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Students struggle to pay for college

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The Sun is running a cover story on Wednesday about students struggling to fund their education in the economic downturn. Some have either lost jobs or have parents who have lost or fear they may lose their jobs. To help students cope, many local colleges are offering more grants, freezing tuition increases or halting building programs. Other students are planning to stay in school to wait out the economic problems by attending graduate school or law school.

Are you a college student struggling to stay in class in this economy, or a parent struggling to send your kids to college? Do you think schools/government should do more to help college students? Are you about to graduate or have children about to graduate and head into the worst job market in decades? What are your goals? Your fears?

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Did anyone read the article the Sun has on women going into topless dancing etc. with the economy?


Check out the very end..."to pay for student loans"

And as one big lotto winner says in the video...it will buy you a marriage counselor or a divorce! Ugh! Sad!

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Hope you had fun watching dancers and bagpipers like I did! :-)

Like you, I only buy Mega Millions tickets when the jackpot gets big (don't want to bother with winning only a few million, LOL). There's a saying I always remind myself of when I buy I ticket: money cannot buy happiness...but it does enable you to look for happiness in a nicer neighborhood. ;-)

Mom with College Kids...

Yes, your children are so ahead of the game. They are in a very good place. So many of my students are not. I show a video on Happiness & they are shocked to find out that money does not lead to happiness. Lottery winners who have lost all their family & friends. Ask me if I still buy a ticket when the Mega is high though! HA! But I would split it evenly with my family, pay off my medical bills (Ha) & then probably charity things. Many would not do that though.

I certainly did not go into education for the money. If I was looking for all that, I would have made very different decisions. Never expected the economy to take a nose dive like it has though. I'm not saying it wouldn't be nice to live comfortably, not have to worry about bills or the unexpected expenses, but many feel it is the expensive cars and all the perks that will make one happy & they really don't. There is only one thing thta will make one happy & it is priceless. It is also why those who have it and recognize it will be happy regardless of how much money they have or the things it buys & those who don't have it or do not recognize it will not be happy regardless of whatever else they have. :-)

Mom of College Kids...

Ya I was going to say that tuition is not the only cost. You get to 25K-29K with housing, books and "other" expenses...which you know they are no where near correct on what students spend on "other!" Out of state 38K - 42K!


Yes, WIU (my past home) started that guaranteed tuition! :-) Not everyone gets Perkins etc. When I went I did not qualify for anything! I did not have the benefit of any financial aid. So you get someone like that & they need to take out a loan...it is going to be much more than 19K for 4 yrs. Then most students are taking 5 yrs to complete a Bachelors from changing there major so many times. It is not as rosey a picture for everyone. Then yes, if you do think about graduate school or medicine or law you have quite a lovely tab by the time you are done. Forget the wait to get married or have kids until you are financial stable! HA! You pay off those loans in time to pay medical bills from aging. HA!

U of I tuition is $12,240 A year for residents; nonresident: $26,024 a year as of 2008. The nice thing at U of I is that you pay the freshman year rate each year you are enrolled. So my son who is a junior is paying the 2006 rate a year. As long as you are continuously enrolled, your tuition is frozen for your undergrad degree at U of I. Housing for a double ranges in price from $8200 - $9100 depending on the meal plan you choose and whether your room is air-conditioned. (My son's is not.)

I never stated that an average was not an average. I am fully aware that there are people on both sides of that. However the $19,000 figure includes Stafford, Perkins, state, college and private loans. It does not include PLUS loans, which are loans made to the parents to cover college expenses. The median was lower than the average, slightly over $17,000. Which means there are more people borrowing less than the average from the types of loans covered on that site.

OWVY Said "This also brings into the question when advising students, "What is will make you happy?" Is it money? Is it what money will buy you? Ask teenagers what they feel will make them happy as an adult. There responses are quite interesting! Ask some adults! They still have not figured it out!"

I love the what will make you happy question. My daughter figured out on her own that helping others makes her happy. She has a friend who spent time at a young age in the foster care system. (She lost her mother when she was young and her father had trouble adjusting to the loss. She eventually lost her father too and ended up in this area with family.) My daughter quickly realized that she has a talent for listening and figuring out how to help someone. (That includes knowing when to go for additional help such as a school counselor or social worker.) So now she is studying to be a social worker so that she will have the skills to be even more help. She is still an influence in her friend's life. ANd she is now a Young Life leader. She is perfectly happy with buying clothes at Target and carrying a purse that cost her $5 on sale. She realized money is not what makes her happy or brings her satisfaction. Her satisfaction comes in helping others and being a positive role model. Will she make a lot of money? No. But she WILL be happy. Her brother knows he has a talent working with kids and is choosing to go that route.

I know people in lucrative careers who aren't happy in their jobs. But they are unwilling to find something that will make them happy. I think I would rather be happy than live in a huge house or drive the best car. What makes me happy? Knowing I have raised two kids in the Naperville area who feel it is more important to achieve personal satisfaction in a career and make a living, than it is to make a ton of money and be unsatisfied.

Mom of College Kids...

Also, look at that bankruptcy link...unless they file an "undue hardship". How many are able to do this? Doesn't have any data on this. What will happen in today's economy. I would think more will be able to file this not knowing when they will get another job. So now you have loans not being repaid. Can someone find any data on how many go default each year?

Anonymous...not sure which one, there are many here...ok but try the middle also. May not be Harvard but also doesn't have to be just community college (Assoc or trade)

Mom of College Kids...

I find it interesting that $19K is the avg. UofI is what cost a year? So how much of a loan would that be a year for them? That seems odd! Also, yes you can get it deferred and deferred and that is why so many are not paying back their loans. Now would you be able to do that with a loan for your house? I know many who did not go to medical school who still have loans to pay and depending upon where they went to school, quite large amounts. Not everyone is eligible for financial aid of some sort or received any scholarships or grants. Some had to take care of the whole bill themselves. Averages are nice but remember they are just an avg. There are many on both sides of that avg. And how many are out of jobs or are going to lose theirs soon who will be effected? It will be very interesting to see.

To: By One Who Values You on March 14, 2009 2:21 PM

Are we in violent agreement?

I think we are. I am saying associate degrees, trade school, etc., are ALL part of higher education (and future jobs), and that not everyone has to go to Harvard!

Defaulting on a student loan does cause some consequences that other loans may not. The government can garnish your wages. They can also intercept any tax refunds or stimulus checks you receive.

There are situations where you may be able to renegotiate your loan or request a deferment or forebearance on your loan. So if you were to lose a job and unable to find one, as long as you contact the loan provider immediately and discuss the issue, there may be options. However, if you miss a payment or payments before going into discussions with the lender, you may lose any chance of receiving a deferment.

Consequences don't seem to occur until 270 days without payment. That's a pretty good chunk of time. The fact that you can contact the lender and try to work things out before that point is a good thing.

There's a good overview of the consequences and options at

Reading through it, I would say there is no reason to go into default on a student loan. Options are there for you if you lose a job, or even have a job where the income is not suitable for the current repayment amount.

People who are older and still repaying them are probably those who may have gone to med school and as a result had loans in excess of $100,000. Most students do not graduate with that amount of debt. In fact, the website above gives the average amount of debt as $19,237 for a student graduating from a 4 year school. It really seems to be the post graduate work that accumulates the largest debt.

This is something that came into play when my daughter made her college choice. She had gotten into a private school in Chicago and also NYU. NYU would have been an additional $15,000 a year in tuition plus room and board. Add in transportation costs and it was even more. She would have needed to cover the additional costs through student loans since we had not saved that additional amount for her for college. While NYU had been her first choice, as a social work major, she knew she could not graduate with $75,000 in loans. (She is in a 5 year BSW/MSW program.) So she is in Chicago. Luckily, within a month she realized that the choice was right for more than financial reasons. She is extremely happy with her school and the philosophy of service to the community and the religious focus there. So she has no regrets.

Jack...what are you thinking? Some are taking the loans for the state schools. Some can't afford them even.

JQP...I wasn't suggesting that they got out of it totally...just taking for ever to pay them. There are some in their 40s & 50s still paying them. No wonder there is no money for others.

One Who Values You wrote:

I'm not knocking all students with this question, but could we have a student loan problem similar to the housing market? How many students default on student loans?

Lots of people default, but it's ultimately extremely difficult to get out of repaying them. It used to be much easier a couple of decades ago, but the restrictions governing government loans and government-backed loans are much, much stronger than they used to be. Not even bankruptcy will get you off the hook.


I thought this was an amazingly silly story. If a person can't afford something, then the person shouldn't do it. The U of I Circle is a wonderful school and a lot cheaper than North Central. Not everyone can afford Harvard, the U of Chicago, Northwestern or a host of other private schools, including North Central. People can get great educations at the state schools. Why take out thousands in unnecessary loans and complain about the costs when there are alternatives?

Well considering this person will be very close to my salary & I am now teaching close to 20 yrs and have earned my Masters and 1 yr of my PhD...hmmmm. My brothers are making close or over my salary when they get OT & Christmas bonuses & neither received their bachelors! This also brings into the question when advising students, "What is will make you happy?" Is it money? Is it what money will buy you? Ask teenagers what they feel will make them happy as an adult. There responses are quite interesting! Ask some adults! They still have not figured it out!

I know a "kid" just finishing his HVAC certificate at COD. He is 20. He comes from an educated and financially successful family. He has worked a full-time commercial HVAC internship while attending COD. He has passed the HVAC side of the Pipefitters Union test and has been called back for an interview with them, which he will go to although he doesn't know that it's quite where he wants to be. As soon as he turns 21 he will take the engineers license exam in Chicago and is highly likely to pass it. He just wants to get all these credentials under his belt. He is a very very smart kid and did very well in HS, he just didn't want to go the bachelor degree with a lot of school loans route. He also is continuing with many CAD classes that he excels in. This kid has been told far and wide that America is losing good mechanical people and has a great need for trades people that are good at what they do and speak English (no offense to anyone, it's just a fact in our country today.)

Now, the DuPage County Courthouse system has an entry level licensed HVAC position available in the 50 grand salary range. Maybe he won't get this position, but he's very good at what he does and will be licensed at 21 with 3 years of full-time experience in the commercial HVAC field under his belt, will most likely find a good position somewhere, even in this economy, and will move up to management pretty quickly. Any of you with bachelors degrees wish you could trade it in for the trades?


It is interesting you bring up that college is not an extension of high school. There are a couple of ways to think about this idea. It certainly is not as far as what goes on in the classroom. Students many times think it is. They are shocked when their profs do not remind them of assignments due all the time etc. As for who goes to college, it is interesting. As people came to America they all want have a better life for themselves & certainly for their children. It used to be grammar school was not available for all children. Then High School was for only the rich. Do you see where I'm going with this?. The norms of society change. As all went to high school then college is next and graduate school is for only those who do exceptionally well &/or can afford it in some way. Also you can look at the idea that if we get more & more to go to college, even just an associates degree, you have a more educated society. This can help in the job market, crime etc. Did you know in some states, prison populations are predicted by 4th grade literacy test scores and that 90% of juvenile offenders have reading problems? Of course some the elite would not want society to be educated. Keep them to a certain level. Then they can't be like me. They can't afford the things I can afford. They can't socialize in the same circles etc. Also, if you did not know, community colleges do offer degrees in trade areas. Now counseling/advising might need to be improved a bit for some students. I will agree the attitude or stigma is still there for these types of positions unfortunately.


I'm not saying if a student did not have AP courses at their high school they do not have the ability to do well in them or in college. What I'm saying is those who do have them & have proved they have more knowledge gained should get in first. It is no different than in business getting a job. Those who have the knowledge will get the position before those who do not but may have the potential. Now certainly with a recession businesses are going cheaper and higher people with less knowledge & training on the job, but normally if the economy was doing very well this would not happen.

This certainly does bring up the general topic to equal access to the same education prior to college, but that is a different topic & one I would actually support. Of course those who do not want to pay for college for others would not want to pay for students' equal education in high school in deprived communities. I'll also bring up another perspective when it comes to comparing schools, either rural in state or even out of state comparisons. At the National Governors Association Meeting in 2005 one governor made an analogy of states having different standards. He said it was like having students try to shoot hoops (basketball) but each state had the hoop at a different height. So what it takes to earn a 3.8 in IL may be very different than what it means to earn a 3.8 in TX even if both do not take any AP courses. This could be the case within a state also. It should not be, but certainly can be. So what does it mean to be at the top of your class? It could mean drastically different things.

Next, "top of your class" could mean a 3.6 (look at Dimmit HS link below) but for others it may be over a 4.0. Should someone who has a 3.6 and is a valedictorian of a high school get in before a student with a 3.8 at another high school but who is not at the top of their class because they had a higher % of students with even higher gpas?


You will also see on this link different methods of calculating gpas. Take a look at what is going on in TX on calculating gpas:


Now is the student at Dimmitt with the 3.6 a weighted gpa due to many AP courses and those say with a 3.9 may not have had any AP courses? Of course the reverse can be true as well.

Ok, another scenario...when I was in high school we did not have very many AP courses. And God knows the show "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" has made many of us adults feel we were deprived of an education. HA! What is taught in 5th grade, or up to, today is very different than what we were taught! So lets say you now have an older adult wanting to go to college for the first time. They got a 3.9 in the 1980s or prior, but did not go to college. Could happen, I know some who didn't for a wide variety of reasons. What does that mean in comparison to today? Yes, they probably would have to take an ACT today, but I'm just trying to show you it isn't as simple as you make it sound. I'm sure what is on a ACT has changed also over time. They may have received a 23 in the 1980s but would it still be a 23 today?

Yes, that is why standardized tests are of some value as well. I just want to make sure one thinks about the problems with the "top of their class" idea. One could also have issues with standardized test as well. Not everyone is a great test taker, but they are fairly good predictors.


What is the role of the State Universities?

Educate the citizens of the State, including kids from rural areas and poor areas, who score well on the standard entrance exams or finish in the top of their class?

I graduated in the top third of a well regarded College that is part of well regarded University.

The idea of pursuing a PHD (full scholarship) was floated to me a couple of months before I graduated.

Based on the current admissions criteria, I would not be admitted to the University and definitely not into the Business School.

As a result of the tougher standards, a far greater percentage of the students are either foreigners or out of state. Either way, the University gets to charge them far more (3x?)for admissions and tuition.

Sounds like a money maker to me.

I have NO responsiblity to pay for your children to attend college. It is tough enough paying for mine!

Why is it so many want to just create new taxes so that we can "all be in this together"? Is that not the definition of socialism?

Why is it we all want to fund more, but few want to put the colleges on notice to be ran like the business they are? I worked for an institute of higher learning fro several years, and I can assure you they are very, very inefficient. If you look at the data, you will see that the cost structures have been rising at rates that dwarf inflation over the past 25 years. Why? Because we have all been dumb enough to not complain and just keep paying!

Also, on this particular riff, why is it everyone believes they should be in "college"? I keep hearing references to these great Eueopean models. I have a newsflash for all --- in Europe, the designate children for "assignment to varying types of colleges. Some are designatied for what we demeamingly call trade schools (yet they call them college). What is wrong with learning a trade? Nothing. yet here in the States we have put a stigma on it so it becomes somehow embarassing if your kid is not in Harvard!

College is a priviledge, not a right. You earn it. it's tough. You work, get grants, take on debt, whatever. It is not meant to just be another extension of high school where your parents and neighbors are forced to provide for you!

I'm not knocking all students with this question, but could we have a student loan problem similar to the housing market? How many students default on student loans? Something to think about.

Here is an interesting item I found out today. Not on cost directly, by can be as it relates to who goes to what school now. I have a relative who recruits for Purdue. This relative told me the new president wants more equal access, students from rural areas etc. to have an equal chance of being accepted. What they did is they no longer weight AP classes. The idea is someone from a rural area, who does not have the opportunities of tons of AP classes, is equal now to someone with tons of AP classes. WOW! No, my relative & I both do not agree with this idea, though we certainly wish others did have the opportnities to AP classes. Now watch the effect of this to Purdue. How will this effect Purdue reputation. The Illinios students have been complaining to my relative like crazy that they are not getting accepted with all their AP classes. This could begin to effect student success, which then effects tuition and many other things. Incredible!

I often wonder why tuition rises much faster than inflation. One reason people need to explore is that perhaps the government by giving out loans and grants is exacerbating the problem. The government is generally not very good purchaser of goods and services. They, in my opinion, tend to overpay. The university officials know this and they raise tuition more so than if the government wasn't involved. When setting new tuition rates for the coming year, the university official can choose to make tough decisions allocating resources for the budget given future revenue or decide he/she wants it all and (screw it) the government (meaning taxpayers) is paying anyway. Perhaps the government should mandate that in order to give assistance to a specific student population, that university needs to show fiscal restraint and explain how and why tuition is going. If the government isn't satisfied with the university's answer, then the university suffers (unfortunately, so would the students). There are problems with this idea. I'm willing to admit that. One of which is that I wouldn't trust the government to be a good auditor. But it's just an idea.

Food for thought on education:


PS By Anonymous on March 13, 2009 1:31 PM, this is me.

Google "community activism universities"

By Huh What on March 12, 2009 8:43 AM

look at reducing the cost of colleges starting with elimination of programs like community activist

Golly, if only you had gone to college, Bubo, I bet this sentence would have made a lot more sense. I'm not aware of any school-sponsored "community activist" programs (whatever that is, anyways) at my university.

Anonymous on March 12, 2009 9:25 PM
I wonder how they reach this fund level, why and what they use it for? It is hard to imagine why Harvard would ever have a cost increase let alone charge for tuition in the first place. $38 Billion-not million.


Anonymous, the Harvard endowment is well known in education circles and is definately an outlier (not the norm). They reached 38B not because of tuition (although I believe it is typically 30-50K / year) but from donations, grants, and very rich alumni who donate as well as bequeath vast sums upon their death.

I understand that those granted admission who also demonstrate a monetary need receive unbelievable grants to attend and pay no where near the published rate.

anonymous @ 9:25
First, Harvard is Harvard, and can't be compared in any way to, say, NIU, COD or etc. For example, the Ford Foundation gave the endowment there $50 dollars a couple of years ago. Endowment money is only very rarely tuition based, and is generally money that comes from someone or some entity. The HBS recently concluded a $600 million capital campaign, successfully, I might add.
They use it for whatever they want, of course, though it is also worth noting that a lot of the money received is dedicated for specific activities, a new building or program, etc. It is very common for large portions of money to also be dedicated to financial aid. They fairly recently announced that students who are accepted will be able to attend regardless of ability to pay. If they can, they do, of course. If they can't, no bill is ever presented.
Endowment money is a different beast altogether, and Harvard is one of the strongest brands in the world.

Anonymous & Anonymous...ugh!

It should not matter what I teach. If you get lost from my passionate just write as I talk quickly late at night posts (love the punctuation in that?), then just ask me to clarify.

Harvard? You are making a huge point on Harvard? Give me a break?
Don't use Harvard as to knock the whole education system. If you are talking about some select schools then identify them specifically, otherwise we will think you are making a global statement.

Why don't you email Harvard and ask them!

Now someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but Endowments are not available funds! I believe you just draw a certain percentage? Check into that more & get back to us how much they can actually use. I believe also the endowments can be specified to be only used for a certain reason, say medical research etc. You need to find more specifics on this. I know when our faculty were looking into our Capital Campaign we considered an endowment & I believe that is what we were told.

For those who do not think there is profit in higher education, would you please explain why Harvard at the begining of 2008 had approximately $38 BILLION in their endowment fund having earned $3 BILLION in investment income from 2007? I do not recall specific numbers for a number of other private colleges however there was some significant earnings for a number of them. I wonder how they reach this fund level, why and what they use it for? It is hard to imagine why Harvard would ever have a cost increase let alone charge for tuition in the first place. $38 Billion-not million.

One Who Values You -
I know that it has been said before, but I wonder mostly because you express yourself in writing so poorly, I keep finding myself wondering what is it you might teach. I realize that sounds like a bit of an attack, and it isn't meant to be so, but it does raise my curiosity as to what your field might be.
Your points can be quite interesting, like your last posting, but I kept getting slightly lost, and wondering where the punctuation went.

In more general terms, there are 'for profit' schools, and some of them appear to be doing pretty well these days, but they are a very different kind of operation than a state Univ. or even a private College or University, and have very different operating principles, I think.

TO: Anonymous

I agree with your statement and that is no doubt a part of it. Maybe more so than I realize.

The issue still remains frustrating and colleges need to reduce their spending like the rest of us. Don't pay 300K for a professor to do "research" while his TA that speaks very broken english is teaching the class. That happened to my sister during a math class she was taking and it made it very difficult for her to get through the course.

Here is another...yes do not forget whole new programs which are being added to colleges for new occupational areas.


You may like to look at this item from University of Illinois...


Anonymous...why do you find it scary? What does it matter what I teach & where. Will that make a difference? Why?

Higher education gets a % of $ based on the student headcount a couple of years past. So lets say you have 10K students 2 yrs ago & now you have 12K...see the problem. This becomes more of a problem during a recession as enrollment increases when people find themselves out of jobs. You then need to open more sections of courses, which means, you need more faculty to staff them. As this need increases, you no longer have available classrooms, so now you have to build new buildings. Of course these new buildings have to have new offices for your new faculty, which means new furniture & a computer for each, a phone etc. Supplies do go up. This is why many schools are now charging students for copies they print in computer labs. Of course you didn't forget that the cost of heating these buildings, dorms etc is going up just like your bills are as well right? I just got home from browsing in a privately owned store. They did not have the heat on! It is 27 degrees outside & the thermometer in the building said 52 degrees! Now if schools brought down their heat to help bring down their bill what do you think would happen? Employees and the students would complain! Do you think mom & dad would tell their child to just suck it up? Heck I remember when I went to college during the change of season there would be a week or two you were with too hot or cold and we complained then.

Another variable which has not been brought up is the need for technology. Schools have had to convert old classrooms into smartclassrooms. 10K per classroom is not unrealistic. This of course goes out to bid. You also have new computer labs which have to be staffed and maintained. New classrooms have computers either at the desks for students or around the perimeter of the classroom for them to use when needed. Of course then you have more computers so you need more bandwidth each year for the internet. As student begin to bring their own laptops this increases the need even more. You have the development of online courses, which is quite costly also.

As security has become an increasing problem (NIU coming closer to home!) new security systems of cameras inside and in parking lots, and announcement systems which come through phones and speakers in the hallway have to be installed. Phones are actually being placed in each classroom as well. This is not cheap.

Look at College of DuPage...new buildings which would also then need new furniture & technology. I believe they are going to be reworking the IC building next.

Before you make a statement that colleges are "for profit", why don't you find out first. Ask for transparency & look at what money is being spent on. You do have a right to know.

AC says:Colleges are out for profit today. They have been raising tuition at twice the rate of inflation or more for many years now and there is NO justification for it.

Of course there is a reason for it, if you pay attention to the situation. State participation in the form of taxes have been falling precipitously in terms of percentage of the school budget.

I'd never really thought of this before - see Stanley Fish in the NY Times from yesterday: If the percentage of a state’s contribution to a college’s operating expenses falls from 80 to 10 and less (this has been the relentless trajectory of the past 40 years) and if, at the same time, demand for the “product” of higher education rises and the cost of delivering that product (the cost of supplies, personnel, information systems, maintenance, construction, insurance, security) skyrockets, a huge gap opens up that will have to be filled somehow.

Does anyone really think that Universities are making huge amounts of profit? Really? I would argue that many have been living in high times, just like nearly everyone else in the last 50 years, and some serious adjustments are probably in order in that sector, like nearly all others, but I don't think there is a profit motive, at all.

As for One Who Values you... if you truly are an educator, and not just pretending to be one [this is the internet, after all], I find that to be a little bit scary - I'd love to know what you purport to teach, and where!

Colleges are out for profit today. They have been raising tuition at twice the rate of inflation or more for many years now and there is NO justification for it. There is no way their expenses have gone up as such. I work for a company in which we manufacture valves and even have a foundry in Orange County, California (probably the worst place in the country to have such a business). Even we have not raised prices at such rates and the products we produce and the foundry we produce them in is substantial. And another note to add, our foundry is fully electric powered, not gas.

I feel bad for these kids today. I graduated from a state school in 1989 and my sister from a Big Ten school out of state in 1993. We were in school at the same time for 1-1/2 years. Our parents (who still live in Naperville in their original home) made a decent living (no, they are not rich) and were able to put us through. We were fortunate enough to graduate and start our adult lives with no debts from school.

Kids today are graduating with tons of debt and have a much harder time planning life then we did. It's criminal and nobody in government, state or otherwise, has taken any stand against these schools for their exorbitant increases. We have tax caps in the collar counties. How about a tuition increase cap on state universities since they get state funding.

To Huh What: Yes, Bubo's red menace posts seem to pop up no matter what the topic. Since the discussions on the Gregory incident, his posts have taken a somewhat homophobic slant as well. But those pinko commies are a constant threat. Gotta keep them in check! Give 'em an inch, they'll take your whole country! Personally, I think Bubo's the secret love child of Ann Coulter and Archie Bunker, but don't let those commies know! ;)

To those who say the government should pay for college educations, they do. You can sign up for it by joining our military. You work for your country and they help fund your education. Or, were you expecting to get something for nothing?

Huh what...I knew what the sentence meant! They meant all the extra curricular activities like activists groups on campus which do cost money. I don't agree with this idea. I don't think that should be cut, but I did understand it.

Anonymous at 9:20...try making sure to read carefully! It started off saying "Not that all students Party..." so don't change the idea of that post! It isn't fair to that person. They did not lump them all together!

I disagree it is insecurity on the part of employers with recent graduates. College degrees are required more & more, but that isn't anything recent. That was even around the time when I was in college over 25 yrs ago! In fact, it was one reason my parents wanted us to go to college back then. Now we have more & more positions which require Master's degrees. Just look at how many want MBAs now in business.

To Rack Rate...that could be similar to something like WIU which has guaranteed tuition. Your tuition does not increase after you start as long as you stay a full time student until you graduate. What does increase though is new incoming student's rates each year.

Also, I would add something I mention to my students. As much as they complain about textbook prices being high, they are pretty much in line with inflation. As I mentioned over 25 yrs ago I started & I still remember my father giving me $200 and saying this should be good for the week until we get a checkbook set up for you. I called him the next day at his office at noon & said, "Dad, I'm out of money & I don't have all my books." No, I did not go partying the moment he left me! :-) My books were on avg $40-60 and my bigger books like Biology etc were about $80-100 when I started. I know my Intro text I teach with now is about $100, so to go up $40-50 in over 25 yrs is not that much when you compare how much just bread, milk, gas, jeans, a record (oops I mean a CD) costs now in comparison to back then. And you know, I don't even recall if I bought all my books new, so those may have even been used prices. Students also need to keep in mind they are able to sell them back to the bookstore if they will be used the following term. So if you have a $100 textbook & you get $50 back, you should think about did I get $50 worth out of it, comparing it again to the value of hmm say 5 CDs (I'll be kind & say you got them at $10 a crack!). Of course the value of the knowledge you gained from the cost does depend greatly on how much you use it. Sure, if you do not crack open your book and use it, you will find it a waste! So use it!!! Get your money's worth! Similiar to tuition costs! You don't go to class you will find the tuition you paid a waste. So don't skip class! There are some colleges which are renting/leasing textbooks and using e-books etc. Many of my students use bookmooch.com or buy online much cheaper.

To the blogger who said "I'm sure a couple of percentage points on businesses is no big deal." I agree. Somehow my Gross Receipts Tax idea didn't take off.

To Mom of College kids...

You should offer a financial course to many who only know how to overspend and choose to drive around in their paychecks and live in their paycheck.

I like your way of thinking and the actions that you took along time ago. Don't expect much praise on these blogs. When you read your post, it has to make people have regrets.

My frame of thinking is the same as yours, the only difference being my kids will go to a community college for the first two years then a 4 year college. I always say it isn't important where you start out its where you finish. Plus it will give me the idea as to whether they have the drive and push to survive college.

For those who lump all college students together saying they party or would rather buy shoes than books. I guess you've had the experience. You can't lump them all together. i personally think people feel insecure with recent college graduates or shall I say threatened. In many sectors I have seen those who hold certificates or whatever turn around and make the requirements more than what they had to meet for the next group.

I remember a real estate broker who said they should require all real estate agents to have a 4 yr college degree before they can get a license. He didn't have one.


look at reducing the cost of colleges starting with elimination of programs like community activist

Golly, if only you had gone to college, Bubo, I bet this sentence would have made a lot more sense. I'm not aware of any school-sponsored "community activist" programs (whatever that is, anyways) at my university.

Mom of college kids on March 11, 2009 6:26 PM


Very nice post Mom of College Kids. My kids are younger, but we try to follow similar guidelines. I would like to draw an analogy of the cost of college with the costs for a hotel room and see if I am thinking along correct lines. (I know it's a stretch, but I think it is correct). A hotel publishes what's called a "rack rate" which is the highest amount any one room can go for. They also offer many different deals for the same room. As a frequent traveler I get a kick out of looking at the published rack rate (must be displayed in your room somewhere), with what I actually paid. Often times the rack rate is about $250 / night when in fact I am paying $99 for the same room. I often wonder if college costs are "displayed" the same way. In your example you cite NCC as being approx 35K per year (Rack Rate), but many kids go for much less based on merit, need, etc.

I would like to know how many students (at any university) actually pay the entire tuition published?

There are students who are definitely struggling to afford education. There are also many who are working 40+ hours, taking full loads each term and yet they come in class with the newest video IPods, loaded cell phones, Coach purses and have that brand new loaded Mustang in the parking lot. Check out many of the dorm rooms these days? What do they all bring with them? I think first some of these students need to learn the difference between a "Need" and a "Want". For these students to complain about tuition costs just doesn't make sense.

Next we have to explore why these students think this way? Children have gotten use to a certain lifestyle and believe this is a standard which they deserve. Who is creating this viewpoint for them?

Businesses are complaining that new graduates expect high salaries & do not want to pay their dues as many of us did.

I certainly feel the education system as a whole needs to be seriously changed, but we also need to look at the problems in student's perceptions. When they will pay $100.00 for gym shoes but do not want to pay the same amount for a textook there is room for improvement on their part as well.

While not all students party...can you imagine if those who do used the money they party with for their education! Any student who complains when they are out partying every weekend does not get any sympathy from me.

Is it my kids' right to have their education fully paid for? No. Are my husband and I paying for most of it? Yes. Why? 1. As a former educator, education is extremely important to me. 2. We have the money to help them with this due to the fact that we have lived well within our means (probably below our means at times) over the past 21 years. 3. They are both kids who are doing what they should do in college - learning and getting good grades - instead of partying. 4. We want them to be able to have a career that they can enjoy and that will bring them personal satisfaction and what they both want to do with their lives requires education.

Are they spoiled? Educationally, yes. But overall, no. We did not buy them cars when they turned 16. (In fact neither one has their own car still. They use mine when they are home.) They each hold jobs - working 25-35 hours a week in the summers, a little less during the school year. They both pay all of their entertainment expenses, including any food they decide to eat out and not at home with us.

Can we afford it financially? Yes. Why? Because I chose to teach full time while they were growing up and save most of what I earned. We lived off my husband's salary. We could have bought a much larger house - we chose not to. We live in one that is of adequate size for a family of four. We could have spent money on high end cars, but chose not to. I am not currently working so our income is not what it used to be. (My position was riffed a few years ago so I decided to take advantage of the last couple years that my kids were home and get involved as a volunteer with their school.) But because we had the foresight to save, we are able to help our kids in this way. And yes we have also saved for our retirement.

One of my kids is at a state university and the other is at a private university where she was offered a great scholarship for being a good student. What are they choosing as majors? One is majoring in Sociology with the intent of going on for a Masters degree in School Guidance Counseling. The other is majoring in Social Work and in a 5 year BSW/MSW program. Her hope is to work in the foster care system and hopefully make it better. (High hopes, I know.) Neither will make large amounts of money when they graduate, but both will find a level of satisfaction in what they are doing. And they will make a living and will live within their means.

I have sympathy for those who have lost jobs for the most part. Many are people who were working to pay the bills and may not have had the income that allowed them to save for the future or for a "rainy day." It's tough for them. But at the same time I have read of people losing their jobs who were also living way above their means, in huge McMansions, with mortgages they should never have taken on. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them. They could have made different choices that would make now easier for them.

AS far as NCC is concerned: costs are not 28,000 per trimester. Looking on their website, tuition, room and board, and fees add up to about a total of $35,000 for the school year. The post above is somewhat misleading. Most every kid I know that has gone there has gotten some form of scholarship to help with those costs. My kid (who chose a state school instead) was offered $10,000 a year based on a decent GPA and a good ACT score. Both of my kids have friends there who have gotten amounts ranging from $8000 a year to full tuition. The advantage of a private school, is that alumni donate a lot of money specifically to help with tuition assistance. (The athletic teams aren't the focus.) I give a little every year to Wheaton College, my alma mater, just for that purpose. And no my kids did not have a 4.0 or a 35/36 ACT, yet they still were offered academic money.

Apply for a SECA grant thru the City! They have plenty of money to help those that refuse to work!!

How much of our tax money already goes to help finance our junior colleges and state universities?

Anonymous @2:26pm--find a less expensive university and help your family out, they would really appreciate that mature decision on your part. Loans and grants just opened up a bit. If you become a resident of ND, state schools are incredibly inexpensive there. Just make sure to pack some good boots and a parka. California has a lot of inexpensive housing available if you want that free tuition. A lot of tent cities that are literally free at this time. It might be hard to find employment there while gaining residency.

There already is quite a bit of "free" education money available along with loans for an undergrad degree. Maybe more adult-aged students (18+) should live at home with parents for a few more years and commute to any of our outstanding local universities and save your parents a boatload of money that they obviously can't afford right now. How old are you? Over 18?. I feel your pain, seriously, but growing up is a good thing and problem solving a less expensive solution will help you to do that. What is the percentage of kids that have parents pay for college degrees in this country? If you work hard enough to get your degree, then employers will know that you play to win, not whine to play.

It's probably worth noting that the federal government will be delighted to pay your college tuition.
In fact, they might even be willing to pick up some grad school costs while you're serving your time in uniform. Really, even as credit gets bad and things look difficult in many, many sectors, any decent student who wants higher education and is willing to work at it can absolutely get one. ANY student.
You may have to spend 4 years bussing tables and the like, but it. is. not. that. hard. If you want it.

To By Anonymous on March 11, 2009 2:36 PM

No one paid for my schooling but me - not parents or the state or an employer. I went to school on my own, worked full time while going and raised a family at the same time.

Was it hard? You bet it was hard.

Was it fun? No, it wasn't.

Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Learn to stand on your own two feet - work two jobs if you have to - don't expect hand outs from anyone and you will be stronger and more resilient for it.


California's tuition free universities used to be a much better deal than they are now. They are still not allowed to charge tuition (I believe that restriction is in the state constitution), but the definition of "tuition" has been whittled down to any money that directly pays for classroom instruction. They are allowed to charge the students "fees" to support any other expense. Estimated fees for the current academic year amount to $8100 at the University of California. In the California State University system the fees run about $3500 per year---not bad in comparison to a lot of other schools, but a far cry from free.

The community college system is still a very good deal, at $20 per unit.


ents when it comes to paying for any other expenes

Anonymous @2:36pm -

Grow up. You are not entitled to a free education financed by your parents because they gave birth to you, or one financed by the state in which you live. If your parents have raised you to believe that, I'm sure they will love having you live in their basement since you won't be able to live on your own in the real world. Start saving your pennies and help pay your way if a college education, private or otherwise, is what you want.

California is not bankrupt. They just approved a budget that solves their problems. If you do not think the idea of funding university tuition is a good idea on property taxes, maybe we could tax business in this state a small percentage to solve the problem. I'm sure a couple of percentage points on businesses is no big deal. Besides, its time they have some skin in the game. It is some of my professors' thinking that if business wants a well trained work force, they should pony up more of the educational expenses required to deliver bright and intelligent employee's to the work place. Maybe we could have an education czar for each state that would work out the details. But something clearly must be done. Who can afford for example tuition, room and board, books in the amount of about $28,000 trimesters each year at NCC? My folks cannot and with the economy shrinking, my mother in particular will probably be out of work this summer. Everyday she works as hard as she ever did and makes less money. Its not fair that I and others should not have to forego our college educations because the richest country in the world is not unable but unwilling to fund college educations for all.

Huh What,

From above^

"Maybe the Universities should take a look at their cost structure, starting with teacher salaries."

Translation: look at reducing the cost of colleges starting with elimination of programs like community activist, unloading professors that can't survive in a competitive environment, wage and benefit freezes and or reductions to supportable levels.

Unfortunately, at this point, the Govt is just printing money so I'm not sure they will help anyone by simply printing more of it.

By Huh What on March 11, 2009 12:29 PM

Bubo, it must be exhausting finding "Commies" everywhere you look. If, according to you, an education isn't the answer for individuals wanting to have successful careers in their adult lives, then what is, O wise one?

Is this the same California that is bankrupt, and would fold if Pelosi weren't flooding CA with Federal bailout money?


By Anonymous on March 11, 2009 11:12 AM

Maybe one solution would be to create a state board with taxing authority to fund all tuition for all colleges and universities in Illinois, similar to California.

Bubo, it must be exhausting finding "Commies" everywhere you look. If, according to you, an education isn't the answer for individuals wanting to have successful careers in their adult lives, then what is, O wise one?

Maybe one solution would be to create a state board with taxing authority to fund all tuition for all colleges and universities in Illinois, similar to California. There they pay for tuition to state universities for all students. You simply pay for books, housing, incidentials. Here, we could do better and allow the funding to steam with the students to even private colleges for all expenses. We simply must spend money on education be it primary, secondary or college education if we are going to compete in a global econcomy. An intelligent society is a progressive society that leads to wealth and happiness for all. We could apply the tax to the real estate bill and I'm certian only a small percentage (2-3%) would be sufficient to solve this problem in Illinois.

The paradox is the more the Government "helps" students the dimmer the future becomes for students who will face:

*massive Govt debt that they have to pay for; we have already buried our children, we are now burring our grandchildren under $9T in domestic and increasingly foreign debt

*higher unemployment rates like Europe

*fewer job opportunities as high paying jobs continue to flee the US

*a declining standard of living

The two products of Socialism are poverty and economic refugees by the millions. Eastern Europe, USSR, Cuba, and Western Europe; and Mexico who was a one party socialist state for most of the last 70 years under the PRI, look what it’s done for them.

Maybe the Universities should take a look at their cost structure, starting with teacher salaries.

While many are good to outstanding, there was no shortage of Campus Commies; openly self-admitted-Marxists when I attended a name brand University thirty years ago.

I still remember an econ professor stating the Stalin, responsible for the deaths of 40M people, did a good job for the Russian people. 400 students erupted into laughter, the prof didn't blink and kept going on his supporting points. That's commitment.

It looks like the commie problem has gotten worse since then. I forgot they are not commies these days, they are progressives. Gay friendly communism.

The USSR wasn't very gay friendly since they were worried about running out of soldiers and collapsing birth rates. Progressives are the updated version.

No doubt many of the professors believe there is a job market for skills like professor of community activism and social engineering, they should give it a try.

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