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Old 10-07-2008, 05:36 PM   #16
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honestly indy.. with the sig. that would be like if there was the internet back in the 50's someone having a "protect our schools - vote no to negros" sig.
Or rooting for the cops during Chicago '68.

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Old 10-16-2008, 11:01 PM   #17
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In Downturn, Families Strain to Pay Tuition

By JONATHAN D. GLATER
New York Times, October 16



In difficult dinner-table conversations, college students and their parents are revisiting how to pay tuition as personal finances weaken and lenders get tough.

Diana and Ronnie Jacobs, of Salem, Ind., thought their family had a workable plan for college for her twin sons, using a combination of savings, income, scholarship aid and a relatively modest amount of borrowing. Then her husband lost his job at Colgate-Palmolive. “It just seems like it’s really hard, because it is,” Ms. Jacobs, an information technology specialist, said of her financial situation. “I have two kids in college and I want to say ‘come home,’ but at the same time I want to provide them with a good education.” The Jacobs family may be a harbinger of what is to come. Ms. Jacobs pressed the schools’ financial offices for several thousand dollars more for each son’s final year of college, and each son increased his borrowing to the maximum amount through the federal loan program. So they at least will be able to finish at their respective colleges.

With the unemployment rate rising and a recession mentality gripping the country, financial aid administrators say they expect many more calls like the one from Ms. Jacobs. More families are applying for federal aid, and a recent survey found that an increasing portion of families expected to need student loans. College administrators worry that as fresh cracks appear in family finances, they will not have enough aid money to go around, given that their own endowment returns are disappointing, states are making cutbacks and fund-raising will become more difficult. “We are looking ahead and trying to be prepared for what might be coming,” said Jon Riester, associate dean of financial assistance at Hanover College, a private institution with about 1000 undergraduates, including Justin Keeton, one of Ms. Jacobs’s sons. “We’re looking internally at our own budgets to see what we may be able to do in terms of providing additional assistance to students under various situations.”

The concern is widespread, even though college officials say it’s too soon to quantify how many students will face a shortfall. Even at wealthy institutions, financial aid administrators have begun weighing contingency plans. “Part of the conversation that’s going on now in many institutions is, do we want to put a dollar figure on how much we are willing to extend ourselves,” said L. Katharine Harrington, dean of admission and financial aid at the University of Southern California. Ms. Harrington said she opposed setting a limit on aid, but added that the university’s pockets were not bottomless. “If we start seeing massive layoffs,” she added, “we may be in for a real bumpy ride.”

The credit crisis has made it harder for students and their parents to borrow, even as their needs grow and their savings accounts dwindle. In plenty of cases, students who had been borrowing on their own have had to ask parents—and in some cases, other relatives and friends—to help cover tuition or to cosign loans, both aid officials and lenders say.

Officials at most four-year colleges say that they have not seen rampant problems so far, because students have found alternatives. The financing for the fall semester was mostly in place many months ago, before the severity of the credit crisis and the economic downturn became apparent.

Others wonder privately whether there will a rebellion by parents about paying so much for education if the country’s economic distress is prolonged. A survey of nearly 3000 parents by Fidelity Investments released earlier this month found that 62% of parents planned to use student loans to help finance expenses, up from 53% last year.

Ms. Jacobs said that with a family income of more than $100,000 a year, they had been counting on some loans to help pay for college for her 21-year-old sons, Justin and Jacob Keeton. Tuition, room and board add up to just over $32,000 at Hanover College in Hanover, Ind., which Justin attends, and nearly $29,500 at Franklin College, in Franklin, Ind., which Jacob attends.

Then, in December, Colgate-Palmolive closed its Jeffersonville plant, where her husband worked. “I said, ‘This year the loans are going to have to be in your name, I’m not going to be able to pick up as much as I have before,’ ” Ms. Jacobs recalled. “They said they would be willing to put the student loans in their names and continue on. We all came to that consensus, but I hate it because I hate for them to come out of school with $20,000 in student loans,” Ms. Jacobs added. “To me that is so much money.” She also called the two colleges, and each contributed about $3000 more in aid, she said.

Financial aid administrators have been scrambling in a rapidly changing market, as many companies have decided that student loans are just not profitable enough. Many student loan providers, citing reduced profit margins and greater difficulty selling loans, have stopped making federally guaranteed loans, private loans or both.

Federal loans account for about three-quarters of student borrowing, and the government has assured that money will flow uninterrupted by agreeing to buy those loans, even if fewer companies are in the business. Federal loan volume is likely to grow this year; the number of applications for federal aid so far this year has risen to 13.5 million, up nearly 10% from 12.3 million a year earlier. Private lending, which helps families plug the gap between federal aid and the total cost of attendance, has been the fastest-growing segment over the last decade but has been undergoing rapid changes. Some of the biggest lenders, like Sallie Mae, have tightened their credit standards and raised their interest rates yet again in recent weeks. “The current financial markets provide no other choice,” Sallie Mae wrote to colleges last week. “When conditions improve, we hope to relax our underwriting criteria and serve more students.”

Tim Ranzetta, the founder of Student Lending Analytics, posted the lender’s letter on his blog, where he called it “extremely bad news for students.” Michaela Rice, now a sophomore at Plymouth State University, is one of the students who had to redesign her borrowing after she learned in the spring that a student loan she had taken out with her father as cosigner would evaporate because the lender was getting out of that business. A financial aid specialist at Plymouth State, which has about 4300 undergraduates in Plymouth, N.H., suggested the family switch to federal parent loans. That led Ms. Rice to ask her mother, who is divorced from her father, to take on $17,000 in debt. The new loan, called a Parent Plus loan, has a more flexible repayment options and a fixed 8.5% interest rate. But it also puts her mother at risk if Ms. Rice does not earn enough as a teacher to cover repayments.

“We haven’t really sat down and talked about how am I going to pay for it,” said Ms. Rice, 19. “My senior year we’ll probably sit down.” The subject touched on other sensitive issues—in this case, the question of how Ms. Rice’s biological father might continue to help pay for her college education and what her stepfather’s role should be. Ms. Rice’s mother, Judy Krahulec, remarried to an American Airlines pilot who already had children of his own, and she did not want to saddle him with debt for children who were not his. She and Ms. Rice hesitated over the parent loan.“If I sign papers, who am I really indebting? My husband,” Ms. Krahulec said. “That’s who I’m indebting. It’s not my loan, it’s his.”

“It would be in my mom’s name,” said Ms. Rice, who said she would repay her mother, “but it’s my stepdad’s money if anything went wrong.” Still, she was lucky, because not all students’ parents qualify for Plus loans. To satisfy companies that make private loans, more students have had to find cosigners.

Kiara S. Holiday, a sophomore this year at High Point University in High Point, N.C., learned just weeks before classes were to start that her mother had not qualified for a Plus loan. “It threw me for a loop,” said Ms. Holiday, who is 19. “Person after person, they just denied, like my mother, my aunts.” Ms. Holiday said she investigated the options. But even taking advantage of larger maximum federal Stafford loan amounts available to students whose parents are denied Plus loans, she did not have enough to cover about $31,000 in tuition, room and board at High Point. So she called her great-grandmother, an octogenarian in Boston. Ms. Holiday, who wants to go to medical school and become an immunologist in a laboratory, said that despite the poor economy, she was not worried about being able to pay her debts after graduation. “I’m pretty sure something will work out for me,” Ms. Holiday said.
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:10 AM   #18
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After having been in school for thirteen years (Germany now dropped one year when you aim for the highest degree possible, so now it's only twelve years) it was a great idea to take a break from education and doing something else for a year. So I did some work and travel in Australia, after having worked for a couple of months between graduation and the trip. That, of course, also helped my language skills a bit.
It gives you another perspective and I think you can see a difference in the people that have done something else, like work and travel, and those who went to college right after.
Now being in dorms with some 18, 19 year old freshmen here in the US, I would say for some of those "kids" it would be a great experience, and a great boost in their development, if they went out for a while and experienced some of the challenges of life. They are no adults at all.
Unfortunately, those who do something outside their education career before entering into college tend to be the more matured.
Ok, I see the point that spending a year abroad could be very helpful for your personal development but however I'm a bit insecure about this work and travel thing. You 'waste' one year, cause you don't have a modest job. I don't think you will have advantages when applying for a job after college. I mean your competitors went to college right after highschool, while you're were working on a farm in Australia etc...
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Old 10-17-2008, 06:20 PM   #19
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I'm not wasting anything. I'm making a great experience in my life. I'm doing what I always wanted to do, visiting Australia.
And by planning my life, I'm not going after what might look great on my CV or what employers want to see. First and foremost I do what I see is best for myself. My life is not a career laid out and not planned in a way to please everyone else.
Fruit picking certainly is the main employer for work and travellers. However, under the Working Holiday Maker visa you can do whatever job you want. Many do waiting in the cities, for example. I've met some Irish girls and the one was working for a firm in Brisbane in the accounting department as she was a trained accountant. Others were car mechanics and hence worked for a car mechanic (and the owner put out a sign "German car mechanics" ). In Melbourne, I worked indirectly for World Vision, going from door to door in the suburbs asking people if they would be willing to support a child.
My language skills have certainly greatly improved while being there, making my studies in English much easier.

But the real point is, employers do very much value things like work and travel and many do see that as an advantage over someone who goes directly from school into college into a career. They see that you are willing to throw your self into another country and another culture (Australia of course is not as much another culture as is China or Kenya, but still there is considerable differences) and try to make a living there. They see you are open for challenges and new experiences. They value it as a great "soft skill".
I do not agree, from all what I have heard, that employers prefer those who have gone directly into college over those who have done something out of the ordinary. To the contrary, it is mostly encouraged to do things that give you a new perspective, a new experience and challenge you to make something not as "sheltered" as the usual educational career. Hence, the advantage is rather with those who were working on the farm in Australia instead of going to college right after high school.
Of course, other employers, on the other hand, might rather think the other way, but most of them do not.

And the most important aspect I think, don't spend your life doing what you think might be best for your CV, do what you see is best for yourself. When I planned my work and travel trip I've met many people in their late 20s and older saying, "Oh wow, I always wanted to do that but then I entered into an apprenticeship/college/career and now I cannot do that anymore."
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:32 AM   #20
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But the real point is, employers do very much value things like work and travel and many do see that as an advantage over someone who goes directly from school into college into a career. They see that you are willing to throw your self into another country and another culture (Australia of course is not as much another culture as is China or Kenya, but still there is considerable differences) and try to make a living there. They see you are open for challenges and new experiences. They value it as a great "soft skill".
I do not agree, from all what I have heard, that employers prefer those who have gone directly into college over those who have done something out of the ordinary. To the contrary, it is mostly encouraged to do things that give you a new perspective, a new experience and challenge you to make something not as "sheltered" as the usual educational career. Hence, the advantage is rather with those who were working on the farm in Australia instead of going to college right after high school.
Of course, other employers, on the other hand, might rather think the other way, but most of them do not.
I once got a job as a receptionist in a hotel because I was already in college and the other girl didn't get it cause she just came back from Australia and she wasn't sure what she was going to do next.... I think it depends on the job you're applying for.
But sure, it would be very nice if it's true what you're saying.
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:56 AM   #21
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Meanwhile, my graduating college class cannot find jobs, and the ones who have gotten them are starting to lose them to layoffs because they are the newest employees. 08!
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Old 10-18-2008, 08:57 AM   #22
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I once got a job as a receptionist in a hotel because I was already in college and the other girl didn't get it cause she just came back from Australia and she wasn't sure what she was going to do next.... I think it depends on the job you're applying for.
But sure, it would be very nice if it's true what you're saying.
But for more substantive jobs, international experience and foreign language acquisition can be extremely valuable.

And American colleges, or at least the good ones, really do value what you can learn in a gap year.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:02 AM   #23
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Is there too much emphasis on college in the US? Even the $55,000 costs listed in the original article are exorbitant, let alone over 3 times that for the Uni of Pennsylvania. It is excessive and frightening that parents and students are facing those kinds of fees to get a degree. And this is a degree that may or may not even see you get a job? Or one you actually keep for a worthwhile amount of time? I started a thread in Lem Stand last week on whether people work in the field they studied, and it surprised me how many were not. Certain degrees are professional, but even they're not a guarantee. What if you get bored? You've wasted years and the price of a modest house on this career change. So much pressure. How many 17 year olds really know what they want to do with their lives? It seems from the outside that each option is not the most ideal.
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Old 10-18-2008, 02:10 PM   #24
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I once got a job as a receptionist in a hotel because I was already in college and the other girl didn't get it cause she just came back from Australia and she wasn't sure what she was going to do next.... I think it depends on the job you're applying for.
But sure, it would be very nice if it's true what you're saying.
Exceptions prove the rule. Don't know why the hotel found it necessary for one to be in college for the job as receptionist, but maybe the other girl had troubles because she wasn't sure what to do next.
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:38 PM   #25
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Is there too much emphasis on college in the US? Even the $55,000 costs listed in the original article are exorbitant, let alone over 3 times that for the Uni of Pennsylvania. It is excessive and frightening that parents and students are facing those kinds of fees to get a degree. And this is a degree that may or may not even see you get a job? Or one you actually keep for a worthwhile amount of time? I started a thread in Lem Stand last week on whether people work in the field they studied, and it surprised me how many were not. Certain degrees are professional, but even they're not a guarantee. What if you get bored? You've wasted years and the price of a modest house on this career change. So much pressure. How many 17 year olds really know what they want to do with their lives? It seems from the outside that each option is not the most ideal.
Honestly, yes, that much emphasis is placed on going to college here. Looking at it from my point of view, as someone in my undergraduate studies, I think that the college degree has become the new high school degree here. It's ridiculously easy to get into many colleges in the U.S., which is nice, in the fact that everyone gets the opportunity to go to universities, but at the same time, I'm conflicted about it. I just see so many people at my university, which is one of the 5 largest in the nation, who are wasting their time here, floating on through the years until they graduate. I mean, they don't study, don't take their education seriously at all...it's kind of ridiculous. But, I digress.

As for your last question, I came to college at 17 thinking I was going to be a doctor, then changed my mind three more times before coming to a decision this year. I had no idea what I really wanted to do at first, but at colleges here, they stress the fact that it's okay to take a year or two to figure out what you want to do. It's a weird situation, to say the least.
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Old 10-18-2008, 04:03 PM   #26
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Yeah the beauty of American schools is that you don't have to choose your major/degree field immediately, and you can change your mind.
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Old 10-18-2008, 04:28 PM   #27
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I know there are many people who will disagree with me, but these days a BA or BS alone (unless it's in something like engineering) is pretty useless. You will of course always find exceptions in certain areas, especially technical areas, but for the most part these degrees will not enable you to really do much. And that is partly because most people out there are pushing forward with grad degrees or professional degrees and that turns everything into a vicious cycle.

Also with today's job situation and outsourcing and the global markets, the only somewhat secure jobs are ones that (a) must be performed by actual, real people and (b) require licences to practice.
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:20 PM   #28
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^This is so true. Sad, but true.
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:42 PM   #29
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Yup I'll be getting a masters some time in this decade of my life.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:36 PM   #30
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As for your last question, I came to college at 17 thinking I was going to be a doctor, then changed my mind three more times before coming to a decision this year. I had no idea what I really wanted to do at first, but at colleges here, they stress the fact that it's okay to take a year or two to figure out what you want to do. It's a weird situation, to say the least.
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Yeah the beauty of American schools is that you don't have to choose your major/degree field immediately, and you can change your mind.
Isn't this an awfully costly way of making such a decision? As long as you're there, you're blowing really substantial amounts of money on a year or 2 that is not going to achieve anything for your long term goals. I don't like to ever think of any education as a waste but there is a line, surely, when you're talking of 10's of thousands of dollars in school fees, living costs, etc.
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