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Old 02-22-2007, 02:20 AM   #46
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I'm in my 3rd of 4 (maybe 4.5) years of my Bachelor of Arts degree.

I am now at $25,000 debt. By the end of this degree, I will be at $35,000 - the maximum my student line of credit will allow.

I'm currently paying about $160 a month just in interest on my Line of Credit. I have one year after I graduate, and then I will start paying back the principle, and looking at payments of $300 or more every month, just for my student loan.

On top of that, I will be getting a two-year vocational diploma in Audio Engineering after I finish with this degree. That will cost me an extra $10,000 - which I have no idea how I will pay for.

My parents have been generous, to varying degrees. My mother set up a mutual fund when I was born for college money. By the time I used it in first year (my first year was debt-free, that $25,000 has just been the past year and a half) it had about $4,000 sitting in it. I am terrible with money, so I really had nothing substantial saved myself, but luckily my mom and stepdad have agreed to pay for 2nd term tuition every year, but my loan is paying for books, rent, 1st term tuition, groceries, and admittedly I have been using a LOT of it, until recently, as spending money, not realizing what kind of hole I was digging myself into. My dad and stepmom give me a $1000 cheque every term, which is extraordinarily little compared to my mother (who makes about half of what my stepmom just by herself does), but they think it's generous so I'm not really willing to ask them for any more since I know what the answer will be.

Long story short, I look to be about $50,000 in debt by the time I am done school. Before I ever start a career, two full years' salary will be going right back to the bank.

I'll probably be living in my parents' house until I'm 25, since I won't be able to afford my student loan payments on top of rent.

But it's the only way I can avoid working at McDonald's for the rest of my life.
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Old 02-22-2007, 06:48 AM   #47
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Originally posted by Liesje


I'm not sure if this is true for all, but my school basically goes by taxes. If you are a "dependent", then you MUST go by the parent's tax information. My parents and I got into a big fight Jr. and Sr. years because they still wanted to claim me, but I wanted to claim myself so I'd get more taxes back and more aid. If you file as an independent and your parents aren't claiming you, they can't force you to provide any financial info for your parents. I ended up losing the fight w/ my dad b/c I needed him to co-sign my CitiAssist Loans. In return, I let him continue claiming me on his taxes, even though it meant less aid and a smaller tax return for me.
It has been so long since I had to worry about it. It had to do with taxes. The college if I remember correctly, said I had to be out on my own not claimed as a dependant for X amount of time befoer I could file FAF on my own.
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Old 02-22-2007, 08:54 AM   #48
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Originally posted by yolland
^ That's an idea I've heard floated many many times, including by myself, from academics who are distressed by all the financial stresses we watch our students struggle and sometimes collapse under. And also because we find the idea of such tradeoffs very appealing (contrary to our apparent smash-the-idols reputation, academics in general and perhaps social scientists in particular tend to be suckers for civic virtue cultivation regimens , even if much of our research deals in problematizing and critiquing). In a recent post I sketched out some reasons why tuitions have increased so much over the last several decades; the modern research university is a dauntingly complex animal financially, and there will be no easy answers to bringing those costs down.
Excellent post as always, Yolland. It makes me curious though. Why do universities spend so much of their own money on research? I guess I always thought this money came from grants. (I admit, I know nothing about this process - that's why I'm asking.)

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However, we're also very jaded at this point (especially those of us at public colleges) from years of watching our shares of state budgets keep shrinking and shrinking. It is very hard to be optimistic about any approach that assumes the government will willingly foot the bill. It is also very hard to be optimistic that service to organizations like Peace Corps or Red Cross would ever be rewarded that generously.
I imagine it must be very frustrating to see your funding get cut more and more every year. Why do you think this is happening? Oviously those that hold the purse strings are accountable to the people - therefore, it seems it is something the people want. Is this true? or is it another case where legislators vote for something and then refuse to fund it?

I am still optimistic mandatory service would work. At least it would work better than having nothing.

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As far as the general topic of the sacrifices various posters in here have made to get themselves through college...I suppose it is fair to say that most of us feel we got something worthwhile out of them, whether that's the discipline of military service or knowledge of a trade. In my case I wound up getting 5 years of retail management out of it and that has proved helpful to me in all kinds of ways, probably will even more so if I seek academic administrative positions in the future. However, all in all, I would rather not have had to spend thousands and thousands of hours in which I was already exhausted from TAing (did that too) and my studies to earn that experience. A couple thousand would have sufficed! And I did miss out on many excellent research opportunities, conferences, and socialization time, which is all part of the experience...sad to say, unlike most of my colleagues, I'm in touch with hardly anyone from my college or grad years nowadays, in fact I can barely remember most of them, because I never had time to go out for a beer or join the impromptu roadtrips for Mardi Gras or St. Paddy's or just kick around the dorm self-indulgently speculating about the perfect theory to explain life, the universe and everything that you're always certain lies just around the corner when you're that age. No one needs to binge drink or attend a football game every weekend, but I would prefer my kids not miss out on all that as totally as I did. Above all, I wouldn't want them to repeat my experience and still have mountains more debt than I wound up with anyway.

I too expect to be all paid off within the year Dread. [/B]
We had very similar college experiences. I waited tables most of my way through college after a few years of active duty military experience. (the GI Bill truly is a wonderful deal). I think waiting tables improved my intrapersonal skills (okay, stop laughing), but I do want my children to focus more on school and have some of the "fun" that is part of the normal college experience. Trying to figure out the meaning of it all with a group of friends over a fooseball table does have some value at the age of 20.

btw - I'm still paying...at least the interest is low...
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Old 02-22-2007, 09:59 AM   #49
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Originally posted by AEON


I think public universities should be free in exchange for two years of full-time service to the state or federal goverment (could be military, peace corps, Red Cross...etc).

I said in another thread 2 year service should be mandatory. I think paying for a public university or a scholarship of equal dollar value to a private university would be a fair exchange and would be very beneficial to our society.
I absolutely hate this idea.

"Mandatory volunteering" is a complete oxymoron. People who don't really want to be there aren't going to benefit and the programs won't either.

And it's no better than Communism, where we were forced to join the military for a year or forced to go pick apples in orchards in the summers. Horrible system, inefficient, and it is completely contrary to human nature, which is competitive. People should be allowed to follow the path they want to, not the path that's been legislated for them.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:40 AM   #50
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I am strongly opposed to any type of service being mandatory, but I'm highly in favor of rewarding volunteer service with educational benefits. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, all the help I got was about $4,000 to help get me back on my feet and 15% of my Federal Perkins Loan cancelled. When you consider that the Perkins loan has the lowest interest of ANY of my loans and that 15% is peanuts...well, one certainly doesn't volunteer for Peace Corps for the money. That said, sacrificing two years of your life to go live in hard conditions and serve your country seems like it should be worth something to the government. Why is there no equivalent to the GI bill for Peace Corps?
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:43 AM   #51
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
Why is there no equivalent to the GI bill for Peace Corps?
I think that's a good question.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:44 PM   #52
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
but I'm highly in favor of rewarding volunteer service with educational benefits.
So am I.

And I received one of my scholarships for precisely that type of service. But I elected to do it because I wanted to and because I believed in the organization's value, not because some legislator told me to.

Not only do I disagree with mandatory volunteering, but 2 years is a long time to be forced into anything. The only time I had to do mandatory volunteer work was in high school, since I went to a Catholic school. And there, you could be excused from taking religion class in lieu of a certain number of community service hours, which frankly I thought was a fantastic idea.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:49 PM   #53
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
I am strongly opposed to any type of service being mandatory, but I'm highly in favor of rewarding volunteer service with educational benefits. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, all the help I got was about $4,000 to help get me back on my feet and 15% of my Federal Perkins Loan cancelled. When you consider that the Perkins loan has the lowest interest of ANY of my loans and that 15% is peanuts...well, one certainly doesn't volunteer for Peace Corps for the money. That said, sacrificing two years of your life to go live in hard conditions and serve your country seems like it should be worth something to the government. Why is there no equivalent to the GI bill for Peace Corps?


Why is there no equivalent? I think it reflects our society's priorities. That's all I'll say for now, for anything more would derail this thread.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:51 PM   #54
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Originally posted by sulawesigirl4
I am strongly opposed to any type of service being mandatory, but I'm highly in favor of rewarding volunteer service with educational benefits. As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, all the help I got was about $4,000 to help get me back on my feet and 15% of my Federal Perkins Loan cancelled. When you consider that the Perkins loan has the lowest interest of ANY of my loans and that 15% is peanuts...well, one certainly doesn't volunteer for Peace Corps for the money. That said, sacrificing two years of your life to go live in hard conditions and serve your country seems like it should be worth something to the government. Why is there no equivalent to the GI bill for Peace Corps?
Recently a few more colleges have stepped in and announced they are providing financial aid to americorps alumns (probably peacecorps too). It isn't anywhere near the GI Bill though. Baby steps I guess. But you're right, not that I expect petals to be thrown at my feet everywhere I go, but with all this talk this country does about supporting service men and women, that word service is very limited to a particular kind of service...and I think sometimes our volunteerism gets overlooked. Like I said, I didn't serve to expect rewards...but it is rather hypocrital of some people to not offer us benefits after all their talk.
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Old 02-22-2007, 04:51 PM   #55
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar




Why is there no equivalent? I think it reflects our society's priorities. That's all I'll say for now, for anything more would derail this thread.
you did it again!
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Old 02-22-2007, 05:55 PM   #56
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Originally posted by AEON
Why do universities spend so much of their own money on research? I guess I always thought this money came from grants. (I admit, I know nothing about this process - that's why I'm asking.)
Hmm, well I'm afraid in this case I don't have any hard data at hand on what proportions of grant funding come from which sources, on average. However, I can say with certainty that plenty of it does indeed come from a university's own revenue stream (basically, tuition + endowment + donations); overall, about half my own research grants have, I'd say. Basically the reason for this is that there's simply too much money needed for any one source to cover it all. In some fields, most notably the hard sciences, government and private grants are more readily available than others, most notably the humanities. Yet humanities professors are required to research and publish regularly just like any others; my research, for example, requires at least occasional trips to India, and there's no way I can pay for that myself. Also, if a university is founding some new initiative--say, a center for the study of ethics and public policy--chances are they're going to need to foot much of the bill for it themselves, because there won't be enough outside funding available.
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I imagine it must be very frustrating to see your funding get cut more and more every year. Why do you think this is happening? Oviously those that hold the purse strings are accountable to the people - therefore, it seems it is something the people want. Is this true? or is it another case where legislators vote for something and then refuse to fund it?
This is really a question that would have to be answered on a state-by-state basis, and I'm not qualified to do that. I don't know how it is in California, but out here at least, higher education funding plays hardly any role in political campaigns, so "the people want it" would be unwarranted because there's really no substantial public discussion about it. I *suspect* that may change if public college tuitions continue to rise as steeply as they have the past few years, but for the time being that's just the way it is. In most cases the trend towards drastically scaling back higher education budgets began in the 90s, in response to recessions and growing state budget deficits. At that time there was a clear trend of higher education being cut more steeply than other public services; couldn't say for sure that that's still the case, but I'm guessing it is. Certainly those deficits continue to be a major problem for most states. Most state colleges held off on steep tuition increases for as long as they could, often by ill-advised measures like lowering admissions standards in order to raise enrollments, which predictably backfired by resulting in lower graduation and slower matriculation rates, which we then got blamed for...not to mention that more students means more faculty and staff and more facilities, so that's always a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of proposition. Now the trend is to raise in-state tuitions, really really really raise out-of-state-tuitions, and at the same time try harder to attract both better students (including out-of-state ones) and more outside grants and corporate investment by investing even more in research ("look at all the prestigious cutting-edge stuff our faculty are doing!").

These solutions come at a price; they reduce emphasis on teaching and students which presumably is what ought to be the focus, and they arguably raise the likelihood of inefficient fiscal management because the money is flowing in from so many different sources, each of which has to be answered to separately. To be fair, there's probably no way most states could afford to wholly cover all these costs on their own; they simply don't have the tax base for it, and of course brain drain is a big fear too. Still, collectively resigning ourselves to apathy over the situation is only likely to result in increasingly rising public college tuitions over time.
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Old 02-22-2007, 07:22 PM   #57
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Ha, I wonder what my dad would say if I floated the idea of declaring myself an independant. He's not paying for any of it. The thing is my parents do have a substantial income, they're just terrible at managing money and are still paying off years and years of mistakes and general fucked up shit. So I have a feeling based on income I won't qualify for a ton of need-based aid even if I'm not getting a cent from them.

I'm pretty sure I could get into some pretty good schools but I'll most likely go in-state. The HOPE scholarship program in Georgia is a pretty good deal, covers full tuition for maintaining a 3.0. GT is a really good school I suppose. I see myself going to grad/professional school so I know it's pointless to blow a ton of cash getting a crazy expensive undergrad degree. Still it's frustrating to imagine another 4 years in this city when I really think I could get accepted to some of my dream schools. I'm a bit jealous of people with the same qualifications who can just have their parents foot the bill.

Seeing my parents experiences, I'm terrified of ever being in any debt so I'm sure I'll do the practical thing.

It's just amazing to me that schools can really charge upwards of $40k.
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:08 PM   #58
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This is a very interesting thread with many highly insightful comments. I have always believed one of the most regrettable implications of high tuition costs to be that students coming into college with little or no exposure to various career options must choose a major very quickly. Otherwise, they are forced to assume increasing amounts of debt; any time spent working towards a specific major can lead to thousands in extra debt if that particular path falls through. I personally have seen several people simply pick a major out of desparation, without any degree of personal conviction towards it. At my university, the default major in these instances happens to be Pharmacy; yet the programs' academic standards are quite high, and many cannot make the grade. They are then cast out, and forced to enroll in another program; meanwhile, the bills continue to accumulate. I have been exceedingly lucky; this spring I will have a MA and no student loans. Yet I worry that my brother, who is a decade my junior, will be forced to deal with astronomical tuition rates.
This thread further demonstrates that there really are a lot of people who work incredibly hard to finance their educations, which makes it all the more difficult to see those people who are there entirely on their parents' money and consequently do not take their academics at all seriously.
Yolland, I infer that you are in a humanities field. May I ask what it is?
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Old 02-22-2007, 10:26 PM   #59
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After reading through this thread it got me thinking as to why trade schools aren't are more viable alternative for many people. I'm not going to say that a college education is worthless, but I'm thinking it's highly overrated for some people. It seems like it's a hoop to jump through to ultimately wind up at a job that you just get trained to do anyways. You put yourself in the poor house to make $40,000 a year, but a higher degree really is needed especially in science and even education. It doesn't make financial sense. Grad school isn't cheap either. Hell, I'm going owe the equivalent of a mortgage when I'm all done with school. I'm hopeful that the payoff will be their, but that's a whole different story.

Auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers, etc all make pretty decent money and don't incur nearly any debt. Why don't more people do this? Is it that they're not interested in the fields or is it that they're completely sold on the myth of the value of a college education?
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Old 02-22-2007, 11:46 PM   #60
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Auto mechanics, electricians, plumbers, etc all make pretty decent money and don't incur nearly any debt. Why don't more people do this? Is it that they're not interested in the fields or is it that they're completely sold on the myth of the value of a college education?
Actually, there are quite a bit of people pursuing these fields. When I worked at a community college, I think some of the most popular programs students were enrolling in were refridgeration, electrical technology, automotive technology, real estate, IT, and nursing. You won't find programs like these at 4 year institutions. Like I said, CCs effing pwn!!!!
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