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View Diary: Overnight News Digest: "Gumbasia" Edition (24 comments)

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  •  Skyrocketing College Tuition Still Skyrocketing (12+ / 0-)

    Although, according to the Wall Street Journal (via Gawker), the increases have slowed just a little bit.

    In the past, I've written about the ridiculous & disgusting textbook industry, which the education system has aided & abetted in screwing over students at the college bookstore. However, tuition pricing is almost, if not as bad.

    Which is not to say the prices are going down. That's crazy. Not at all. But they are not going up quite so fast.
    Average tuition this past year rose by the smallest percentage in at least 40 years among the 960 private schools that belong to the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which collectively enroll 90% of the students in private colleges. It climbed 3.9% to $29,305.
    Perhaps $29,999.99 is as high as the American college student is prepared to go. No matter—it's already too late.
    As some of you may already know & have read about, student debt is a bit of an issue. While it would be unlikely to ripple through the economy with the same impact as the mortgage industry collapse, Education Department data shows that payments are being made on just 38 percent of the balance of federal student loans. The outstanding balances in student loans are now larger than credit card debt.
    Kelsey Griffith graduates on Sunday from Ohio Northern University. To start paying off her $120,000 in student debt, she is already working two restaurant jobs and will soon give up her apartment here to live with her parents. Her mother, who co-signed on the loans, is taking out a life insurance policy on her daughter.

    “If anything ever happened, God forbid, that is my debt also,” said Ms. Griffith’s mother, Marlene Griffith... “As an 18-year-old, it sounded like a good fit to me, and the school really sold it,” said Ms. Griffith, a marketing major. “I knew a private school would cost a lot of money. But when I graduate, I’m going to owe like $900 a month. No one told me that.”

    Carrying that much debt is hard enough moving forward with a bachelor degree, but what about the people who spend 3 years in school taking out loans & don't graduate?

    About 2 weeks ago while I was away, the New York Times ran a story about the gap between poor & affluent kids in college. Education is usually believed to be the great equalizer, where if someone can achieve in high-school & make it into a good school they have their foot in the door towards climbing the ladder of the American Dream.

    However, the Times article points out something that shouldn't be all that shocking. Poor kids have to work in order to support themselves, where children of the affluent have more options & leeway to their studies.

    Four years later, their story seems less like a tribute to upward mobility than a study of obstacles in an age of soaring economic inequality. Not one of them has a four-year degree. Only one is still studying full time, and two have crushing debts. Angelica, who left Emory owing more than $60,000, is a clerk in a Galveston furniture store.

    Each showed the ability to do college work, even excel at it. But the need to earn money brought one set of strains, campus alienation brought others, and ties to boyfriends not in school added complications. With little guidance from family or school officials, college became a leap that they braved without a safety net.

    The story of their lost footing is also the story of something larger — the growing role that education plays in preserving class divisions. Poor students have long trailed affluent peers in school performance, but from grade-school tests to college completion, the gaps are growing. With school success and earning prospects ever more entwined, the consequences carry far: education, a force meant to erode class barriers, appears to be fortifying them.

    For example, anyone attempting to enter medical school, not only has to achieve academically, they also have to perform extraciriculars in order to be competitive. So usually biology & chemistry majors also have to do volunteer hours in the community and research hours in a research lab.

    So a poor student who has to work a part-time or even a full-time job to support themselves while in school has to somehow make all the schedules work with each other (i.e. work, school, volunteer, and research lab), while also finding the time to keep their grades up in some of the most unforgiving classes. (e.g. Organic Chemistry, Biochem, etc.)

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