Monday, August 28, 2006

Insensitive Me

I was watching something on television yesterday and then my Tivo kicked in a suggestion. This happens often as I like to see what it thinks I'm interested in. Anyhow, it started recording a special titled Why Does College Cost So Much... And Is It Worth It? The show walked through the normal issues of rising tuition costs countered with the lower teacher to student ratios, the expensive classrooms and even a college with a 52 person capacity hot tub. Since, I'm returning to education, of course I found it interesting to see the reasons for increased tuition. It seemed to make a lot of sense until about 20 minutes or so in. You see, they gave two different viewpoints (one prior to going in and one after.)

One soon to be student comes from a family that earns $100,000 a year which was over the limit to get assistance yet the parents hadn't considered putting any money away for their daughter's college. They were upset with the system. The father urged her to consider community college for the first few years and the mother would not allow it. The journalists followed the family around as they toured schools for a few months.

Perspective #2 was of a woman who just finished 4 years of college (tuition and fees paid were $135,000) and now owed $80,000 in college loans. (Yes, this means that either she, grants or scholarships paid off the other $55,000.) When asked why she chose such an expensive school she replied, "I was told that I'd fit in better there." She proceeds to talk about how hard it is now after finishing school. The graduate had been at the mall with her friends looking at dresses for their formal and (she sniffles and tears up) she has to look in the clearance rack for her dress. (Tears are now streaming down her face as she looks at the camera.) She then says that she doesn't know when she'll be able to buy designer clothes again.

I laughed so hard that I had to watch it again (this time showing it to Kerry.) Kerry herself has been putting money away for her son David's education while earning much less than half of what the first family mentioned. Sometimes it hurts having to save but it is necessary. Sure, things can go wrong and that happens but making an attempt doesn't hurt. Leaving community college out as an option is also rather petty. The post-student irks me the most. Now that you've graduated, nothing has changed other than the height of the ceiling as you enter the working class and what floor. Yes, you owe student loans and you will for quite some time but to see someone cry over not being able to purchase designer items... boo friggen hoo!


Lily said...

It's clear why she was told she'd "fit in" in the more expensive school. However it was still her choice to go there.

I also find it very pathetic that she would cry over not being able to buy designer clothes.

Fred said...

A poster child for the kids who have no idea what hardships the prior generations had to endure.

What a brat.

LoraLoo said...

I think Fred summed it up perfectly for the second scenario - brat.

What's wrong with starting at a community college? I don't quite understand... was this a documentary or a mockumentary?

Ken said...

Unfortunately, I know far too many parents that have not planned adequately for their child's education beyond high school. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with starting a community college and then moving on to a four year school - even though both of my degrees are from a Jesuit Institution of Higher Education.

I realize that I made a choice to finance my graduate degree and am now carrying a substantial amount of student loan debt. That was my choice and I made lifestyle adjustments. To expect a college or university to teach the value of a dollar is unrealistic. That's just bad parenting.

Teri said...

We are planning to help Josh out with school, not to pay for everything. I think if we paid for everything he won't understand the value of his education or not take it as seriously. I paid for all of my schooling on my own and it makes me think twice before I want to just drop a class because I don't feel like going, or don't like the Prof. I spent many a classes at community college because a) it was cheaper, and b) it was much closer to home. I have no sympathy for that "spoiled brat" about not being able to buy designer clothes.. please!!!!! I still can't afford it now :)

Lucy Stern said...

Boy, I could write a book here. I grew up in a poor family. My mom and dad couldn't afford to send us to college. I had to pay my own way and I acquired no college debt. I worked part time, lived at home and went to community college for two years. I then had enough money saved to be able to finish my degree. Being able to live at home with my parents made all of this possible.

Community college can offer smaller classes. You can get your required coursed taken there and then get the more specialized classes, associated with your degree, at a local college in your own town.

People do not need to spend a ton of money to get an education. Now, if you were going to med school or law school you might need more money, but you would be making more money after graduation.

I have friends who owe a huge amount of money to student loans. It's like they are carrying around a ball and chain and they can't get rid of it. One friend of mine, my age (56) just paid off his student loans. That's crazy!

I say that you don't have to go deep into debt for an education. Fred was right when he said that girl was a brat. Designer clothes, give me a break.