without degrees? Or pick college graduates over non-graduates?
p>College degrees seem to be a short-cut for a company. The degree doesn’t prove you know anything for the job, it proves that you had the mettle to stick to something for four or five years and see it through. It’s an employee-funded screening process for the corporate world.
p>It seems to me that this is an expensive litmus test.
I’ve met enough PhD’s to form the opinion that a doctorate is a better signifier of persistence, debt, and bureaucratic know-how than any type of intellectual or scholarly acumen.
Just keep in mind that the intellectual or scholarly acumen of the PhD holder in their field depends not just on their inherent brain power, but also on the quality of the program they participated in and the standards of their graduate committee and department. I know several “doctors”, for example, who got their degree from a diploma mill or were given it as an honor. I also know plenty of PhDs who earned their degree honestly and are kick ass thinkers in their field, but who are obnoxious idiots in the social sense. And of course there are also brilliant and well-rounded PhDs too. So, it is a mistake to ever assume that all PhDs are equal. The problem is that if you don’t know anything about the program the graduate went through or any of their piers, and if you don’t understand their field of study at a higher level, you will not know whether the PhD means more than persistence. Same goes for lower degrees.
… was that most students going to college right after HS were on autopilot. Its like its the next thing for them to do because they were taught it was the next thing for them to do. Having had some long talks with my professors on the subject, they pretty much agreed that their best students (and the most enjoyable to teach) all spent a little time in the real world before winding up in their class.
p>Having thought about it, I’d recommend to any parent of a HS senior to seriously consider taking a year (or two) off before higher ed. Work some, pay the rent, and get a sense of why you’d want the degree in the first place by living the alternative a little bit. Ideally, I’d have them work and pay rent somewhere near the school they want to attend and take one or two continuing ed classes part time (ideally ones that would also count as GenEds). If you get straight As (shouldn’t be that hard for only a couple of freshman type classes) you could then apply to the school with a real world sense of why you want to be there and applying already possessing high grads in the program.
The last thing I need is a finances-caused anxiety attack when I’m trying to pump out a paper on Petrine Primacy during the English Reformation.
p>Head, meet desk.
I don’t miss finals. Not one bit.
Although I’m quite sure my british history final is going to kick my ass.