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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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For now he works and pays state school tuition while living at home. He works and studies and works and studies. It's not terrible but it's a bit uninspiring. 

Just so frustrated for him- he is such a hard worker and feeling bad as he watches friend after friend leave for their cushy private school. 

 

I know it's hard not being able to offer what you would like to (my ds is doing the first 2 years at our CC because of cost--I will not be jealous that you have a state school close enough for him to live at home!) 

 

However, I think, in the long run, that your son will be better off than many who didn't have to work as hard during their college years. His work ethic will get him far in life. 

 

I worked my way through college (back when a student actually COULD do that and come out without loans!), and while I couldn't brag about a magna-cum-laude GPA (I had a respectable mid-3's though), I could point out that I worked my way through and was willing to work hard on my resume, and that often got me in the door and landed at least one of my jobs. There are a lot of students who come out of college not really knowing how to work hard, unfortunately. Some will work hard no matter what, of course (not trying to over-generalize!) Nevertheless...your student will have learned some valuable skills in this time that can't be learned in a classroom, and hopefully he'll come to treasure those.

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What does LAC stand for?

 

Liberal Arts Colleges are smaller schools that tend to focus on smaller class sizes and more interaction with profs, etc.  They also grant many of their degrees in the humanities.  Most do not offer majors like engineering, etc.  Some do research and some don't.  Those that do often don't have as much variety to offer due to their size, but you can get some nice specialty niches that match students well.  There are no grad students around, so undergrads get to do more things more easily.

 

Two of my three boys chose LACs as their best fit and are quite happy with their decisions.  Middle son chose a mid-sized Research U and is equally as happy, but the types of schools are definitely different.

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I know it's hard not being able to offer what you would like to (my ds is doing the first 2 years at our CC because of cost--I will not be jealous that you have a state school close enough for him to live at home!) 

 

However, I think, in the long run, that your son will be better off than many who didn't have to work as hard during their college years. His work ethic will get him far in life. 

 

I worked my way through college (back when a student actually COULD do that and come out without loans!), and while I couldn't brag about a magna-cum-laude GPA (I had a respectable mid-3's though), I could point out that I worked my way through and was willing to work hard on my resume, and that often got me in the door and landed at least one of my jobs. There are a lot of students who come out of college not really knowing how to work hard, unfortunately. Some will work hard no matter what, of course (not trying to over-generalize!) Nevertheless...your student will have learned some valuable skills in this time that can't be learned in a classroom, and hopefully he'll come to treasure those.

 

 

Me, too.  I remember my first real job.  It seemed so incredibly easy and quick.  I could leave work and do fun stuff.  I'd worked around 30 hours per week during school and got a 140 hour degree in 4 years.  

 

In a way, I think that the high price of college is taking that away from kids today.  Now if a student works through school their debt is merely a small amount less than it otherwise would be.  Not quite as motivating as bringing it down to zero.  

 

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We've made all of our kids work in high school as soon as they legally could and also in college. My youngest is working at our pool again this summer but is trying to find a different job. He's also filled out job applications for positions at his university. Work has taught them just as much as their academics.

 

I also worked and paid my way through college. Unfortunately, that is not possible at many universities today.

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