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Courtesy of Fark, an article at ABC.com tells the stories of several college grads who have lousy jobs and lots of debt.  The stories all had a disturbing common thread:

So Percell borrowed enough money to pay about $24,000 a year to attend Rivier College in Nashua, N.H. She's about $85,000 in debt.
[...]
Alfred said he owes more than $125,000 for his degrees in theater when he's not even working in that field.
[...]
Walter Rowland got a degree in meteorology and now owes $77,000 in student loans.

In all cases, this is an absurd amount of money to borrow for an undergraduate degree.  You can't even get a federal loan this big---on average, these kids are borrowing more than twice the federal borrowing limit, a limit that is there for their protection.

This is the biggest single problem with our student loan system, and the biggest source of perpetual debt:  not interest rates or gotcha clauses, but predatory overlending.

What I personally find disturbing about these horror stories is that the kids are always blaming something other than their loans .  In this article the kids blame their poor post-graduate situation on their colleges.  They blame their degrees for not getting them the job that helps them pay off their massive debt---nobody seems to point the finger at the outrageously huge and unnecessary loan.

In a previous article from the Chicago Tribune, students with massive debt blamed interest rates for their woes:

Like many recent college grads, Steven Lee finds himself unemployed in one of the roughest job markets in decades and saddled with a big pile of debt. He owes about $84,000 in student loans for undergrad and grad-school costs.

But what Lee’s angry about isn’t the slings and arrows of an outrageous economy, and it isn’t the idea that he owes a ton of money for all the learning he’s received. It’s the interest rates on his government-backed student loans, which range from 6.8 percent to 8.5 percent.

Now this is sad.  Five minutes with a loan calculator will tell this dude that the problem isn't the interest rate.  It's the massive principal, which can ruin your finances at any interest rate, even 0%.
 
This has all the signs of a con.  The victims are out a ton of money, and yet they may never realize exactly who screwed them and how.
 
When does it become overlending?

The maximum federal borrowing limit for 4 years is currently around 45K, which is about the median gross pay of a college graduate.  That is roughly in line with some calculations I made in a previous diary, where I figured that you shouldn't borrow more than 1-2 times your expected annual take-home pay.

The federal borrowing limit is not some arbitrary number:  it represents a  big but manageable level of debt that a median college graduate can retire in 10-20 years at 15% of take-home pay.  Note that slating 15% of your take-home pay requires some fiscal discipline, and paying this back isn't a walk in the park.  It is, however, feasible to do so.
 
Now, compare that to the cost of a degree:  even at an in-state public, the retail price of a 4-year degree is more like 75-80 grand (most of this cost is 4 years of room and board, however, and you can easily shave this down by doing without.)  The price take is almost twice the safe borrowing limit, and that's for an affordable college.

The take-home message is this:  if anyone lends you enough money to completely pay for a four-year degree, that is predatory overlending.
 You are not supposed to finance a 4-year degree entirely on loan.  The students above seem to have done so, and assumed they were supposed to do so, and this is the reason why they are currently screwed.

[Note that these calculations assume that you alone are paying back your debt:  if your parents take out a loan to pay for your college, that is a different matter entirely.  These are safe borrowing limits for the student.]
How does it happen?

There are three basic causes of overlending.  First, you have a lender happy to stiff an uninformed kid with a loan they can never pay back.  We can't really wish those lenders out of existence.

Second, you have a system in which this act is profitable.  Without the protections granted to lenders, it would be impossible to turn a profit by lending money to people who can never pay you back.  Reform is the eventual solution to this problem.
 
Third, you have kids who are fooled into thinking that they are supposed to take out an $100K loan to pay for an $100K education.  Because they are supposed to go to college, and it has to be paid for, and they don't have the money, so it has to come from somewhere, right?  So they take the money.  
 
This problem is a matter of educating the borrowers before they are conned, something we can accomplish without waiting for reform.  The puzzle is, why do kids fall for the con in the first place?  They're not dumb:  they know perfectly well not to buy a Hummer if they're broke and working at McDonalds; but they'll make an equivalently insane decision regarding a purchase 2-3 times as big.  Worse, even after they realize how fucked they are, they may never realize exactly how they were conned.  Why?
 
I think part of the problem is a lack of information about college, and part is the cultural perception of college.  In previous generations, it was understood that if you were broke you had to work through college to afford it.  Loans would assist you, but in the end you were the walking dead for four years.  This was a common stereotype of students in previous decades:  the kid with the bleak expression who for some reason is wearing a hair net to Calc III, and who freaks out if he misplaces five dollars.
   
Of course, back then dorms were cinder-block structures with cafeterias that served "creamed corn surprise".  Now they have climbing walls and food courts and a fridge/microwave combo in every room, if they haven't replaced standalone rooms with suites.  College is no longer hard living, it's more like a cruise ship that ran aground in the middle of New Jersey.  It's a magical world where the archetype of the starving student no longer exactly fits.  The idea of working night-shifts through college makes about as much sense as working night-shifts while on vacation in Hawaii.  Like a vacation, you pay for it by working either before or after, not during.

Sadly, this trend is a result of the massive loans that students can take on, in a terrible feedback loop.  Kids have the money, and universities invest in massive construction projects and luxury dorms in response.  This creates a glamour that redefines what college is, and then the next crop of kids borrow themselves into four years of false wealth.

How to fix it
While federal reform is necessary to fix the problem, a key point is education.  The first stop for potential borrowers is ed.gov, to see if they can get a federal loan.  The scam starts when they see the borrowing limits and look elsewhere.  It makes sense to lay out important facts about borrowing on that site.

The closest we have right now is www.college.gov, a site which lays out some basic facts about funding college, and avoiding some specific scams like fee-based scholarship searches.  Their "Be Money Smart" section has one tiny note at the end about private lenders:

Private loans. Private loans can be useful, but watch out for bad deals. Interest rates can be higher, and repayment terms can be harsher than government loans. Use all federal student loan options first. Investigate the private loan organization, check with the Better Business Bureau, get references and read the fine print.

This is the current state of our borrower education:  the government is  advising students to shop around when choosing a loan shark.  

One of the easiest ways to prevent these horror stories is to revamp this site to clearly and truthfully explain loan limits, putting the role of private lenders in their true context.  Students pass through these portals on the way to be screwed; we could at least explain how the scam works along the way.

Originally posted to Caj on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 08:27 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Linking to a news article is journalism in the same sense that putting a Big Mac on a paper plate is cooking.

    by Caj on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 08:27:00 AM PST

    •  I've seen ads where student loan companies (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caj, Sister Havana, Dar Nirron, kevin k

      suggest that students can buy stereos and furniture with their loans, instead of the loans being just for tuition.

      Another problem in many disciplines is the cost of books - many of them are $70-$100 (and many classes require more than one book) if a student uses his/her college loan for books, those books are going to ending up costing students 5x as much.

      Does this sound anything like the housing crisis?  You bet!  Once again lenders are taking advantage of a borrowers' inexperience and over-inflated view of what they can make and how much it costs to live after graduation.

      About the only advantage students have is the lenders can't foreclose on their education, but students will still be deeply in debt for loans they cannot pay off.

      The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

      by HylasBrook on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 08:55:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  $125,000 In Debt, For a THEATER DEGREE? (6+ / 0-)

    Must....
    Not....
    Speak....

    There is so much wrong with that...

    •  But this blinds us to the real problem. (6+ / 0-)

      In truth, borrowing 125K for any undergraduate degree is a mistake.  Choosing a theater major just makes the mistake more obvious when you get out.

      When we see a story like this, we are tempted to blame the kid for choosing an unmarketable major.  In so doing, we pass over what he really did:  borrow enough money to buy a house before his 21st birthday, with no savings or source of income, and with no house.

      For each theater major failing under this arrangement, there are dozens of computer science majors with good jobs who are laboring under the same scam---but aren't broke enough to end up in one of these articles.

  •  Much bigger problem (4+ / 0-)

    How the F are kids supposed to afford college, assuming they don't come from rich families, for whom this isn't an issue???

    Get a job?  Well, that makes it harder to actually do all the studying done on time to graduate.  I know lots of kids working two temp jobs and killing themselves, but it's just prolonging their school and costing them more money.  That whole stripping-to-get-through school joke?  It's not a joke.  To get a real job that pays anything decent requires a degree, which is why they're trying to graduate in the first place.  It's a catch 22.

    •  I Can't Agree- I Worked 2-3 Jobs At A Time (5+ / 0-)

      Through college, and left with very little debt because of it.

      One full-time job I held all through college. Luckily, it was reasonably flexible in scheduling, and I could take time off for Finals, etc. (An Airline).

      What it did mean was SACRIFICE...

      While everybody was out partying on Thursday nights, I was closing at the Airport. When they were having a blast at the football game on Saturday afternoon, I was manning a ticket counter. When they were getting tans in Florida, I was driving through the snow to another town to pick up more hours, after already picking up a full shift.

      In the end, it's really about PRIORITIES...

      •  When was that? (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

        Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

        by milkbone on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:14:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

          •  Hell, At One Time I Worked For TWO Airlines (0+ / 0-)

            At the same time!
            And worked Unscheduled Charters for an FBO!

            1 am Phone calls were common, but the money was good!

          •  Tuition at most schools has doubled (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            raboof, Dar Nirron

            since then...guess you'd be working 4-6 jobs these days.

            Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

            by milkbone on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 10:07:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If there were 4-6 jobs available (0+ / 0-)
            •  Don't think so. (0+ / 0-)

              Take a public university with an in-state price tag of 20K/year (that's a little bit on the high side, for now.)  About half of that cost is room and board.
               
              You borrow about 10K/year from the federal government, leaving 10K left to pay.  You need to make 10K plus the cost of food/rent during the summer months, assuming a kid can't stay with parents during that time.  

              That is well within the reach of a summer job plus part-time employment during the year; it does not require 4-6 jobs to make that kind of money.

              I worked 2 jobs during the year when I was in college (in the 90s,) but it wasn't because I needed 2 jobs; it was because I wanted to work on campus, and most on-campus jobs have few hours.  If instead I got a part-time job off campus I could have done the same with one.

              •  You are totally low-balling that (0+ / 0-)

                A student with a roommate will pay $500 for rent on his share of an apartment and another few hundred on food. That isn't counting clothes, transportation, and other living expenses.  Tuition, books, and fees are more than your $10K estimate. To earn about $25K during the summer is impossible, even if you work two jobs.

                If wanting the country to succeed is wrong, I don't want to be right.

                by Angela Quattrano on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 01:06:09 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Depends on where you live, I suppose (0+ / 0-)

                  I live in a college town where you can get a 2 bedroom apartment for 600/mo (I just moved out of one this May.)  Transportation here is 1.25 to ride the bus to campus, so budget maybe 100 bucks in the worst case.

                  Tuition, books, and fees are more than your $10K estimate.

                  No, they are not.  Our town has a well-regarded state university that charges $6760/year in-state for tuition and fees.  

                  This is neither unusually high nor unusually low; it is common for an in-state public to charge under 10K/yr for tuition and fees and a bit over 10K/yr for room and board.

                  To earn about $25K during the summer is impossible, even if you work two jobs.

                  But who needs to earn $25K during a summer to pay for college?  

                  You get 10K in federal loans per year, pay the tuition plus books, then use the remainder plus a part-time job to pay for your living expenses.

      •  Sacrifice, yes (0+ / 0-)

        You sacrifice the quality of your education and scrape by with barely passing grades in order to spend all your "free time" working to earn money.

        Nowadays the students at the state school I most recently attended were essentially required to work 2 jobs in order to qualify for their loans - one a work study job at minimum wage, the other with which they would have to make enough money to pay their living expenses plus a fraction of their college expenses. So they had come up with more cash just to stay in school.

        If they had a job that was paying that well, they might not have decided it was necessary to go to college at this time.

        Another issue is that colleges collude with predatory lenders by feeding the students lies about how good a job they will get when they graduate, ignoring the fact that all graduates do not get jobs at the mean, the median, or anywhere near it. I would like to see comparisons of annual income of Ivy League schools vs state colleges, too. They get averaged in to inflate the supposed income they are told to expect to earn as a college graduate. If colleges were honest about loans, they would have a lot fewer students shoveling what they are told to think of as somebody else's money at them.

        If wanting the country to succeed is wrong, I don't want to be right.

        by Angela Quattrano on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 12:58:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IndianaDemocrat

          Working through college made me appreciate it a lot more.  I ended up involved in more extracurricular activities and service activities, taking more non-essential courses outside my major, participating in the honors program, etc.

          I saw the same attitude among the other working stiffs:  they knew how much it was really costing them, how much they were working just to be here, and so they wanted to take every advantage of their education.  I lived in the dorms for 3 years and had 3 roommates whose parents paid their way; they came home from classes and played Sega Genesis until dinner time.

          Nor did I have any problem with barely-passing grades.  Working just isn't that huge of a sacrifice.  It didn't eat my free time, it didn't hurt my academics.  It made me really enjoy both coffee and sleep, but that was about it.

    •  Well, of course it's harder. (2+ / 0-)

      It's also harder to own a car or house if you have to work a job in order to afford one.  In general everything is harder for working people than for the independently wealthy.
           
      But gobs of people every year get through college on federal loans alone, working jobs to pay the remainder.  

      Many of those students get more out of college, not less.  In part this is because they get connections through summer internships that make them more marketable upon leaving.  In part it is because interaction with the real world gives them a wider perspective that often helps them in class.  And finally, when you are busting your butt during college rather than after, you are more likely to appreciate the opportunity while you have it.  
       
      Nor do I buy the argument that you can't work and study, or that this will prolong your degree.  The only thing that will prolong your degree is flunking, and college in the USA is not so difficult or study-intensive that a night shift will give you an F in your programming class.

      Finally, no matter how big the loans are, you ultimately pay for college by working a job.  It's just a matter of whether you work less now or more later.

      •  The number of night-shift jobs (0+ / 0-)

        within a reasonable commuting distance of a college/university is not guaranteed to equal or exceed the number of students at the school.

        Keep in mind that people who worked their way through college 20-30 years ago did so at a time when low-wage jobs paid more in real dollars than they do now, when college expenses were much lower in real dollars than they are now, commutes were shorter than they are now, and employers were less geographically centralized than they are now.

        There is nothing so practical as a good theory—Kurt Lewin

        by ebohlman on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 11:29:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

          Keep in mind that people who worked their way through college 20-30 years ago did so at a time when low-wage jobs paid more in real dollars than they do now, when college expenses were much lower in real dollars than they are now, commutes were shorter than they are now, and employers were less geographically centralized than they are now.

          Commutes increased because of suburban and exurban sprawl, because of the increased distance of new house construction from existing businesses.  This phenomenon didn't tow the Universities out to bumblefuck Nebraska along with them.  
           
          As for the value of a dollar, this is true:  college costs have increased faster than wages by a factor of 2 to 3, making it harder to make up the difference.  It is still possible, however, to finance a 4-year degree with federal loans and pay the rest by working menial jobs, and many people accomplish this every year.  

          The number of night-shift jobs within a reasonable commuting distance of a college/university is not guaranteed to equal or exceed the number of students at the school.

          It wasn't guaranteed in previous decades either.  But then, it doesn't have to exceed the total number of students, because many don't need employment to pay college costs.

  •  I agree with the "luxury ship" analogy. (7+ / 0-)

    Dormitories are really over the top these days.  I remember the 1970s, when you would have 24 people living on a floor, with 2 people in each small room, which had two twin beds, two bookcases built in, a study desk with built in light.  Carpet. Paint.  That's it.  There was a bathroom with individual stalls, some shower stalls, maybe a bathtub (don't get your hopes up) centrally located on each floor.  There was one pay telephone and a message board beside it on each floor.

    The gymnasiums and swimming pools were fewer and had fewer frills, and were open for recreational swimming and weight lifting and such just a few hours per week.

    Libraries were lavish in the sense of having lots of books and journals--but rather spartan regarding study spaces.  

    My husband and I lived in student family housing which was subsidized.  We had what was considered a luxury apartment for that campus--Two bedrooms, three closets, a built-in bookcase, a private patio with a storage shed that looked out on a playground, and a 2 foot x 4 foot garden area by the front window.  No air conditioning, unless you paid extra to have the maintenance stuff install (and later remove) the one window air conditioner that was allowed.  (Most people who had one put it in the master bedroom, left that door open, kept the bathroom door closed, and hoped that the cool air would drift downstairs. Mr. Nirron and I ran the air conditioner only at night, closed the bedroom door during the day, and had the downstairs windows all open because we had good siting for the prevailing winds.)

    Mr. Nirron was working full time--he first worked in a factory, then obtained a community college degree and drove an ambulance--and I was working part time.  We had free bus service to campus.  One car for him to get to work.  

    In 1980 I had a master's degree and $15,000 in student loan debt.  Obtained a job making $19,000 a year or so.

    To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 08:46:27 AM PST

    •  Nice. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dar Nirron

      My husband and I lived in student family housing which was subsidized.  We had what was considered a luxury apartment for that campus--Two bedrooms, three closets, a built-in bookcase, a private patio with a storage shed that looked out on a playground, and a 2 foot x 4 foot garden area by the front window.

      We had grad student housing for families that were old military barracks, purchased by the university and split into 2-3 apartments per building.
         
      They were smallish two bedrooms deals, but they were all on the ground floor, little mini-houses with little porches, scattered about a big grassy lot with lots of space for kids and dogs to run around.

      From an outsider's perspective they were probably very spartan and cramped---it was like someone shot a suburban housing subdivision with a shrink ray---but it was more than we ever needed.  

  •  The student aid offices at the colleges (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caj, Fabian, Dar Nirron

    ... encourage kids to take on as much debt as possible.

    They shovel the private loan forms at them right along with the government loan forms.  These kids -- barely adults -- don't know anything about loans, interest rates, etc.  To them, it is a matter of "OMG -- they won't let me start class next week unless I (or my parents) sign this form."

    Frankly, kids need to tell the colleges to fuck off until they offer a product (an education) at fees that reflect the value of the education.

    There is little value in most college degree programs that are offered today -- that is, for the money it costs to get the degree.

    It doesn't take a degree to wait tables -- lots of degreed kids are waiting tables because that's about the best job around for them these days.

    •  When I first got to college (3+ / 0-)

      All loan recipients attended a mandatory presentation by the Bursar's office explaining just what we were getting into, and what it would take to pay off our loans upon graduation.  That was about 19 years ago.

      What changed?  Colleges benefit when students overborrow, but then again they stood to benefit back then as well.  I think that it just wasn't so easy for students to get massive loans, so there was no encouragement for them to do so.

  •  Nothing wrong with a college with frills (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Caj

    there are some people who can afford it, or who can rely on their parents for money, just make sure to have  colleges with no frills or perhaps hit up a state school if you can't afford much. Here is WA the UW is very reasonably priced for in state residents.

    "There is nothing wrong with America can't be cured by what is right with America" -Bill Clinton

    by SensibleDemocrat on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 08:56:10 AM PST

    •  State universities are awash in frills. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caj, texasmom, IndianaDemocrat

      I live just a few miles from Indiana University--lots of lavish this and thats that have nothing to do with education.  Even the community college in Bloomington has a huge 2-story southwest facing atrium that serves no educational function, but creates huge solar gain, adding 25% to the air conditioning costs of the building.  (I spent the 1980s reading The Mother Earth News, so I know something about passive solar design.)

      To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

      by Dar Nirron on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:05:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the stairwells at my son's dorm (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Caj, Dar Nirron

        were designed with an outside wall of windows. Being a fire exit, there were no heating/cooling ducts.  It may have saved a bit of lighting expense, but made moving days unbearable!

        Of course, the college only allowed each floor to move in/out at designated times, so it was impossible to plan around the sun.

        We were all much happier with his apartment.

        Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

        by texasmom on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:17:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Community colleges should really be used (6+ / 0-)

    by more students, and especially for the "general studies" part of the bachelor's degree, if you are going that route.  I teach for a community college, and currently my students are mostly in one of two categories:

    (1) Nursing students getting a 2-year RN degree.
    (2) Students getting general studies credits, or lower-level psychology classes, who are planning to transfer to a 4-year college for a degree in psychology, social work, teaching, etc.

    With current technology, the general studies classes can be taken online cheaply through a community college, while you are still living with mom, or deployed with the military, or whatever. Once you have most of the general studies classes, and really know what you want to major in, you can physically go on campus for that 4-year degree.

    To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:00:16 AM PST

    •  Our kids took summer college classes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caj, BachFan, Dar Nirron

      locally while in high school, through a program designed to recruit qualified students. Although they later attended other colleges, they each earned 12 hours of core credits that were applied to their degrees.

      I did the same thing (minus the formal program) for two summers back in the 70's and it saved a ton of tuition money.  

      Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

      by texasmom on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:07:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and don't forget credit by examination. (3+ / 0-)

      I had a really good high school academically, and I was able to test out of 2 semesters of French, Psych 101, Biology 101, 2 semesters of English, and some other stuff through CLEP.

      My brother would go to the bookstore, buy a textbook for a class he wanted to test out of, read it over Christmas break, spring break, or between spring and summer term, pay a pittance to take the test, and return the book to the bookstore.  

      We each had a major and two minors in 3 years.

      To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

      by Dar Nirron on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:16:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. (3+ / 0-)

        I had a so-so high school academically, but this didn't stop us from taking AP tests for the subjects we didn't have.

        I was able to get 21 credits in English, Calc and Computer Science, and finish undergrad a year early.  My fourth year was an MS, which they funded on a TAship.  By the time I got a Ph.D., I had only ever paid for three years of school.  I still remember my mom complaining that I blew 195 dollars to take the tests.
         
        While not everyone can take this path, a lot can.  I was surprised at how easy it is for an honors-ish student in high school to skip a year of college.

        •  I went to a so-so high school (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Caj

          That felt that AP courses would be pandering to elitists, so we didn't have any.

          If wanting the country to succeed is wrong, I don't want to be right.

          by Angela Quattrano on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 01:08:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  We had more mundane reasons (0+ / 0-)

            We couldn't have an AP calculus class because we had nobody to teach calculus.  Nor did we have anyone to teach computer programming.  We had one advanced placement class in English because we had a dedicated English teacher.

            However, that didn't stop the students from taking the AP math, CS and Physics tests.  Most of the credit hours I had walking into college were from subjects that my high school didn't teach.

    •  I must say (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dar Nirron, Carol in San Antonio

      community colleges are the only thing keeping education together. I've gone back to train as an x-ray tech, thinking healthcare jobs are the future. Credits are about a 100 bucks each or 300 a course. I'm paying out of pocket so I have no idea how much the state or industry is subsidizing. All teaching is a noble profession but comm. colleges strike me as being especially so.

      music- the universal language

      by daveygodigaditch on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:44:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The kids today are so screwed (4+ / 0-)

    in 1969 my tuition at a state college (CT)(2nd tier, below UCONN) was 50 bucks a semester and a student activity fee of 76 bucks. I lived off campus in a 3 family house, owners on first floor, students 2 to a bedroom for 300 dollars a semester. Of course it went up every year to where we are today. My dad who was married with children went to Georgia Tech and received a few hundred dollars a month under the GI bill to live on. My kid graduated from a private college owing 17 grand, we paid 28 grand out of pocket and that was in 2003. Now that even sounds reasonable. I sure as hell wouldn't blame kids for wanting to get rid of us older folks.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:31:43 AM PST

    •  It really has exploded. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Caj, Dar Nirron

      I went to college in the early-mid 90s. The in-state tuition at University of Illinois these days is almost as much, if not more, as the out-of-state tuition I paid at Indiana University back then. The tuition and fees at the private colleges that were too pricey back then would be considered on the low end of things today.

      Yes we can! Yes we did! Yes we will!

      by Sister Havana on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 10:27:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Funny thing is (2+ / 0-)

    if they went down to thier local strip mall there is a man there from Uncle Sam's Big Green Machine who will sign them up and pay off $65,000 of that loan.

  •  In 69 it was just the opposite (0+ / 0-)

    all colleges were very selective as there was so much competition from everyone avoiding the big green machine.

    music- the universal language

    by daveygodigaditch on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 09:47:43 AM PST

  •  Another (albeit silly) solution: (0+ / 0-)

    To say that my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, "Your end of the boat is sinking."--Hugh Downs

    by Dar Nirron on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 11:36:38 AM PST

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