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Ok, so this may be for another thread, but are these stats what prompted a STEM approach in the first place? (Now back to your regularly scheduled thread..."

 

FWIW, this has been going on for a long time. When I was in graduate school in computer science thirty years ago, two-thirds of the graduate students were foreign nationals. I was good friends with the chairman of the graduate program (a Swiss national married to an American that he met in graduate school), and he complained multiple times about the time they spent on visa issues that took away from his research. But he was philosophical about it.  The reality was that many of the American students applying weren't even close to what they expected in terms of GRE's, coming from good schools, references, research experience, etc. He himself came to the U.S. to do graduate work, and he met his wife and stayed.

 

When I decided to give up on my dissertation and just take my M.S., I was one of only two U.S.-born students on the platform among about 20 of us.  The other was my best bud in graduate school, another woman.  Among the PhD's, the only U.S.-born student receiving their degree that day was also a woman.

 

It's disappointing to think that the U.S. still hasn't made progress that way.

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As someone who receives need based aid,  :iagree: . I am thankful for the aid I receive and this fall my son, however, I would trade it all for some of the life stability you all have. We had years of

So only the poor have the "privilege" of complaining about inequity and unfairness in life. Yet, even if you are among the poorest of the poor in a developed country you are "privileged" relative to t

I think any discussion that focuses on what people with lower incomes receive in need based aid vs. what affluent families don't receive in need based aid sort of misses the point.  3/4+ of students r

I personally think it is a horrible idea. While I think college costs are out of control, making it free via federal $$ seems like a straight line to bureaucratic induced academic decline. I would like to see costs come down, but I equally do not want to see our colleges end up being simple extensions our k12 system.

 

There are so many reasons why this doesn't make sense right now.

 

When they were talking about free community college for all high school graduates with certain G.P.A and/or score cut-offs, the discussion on my faculty e-mail lists went so viral that I unsubscribed for about a month.

 

Federal programs already cover the community college costs for those with need.  The local studies have shown that students in that category struggle most with issues like transportation, child care, and work schedule issues.  In other words, far more than just tuition.

 

And the projected federal aid covering the tuition for more students would not cover the costs of actually providing them classes because state community college tuition is far less than what it really costs.  It's tight enough with many programs and the number of classes offered actually being less than what we offered before the downturn.  Having a big flood of students would overwhelm us.

 

I looked at my oldest's schedule several weeks ago, and half of the classes he registered for are already full at a community college where most registrations occur in August.  The state system doesn't allow a class to "make" now unless it is 80% full two weeks before classes start.  Last fall they were not able to get full-time loads for hundreds of students because of that sort of thing, and they are expecting it to be just as bad this fall.

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 I'm inclined to believe this has something to do with the quality of math and science education in our country.  

 

 

While he's not a physicist, my DH is an old-school electrical engineer and graduated when the requirements were far more stringent for an undergrad EE than they are today.  He and many of his colleges, both professional and academic, feel that students today don't want to go into fields like engineering and physics because they are rigorous and require a lot of hours of work.  Even talented engineering students have to put in a lot of hours, which, of course, leaves less time for partying and a social life.  I think perhaps foreign born students are more expecting and accepting of a difficult work load in college.  This is my opinion only.

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While he's not a physicist, my DH is an old-school electrical engineer and graduated when the requirements were far more stringent for an undergrad EE than they are today.  He and many of his colleges, both professional and academic, feel that students today don't want to go into fields like engineering and physics because they are rigorous and require a lot of hours of work.  Even talented engineering students have to put in a lot of hours, which, of course, leaves less time for partying and a social life.  I think perhaps foreign born students are more expecting and accepting of a difficult work load in college.  This is my opinion only.

 

Yes, I think that this is an issue as well.  It isn't just a curriculum issue.

 

At the local college where I teach, the majority of new students declare "pre-nursing."  But the nursing retention specialist tells me that the number who actually complete all of the pre-nursing requirements with the right grades and get to the interview stage is very, very small.  She says that most aren't prepared for the hours of studying and time in labs.  

 

Maybe they have other issues outside of school that make that difficult, but time has to be invested. One of my favorite students was a divorced homeschool mom who was living in her mother's basement with six children.  She drove a school bus.  And she's in nursing school now, but maturity and having a place to live and childcare were big factors for her IMHO.

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...

 

So, here's what triggered this- I call my alma mater- nice Christian college in the midwest- almost 40K a year. Merit $ is 11K. Rest is based on need. We won't get any. Friend from college, pastors family, probably never made over 30K, has retirement, benefits, braces for kids, vacation in Bahamas (yes, I'm serious), kid goes for free. Just seems more than a bit skewed imho. 

 

I hear your vent and read this thread with interest. However, what inspired you to start this thread may have very little to do with what people are talking about here. Your friend's children's free tuition may have less to do with the family income and much more to do with the fact that the children have a parent who is a pastor. 

 

Some schools offer free tuition for the children of pastors, (although often restricted to pastors' families within the same denomination as the college.) Some offer free tuition to any child of their employees, from administration and professors on down to the janitors. These are perks that some denominations and schools provide to the people they employ. Employers sometimes offer nice benefits to attract and keep good employees.

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I do think there are not enough jobs for those with science( not specifically physics) PhD's because there is a big increase in foreign work visas for those who can and will work for less. For those PhDs that want to become profs-- the openings are just not there in very large numbers.

 

But when an employer wants to hire a foreigner and begin work visa proceedings, the first step is the labor certification where the employer must demonstrate that no qualified American candidate has been found for the position, and certify that the foreign employee will obtain the same wages that would be paid to Americans. We have to jump through this hoop for every single hire.

 

Let's not even get started on faculty jobs. As I wrote before, in the last 15 years, we have not hired a single American. The few American candidates who apply don't even make the final round of interviews because they are less qualified.

 

I wonder how many foreign PhD physics candidates return to their home countries, too. Also-- maybe there aren't any American candidates at Regentrude's university because those with bachelors or masters in physics are finding employment without needing the doctorate? How many undergraduates in physics does your school have, Regentrude?

 

We have around 100 undergraduates in our department.

And yes, most of our foreign grad students return to their home countries after receiving their PhD.

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I doubt that. The unemployment rate for PhD scientists is 2.1% (2013), one third of the general unemployment rate in the 25years old or older cohort (6.3%)

 

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/infbrief/nsf14317/

 

But are they employed in Science?  Also, comparing PhD scientists unemployment to the general population doesn't seem right.  A better comparison would be to unemployment among those with advanced degrees.  

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Do you have an idea why most return home? They come here, go to school for free, basically, then leave. Are there perhaps more jobs or better paying ones overseas?

 

First, keep in in mind it is VERY hard to immigrate to the US as a foreigner. You can't just stick around and job hunt. No job=no visa. If you don't have anything lined up right after grad school (or an advisor who keeps you on as a post doc for a while longer), you lose the right to stay. You can't work with a student visa, and in order to obtain a work visa, an employer needs to start the proceedings - you can't just apply for that yourself and then see whether you get a job.

 

Many of the foreign grad students had planned to go home from the beginning and just come for their education. Not everybody wants to stay in a different country; they have family back home, and ties to their cultures.

Also, many are not sufficiently qualified to be competetive for a position in academia in the US, but have no trouble getting hired for a faculty position back home - this is a very typical path. Just because a person is capable of receiving a PhD in physics does not make them qualified to obtain a position in academia in this country. Many of our foreign graduate students have gone on to teach back home.

 

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Is that 100 undergraduates total? How many do you graduate each year?

 

Well, approximately a quarter of those, so around 20-25.

 

I read recently that there are only 7000 physics undergraduates in the whole country.

 

That is not correct. The number of Bachelors degrees per year awarded in physics is 7,000. (7,329 in 2012-13, to be precise).

 

http://www.aip.org/sites/default/files/statistics/rosters/physrost134.pdf

 

 

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I think in our state to sit for the PE you have to have an engineering undergrad...even if you took engineering post grad work, you still have to have that undergrad degree in engineering. I believe this is a fairly recent development.

 

So if you want a job using your PE license, you really need to get that degree. (there are jobs out there for non licensed engineers, but the payscale is better for licensed PEs)

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I think that what most people believe is necessary for a middle-class lifestyle in terms of security: college savings, retirement savings, a rainy day fund, and a fixed-rate 20-year mortgage, is simply not attainable on the actual middle-class salary, or even a salary much, much higher than that. (See http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/how-do-you-know-when-youre-making-good-money.html/?a=viewall#ixzz3aR3gS1Fl).

 

Moreover, the real problem that people face is not a worse car (everyone's cars break down, and a Corolla is very cheap and highly reliable and cheap to fix, and is not as nice as that I saw many poorer people drive) or uglier house or whatever. It's insecurity. And insecurity goes all the way up to $120k or so particularly if you have four kids.

 

I know you think you could do SO MUCH with that cash, and it's true. You could. You have about 10 areas of your life society expects you to take care of securely. With $25k you can take care of maybe one or two--food and shelter. $35k gets you clothing and transport. $45k and you have day care. Okay, now where are we at? What else do we need? College savings, retirement savings, homeownership, a rainy day fund, and a proper education (music, language, sport) for the kids. Society tells us that we should be able to take care of those. That's what it means to be a responsible adult.

 

And those cost more than $50k or $75k or even $100k if you have a family of four, particularly if you've already had your rainy day!

 

So it's easy to say, "Oh, you're FINE."

 

But nobody feels fine until they have what they believe is a solid middle-class life for their kids, and that costs way more than the median salary in this country.

 

And then if the same people think that "need met" means scholarships (really it usually means more loans than any poor child should ever be burdened with), it feels unfair.

 

And the language is splitting hairs. What we really have in this country is a wage gap going all the way up and a seriously deficient social safety net and education and health system so everyone feels on the brink.

 

I really think the issue of security is huge.  Lower incomes, but sure that you will have stable access to a home, can save without it disappearing all of a sudden, medical care, is just hugely different than an unstable situation even if you are making good money right now.

 

I tend to think far fewer people need a university education and that would be better in many ways, but knowing that opportunities to learn a stable job or career will be there is an important part of that security.   

 

 

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That's not generally true - it depends entirely on the field. In many fields, an undergrad degree gets a good job. In others, not so much.

 

I think overall, there has been a startling amount of degree inflation. 

 

The question isn't so much can you get good job with such and such a program, but is what you learn in that program really a prerequisite for doing that kind of work and is it really the appropriate level to have the learning take place?

 

There are many jobs now which people need an undergraduate degree for - say, nursing - which a generation ago did not require a degree.  While there is some disagreement, there are real questions about whether the university graduates are really better equipped than the ones in the old system were - some argue that they are less well-equipped.  The programs  however are generally more expensive and can take longer to produce nurses (in fact in many places nursing students got paid for working in hospitals as students, aside from room and board.  You can imagine what a boon that would have been to students who had little money, and hospitals who needed staff.)

 

I could alternately give the example of my aunt, who with her nursing school training went into addictions counseling where she was very successful.  Today to get the same position here  normally requires a masters degree, but again it is pretty questionable whether that is a sensible use of people's time or money - the work isn't substantially different.

 

Journalism used to be largely people who were in some way self-educated, today most seem to have either diplomas or degrees.

 

My sister and husband - in computers and sciences respectively - are both in university programs now not because they really need them to grow in their work - they can do the work and know how to learn - but because in order to advance they need a higher level of qualification.

 

And on the other hand now some of the more entry level functions of these jobs are split off and have their own lower level programs, which have to be paid for too but have less possibility for vertical advancement. (unless people pay for another program.)

 

It all just seems so inefficient, and I can't help but think - of course a system so inefficient will be expensive.  I am all for university education for its own sake - that isn't meant to be efficient in a utilitarian sense - but that isn't what so many people are so worried about - they are worried about their kids getting jobs and what the cost is to qualify.

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Interesting stats, and I'm not surprised.  I'm inclined to believe this has something to do with the quality of math and science education in our country.  However, this thread has me wondering -- does it also have something to do with money?  Foreign students are well-qualified, I have no doubt.  But they also have to have a good amount of money to get here.  Just kind of thinking out loud.  

 

I'm in Canada, and university is cheaper here, but foreign students are being specifically sought out by many universities to make up the numbers they need.  Domestic students aren't applying in great numbers, but it is not because the students are not qualified.

 

The suggestion is that either they just don't have the money, they don't see that it is worth the money, or that they don't want that kind of training.  I suspect all three are part of the reason.

 

The thing for the universities is that they have so much infrastructure to keep up that they can't just get rid of, even if this idea that great swathes of the population ought to have a university degree turns out to be untrue, they have to somehow come up with the money to keep it u.  So - look for students who can pay more, or find a way to teach a lot of people very cheaply.

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By claiming your college age children as dependents on your taxes you are keeping them from qualifying from the financial aid they need and your EFC is higher. If they file independently and don't earn very much (or any) income then they will have a very low EFC and be able to get grants and loans. My own parents didn't realize this and ended up with an EFC far more than my education cost! As a result I didn't get any financial aid and they ended up paying for everything. When my husband and I got married our EFC was $0 so we both got enough money in grants to pay for our education. 

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By claiming your college age children as dependents on your taxes you are keeping them from qualifying from the financial aid they need and your EFC is higher. If they file independently and don't earn very much (or any) income then they will have a very low EFC and be able to get grants and loans. My own parents didn't realize this and ended up with an EFC far more than my education cost! As a result I didn't get any financial aid and they ended up paying for everything. When my husband and I got married our EFC was $0 so we both got enough money in grants to pay for our education.

Receiving independent status is more than just not being claimed on taxes. Being married does establish independent status.

 

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/fafsa-dependency.pdf

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Receiving independent status is more than just not being claimed on taxes. Being married does establish independent status.

 

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/fafsa-dependency.pdf

 

Bummer! I didn't realize all that was needed to qualify for independent status. I guess people should just join the military or get married young! lol jk But in our case we did both... ;)

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Michelle Kretzschmar of DIY College Rankings is putting out an ebook on her favorite research tools.

 

It's free for a few days, then 3 bucks.  I haven't read the book yet, but her blog has lots of great tips on finding schools that are generous with aid.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creating-College-Lists-Websites-Education-ebook/dp/B00XGZORBY

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Michelle Kretzschmar of DIY College Rankings is putting out an ebook on her favorite research tools.

 

It's free for a few days, then 3 bucks.  I haven't read the book yet, but her blog has lots of great tips on finding schools that are generous with aid.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creating-College-Lists-Websites-Education-ebook/dp/B00XGZORBY

 

Thanks for posting! My dd just sent me the DIY link the other day, she'll be excited about the book.

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"But when an employer wants to hire a foreigner and begin work visa proceedings, the first step is the labor certification where the employer must demonstrate that no qualified American candidate has been found for the position, and certify that the foreign employee will obtain the same wages that would be paid to Americans. We have to jump through this hoop for every single hire."

 

I've seen programs on PBS Frontline or Dan Rather's show about this, too. I think it was concerning computer-science jobs. It's not actually that hard to bring foreign workers over according to the investigative report. Basically they can claim there are no qualified Americans and there isn't much follow up. The show detailed several Americans who were laid off and replaced with lower payed foreigners( if I remember correctly this was at Google headquarters). Then they interviewd the foreigners, who were pleased to be there, of course, but upset about the lesser pay, but were fully aware that complaining could get their visas revoked.

 

At a former employer they would find the foreign worker first that they wanted to hire, take their resume and then write the job requirements to the resume.  They would get silly specific.  Then any American that applied was either over or under-qualified, or didn't have the right qualifications.  After that I learned to recognize those job postings and not bother.  

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At a former employer they would find the foreign worker first that they wanted to hire, take their resume and then write the job requirements to the resume.  They would get silly specific.  Then any American that applied was either over or under-qualified, or didn't have the right qualifications.  After that I learned to recognize those job postings and not bother.  

 

I agree. My former employers did this when hiring post-docs.

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At a former employer they would find the foreign worker first that they wanted to hire, take their resume and then write the job requirements to the resume. They would get silly specific. Then any American that applied was either over or under-qualified, or didn't have the right qualifications. After that I learned to recognize those job postings and not bother.

Several friends that work for a major US tech company say this dedinitely goes on where they work. Their company wants to hire who they consider best for the job and will do what is necessary to realize that goal.

 

In the case of US workers being replaced by foreigners and sometimes even forced to train their replacement, the reports I've read and seen seem to indicate this is more about either trying to pay lower wages and/or having employees that are much easier to control. In some cases, the hires are working insane hours for mediocre pay, but don't have the option of finding a different job in the US while on a H1-B visa.

 

During the latest round of immigration talk, I think there was finally some recognition that both of these practices do exist and can affect qualified US workers. The arguements previously were all about the lack of qualified US STEM grads, but shifted somewhat to the idea that foreigners are more likely to start new companies and thus ultimately create more jobs.

 

Studies I've read do show an economic benefit for everyone to having more highly educated and skilled people in the workforce and importing talent is an easy way to do that. But some of the abuses of the current system do need to be addressed to give qualified residents a fair shot.

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I am getting really scared!  DD is in 10th this year, going into 11th next year, so I am just starting to read some of the college threads... This is so complicated!  We are not going to qualify for any need based aid.  We do "okay", but not enough to pay the kind of numbers I'm seeing around. DD is amenable to going the 2:2 route, and going to a state college.  But one of the state colleges she likes only gives really good scholarships to freshmen, and if she does 2:2 she won't qualify for a lot of those.  

 

So when it comes time, do we apply to some of these state colleges "just to see what happens"?  She hasn't tested ACT /SAT yet, but if it correllates to school performance at all, I would guess she might be middle upper end.  Not "outstanding" but probably "above average".  Is that even worth trying to apply for?  Do just "above average" ever get scholarships when you are not need based?

 

I'm so confused...  :willy_nilly:

 

Yes they do! My ds is an above average student, who doesn't qualify for any need-based aid, and he was offered merit scholarships at all four state schools he applied to. He would have also received merit scholarships from the Christian colleges in our state. I don't know if he would have gotten anything from a private college. He didn't apply to any because we couldn't begin to afford it, and they usually don't offer his major.

 

If you look at the college's website, often state schools and Christian colleges will spell out scholarship monies offered based on test scores. That being said, it was our experience that college was going to cost us, after merit scholarships, between $15-$20,000 per year no matter if he went to a state school or a Christian college. One state school was $12,000 because ds's above average test scores made him a big fish at their school. But he isn't going to attend there because it was a poor academic match and weak in his major.

 

ETA:  We specifically looked at schools where ds would qualify for their honors program, to off-set the under-matching that allowed him to qualify for merit aid. And we live in the Midwest and ds wanted to stay in the Midwest so he applied to three in-state schools and one out-of-state school. His merit scholarships were based solely on his GPA and test scores and not geographic or racial diversity.

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She hasn't tested ACT /SAT yet, but if it correllates to school performance at all, I would guess she might be middle upper end.  Not "outstanding" but probably "above average".  Is that even worth trying to apply for?  Do just "above average" ever get scholarships when you are not need based?

 

 

Yes they do! My ds is an above average student, who doesn't qualify for any need-based aid, and he was offered merit scholarships at all four state schools he applied to. He would have also received merit scholarships from the Christian colleges in our state. I don't know if he would have gotten anything from a private college. He didn't apply to any because we couldn't begin to afford it, and they usually don't offer his major.

 

If you look at the college's website, often state schools and Christian colleges will spell out scholarship monies offered based on test scores. That being said, it was our experience that college was going to cost us, after merit scholarships, between $15-$20,000 per year no matter if he went to a state school or a Christian college. 

 

I have to agree with Mom2boys. Yes, non-superstar, just "above average" students can and do get decent merit-based aid.

 

My son is a decent student, when he cares enough to try or when (as in high school) he has someone (me) walking behind him and kicking him to stay on track. He's extremely bright, but essentially unmotivated when it comes to anything academic. He had a year of dual enrollment at the community college and a couple of CLEPs, but no APs. He ended high school with an unweighted GPA  just above 3.7, and his highest ACT score was 27.

 

The basic cost to attend one of our state universities (tuition + housing + meals, not counting books or "other expenses") runs about $15,000 a year. At the campus that would have made sense for him to attend as a performing arts major, his grades/scores would have qualified him for $2,000 per year in scholarship. Bright Futures, our statewide scholarship program, kicks in another $2,000-ish as long as he attends college in Florida. So, our out-of-pocket to have him attend a state university, which we used as a baseline for comparison to other options, would have been about $11,000 a year. That works out to a few thousand less than our official EFC. 

 

He ended up choosing not to apply to any of the state universities, because he felt so strongly that he wanted a smaller, more nurturing environment in which to learn. He applied to a slate of private colleges and universities both in-state and elsewhere, with the understanding that, if none of them came through with an appropriate combination of admission to the school and acceptance to his program(s) of choice and enough scholarship money to bring his annual cost of attendance to within a certain range, he would be committing himself to two years of community college before applying to transfer somewhere.

 

When the dust settled, he had roughly comparable offers from three schools: one medium-sized private in-state university with a program he loved, one small out-of-state college where he loved the vibe but wasn't sure about the location or the quality of the training he'd receive in his field, and one smallish campus of an out-of-state university that was sort of in-between the other two on most measures and whose main attraction was its proximity to New York City. All three offered aid packages  -- combining both academic and performance-based scholarships -- that brought our annual out-of-pocket expenses down to below our EFC and "close enough" to our baseline to make the cost manageable, especially if our son took out minimal student loans (a price he was willing to pay to attend the school of his choice). A fourth, also private, is close enough that he could have lived at home, which, combined with the academic scholarships offered, would have made it a financial contender, too.

 

Fortunately, he had already fallen in love with the in-state option before we got the final financial info from the various schools. He completed his freshman year there earlier this month and has been happy and thriving there. We all feel confident he landed in just the right place.

 

So, yes, "just above average" students can still do well with scholarships, as long as they apply strategically and pursue every opportunity to get those monies.

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As long as one looks for schools where one is in the top 25% (or sometimes more) of stats AND the school offers merit aid, kids can get scholarships.  

 

Look for US New's "Best Buy" schools too.  I know York College in PA is one of those.  Kids from our school get some merit offers from there with around 1600 on the SAT (all three sections) and graduates I know seem to have done well.

 

Susquehanna, Juniata, and McDaniel are all popular schools kids from my area tend to go to (beside our state schools).  There are others too.  Grove City is popular among Christians.  They have a lower sticker cost for those who are full pay and want a "better buy."

 

And again, don't forget Nova Southeastern in FL.  We liked them quite a bit on our visit and they are among those I would consider to be very good with aid.  Youngest is enjoying Eckerd.  Oldest enjoyed Covenant.

 

Find a school that matches the student.  My 1920 SAT guy wasn't going to get good (esp merit) aid from a top school, and he's also unlikely to get in or do well keeping up once there (since he doesn't have the best study/work ethic).  He's doing ok where he's at though.

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Yep. After I discovered WTM I was happy my kids were 4 years apart. We could do the same 4-year history cycle, I wouldn't have two high schoolers at the same time, I'd get a break between college madness, etc. Then I started looking at financial aid and I realized it's going to affect us to not have two kids in college at the same time. Makes me want to give the oldest a couple of gap years....  :)

 

Me too! 

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Have we discussed this article before. It is a couple of years old, but hits on several points in this thread:

 

Meet the High Priest of Runaway College Inflation (He Regrets Nothing)

 

I found it while researching for George Washington University where a good friend of Sailor Dude's was just accepted.

 

The fact that not only did he do this, but he's actually proud of it, is just... twisted.

 

 

 

The way Trachtenberg saw it, selling George Washington over the other schools was like selling one brand of vodka over another. Vodka, he points out, is a colorless, odorless liquid that varies little by maker. He realized the same was true among national private universities: It was as simple as raising the price and upgrading the packaging to create the illusion of quality. Trachtenberg gambled that prospective students would see costly tuition as a sign of quality, and he was right.

 

:banghead:  :banghead:  :banghead: :banghead:

 

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Actually, I am pretty surprised at the figure given in the first part of the story, that the average American student accumulates an average of $24,300 of debt to earn their diploma.  That actually doesn't seem that bad to me.  That's basically a new car, and not even a really fancy new car, that's like a basic model Honda Accord.  I would surely think that a diploma would be worth the price of one car.  Am I missing something from that statistic?  I mean, of course, it would be awesome to get the degree without any debt, but I guess I thought that figure would be higher.  I think that isn't too unreasonable.  Am I wrong?  I really am open to someone changing my mind on that.  I was thinking it was much higher than that.

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Actually, I am pretty surprised at the figure given in the first part of the story, that the average American student accumulates an average of $24,300 of debt to earn their diploma. That actually doesn't seem that bad to me. That's basically a new car, and not even a really fancy new car, that's like a basic model Honda Accord. I would surely think that a diploma would be worth the price of one car. Am I missing something from that statistic? I mean, of course, it would be awesome to get the degree without any debt, but I guess I thought that figure would be higher. I think that isn't too unreasonable. Am I wrong? I really am open to someone changing my mind on that. I was thinking it was much higher than that.

Students are only allowed to take out about 5500-7000/year in loans on their own. I think what they're leaving out is family/parental debt like Parent Plus loans, second mortgages, etc...

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Actually, I am pretty surprised at the figure given in the first part of the story, that the average American student accumulates an average of $24,300 of debt to earn their diploma.  That actually doesn't seem that bad to me.  That's basically a new car, and not even a really fancy new car, that's like a basic model Honda Accord.  I would surely think that a diploma would be worth the price of one car.  Am I missing something from that statistic?  I mean, of course, it would be awesome to get the degree without any debt, but I guess I thought that figure would be higher.  I think that isn't too unreasonable.  Am I wrong?  I really am open to someone changing my mind on that.  I was thinking it was much higher than that.

 

 

Students are only allowed to take out about 5500-7000/year in loans on their own. I think what they're leaving out is family/parental debt like Parent Plus loans, second mortgages, etc...

 

Yes, the entire "student loan debt" # is completely an illusion.  B/c the federal gov't caps the actual amt that students can take out by themselves, that is the # quoted as the total student debt.  Completely bogus.  Parents or parents as cosigners are accumulating massive amts of debt.  A family's EFC has to be covered.  If you don't have thousands of dollars sitting in a 529 or some other acct to cover college costs, it either has to come from your annual income or LOANS.  (And while I do not have any real #s and am only guessing, I would suspect the majority of families are taking out parent loans to foot the bill.)

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Actually, I am pretty surprised at the figure given in the first part of the story, that the average American student accumulates an average of $24,300 of debt to earn their diploma.  That actually doesn't seem that bad to me.  That's basically a new car, and not even a really fancy new car, that's like a basic model Honda Accord.  I would surely think that a diploma would be worth the price of one car.  Am I missing something from that statistic?  I mean, of course, it would be awesome to get the degree without any debt, but I guess I thought that figure would be higher.  I think that isn't too unreasonable.  Am I wrong?  I really am open to someone changing my mind on that.  I was thinking it was much higher than that.

 

But the $24K only represents the student's debt — it's not even close to the full cost, and it doesn't include the parent's portion of debt. Four years of tuition/room/board at most public uni's is closer to $24K per year, so around $100K for 4 yrs, and at private schools the cost is $200-250K. So the question is more like "Is a diploma is worth the price of a small house?"

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But the $24K only represents the student's debt — it's not even close to the full cost, and it doesn't include the parent's portion of debt. Four years of tuition/room/board at most public uni's is closer to $24K per year, so around $100K for 4 yrs, and at private schools the cost is $200-250K. So the question is more like "Is a diploma is worth the price of a small house?"

 

From a purely financial POV, the statistics answer the bolded question for the average clearly with "yes".

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/

 

The issue with averages is, of course: there are disciplines in which a college degree never shows any ROI - and then there are fields where graduates earn starting salaries of 60k+ and have easily recovered their investment in a  few short years.

As always, whether incurring large college debt is prudent and sensible financially depends entirely on the major.

 

What the experience and education (not the piece of paper) is worth to them aside from monetary gain has to be determined by each individual family.

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The average of those who have debt is currently $28,400.  Not all have debt.  That figure currently stands at 69%.  If we factored in the 31% with no debt the average debt would go down, but it's not factored in.

 

(Google search http://ticas.org/posd/map-state-data )

 

And yes, this is talking student debt.  

 

Parents may or may not take on debt (we don't have any, but our kids are or will be around average). 

 

We are paying a decent sum out of our income (not full pay though).  We probably could buy a small house with the combined $$.  To us though, the college degrees and experiences our boys have is worth it.  We'd never be where we are now if we didn't have our degrees and both hubby and I LOVED our college years.  So far my boys are loving theirs too.  If they weren't, we'd contemplate something else.

 

Some argue that the $$ we spend traveling isn't worth it either.  We're not giving that up either.  (Shrug)  To each our own.  We all choose to spend our $$ on things we value.
 

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I think a college education is definitely worth having for it's own sake, and in the current economy a college degree is almost a necessity for financial reasons. To me the issue is more whether a college degree should be worth (i.e. cost) as much as a small house.

 

In the article that Swimmermom linked, a college president brags about having doubled the price of a degree, in a very short time, without changing the content — by his own analogy, it's the same vodka, in a fancier box, for twice the price. 

 

The worst thing about that analogy is that at least vodka is not a necessity. At a time when a college degree is increasingly seen as the basic requirement for even low-paid, entry-level jobs, forcing a significant percentage of students to basically mortgage their futures (and in many cases their parents' retirements) to get a qualification that's not worth any more than a HS diploma was 30 years ago, seems not only unfair, but economically unwise — not just on an individual level, but on a national level.

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Yup, my employer did that to get a close friend of mine a job because he could pay him less than a native-born American.

At a former employer they would find the foreign worker first that they wanted to hire, take their resume and then write the job requirements to the resume.  They would get silly specific.  Then any American that applied was either over or under-qualified, or didn't have the right qualifications.  After that I learned to recognize those job postings and not bother.  

 

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I am just throwing this out there for consideration.   I don't know what I think, mainly because I don't have the background knowledge to really understand.   But, I was reading a book on currency, money and finances as they are today. In a small section of the book it made the point that today student loans are what subprime mortgages used to be.  That they are just a way to pump money into the economy, that the bubble will burst, and 'they' know that much of the money won't be paid back.  

 

 

 

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When the debt is averaged out over the number of years of college attendance -8- including under grad,, grad/law school for one of mine, the total is almost insignificant given the employment opportunities. Yes, the # would make some folks cringe, and we'd likely be no friend of Dave Ramsey. (Although My hardworking dc made enough clerking while still in school to save 3 months of modest living expenses (has 3 housemates) while he studied for the bar.) His current job offer is significant, and there will be others. If we had tried to do this with no debt whatsoever, my child wouldn't be an attorney, which he's wanted to be since age 11. He has employment opps lots of folks don't have because of this investment. It is an investment. Absolutely. And probably not for the faint-hearted. It was concern I had to keep putting to the back of my head. ;) my kids got good merit packages, including to law school, but it's still something that is a bit white-knuckle- ish. I wish tptb cared about affordable higher ed in the US, but they don't. This is our current reality, and it is frustrating.

 

As far as sciences, some high school programs in the US are pretty tremendous. Others are an embarrassment. Dh's world is science. Many excellent scientists do not work in academia. It's not that they don't want to, it's that it can be very tenuous work; the pay can be lower than in industry, there are tenure worries etc., so many folks choose to work in the private sector. Dh has hired good people from university programs, or right out of grad school etc. many of these folks had planned to work in academia, as did dh, but the glut of folks hoping for so few positions, the unknowing, the low-paying and often endless postdoctoral work, whether/where you would get funding each year to the next etc was stressful enough to cause folks to seek work in the private sector. (Not that industry is without employment concerns.)

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Have we discussed this article before. It is a couple of years old, but hits on several points in this thread:

 

Meet the High Priest of Runaway College Inflation (He Regrets Nothing)

 

I found it while researching for George Washington University where a good friend of Sailor Dude's was just accepted.

 

I feel sick after reading that article.

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The way Trachtenberg saw it, selling George Washington over the other schools was like selling one brand of vodka over another. Vodka, he points out, is a colorless, odorless liquid that varies little by maker. He realized the same was true among national private universities: It was as simple as raising the price and upgrading the packaging to create the illusion of quality. Trachtenberg gambled that prospective students would see costly tuition as a sign of quality, and he was right.

 

 

I feel sick after reading that article.

 

 

Say what you like, this man is brilliant.  If it's true that LACs are a commodity and there is little to distinguish them, then we are the suckers for paying higher tuition to attend them.  

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Say what you like, this man is brilliant.  If it's true that LACs are a commodity and there is little to distinguish them, then we are the suckers for paying higher tuition to attend them.  

 

Speak for yourself. :tongue_smilie:

 

Yes, there are many suckers out there, apparently.  Brilliant or no, the guy has no ethics.

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When the debt is averaged out over the number of years of college attendance -8- including under grad,, grad/law school for one of mine, the total is almost insignificant given the employment opportunities. Yes, the # would make some folks cringe, and we'd likely be no friend of Dave Ramsey. (Although My hardworking dc made enough clerking while still in school to save 3 months of modest living expenses (has 3 housemates) while he studied for the bar.) His current job offer is significant, and there will be others. If we had tried to do this with no debt whatsoever, my child wouldn't be an attorney, which he's wanted to be since age 11. He has employment opps lots of folks don't have because of this investment. It is an investment. Absolutely. And probably not for the faint-hearted. It was concern I had to keep putting to the back of my head. ;) my kids got good merit packages, including to law school, but it's still something that is a bit white-knuckle- ish. I wish tptb cared about affordable higher ed in the US, but they don't. This is our current reality, and it is frustrating.

 

We would not be where we are at if hubby hadn't taken on student debt to get his degree.  This is a big part of why I'm not opposed to my kids having reasonable levels of student debt.

 

Middle son wants to be a doctor.  Med school is pricey.  While there are a few other options (military, Caribbean), those likely aren't his first preference.  He has the qualifications and desire to try for a top med school (some of which are actually a little less expensive than our in state school :glare: ).  We'll support him the best we can.  The trade off will be our living in his basement for our retirement years, but hey, it comes with free medical care or references, so who can complain?   :lol:   (I may or may not be kidding on that last part - only time will tell.  We have discussed the issue with him.  It's important for us for our kids to be able to have every opportunity they can to pursue what they want to do in this life.)

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If it's true that LACs are a commodity and there is little to distinguish them, then we are the suckers for paying higher tuition to attend them.  

 

Or we're smart to compare similar schools and go with our least expensive option for our needs/wants.

 

As for overall cost, the article confirms what I've heard that many schools have raised the cost merely due to human perception that if they are less expensive, then they aren't as good.  

 

Many things cost more than their actual cost.  We can lament that fact (seriously, no problem with that), but if we want the item (or degree or whatever), we need to buy it.  We can still be smart shoppers though.  We just have to consider the value of X name for the cost - same as any other investment purchase.

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As for overall cost, the article confirms what I've heard that many schools have raised the cost merely due to human perception that if they are less expensive, then they aren't as good.  

 

 

I dunno.  I think there's a lot of "follow the herd" going on here, where consulting firms tell colleges what to charge, and maybe the top 5% of income levels are not intimidated by price. Of course, that 5% includes the college president himself.

 

Interesting quote I found while researching Macalester (DD was interested in there at one point). The article talks about colleges offering so much merit aid that their net tuition revenue is flat, even given the rising sticker prices. Macalester is apparently trying to get out of that.

 

https://chronicle.com/article/Merit-Aid-Won-t-Help/146389/

 

The problem is many colleges don’t even know where to begin unwinding their merit-aid programs, because the plans were designed by consultants using sophisticated algorithms. "They could do something only to the extent they understand what’s going on," Rosenberg said.

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I have a friend who used to be a partner at one of the big consulting firms and his thing was HR.  He said that salary surveys led to average salary of those surveyed going up by a big notch.   He used as an example a salary survey of city managers in California.  One had never been done and the salaries were all over the map, and the variance didn't seem related to the size of the city.  When they did a followup one, every single salary less than the average was raised to above the previous surveys average.  When you think about it, everyone thinks that their employee is above average, otherwise they wouldn't be hired anymore.  So, everyone gave their employees above average salaries.  When, really, no matter how wonderful, half of the people are always below average.  

 

I wonder if the same thing is true of colleges?  None of them think that they are below average, so they all want to charge above average prices.  When they all do it, we consumers are stuck.  Because skipping college is a bit different than skipping restaurant meals.  

 

 

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I tend to agree that the real issue is that a normal college education costs too much.

 

I was working-class, but because my parents worked and the # of kids didn't matter for aid, I had to borrow most of my tuition (student loans).  But my entire undergrad only cost $10K at a non-wow state university.  My grad education at a private school was much more, but I did have cheaper choices.  (I chose the private grad school because I got a scholarship, but I ended up paying a lot more than I expected.)

 

In contrast, my kids won't qualify for any aid, unless some things change a lot between now and 2024.  I have some money saved, which is growing at less than 1% per year, but I don't know if it will get them through undergrad (at an ordinary school), let alone grad school.  I don't mind them having to work, but I don't think they should have to work a lot harder than everyone else just because I've worked and saved more than most.  And I think it's simply ironic that they probably won't have access to the best schools because I made what most would consider good choices.  And the fact that my kids are hard workers / high achievers will not make much of a difference.

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