The cost of a college education

david52 Zone 6October 19, 2012

Yesterday on the PBS newshour, there was a segment on the increasing cost of a college education and the subsequent increase in the number and amount of loans. They then had a discussion between some guys from the Cato Institute (Libertarian/Conservative) and the American Council on Education, representing universities.

The Conservative guy figured the way to drive down costs was to get the gvt out of giving student loans and limit Pell grants, on the theory that if there is less money available, the schools will be forced to lower prices.

The other guy argued strongly that schools don't care where the money comes from and that the main reason that tuition and costs are rising is because the states are no longer funding the state schools at the levels they have in the past, in fact continuing to cut. So the schools bump up the tuition.

Thats certainly the case here in Colorado.

Romney apparently started off with the idea of restricting Pell Grants and loans as a way to drive down costs, but then changed his mind and said in the debate that he had no intention of going after Pell Grants, so nobody really knows where he stands. The two commentators put this more politely. The Ryan budget does limit them.

Obama's move to take the gvt guaranteed money and loans away from the private banks and make the loans directly from the Gvt allowed some 6 billion more to go into loans and not private profits, a move I applaud.

This issue is about state universities and a traditional education, not the for-profit colleges where I see a massive abuse / ripoff and nearly all the loan defaults occur.

Anyway, I thought it interesting the two radically different concepts. Talk about a choice this election

Transcript/video of the PBS newshour segment at the link

Here is a link that might be useful: linky

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I'm glad my son had the foresight to enter an occupation that was in demand and offered a lot. Getting there was a lot more costly than he or any of us could have imagined, but our low income was a blessing in disguise, allowing him the opportunity to obtain more in grant money and lower interest on any loans. It still cost a small fortune to attend a better school, and he had to maintain a solid packed schedule of work and study to afford it all. It's over and done with, though, and the loans paid.

It can be done, but it's exceedingly difficult, and you can't your eye off the ball for a second. Luckily, that's the kind of kid he is. Not everyone is the same, though.

I think it would be a huge mistake to take away money in grants or low interest on loans for students. Without that kind of tuition help, a lot of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds will not be able to make it.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:25AM
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I encourage my kids to go state colleges for the savings. We have some excellent schools in Georgia so they are not shorting themselves in any way to choose public.

The lottery funded HOPE scholarship helps with tuition if they maintain good grades. You still have to pay for room and board if you choose to live on campus.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:30AM
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david52 Zone 6

Average cost to attend one year of Colorado University - instate: $28,000, out-of-state:$49,900.

Now out of that, 40% of the undergraduates get some kind of aid, averaging $12,700, leaving - speaking average for instate, some $16,000 to make up with part-time work and loans.

60% pay the full $28,000.

It gets worse every year.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:37AM
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I guess in-state here (if you live on campus and get the full meal plan) is about $4400 for tuition and $10K for room and board. So $14,400 per year. HOPE scholarship with 3.7 GPA would bring that down to $10K. If your GPA is less than 3.7, HOPE slides down - I think my son is at 90% funding with a 3.5 GPA.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:41AM
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Esh, I wish my son could have gotten the same education with the same prestige afforded him by the private college he chose. He'd still have gotten a decent education, but he'd never have gotten so far so fast in the world of business once graduated. There IS something to be said for choosing the best school catering to the profession you're hoping to go into. His degree holds more water because of the school he attended. It's a shame, but there it is.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Georgia Tech is a public school and graduates are eagerly snapped up. My daughter is applying there.

SmartMoney has come out with its "bang for the buck" rankings of American colleges and universities by looking at tuition costs and median salaries of graduates from the institutions. The Georgia Institute of Technology is ranked No. 1 in the nation. The University of Georgia is ranked No. 4. Recent graduates from Georgia Tech have a median salary of $59,000, while 1997 (or thereabouts) graduates earn a median salary of $102,000. For UGA, the corresponding figures are $41,000 and $79,200.

Here is a link that might be useful: Georgia colleges

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:04AM
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I'm not saddled with children just a massive octopus of a University that has been consuming Greenwhich Village for years and now wants to nearly double it's size again.
Most of the Faculty have come out against the move as the University does not have the means of paying for its expansion & it is assumed it will make that up by tuition increases.
Tuition alone now average $45 to $50 thousand per year!

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:12AM
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In So Cal the cost of college is soaring. A problem here is that we get out of state or out of country kids coming in willing to pay the higher cost~~so our kids have to stay in school longer because they can not get the classes they need to move on. Which means they have to get more loans to stay in school to take classes they really do not need just to stay on the list to get the classes if and when they can. You can not prove it I am sure but the 'outsiders' get priority.

We have a school district here that is going to charge $10,000 for Foriegn Exchange students to come here for a year of high school~~~they say it will add $$ to their school budgets~~~I am sure it was not that way in the past??

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:13AM
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david52 Zone 6

Thats another phenomenon here, where due to the massive cuts in state support, some of the specialized public universities cut back on the faculty - so if you're after an engineering degree, you need to take such-and-such courses, but they're full so you have to stick around another semester or an entire year to get in them and graduate.

Sort of meshes a bit with the thread that I started the other day re online courses offered by 'quality' schools. You'd think some of these basic courses could be done online and at home, cut that portion of physical infrastructure at the schools, then have the schools actual, on-campus stuff focus on science lab work, field exercises, and the sort of teaching that can't be done properly online.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:24AM
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david52 Zone 6

Labrea, continually expanding universities is another aspect of this - somebody has to pay for all that new stuff. The PBS program pointed out that schools actually compete for students - particularly those that pay full fare - and they have a choice - go to one with spiffy new gyms and climbing walls, brand new dorms and so on, or some old dusty place. And somebody has to pay for all this.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:27AM
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Education shouldn't cost so much, regardless the kind of school. The prices college students are forced to pay today are outrageous!

Some public schools are excellent ones... it all depends on their curriculum and teachers, I would guess, and how well educated in certain fields their graduating students are.

I don't know what Georgia Tech is known for, so I can't speak to what occupations its students go into once graduating, but my son wanted a school that specialized in Pharmacology, and graduated and placed students in jobs that required higher learning and compensated with decent pay, benefits, and opportunity. He's only been out of college for about a year, and he's already been promoted to his own store in one of the most well known corporations catering to pharmaceutical needs. He also floats and manages other stores. He can also use his education to go on within other areas of the same field. So, prestige and specialty do carry some weight.

Georgia Tech is probably known for teaching toward specific fields... though I have no idea what those might be. What does your daughter want to go into, Esh?

Students have to think about what area of life they want to go into, and attend a school known for high education and good placement or recruiting into those fields. Many times, one needs a specific degree, or to have excelled in specific areas of learning.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:32AM
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Yes, Georgia Tech is an engineering school. She wants to go into Medical with a bachelors in engineering. I believe UGA is the college for Pharmacology in Georgia.

I do feel very lucky to have these schools in Georgia. I know we are fortunate.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:38AM
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david52 Zone 6

Got this from my daughter who's in grad school.....

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Excellent, Esh... I hope she can achieve her dream. :-)

In our neck of the woods, Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa is considered one of the most reputable, respected schools for Pharmacology and health related sciences. It is a private college, and it's been around for a very long time.

We were actually a little taken aback by the small size of the graduating class our son was a part of. There were no more than 20 or so students who graduated with a degree in Pharmacology. It's said that within the first year, over half will drop out, unable to cut the amount and level of learning required. What begins as a full roster quickly recedes into about 20 or so kids, most of whom will go on to graduate.

We were also taken aback by the cost of such higher learning! Flat out, though, if it weren't for grant money, scholarships, and other funding he received, and the low interest student loans, he'd never have been able to attend or graduate such a great school, and move right into a very excellent position in the working world.

Most of the students had already been chosen, were interning, and had already negotiated contracts with the corporations they'd eventually work for, well before graduating. And, while the funding helped immensely, it was also the intelligence and hard work of my son that got him where he is today. We're very proud of him, as I'm sure you can imagine! :-)

Without access to grants and other forms of monetary help, though, a lot of potential students, and thus potential graduates and professionals, will fall through society's cracks. These are things we need to help with as a society that expects great things from our future generations.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Wow, Colorado is expensive. MA state colleges average 18-20k for live-in. Add to that the fact that most likely it is easier to earn those dollars in MA vs CO.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Yes, CO is very expensive. Last time I checked Rutgers (NJ state college) it was about $18k per year. I'm sure it's more now, but I doubt it's as high as CO.

Jodi - your son is the perfect example of why we need help for lower income people to go to college. As I've said before, my brother and I are also good examples. No way could we have afforded college (and my brother's medical school) without financial aid, scholarships, grants, work-study programs and low interest student loans.

I do not believe for a second that Romney will not cut aid and pell grants and anything else he can get his hands on. He doesn't want to say it because he knows it will make a lot of people angry enough to not vote for him. But, doing exactly that is in Ryan's budget and I don't doubt he will go along with it if elected. As he said, just borrow money from your parents to go to college. Well, that would not have worked for me or my brother, and doesn't sound like it would have worked for Jodi's son either.

So, instead of us having low income jobs because we couldn't go to college, we have some pretty good paying jobs that allows us to pay more taxes and contribute more to society. How that is a bad thing, I will never understand. The Republican party is very penny wise and pound foolish.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:53PM
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One of the reasons I have absolutely no problem with very wealthy people per se is that they give a lot of money to scholarships. Without them, my son would NEVER have been able to afford a nearly free 4 year ride at the University of Chicago, approx. $46,000 a year! When he went in, 80% of the graduates were employed before they graduated, when he came out, 20% had jobs. He paid off his small student loan within 3 years and is now debt free at 25. He worked all through his studies.
My eldest went to a smaller college, the New England Culinary Institute, and came out with a BA as a chef. His school cost about $24,000 a year, and will be paying them off for the next decade at least. He is 28, a head chef in Sweden, and has what amounts to a heavy mortgage. He also worked throughout his studies. Their father and I could never, never have helped them with any of it.
It was Pell grants, loans and other financial help from state and federal programs that allowed my sons to get a college education.
Anybody who thinks that reducing these programs will (through "free market" economic theory) lower university tuition is fooling themselves. Tuition costs have little to do with the real price of what it takes to run a university, which is why wealthy donors, etc must step up to the plate, which they do to their great credit. Removing grants/loans to students will only make damn sure that only the already wealthy can get a higher education.

Once again, the USA is not a corporation, and should not be run as one. Period.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 3:53PM
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david52 Zone 6

Colorado has some combination of state constitutional amendments involving budgeting that in practical terms, the only meaningful thing they can effectively cut - year after year - is the share of state support to state universities. So with less money from the state, the schools cut more courses - see above - and bump up tuition and fees.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 4:22PM
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When you are facing a heavy load of school / college fee, You must think about the student financing. The Pell Grants, Student Loan and Student Financial Aids programs can help you to pay your school / college dues. You must get a student loan by submitting an application through your school to the federal government.
In this way you will be able to complete your eduction without having any tension.

Here is a link that might be useful: Student Loan

    Bookmark   May 18, 2013 at 5:11PM
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Why are these colleges allowed to get away with the outrageous salaries being paid to the college President and most of the faculty?..Outrageous.. the best thing that could happen is enrollment drops for a couple of years. You are not getting your monies worth for the most part.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:12PM
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"Columbia University is seeking to alter the 1920 charter of one of its graduate school fellowships which is still limited "to persons of the Caucasian race," though the fellowship has not been granted in years."

Although this had unusual, to say the least, restrictions up until it was last awarded in 1997... I wonder if it's the Caucasian only part that suddenly hurled this into the news.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fairest state of all the West Iowa O Iowa

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 1:33PM
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david52 Zone 6

At the link is a table with all the salaries of professors around the country - I don't find it too outrageous given that full professors have PhD's and all - in fact, looks to me that an awful lot of assistant professors and other instructors, who also have PhD's, aren't getting paid that much at all - compared, to, a licensed electrician or plumber.

College/University presidents have salaries that vary all over the map.

The big money, of course, is with football and basketball coaches.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to professor salaries

    Bookmark   May 19, 2013 at 4:46PM
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Government should crack down on how much greedy professors and universities get paid. Some are getting rich off of out of control education costs and nobody is doing anything to stop it.

Why hasn't government set up education panels to help us spend our education dollars wisely? Those panels could ensure our education dollars don't get wasted on the wrong people like they are now.

The president already warned that government may deny certain medical treatments to otherwise well functioning elderly adults. That kind of thinking makes perfect sense applied to education. Think of all the benefits to society if the same government set to deny pacemakers due to age, could deny education benefits due to IQ!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 1:47PM
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david52 Zone 6

Why hasn't government set up education panels to help us spend our education dollars wisely? Those panels could ensure our education dollars don't get wasted on the wrong people like they are now.

They have, actually, set up a website where you can look at the cost of any college and see the graduation rate, the loan default rate, and so on. See link

The Obama admin tried, unsuccessfully, to pull Federal loans from the worst schools, the scam/blatant rip-offs like DeVreys etc. However, some activist judge squashed that - so our tax dollars continue to pour into these near-worthless outfits whose business model depends on cashing in student loans asap.

As for medical costs, did you see how the Gvt, through the new openness of Obamacare, allows patients to compare costs at hospitals for the same procedures? Amazing, I thought, that some hospitals charge 20 times more for the same thing.

So now you can use your personal responsibility and chose wisely. Isn't having more information on consumer choices a wonderful thing?

Here is a link that might be useful: link

This post was edited by david52 on Mon, May 20, 13 at 14:41

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 2:40PM
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David, I wonder what percentage of the population is aware that such information is available. We normally think of parents as teachers of their children. But in this case maybe children should be taught in school how to find and use these resources so they can then show their parents.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 3:01PM
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"As for medical costs, did you see how the Gvt, through the new openness of Obamacare, allows patients to compare costs at hospitals for the same procedures? Amazing, I thought, that some hospitals charge 20 times more for the same thing."

No, David, I don't see the "new openness of Obamacare." I see naive grown ups praising a freaking government website that could have been set up without spending a dime on Obamacare.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 6:53PM
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david52 Zone 6

But .... that information - what different hospitals charge Medicare for the same procedure, wasn't available until Obamacare collected it, collated it, and made it available to consumers.

Nik, where do you get your health insurance from, if you don't mind my asking?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2013 at 7:06PM
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I have noticed a trend where as a State University will accept more out of state applicants because they can charge higher tuition. As far as paying tuition for my 3 sons, well, we are still in our starter home 32 years later.....

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 8:05PM
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