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Does it matter where you go to college cross post


creekland
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Here's a thread I've found interesting to read (from college confidential's site):

 

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/1041831-does-matter-where-you-go-college.html

 

It has the usual pro-ivy or top tier and not-so-pro on it, but also has a few gems worthy to think about for those of us still considering where it might be best to send our younguns - and how much it's worth to us.

 

As for me (and my house), we're still in the camp that a college has to be well-known and good for the MAJOR my student is in, not necessarily overall. I live in an area that is kind of biased against Ivies for undergrad, so that bias remains with me, but as my middle son MIGHT be considering one or two, I'm still mulling whether he should apply or not (knowing his odds of getting accepted are slim even with stats that are well in range).

 

However, I'm definitely in the camp that will not go into mega-debt (>60,000 total, not annually) for any school (except med-school). While our income is low enough now to get decent aid from Ivies, I wonder what would happen if the economy improved. That would probably not be pretty.

 

GOOD state schools are very "considerable" IMO, and can be a good bargain, but not all state schools would make "my" definition of good. Most don't. Some definitely do, esp for certain majors. (Noted bias: I graduated from one as did hubby - one that is ranked in the top 10 of his major which now = his job.)

 

Community college classes (for my academically talented boys) are reserved as Honors high school classes, but we'll accept credit from them (where offered) for classes outside their major in order to have more time to take desired classes. We will not accept credit for classes in their major feeling the education they received there was not up to par. (Most colleges they are considering will not offer credit for cc classes in their major anyway, only state schools [generally] do. Then med schools will not look highly on pre-med classes taken in cc, so that's a consideration for us too.)

 

To us, getting the best education (rigor) for an acceptable cost in an area where they can enjoy their 4 years of life (based on their personality) is the equation we are trying to maximize. If they use their degree later in life, that's a bonus. If not, the engaging of the brain and enjoyment of life was worth it. I only "sort of" use my degree (physics w/math minor), but I certainly don't regret my college years and feel it has paid itself off in many, many ways beyond the degree.

 

But that's all for me and my house. :D My boys test high and should be able to (and have) gotten decent merit aid effectively freeing up more schools to consider without a ton of debt. My youngest might not though, and at this point, we plan to pay more for him to have a similar experience. If the economy doesn't improve by then, I'll be doing more pondering. Till then we're doing what we can to expand his knowledge base in order to try to improve his test scores (and more).

 

You? (Feel free to disagree. I guess my main thought is to have a thread detailing people's opinions so others considering can have things to ponder for themselves. All of us parents should "educate" ourselves about colleges and, if applicable, debt IMO. The more detailed views to consider, the more one can think about them.)

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My oldest was interested in applying to only one school and she was accepted there two weeks later. We looked at quite a few schools online and visited a few. The only one that had the program she was interested in was UT Dallas. We visited there twice. She fell in love with it the instant she stepped on campus. Of all the campus preview programs we went to, UTD had the best by far.

 

We did appreciate that one of the schools we went to repeatedly warned us that graduating with a major in the Visual Communication department generally takes 5-6 years even if you already have all your core courses finished. The courses in that department are strictly sequential and are offered only 1x/year, so sometimes you will have a year or two when you can't take any courses in your major. While it's nice of them to let you know that, it's a really stupid way to set things up.

 

We know somebody at UTD right now who is majoring in ATEC like my dd intends to and she has had no problems with getting the classes she needs, so we have high hopes that dd won't have any problems with that either.

 

UTD has good ties to industry for ATEC majors and they offer internships, so we're hopeful that she'll be able to get industry experience while still in school.

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even though I generally avoid this. I know some of the families here are without experience in 4-year colleges and universities and I think Creekland is right, that if we all talk about how we are managing to do this, people will have a better idea of what their choices are. There are many ways to continue one's education. I don't think any of us are trying to say that our way is the only way. : )

 

Our older two are in college now. Our youngest will go in a few years (hopefully). The older two were interested in one college only because of the combination of a rare minor and the unusual living situation it requires. The middle one visited a few other colleges. The oldest refused. They both applied to only one and were accepted. We aren't a very academically oriented family and one tests badly, so scholarships were not in the picture. We are just grateful ours got in and are managing to stay in so far. For us, college was not a "best time of our lives" situation, but we are aware that it was a very important time of our lives, a time when for the first time, we met people who were like us and were in a learning situation that was interesting and challenging, at least some of the time. We learned to live away from home in a semi-protected environment (at least they fed us). We made life-long friends. Some of our siblings met their spouses. We want these things for our children and feel that community college-transfer-university is not going to give this to them. We use community college classes as classroom and lab science experience - very, very important experience. As my youngest puts it, "I was quite late to my first class ever because I didn't know that a classes with room numbers in the 300s are on the third floor. I had to ask somebody what a bubble diagram was. One of my teachers has had to remind me twice to sign my paper. Somebody had to show me how to make friends. There are so many things that I don't know. Nobody who isn't homeschooled understands how many of them there are." The youngest is probably headed for engineering school. We don't expect his CC classes to transfer, although all the classes of the two older ones did. We are homeschooling in a very unstructured way (for non-unschoolers) so it may be difficult for me to get the youngest into a state school. If so, we will have him apply as a transfer student from CC. Otherwise, we would rather he go as a freshman. The middle one had roughly a year of CC credits and might have been able to apply as a transfer student, but because of his major, this would not have shortened his required four years, so we didn't bother investigating the advantages and disadvantages.

 

So - we have two at a state college and will have one at an unknown college in the near future. They have almost no merit scholarship potential. The older two have small local ones because of their major and the middle one had four CC classes paid for because they were stem. We make too much money to be eligable for any need-based scholarships. How do we pay for all this?

 

When we ourselves were in college, we agreed that we wanted our children to go to college, and we started saving for it when they were born. That doesn't go very far. As baby gifts, friends gave us bonds. Grandparents also began saving as soon as their own children were through college for any potential grandchildren's college. Basically, everyone began saving for our children's college from the minute we ourselves became adults, even before we had finished paying off our own loans. The expense of college educations for our children were joked about at our engagement party, our wedding, and at their christenings. Our friends and relatives have the same problem. It was taken for granted the same way that it is taken for granted that buying a house is expensive and that one has to save for retirement. We took that into account from the time we got married with every car we bought (old used), with the house we bought (tiny uninsulated), with the appliances we bought (cheap, plain, and few), with the home repairs we don't do or do ourselves. Where I come from, people take this into account when they decide how many children they are going to have. They take it into account when they decide which town they are going to live in (high school must be ok so their children can get into college). They take it into account when they make career choices: "The kids are getting older. Time to buckle down and work hard and make their tuition." They stay late at work and don't get to eat supper with their families. Mothers go back to work. They may move their families or take a long commute in order to take that promotion and the pay raise that comes with it. Ok - sorry to sound so adament about all that - it just really worries me to find people only starting to think about this huge big family expense when their children get half way through high school. (I understand that some families have enough to do just to make ends sort of meet, making the idea of saving for college ridiculous. This isn't aimed at them.) So anyway, with all that, we have no debt and enough money to pay for the first year of college for each of our children. After that, they get loans. The older two have ones through Sallie Mae on top of the ones financial aid gave them. The oldest, who has an easier time with academics, works 20 hours a week on campus. Hopefully, we will be in a position to help them pay off the loans when they graduate, but this way, we can make sure that we have enough money for the youngest's first year. All of them have majors that make it possible, if all goes well, to pay off this amount of debt. If they didn't, we would possibly take a different approach. We would still hope that they would go to college for 4 years, even if their major weren't something that would directly lead to a field of employment afterwards. We just would try to do it in a lower-debt way. We many not be very academically oriented, but we feel that a college education is worth quite a lot of sacrifice.

 

We think it is a bad idea to go $200,000 into debt for a degree in something that will lead to a job that will make that debt impossible to pay off. We would find a different way to accomplish that sort of degree, or if we couldn't, make a new plan. There are families out there who can pay for that sort of education, but just we aren't one of them.

 

-Nan

Edited by Nan in Mass
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Sorry Creekland--I could not wade through all of the pages of the College Confidential thread. In some respects it seems that many of us have heard all of these arguments too many times.

 

There have been some studies which examine financial success with the type of college attended, but financial success is not my son's goal. He wants to be an archaeologist and understands that he will never be wealthy. To him (and us) there is much more to success than money.

 

But perhaps my son has the luxury of pursuing such a career option knowing that he will graduate college with minimal or no debt. This is due both to his merit aid package and his mother's saving/investment strategies. Like Nan, saving for college was something that was more important to us than buying the latest Disney video which was the case with many of my son's friends' families when he was young. It always amazed me that people had money for fancy boats and stuff in general but acted as though we were elitists because my son attended a Montessori school and took piano lessons. It was simply a matter of priorities for us as a family.

 

My son attends one of the schools featured in Loren Pope's book, Colleges that Change Lives. He applied to this school before any of us realized it was in this book. A family friend is a retired guidance councilor who worked at a Northeastern prep school. She spent some time talking to my son about what he wanted to do with his life and what kind of college he wanted to attend. She then presented him with a list of schools to consider. My son's college was never on our radar until she placed it there. Because all students at this school are required to do a two semester independent study before graduation (hence all previous coursework lays the groundwork for this both by placing high demands on writing and research skills), my son knew he had found a perfect match. Well, he did not know that initially. He found nothing objectionable at the school and then began scratching other programs off his list until there was only one standing. Then he had his epiphany which something I knew all along. But I am glad that it was he who made the decision to attend the school.

 

Another problem that I have with arguments that are raised in threads like the one Creekland mentioned is that people use anecdotal information to paint with a broad brush. Just because billionaire Richard Branson was a high school drop out does not imply that all high school dropouts end up as billionaires. Similarly not all Princeton grads are financially successful--or happy for that matter. Happiness is important for me yet it is rarely mentioned, probably because it is non-quantifiable.

 

I think that many people constantly seek validation of their own decision making process. If a state school or CC was fine for them or another family member, then it is fine for everybody. Similarly, some families seem so focused on the Ivies that they cannot see any other options.

 

Some of our friends in the Northeast seem particularly focused on Ivies or almost Ivy schools as mandatory for their children. One of my friends (whose husband is on the faculty at an Ivy) encouraged her son to attend a liberal arts college which he does. She felt that an Ivy League undergrad experience was not in her older son's best interest. Perhaps she'll feel differently about the younger child's path when he applies to colleges. And that, I think, is the moral of the story.

 

Or maybe one moral. I agree with Nan that college and education in general is an important priority for our family. Hence we homeschooled. Hence we saved for our son's college education.

 

One of my nieces recently had a child. I sent a check for the boy's college fund, noting that this was its intended use (although thinking if the kid inherits his mother's mouth it may have to go for orthodontia expenses!) Similarly when parents ask what to buy for a "child who has everything", I always say a savings bond.

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We'd like to send all our kids to state schools, ideally the local branch a few minutes from our house. It would be about $10k a year, in today's dollars, including tuition, fees, books, and parking. We'll also need to provide food and clothes, and miscellaneous items. Ds8 seems a born engineer, and I'd like to send him to the state branch that specializes in different types of engineering. In today's dollars, that would run us about $15k a year.

 

We'll be paying as we go. We'll probably start saving 10k a year specifically for whoever is in college starting in 2012. Dd will start the fall of 2013, so we'll have one year's backup when she starts. That should give a slight cushion if some other expense comes up. We'll be saving that same amount, barring a layoff or ds11's cancer coming back or God knows what other tragedy, as I now think anything can happen to anyone at any time, every year for 20 years or so. I'm just building it into the budget.

 

We have a new Repub governor, and he will likely cut aid to the university system. I wonder how bad the cuts will be. I wonder what will happen in our state if fewer kids go to school. Unemployment will only worsen, I think.

 

I really don't want the kids to start out with debt, and I think state schools are okay. I don't want to have debt, either, at least not from their undergrad years. I don't know about grad school. Dh wants us to pay for everything, but the more I look into that, the less I think it is going to be possible, even living in India and saving over the next two decades. I guess we don't know the future, but the economy doesn't look good to me, and I've read warnings that it may not get better over the next 10 or even 20 years. I hope that is just a really pessimistic forecast, but I don't want to be caught with debt if that is the case. I really hate debt of any kind. I just can't handle the stress.

 

It's funny how people can have such different views, and different abilities. It would be fun to really shop for schools, flying all over to check them out, and let the kids sign up just because they love the feel of a place. But I think just going to college, period, is a privilege.

 

I'm sure they'll learn a lot. I think the best thing that happened to me in college, besides getting out of a dysfunctional home, was learning that not everyone from a different religion and political party than the one I was raised in was a baby-eater and Satan worshipper! I could not have been convinced of that growing up. I learned that the world is a much, much more diverse place than I could have ever imagined when I was growing up in rural Indiana.

 

About Nan's comment on limiting the # of kids to how many you can afford to send to college . . . I can appreciate this. My sister has one child, and can afford to send him anywhere his heart desires. There are real advantages to this approach. I'm not sure why we didn't go this way, but we didn't, and for sure our kids don't have the opportunities my nephew has. They themselves may decide to only have one child. There are definite benefits to this, and it is worth considering for people just starting their families.

 

One more thing: I really admire the commitment to education at all levels that I have seen from parents on these forums. So many parents are absolutely devoted to their children, in every way. They can see beyond the financial in ways that I probably just can't, and I respect that. Sincere thanks to everyone who has shared her story, on this thread, and on many others.:)

 

Okay, one more thing: I am not an East Coaster, and I'm not upper class, and I think I just don't get the emphasis on the Ivies. Like some people on the CC thread mentioned, maybe it's a regional thing? Or a class thing?

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I appreciate this thread and look forward to reading more. I'm coming at this from the opposite end of the experience, I did not attend college at all, my dh attended a few semesters. My parents were happy to see us graduate high school and figured we could get through life without a degree. My sister was the college student, not me, as if there could be only one per family. :tongue_smilie:

 

My dh's mother is more academic, but he wasn't listening to her advice and quit school to work for himself. Until this year that has gone fairly well, supporting himself and his family.

 

Anyway, I just had a long conversation with ds yesterday about college. We talked about my dad who worked in a white collar career without a degree. His same position today requires a bachelor's. We talked about how I was able to work in many positions and found myself not being able to advance because I didn't have a degree even though I was doing the same level of work (that's a whole other discussion). We talked about the reality of the job market for him, that most career positions will require a degree. College is not optional for him. His life goals are mostly undefined at this age, but we discussed the benefits of the college as an experience to open doors, not just to get a job.

 

I don't know what my child's college search will look like. We were not blessed to be in a family that saw the merit in saving early for college. I'm not sure how well he will test and the reality is we will be limited by finances. Ivies aren't even on our radar at the moment. I also don't want to limit his choices because of my ignorance about the process. I feel like we're still in the process of "You will go to college", where and for what are just conversations we're beginning to have.

 

Whatever he chooses to do in life I'd like him to make the choice out of his passions, not just what will pay the bills. I appreciate threads like this because I want to make sure I facilitate the counselor job correctly. I don't feel like I could do that without the wisdom and perspective of this board.

Edited by elegantlion
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Okay, one more thing: I am not an East Coaster, and I'm not upper class, and I think I just don't get the emphasis on the Ivies. Like some people on the CC thread mentioned, maybe it's a regional thing? Or a class thing?

 

I think that many people outside of the NE cannot even name the Ivies. Sure they know Harvard, Yale and Princeton, but the rest? I mention this because I was very impressed when a young man we know was accepted into a prestigious graduate program at Penn. A mutual acquaintance said "Penn State"? "No, Penn as in University of Pennsylvania. It's an Ivy League school." "Never heard of it."

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I guess we don't know the future, but the economy doesn't look good to me, and I've read warnings that it may not get better over the next 10 or even 20 years. I hope that is just a really pessimistic forecast, but I don't want to be caught with debt if that is the case.

 

 

About Nan's comment on limiting the # of kids to how many you can afford to send to college . . . I can appreciate this.

 

 

I don't think things look good for the future either. And we are caught in that we cannot save for college, but we cannot pay anything out of pocket either. We are struggling just to pay minimums on our bills. My oldest will likely graduate with $10K in debt, which I hope that we can help him pay off, but I wouldn't hold my breath. If we limited ourselves to how many dc we could afford to put through college, we would have no children at all. I don't think that's a good trade-off. :001_smile:

 

I'm hoping things get better for our younger dc. For our middle two, I don't know what kind of aid packages they will get offered. I don't know what kind of school they could get into. My 12 yo's verbal SAT will likely be quite high, but her math is worse than abysmal, so I don't know how that will play out. My 14 yo has dyslexia and dysgraphia and won't test well most likely. But she is dynamic, bright, and vibrant, and there are SO MANY things she could do as a career if we can just get her there.

 

My mil started mutual funds for each of our dc for college. Over 13 years, my second oldest's has only gained a couple hundred bucks. :glare: My third oldest's is still under what mil put into it, because it didn't have very long to grow before 9/11 made mutual funds nosedive. My oldest's fund was just enough to buy him the required laptop, good enough to last for the whole 4 years of college. And it's a good thing he cashed it out when he did, because it would have lost even more value just a few months later when the financial meltdown began.

 

I would love love love for my dc to get through college without debt. I'm not sure it's possible. We live within commuting distance of a good number of decent colleges, but commuting is so expensive now! I figured with my oldest (he started college right when gas was $4 a gallon) that it would have been MORE expensive for him to commute than to live at college!

 

I keep warning dh that our dc may need to live with us for quite a while, before college, during college, after college, whatever. My mother may need to come live with us as well. Maybe if we all pool our resources, we won't be "left behind" in this non-trickling-down economy.

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I guess here is where I point out that I live in the northeast and had grandparents who went to ivies or near ivies and that really good liberal arts schools are pretty much what is expected in my extended family. I am unusual because I went to UMass. My husband's father isn't from the northeast. He said he would pay outright for UMass for any of his children and my husband took advantage of that, and I was sent to UMass to be with him when my father decided I was going to pine myself into uselessness unless we were together GRIN. The entire family has their doubts about my older two's choice of college but at this point, they are adventurous enough that everybody is relieved they are going at all. I have that sort of children. Sigh. Well, only sometimes sigh. Most of the time I am grateful they are resourceful enough to have lots of choices.

-Nan

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What really happens is that people think really hard about having that third child and really really really hard before having more than that. I don't know anybody who decided not to have one or two because they couldn't afford to educate them.

 

That is a really good point, about children living with you after college. We are assuming (and so is the rest of the extended family and many friends I know) that they will live with us in order to get rid of their debt, or save for a house, or whatever. We even have friends who doubled up (living with each other) while they saved to buy houses or fixed up whatever wreck of a house they managed to beg and scrape enough money to buy. It isn't only college that is so expensive here. Housing prices in the northeast in areas where there are high tech jobs are astronomical.

 

-Nan

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I guess here is where I point out that I live in the northeast and had grandparents who went to ivies or near ivies and that really good liberal arts schools are pretty much what is expected in my extended family.

 

My maternal grandfather went to Yale - his family was one of the first in New Haven in the 1640s. For that reason, in early high school I thought I might go to Yale, although no one in my family ever said anything about it to me. Then I saw what a slum NH was and changed my mind. :D Of course, the joke's on me because I ended up going to Rutgers-Camden. :tongue_smilie:

 

I have three sisters, and we were all expected to go to college. It was never an "if", but there was no pressure to go to any specific kind of college. I believe that my father paid for at least some of our college in an unconventional manner - he racked up debt and then declared bankruptcy 5 years after I graduated (I'm the youngest). So, probably, my college was never actually paid for. I don't recommend this as a financial plan!

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W

That is a really good point, about children living with you after college. We are assuming (and so is the rest of the extended family and many friends I know) that they will live with us in order to get rid of their debt, or save for a house, or whatever. We even have friends who doubled up (living with each other) while they saved to buy houses or fixed up whatever wreck of a house they managed to beg and scrape enough money to buy. It isn't only college that is so expensive here. Housing prices in the northeast in areas where there are high tech jobs are astronomical.

 

-Nan

 

I forgot to say, my mom, who lives in southern NJ, has neighbors who enlarged their house and widened their driveway so that their adult sons could live with them. Even though the sons are all professionals (lawyers, etc.) the housing and taxes are so ridiculous that this was a better solution.

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My DH works in the financial services industry, and that has got to be one of the snobbiest fields out there. He's run into recruiters & hiring managers who won't look at anyone who doesn't have a degree from either Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, MIT, or CalTech. Even such elite schools as Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, Duke, Chicago, UC Berkeley, etc. won't pass muster. :rolleyes: He does have a degree from an "acceptable" school but when he's tried to refer friends who are plenty bright & competant but lacking the "proper" university name on their resume, he's been flat-out told that they won't be considered. :glare:

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Sorry Creekland--I could not wade through all of the pages of the College Confidential thread. In some respects it seems that many of us have heard all of these arguments too many times.

 

 

 

Well, for one, that thread has gotten a bit longer than when I'd first posted, and for two, my "goal" was never to reproduce that thread (as many on there seem to be Ivy saturated), but rather, to see what people on here had to say about their thoughts and experiences.

 

Both hubby and I are the second generation of our families to attend college. My grandparents were farmers/factory workers who worked hard to send their children to college (state schools) as they saw it a priority and insisted upon it. I was raised knowing I was going to college, but it was somewhat my choice as to where (lower "level" schools were not allowed though). I picked a state school over a fancy private that was my first choice due to finances and don't regret it a bit. My kids have been raised knowing they are going, but have freedom as to where and for what.

 

My oldest son is the first to attend either a private or a Christian school, and in searching for his "best fit" I've been getting much more of an "about colleges" education than I ever had experienced before. We weren't even supposed to have to worry about financial aid. We invested (and lost) more than we would have had to pay for 4 years... It sickens me to think about it, but it's life, so finances ARE a part of the equation for us now and might be for our next two.

 

Working in a public high school for 11 years has provided some other views about higher ed. Owning our own engineering business has provided some more (yes, the choice does matter for this field, but not meaning Ivy - other schools are better for engineering IME). This board has provided more thoughts. College Confidential has provided more. That said, I still don't feel I know the whole big picture, esp for various majors/paths. When I see threads like the one on Debt Free U [for example] that suggest Community College as an equal to a "better" school "I" find myself surprised and I'm just curious to delve more into people's thoughts and experiences (as a few other threads have too).

 

I come with a purely curious mind - and as a parent that still has two to send to college. One has oodles of options grade/testing-wise, the other will likely be more "average" (but of course, it's still too early to tell).

 

This thread is also mainly intended for the college bound student/parents. I KNOW not all are college bound. My nephew was one of them. He is a great mechanic and has found his niche. I don't think less of him for having a different path (not necessarily chosen as he didn't really have a choice to go anywhere - high school drop out with no desire to get a GED - never motivated academically).

 

To some extent, I figure if I'm curious or feel I don't quite know as much as I'd like to, others might be feeling the same way. If so, enjoy reading. I am. I may or may not change my mind or parts of it, but I feel I'm getting more of an education. ;)

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Creekland, I would really encourage you to read Debt Free U. It would take a couple hours of your time, and I bet you can get it from your local library. Really looking at his arguments would give you a better sense of the whole picture he is trying to give. Even if you disagree with one, or even several, of his points, I think you would find at least some of his arguments thought-provoking.

 

Nan, I think having kids live in the family home as long as possible just makes a lot of sense. Dh asked me yesterday what I thought of having our kids' families live with us, and I burst out, "I think that would be fun!" and dh said he did, too. Obviously, we would all have to make compromises to get along, but I think it would really be satisfying to see our grandchildren grow up and really participate in their lives. I'm not expecting this to happen, but you never know. The economic future just doesn't seem as certain for the poor and middle class as we may hope.

 

Cathmom, as the mom of 5 myself, I hear you loud and clear. I don't think relying on parents to limit their family size to control college costs is realistic, as a general policy measure, unless we start having mandatory abortion based on means testing in this country, and I don't think the country has the stomach for that (whew!). While some will always have the ability to really, really plan things out, we need a more realistic policy for everybody else. I'd like to see our entire national budget modified, and if things get bad enough for the middle class, that might eventually happen. If the Repubs get their way, and Dems accommodate them, and spending is cut to the bone, and unemployment persists and gets worse, and the gap between the rich and everyone else gets even wider than it already is, we may see some big changes eventually.

 

It's really nice that your mil has been able to help, even a little. I'm not sure what we'll do, if dh ever loses his job, as we are all we have financially. I really don't want to see the kids go into the military to finance higher ed, as I think there would be a real risk of being killed in Afghanistan, and I don't want that for my kids (really for anyone's kids, but I realize we all have the right to make different choices, and kids will make choices of their own).

 

The middle class is really stuck. We're held hostage in a country that serves the rich and powerful. And since history seems to indicate that has always been the case, everywhere, I'm not really sure the future will be any different.

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Yikes! Yikes! Yikes!!!!

I didn't say that anybody SHOULD be regulating their family size by whether they can educate them. I said that most of the people I know DID do this, voluntarily, because sending their children college was that important to them, because that just tends to be what happens here. If you have a third baby, I can guarentee that quite a lot of people will say to you, "Gee, how are you going to pay for college for them all?" I didn't make it that way. I'm not saying it is or is not good that way. I am not saying that people should do that. I am just saying that it IS that way here, where I live. It is really normal to spread them out so that you don't pay for too many of them at once, too. It will cause similar comments if you don't. Again, that is just the way it is here. It isn't necessarily a good way.

I can't think of any good way to try to regulate something like that. I like our freedom to have as many children as we wish and our freedom to send them to college if we can figure out how to pay for it and if they are academically able. I am glad I don't live in one of those countries where colleges are government run, free, and only the academic best get to go. I would rather live under our present system of out-of-control tuition and education-as-a-business, despite its many problems.

 

Sigh - I knew I shouldn't post so much information on this subject. It is way too regional and personal. Ug.

-Nan

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Yikes! Yikes! Yikes!!!!

I didn't say that anybody SHOULD be regulating their family size by whether they can educate them. I said that most of the people I know DID do this, voluntarily, because sending their children college was that important to them, because that just tends to be what happens here. If you have a third baby, I can guarentee that quite a lot of people will say to you, "Gee, how are you going to pay for college for them all?" I didn't make it that way. I'm not saying it is or is not good that way. I am not saying that people should do that. I am just saying that it IS that way here, where I live. It is really normal to spread them out so that you don't pay for too many of them at once, too. It will cause similar comments if you don't. Again, that is just the way it is here. It isn't necessarily a good way.

I can't think of any good way to try to regulate something like that. I like our freedom to have as many children as we wish and our freedom to send them to college if we can figure out how to pay for it and if they are academically able. I am glad I don't live in one of those countries where colleges are government run, free, and only the academic best get to go. I would rather live under our present system of out-of-control tuition and education-as-a-business, despite its many problems.

 

Sigh - I knew I shouldn't post so much information on this subject. It is way too regional and personal. Ug.

-Nan

 

I knew what you meant, Nan. Relax LOL! :grouphug: And it is interesting to read about the geographic differences.

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I knew what you meant, Nan. Relax LOL! :grouphug: And it is interesting to read about the geographic differences.

 

:iagree:

 

From what I'm reading, Nan, the coasts may have been hit by the inequality gap longer and harder than some other parts of the country. We all learn a lot from reading other people's experiences. Thank you for sharing yours.:)

 

My brother lives in MA, in Medfield, and he is appalled by how many children we have. My sister is in Raleigh, and her son told my daughter two years ago, right in front of my sister, who remained silent, that his parents never would have been "stupid enough" to have five children. My daughter defended us, saying that there are things that you learn with lots of siblings that you don't when you're alone.

 

Privately, though, I think she understands exactly where her cousin is coming from. She doesn't plan to have more than a few children, if any at all. She knows how much work it is, and she is getting a better and better idea of the expense. I think she would have liked to have had a calmer, more rational discussion about this issue with her cousin, but she felt attacked, and when we feel attacked, we get defensive and sometimes handle things in a way we wouldn't if we didn't feel threatened.

 

I think you're right, Nan, that limiting the number of children we have is a reality, depending on our economic situation, which can be highly influenced by where we live. To be honest, I still can't believe I have five children, and I think most people who knew me growing up can't believe it, either. But dh really wanted 4, and really wanted to have them with me, and assured me we would be able to afford them. And then I wanted to try one more time for another girl, not only because of the tremendous blessing our daughter has been to us, in every way, but also because I read that parents' happiness in their old age depends on how many adult daughters they have. Maybe I put too much stock into what I read.

 

Yesterday I was reading an article in the Independent, out of the U.K., on how more and more two income working families in Britain cannot make enough money to stay above the poverty line. A young man and his wife were shown with their two children in the photo. There were several comments in the comments section about how people shouldn't be having children if they can't afford them, that children are a luxury the poor just can't afford anymore. You know that Britain is tripling their tuition fees, right? If these people can barely afford to feed and clothe and house their children, how are they ever going to be able to educate them? They look like such a sweet young couple. All I could think was that they could easily be American, and that many Americans must undoubtedly think like the people in the comments section do. So I guess all this was in the back of my mind when I wrote my post.

 

I'm not sure what to do about college tuition costs, either. Right now, most of us are just playing defense, whether by limiting our family size, or spacing out our kids, or cutting back in other areas to save for education costs. But even this is a luxurious position. I'm not sure our nation can maintain whatever economic strength is still has without lots of people getting higher ed, specifically in technical areas. I guess I just would like this to be more affordable for the middle class. The poor do seem to have some opportunities, and the rich can obviously take care of themselves, but the middle class gets pinned against the wall.

 

I think countries with gov't paid higher ed limit access simply because they have to. They've accepted financial reality a little earlier than we have, I think. It's hard to believe that we can keep paying higher and higher tuition bills endlessly. Haven't people mentioned here that there may be a tuition bubble? How are people going to feel when the education they've gotten 50k or 100k in debt for doesn't bring them better than a minimum wage job? Isn't that like the housing bubble, with so many now underwater?

 

Maybe there is just a lot I'm not seeing. With the info I've had available to me, I've tried to make reasonable decisions. Maybe they're not reasonable, and I just haven't been able to see that. That's where these forums can be so helpful. We come here, with our ignorance in hand, for all to see. Then people point out where our thinking is flawed, and we have the chance to change our thinking to a more helpful position. That's how I view these forums, anyway. I've learned a ton here, and I'm not sure I would have if I hadn't taken the risk to post where I was coming from to start with. I'm grateful, and humbled by, these forums. The amount of life experience just hasn't been matched by other homeschooling forums I've been on. I bet SWB learns a lot here, too.:)

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I'm coming up on crunch year (junior) next year and this subject is never far from my mind. We've not saved anything specifically for college, but we have assets.

 

My dh has a minor in history (not his field whatsoever but it feeds his hobbies!). In all honesty, I don't know what degree Dh could have gotten-I'm sure there is one, and I bet it's expensive, but incredible opportunities were placed in his path and he took advantage. Most of the entrepreneurs we know don't have degrees.

 

That said, we'd like to see our kids go to college and my daughter definitely wants to go to school in NYC and most likely Sarah Lawrence. And I do plan on them living with us for years to come. But I think that is more of a cultural thing for us, too. My parents lived with my grandparents for years, my dh's parents lived with THEIR parents. Then dh's parents took the grandparents in when they were sickly, so we were raised around multi generations in one house. Especially where we live.

 

My biggest worry is what someone else posted (creekland?) that higher education is the next bubble. I know it-everyone we talk to knows it. No one wants to get caught in it, but not being able to tell the future, how do we decide?

 

IE: dear friend's daughter is in her 4th year at Northeastern. 45k a year. She got a great internship at the Westchester NY DA's office and now is planning on law school. Perfect for her, she's going to make a fantastic lawyer. But you know what? She really wishes she went to John Jay in Manhattan which would have cost her something like 6k a year because she's a local student.

 

That's a freakin HUGE difference -she would have graduated debt free and her parents wouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck (they have another in college, too).

 

I don't want to make that mistake. I really, really don't want to make that mistake.

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Well, for me college has never, ever been questioned. Both sets of my grandparents had college degrees. I remember my dad's father telling me about going to Southwestern (when it was still a VERY conservative Methodist college) during the depression. He had to wait a bit after he graduated because he was helping to support his 8 siblings. When he went, he went to school, played football ( yes, they had football then), worked as a chemistry assistant and at Oshman's ( I think)... I don't know when he slept. I remember him doing all sorts of odd jobs like cleaning the windows at the school and such. Both of my dad's parents were school teachers.

 

All 4 of my husband's grandparents went to school and became teachers. One of his grandmothers had a similar story to my grandad.. She borrowed 50 dollars from someone in town and got on a bus and went to college, not sure how she would pay or where she would stay. But she was going to go!!!

 

My dad got a full scholarship to Yale ( he was a genius.. like a perfect score on SAT or something...Rice math competitions nn high school etc.) But after 2 years my grandparerents pulled him out because they thought he was getting way too liberal ( started smoking, cussing etc.) and so them made him go to Southwestern where he met my mom and they dropped out and got married. My dad did manage to finish his math degree at U of H, but my mom didn't get her degree until she was in her mid forties. My mom was determined that I would not make the same mistake she did and stressed and stressed that marriage was not to be unitl you had finished your education.

 

My dh's parents are also smart, especially his dad and he finished college in 3 years at UT and then got my mil from Baylor and they eloped ( she had just finished one or two years...They had been high school sweethearts) She did finish when her children were babies and taught 1st and then 3rd grade.. She just retired after more than 30 years.

 

My parents didn't really plan for college. I got some major merit aid,and my dad's great job paid for the rest. My dad got fired my junior year and the last few years my grandfather paid what my merit aid didn't. He had been wanting to leave each of his grandchildren an inheritance, but thankfully decided to use mine for my education.

 

Dh's parents saved for him starting as a baby. Dh is also EXTREMELy smart and so he had a full ride anyway at Baylor by his junior year of so with scholarships. So they used the excess to pay for medical school. ( It was really cheap in the state of Texas to go when we went, not so anymore from what I understand.) We got married his last year of medical school and we had no debt from schooling.

 

So.. we have saved for each of our children from the time they were born for college. They are going. Like us, it is in their backgrounds and seen as non questioning. I mean, I never chafed at it. I wanted to go!!! We won't go into debt either. We aren't looking at the Ivies. I don't think they are necessary for a good education and as my grandparents saw can ruin morals. ( Sorry... I know I just made some people mad.)That said, I can't imagine making a kid give up his scholarship... I'm not sure my dad ever forgave his parents for that. So, that is our background. (

Well, for one, that thread has gotten a bit longer than when I'd first posted, and for two, my "goal" was never to reproduce that thread (as many on there seem to be Ivy saturated), but rather, to see what people on here had to say about their thoughts and experiences.

 

. ;)

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I don't think it is a good or sustainable situation, either. There just is a huge outcry from the people who haven't done this before of HOW ON EARTH DO PEOPLE PAY FOR COLLEGE? I am trying to answer that question. Some people are rich. For them, it is easy. For the rest of us, it is not. For those of us from families in which college is pretty much considered mandatory, we find a way, but it requires debt and really long-range planning and sacrifice. Even those who are comfortably off (where we land) have to take pretty drastic measures in order to afford to educate our children.

 

I understand how you wound up with five. : ) In my small town, only some of which is college-oriented, having three children like me isn't that unusual, but in the neighboring, more affluent towns, it is. Even the nurse at the doctor's office told me that three children was considered a large family now. (She was trying to offer comfort for having suggested that having more wasn't a very good idea healthwise for me.)

 

I think part of the problem is that colleges are competing for those rich students, the ones who will become rich alumni who give liberally to their alma maters every year. In order to make themselves attractive for those students, they need to build brand new gyms with olympic swimming pools and walls and walls of treadmills with built-in televisions all looking out the window (to pick an example we drive by occasionally), new dorms, new libraries, new concert halls, and new labs, all on top of the spiralling cost of living. That drives the tuition up and the rest of the student body, the non-rich, have to scramble to keep up. Even without those things, just housing and feeding the students and paying their administrators and profs is going to be pretty expensive. The near-by, run-down, bare-bones state college is not cheap either, even though it costs a half or a third what the average LAC does. I'm not saying colleges are necessarily right to make the business decisions they do, just trying to explain some of their marketing decisions. This is what people mean when they say that colleges are businesses.

 

In my town, many of my sons' friends with college-educated parents are just banging around aimlessly, working at convenience stores or gas stations, waiting for their lives to start, rather than choosing to go to college. They were accepted some place, but for some reason they are choosing not to go. Debt may well be part of their choice. Drugs and alcohol, academic burnout, not seeing the point, not wanting to leave their friends (a real problem in a tight little town), watching their college-educated parents struggling to make ends meet, not wanting to work so hard, the economy, and other things all are come into it as well. Some take a class or two at the community college in a hopeful sort of way, or so they can stay on their parents' health insurance. This is pretty discouraging to the parents who have worked so hard to be able to send them.

 

College has always been expensive. For a long time, it was a luxury that only certain families valued and only certain families could afford. Then, for a bit, more people were encouraged to go and for a bit, more people were willing to make the sacrifices to send their children. Now it is looking like the pendulum is swinging back towards college being a luxury that only certain families can afford and the job market hasn't caught up yet.

 

I'm not sure where all the above fits into the picture, but there it is. I agree that it is a problem.

 

-Nan

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Is that why colleges are upgrading so much? Even our local branch has a new library, I heard. I think we'll see a lot more upper class foreign kids studying in American schools, but middle class American kids . . . what's going to happen to them?

 

I hope people will eventually get angry enough to change this. Did you hear what Claire McCaskill said this last weekend? It's nice to hear someone with guts in Washington.

 

Thanks again for your posts.:)

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I think part of the problem is that colleges are competing for those rich students, the ones who will become rich alumni who give liberally to their alma maters every year. In order to make themselves attractive for those students, they need to build brand new gyms with olympic swimming pools and walls and walls of treadmills with built-in televisions all looking out the window (to pick an example we drive by occasionally), new dorms, new libraries, new concert halls, and new labs, all on top of the spiralling cost of living. That drives the tuition up and the rest of the student body, the non-rich, have to scramble to keep up. Even without those things, just housing and feeding the students and paying their administrators and profs is going to be pretty expensive. The near-by, run-down, bare-bones state college is not cheap either, even though it costs a half or a third what the average LAC does. I'm not saying colleges are necessarily right to make the business decisions they do, just trying to explain some of their marketing decisions. This is what people mean when they say that colleges are businesses.

 

 

 

I cannot find the article now (so apologies for lack of documentation) but I recently read about a study of college costs. It showed that college tuition is rising at the same rate as dental, medical and other professional service fees. While many blame upgraded facilities for the rising cost, that may actually be a smaller piece of the puzzle.

 

The ramification of this, in my mind, is a return to greater stratification of our society. Will only those at the top of the earnings ladder be able to afford college (as well as medical care)?

 

 

College has always been expensive. For a long time, it was a luxury that only certain families valued and only certain families could afford. Then, for a bit, more people were encouraged to go and for a bit, more people were willing to make the sacrifices to send their children. Now it is looking like the pendulum is swinging back towards college being a luxury that only certain families can afford and the job market hasn't caught up yet.

 

-Nan

 

It is true that colleges have been doling out more financial aid in the last few years to assist those who were caught in the recession. And in general I think that a number of colleges have done their part to become accessible to lower income students. To qualify, though, those lower income students have to be stellar academically. That is another problem.

 

I ran into an attorney I know at a social event the other night. He told me that he has been volunteering with teen court where he has been keeping a tally. Almost every teen who appears there is either from a family where both parents are working two jobs or--in most cases--a single parent (usually a mom) works two jobs to keep bread on the table. It is no wonder, he said, that these kids are getting into trouble. The kids have no direction. He sees the fatigue in parents' faces. The parents are too exhausted to parent. It is sad.

 

At times like this I think that the community college is filling a huge need. In fact, I think that the early college high schools which allow students to earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree may be a saving grace for some families.

 

Where there is a will, there is often a way. But in a landscape that appears bleak to a teenager, it may be hard for them to summon a will. In my community, too many kids are sucked into drugs. "Good" kids. I cannot begin to understand it.

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My DH works in the financial services industry, and that has got to be one of the snobbiest fields out there. He's run into recruiters & hiring managers who won't look at anyone who doesn't have a degree from either Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Princeton, MIT, or CalTech. Even such elite schools as Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn, Duke, Chicago, UC Berkeley, etc. won't pass muster. :rolleyes: He does have a degree from an "acceptable" school but when he's tried to refer friends who are plenty bright & competant but lacking the "proper" university name on their resume, he's been flat-out told that they won't be considered. :glare:

 

:confused:

 

Seriously? Those schools you mention that *won't pass muster* are strongly recruited by top-tier financial firms such as Goldman Sachs.

 

For example, U of Chicago has arguably one of the best, if not the best, financial engineering programs in the U.S. It sounds like the recruiters don't know much. (That wouldn't surprise me.)

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We were fortunate that our two eldest, now in their mid-20s, both received enough scholarship money to pay for almost all of their college educations. If this would not have happened, we would have advised them to go to our state school and take out loans and work.

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I cannot find the article now (so apologies for lack of documentation) but I recently read about a study of college costs. It showed that college tuition is rising at the same rate as dental, medical and other professional service fees. While many blame upgraded facilities for the rising cost, that may actually be a smaller piece of the puzzle.

 

Thinking about this more:

The bare-bones state college offers a bare-bones education, not the equivalent of a typical LAC, so it can't just be the new facilities. It is just a bit startling to see such a massive shiny facility being built at a time when more and more students are getting financial aid. I'm not sure how the equation balances out. I probably should have kept quiet about it all because I don't really know how it all works.

 

The ramification of this' date=' in my mind, is a return to greater stratification of our society. Will only those at the top of the earnings ladder be able to afford college (as well as medical care)?

[/quote']

 

Yes, this is what I see coming, too, sadly.

 

It is true that colleges have been doling out more financial aid in the last few years to assist those who were caught in the recession. And in general I think that a number of colleges have done their part to become accessible to lower income students. To qualify' date=' though, those lower income students have to be stellar academically. That is another problem.

[/quote']

 

We have been grateful to my sons' college. They have bent over backwards to help us figure out loans, jobs, payment plans, and scholarships, and help us to cobble together some way of paying them. It is in their best interests, of course, but we are still pleasantly surprised. We are lucky because at this particular college, loans are fairly easy to come by and it is a fair assumption (at least up until the crash) that they would be able to pay off even full loans. This may not be a sustainable situation.

 

I ran into an attorney I know at a social event the other night. He told me that he has been volunteering with teen court where he has been keeping a tally. Almost every teen who appears there is either from a family where both parents are working two jobs or--in most cases--a single parent (usually a mom) works two jobs to keep bread on the table. It is no wonder' date=' he said, that these kids are getting into trouble. The kids have no direction. He sees the fatigue in parents' faces. The parents are too exhausted to parent. It is sad.

 

At times like this I think that the community college is filling a huge need. In fact, I think that the early college high schools which allow students to earn both a high school diploma and an associate's degree may be a saving grace for some families.

[/quote']

 

I agree. Community college to the rescue. Ours has rescued a number of young people that we know.

 

Where there is a will' date=' there is often a way. But in a landscape that appears bleak to a teenager, it may be hard for them to summon a will. In my community, too many kids are sucked into drugs. "Good" kids. I cannot begin to understand it.[/quote']

 

I can; at least, I can begin to. I have talked to them. There is so much pressure on this generation. It is a different sort of pressure than on past generations. In past generations, the teens were either more sheltered or dealing with immediate realities. This generation is dealing with media and a society which have raised unrealistic expectations and advertising which pulls them every which way but reality. They are a weird mixture of over-sheltered (it is too dangerous for them actually to do anything real) and under-sheltered (internet and media). They must wait and wait for anything real to happen other than school. All the adults are preaching doom and gloom about the future of their country, world politics, and climate change. As far as they can see, college is a lot more work and a lot more waiting. It is hard for them to see the point when as far as they can tell, shortly after they graduate, the world will end in war or climate change, and they are never going to get that sex-in-the-city lifestyle they have been promised. And the evidence is right before their eyes: the fields and woods they played in and love are being dug up for houses and shopping centers. Their parents are struggling to make ends meet. That doesn't necessarily look like a satisfactory end goal. They aren't stupid. They have seen the price of candy and soda and gas and other things they have to buy go up and up in their brief memory and they project that out into their future and conclude that they aren't going to be able to afford any of those nice things that the media has promised. Long-term goals and working hard towards them now may have been promoted by their parents, but they aren't getting it anywhere else. They are scared and depressed and bored out of their minds and can't see anything to look forward to. So they sieze what fun they can and self-medicate with drugs and alcohol the rest of the time. I can kind of see their point.

 

I've drastically oversimplified the problems, of course. If it were simple, we could do something about it. I am just trying to tell you bits of what they have told me.

 

-Nan

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Jane, did you see the article in the NYT on Thursday on transplant patients in AZ being cut off, due to state budget cuts? They will die if the state doesn't rescind the cuts. Bill Maher on Fareed Zakaria's program on CNN yesterday called this type of thing the "Drop Dead" health care program.

 

So, yes, I do think we are speeding toward stratification in our society.

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Is that why colleges are upgrading so much? Even our local branch has a new library, I heard. I think we'll see a lot more upper class foreign kids studying in American schools, but middle class American kids . . . what's going to happen to them?

 

I hope people will eventually get angry enough to change this. Did you hear what Claire McCaskill said this last weekend? It's nice to hear someone with guts in Washington.

 

Thanks again for your posts.:)

 

The constant building is also to keep their rankings near the top.

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I saw a news report the other day that said that spending on health care has decreased in the last year or so, because people cannot afford their new, higher deductibles. I went without a prescription last year when it would have cost me $200 - I have insurance, but apparently I have a deductible for prescriptions that I didn't know about of $250. After I paid that, then copays would apply. When I called the physician assistant at my dermatologist's to see if I could try something else, she asked me, "Don't you have insurance?!" I said, "Yes, but it's $200 with my insurance, and I can't afford that." I can't remember exactly, but I think she ended up giving me a sample of something else that ended up working.

 

Dental care has been that way for years. It was mentioned in the book "Nickel and Dimed" - she said something like that you could tell who didn't have money by how bad their teeth were.

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How does it do that, cathmom?

 

I think that it must be part of the ranking system. I'm not sure. But if a top university doesn't keep expanding and adding new things, they will drop in the rankings, which means drops in enrollment and money, I suppose. But it's so disconcerting to drive by our state's flagship university and see massive amounts of building going on, and then come home and read about how they need to raise tuition AGAIN, even though it goes against our state constitution.

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I saw a news report the other day that said that spending on health care has decreased in the last year or so, because people cannot afford their new, higher deductibles. I went without a prescription last year when it would have cost me $200 - I have insurance, but apparently I have a deductible for prescriptions that I didn't know about of $250. After I paid that, then copays would apply. When I called the physician assistant at my dermatologist's to see if I could try something else, she asked me, "Don't you have insurance?!" I said, "Yes, but it's $200 with my insurance, and I can't afford that." I can't remember exactly, but I think she ended up giving me a sample of something else that ended up working.

 

Dental care has been that way for years. It was mentioned in the book "Nickel and Dimed" - she said something like that you could tell who didn't have money by how bad their teeth were.

 

I'm glad she was able to give you a sample, cathmom.

 

My parents couldn't afford braces for me when I was a teen. My dad was unemployed/underemployed in the early-mid 80s, and there just wasn't any money. Those were such sad years.

 

I think a lot of people are going through some pretty sad years now, too, with many more to come. The woman at the periodontist's office that I went to a month ago told me the periodontist has cut his rates by half. My dentist wasn't busy, either. I guess even upper income people are seeing a difference with this economy.

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So, yes, I do think we are speeding toward stratification in our society.

:iagree: And this discussion proves it. Simply attending an Ivy will not guarantee success---family ties/wealth would probably rank #1, then Ability. The Ivies want big name, big money---and so do the big name recruiting businesses. After that comes second best----probably 'regular' students who attended Ivies either with parents scraping the funds together or full ride scholarship students who have proven themselves very talented and capable. Not saying that Ivies don't have some benefit to regular state schools----but it also depends on what field a person is going into. If big money and status are important---Ivy's all the way. If personal success in a given field whether or not big $$ is involved or big status is involved----then state school degrees or even trade school.

 

I don't think any of us would disagree that simply WHAT school you went to denotes any better education or ability because the smartest most conscientious heart surgeon might have actually gone to Medical College of Wisconsin and not Stanford and if he is overlooked simply because of the darn name of the school, then we are talking judging the worth and character of a person based on something other than who they actually are.

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I don't think any of us would disagree that simply WHAT school you went to denotes any better education or ability because the smartest most conscientious heart surgeon might have actually gone to Medical College of Wisconsin and not Stanford and if he is overlooked simply because of the darn name of the school, then we are talking judging the worth and character of a person based on something other than who they actually are.

 

Hey, what's wrong with the MCW?:D

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There is so much pressure on this generation. It is a different sort of pressure than on past generations. In past generations, the teens were either more sheltered or dealing with immediate realities. This generation is dealing with media and a society which have raised unrealistic expectations and advertising which pulls them every which way but reality. They are a weird mixture of over-sheltered (it is too dangerous for them actually to do anything real) and under-sheltered (internet and media). They must wait and wait for anything real to happen other than school. All the adults are preaching doom and gloom about the future of their country, world politics, and climate change. As far as they can see, college is a lot more work and a lot more waiting.

 

-Nan

 

Interesting thoughts. What I've seen at the public high school where I work is that media and reality have become blurred. They want the speed and lack of work to be their reality and pay off as they feel reality should.

 

In just 11 years of working, both cell phones (including twitter and texting) and the internet have arrived in schools. Calculators have been emphasized instead of math. The current generation has grown up with the above and feels knowledge should be quick and doesn't need to be internalized as it can be looked up quickly if it's important.

 

Therefore, anything that actually requires "work" whether it be a tougher math problem or reading a book with more in depth words/topics gets ignored as that's not reality to them. They simply do not understand what it takes and look at you like you're crazy if you try to explain it. They want results now. Getting by with doing as little as possible is praised, esp if it comes with high or semi-high grades (and parents complain if it does not).

 

My middle son used to be in school with my current 11th grade class when he was younger (through 6th grade). Some were asking me about him just last week. I mentioned he was doing well - taking his cc classes, etc - and wanted to be a doctor. EVERY SINGLE student that asked then said, "doesn't that take a lot of school?" I replied, "Yes. He'll need 4 years of undergrad followed by 4 years of med school, followed by 1 - 3 years of residency." NONE could comprehend why anyone would want to do that for any goal (and some were good students - or could be talent-wise). I told them I'd had the same "years" discussion with him. His reply was, "but it'll be interesting and fun."

 

Even with their current hw, if they reach a problem that requires actual thought, they'll close the book and say, "my teacher will explain that tomorrow." In the old days they'd have study groups. Now they never do. Who wants to take the time to study? They have info at their fingertips. They feel they don't need it in their minds. A work ethic of any sort has never been taught. They can't comprehend it. I worry about their future. Several who have graduated have a hard time with college (even community college) or holding down jobs. As soon as they reach a part that is "not fun" they quit. That's not the way life is supposed to be in their minds. All problems should be solved in half an hour - two hours tops (for really major issues).

 

And yes, there are exceptions to the above, but not the majority. I fear what is true in my school is true elsewhere and "I" place the blame on too short of an attention span caused by too much media (from TV to texting and everything in between). Some of that probably comes from the oversheltering you mentioned. Others might come from two parents working and leaving junior with a media babysitter because it was easy (and many will say, educational). Who knows?

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I don't think any of us would disagree that simply WHAT school you went to denotes any better education or ability

 

Actually, I do disagree with this from an Engineering perspective. Not all engineering degrees are equal in their actual education. Most of the good ones are state schools, but not all state schools have good engineering programs. Hubby's seen proof of this many times on the job and companies will discriminate when hiring, not because of the name, but because of the general ability of worker A who came from school A as opposed to that of worker B who came from school B.

 

It's the same concept as English 101 at a community college generally not being equal to English 101 at a "top for English" school. The name may be the same, but the knowledge gained differs even if the students going "in" were identical.

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Actually, I do disagree with this from an Engineering perspective. Not all engineering degrees are equal in their actual education. Most of the good ones are state schools, but not all state schools have good engineering programs. Hubby's seen proof of this many times on the job and companies will discriminate when hiring, not because of the name, but because of the general ability of worker A who came from school A as opposed to that of worker B who came from school B.

 

It's the same concept as English 101 at a community college generally not being equal to English 101 at a "top for English" school. The name may be the same, but the knowledge gained differs even if the students going "in" were identical.

I guess my point is that just because worker A came from the good school, it does not 'necessarily' mean he is more skilled than worker B who went to the other school because he couldn't afford the better one. Agreed that certain programs at certain schools ARE better---no questions there. My point is that that fact does not simply guarantee a better worker.

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Creekland, my dd has mentioned that she thinks teaching, even what homeschooling moms do, causes dependency, and in her words, immaturity, in teenagers. I realize she has a radical view, but it is worth thinking about. She much prefers teaching herself, with her Saxon and Apologia and Galore Park books.

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Thanks! Of course the ironic thing is, were I not spending that amount and more each month on my health insurance, I could have bought my prescription! :D

 

I hope we are not all going to get screwed over with the new healthcare "reform". Every time I think about it, I get irritated. A big giveaway to insurance companies. Oh where, oh where, did the public option go? (And for that matter, where has my president gone . . .)

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I guess my point is that just because worker A came from the good school, it does not 'necessarily' mean he is more skilled than worker B who went to the other school because he couldn't afford the better one. Agreed that certain programs at certain schools ARE better---no questions there. My point is that that fact does not simply guarantee a better worker.

 

More stratification . . .

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I guess my point is that just because worker A came from the good school, it does not 'necessarily' mean he is more skilled than worker B who went to the other school because he couldn't afford the better one. Agreed that certain programs at certain schools ARE better---no questions there. My point is that that fact does not simply guarantee a better worker.

 

I agree that there are no guarantees, but if one is hiring directly from college, one pretty much goes with their best odds (pending interview, of course). If one is hiring after experience is part of the deal, I've never seen which college someone graduated from be part of the equation. To get that first job interview (for an engineer), they generally have to have gone to a respected engineering school for most companies.

 

At the moment, I'm looking for schools good in pre-med that offer decent aid. I absolutely MUST have a decent track record for getting kids into a top med school or I won't let my son apply as he'll have knocks against him when it comes to applying. That said, there are plenty of options out there to choose from (fortunately)!

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The kids I've met who've attended Ivies have been original thinkers and go-getters who seem to be genuinely interested in what they're studying. They are not all primarily interested in becoming wealthy or powerful. Of course, there are exceptions.

 

Ivies also do admit some unqualified children of powerful people, but I don't know whether that is more the exception or the rule. Btw, that happens at many universities, including state schools. For example, my husband witnessed this back when he was a professor at a private university; U of Illinois is known for politically-connected children getting into programs even though they don't meet qualifications. So there you have it, unfortunately.

 

Furthermore, what is taught at one school can be vastly different than another. Content and pace can differ. Professors -- access to them, their knowledge -- can differ. Facilities can differ. These factors all play into what separates one school from another.

 

Many lesser-known schools, including state schools, are top-notch in particular majors, so they shouldn't be written off simply because they're not Ivy.

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Creekland, my dd has mentioned that she thinks teaching, even what homeschooling moms do, causes dependency, and in her words, immaturity, in teenagers. I realize she has a radical view, but it is worth thinking about. She much prefers teaching herself, with her Saxon and Apologia and Galore Park books.

 

I agree with your daughter. :)

 

In the old days students in school did a lot more work outside of school. Now almost 100% of it is done in school. There's a lot less covered now AND it's all spoon fed - creating dependency.

 

My (middle and high school) boys work independently - I do not teach them. I am around to answer questions, explain pronunciations, grade tests, and have discussions. All the above are based on their doing their part first.

 

It's worked VERY well and I have no regrets.

 

"Gifted" kids in our high school essentially do the same thing.

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Stratification is caused primarily by some of our inane laws. My husband has worked on federal legislation designed to ensure vulnerable individuals don't end up destitute, and it was a bugger to get that passed. The legal jargon is often written in a convoluted manner that confuses the average citizen. Media gets ahold of it, translates it (sometimes spins it), and then the general public is given that simplified version which isn't necessarily accurate.

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More stratification . . .

 

But, I don't see where stratification based on knowledge is a bad thing. If you were an employer, would you prefer to hire the worker that was better prepared for the job or the one who wasn't? Different schools do prepare students to different levels within the major.

 

Stratification based on wealth is a whole different issue. Fortunately for engineering, many of the better schools are state schools, so wealth isn't as much of an issue. Hubby certainly didn't come from a wealthy family (nor did I).

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