An education is rarely cheap, but you don’t have to order the caviar

I'll keep my college commencement speech brief.

Dear graduates: Quit whining about your debts. You're smart people. You were aware of the options. You made the calculation that an education was worth the financial commitment. You borrowed the money. Now you must pay it back.

Welcome to the world.

I recently heard a National Public Radio piece on student debt, which is much in the news these days. Like so many of the people featured in these stories, the young woman being interviewed had amassed a mountain of debt and, given her job prospects, etc., she didn't see how she could ever repay the money she borrowed to go to college.

In the course of her lamentations, the young woman, a recent graduate, made a passing reference to the fact that she had spent part of her four years studying abroad. The interviewer let the reference pass without further scrutiny because, I guess, the whole premise of the piece was that student debt is crushing the souls of our young people. How, exactly, that debt gets accumulated apparently was beside the point.

But having spent an entire career interviewing people, I couldn't help frame a question, or two, I would have liked to slip to the interviewer. For example:

"Now, you mentioned that you studied abroad. Did it occur to you that doing so would add to the debt you were accumulating?"

I suspect the reply would have been something like: "Yes, I did … and decided that a multi-cultural experience was essential to a well-rounded education, and that it was worth the extra expense."

Excellent answer. So, what was there to complain about? She hired the piper. She danced to the music. Why shouldn't she be the one to pay the bill?

Yes, I know all the arguments: Tuition increases have outpaced income growth. Degrees don't pay off like they used to. Part-time jobs are harder to come by for the students who want to work their way through college.

Still, I wonder if all this debt is absolutely necessary. Sure, the full-blown college experience is a wonderful thing. Four years away from home, on a leafy campus, lots of spare time for spontaneous exploration, a semester or two in a foreign country.

But there are other, less expensive ways, to get a college education. For example, starting off at a community college, living with parents for the first year or two, taking one of those part-time jobs nobody else wants, or working during the day and going to night school.

These things have been done. Are they as glamorous as four years far away from home at a Big Ten university? Are they as exciting as full immersion in the college campus experience? Maybe not, but many people have taken the more pedestrian paths to fine careers.

The Parable of the Three Collegians (intimate acquaintances of mine): The parents of these two brothers and one sister offered each of them the same deal. Ma and Pa would pay their college tuition. If they chose to attend the university down the road, known as MSU, they could, if they so desired, continue to live at home free of charge. If, on the other hand, they wished to go to school elsewhere, they would be on the hook for their own room and board.

One son went to MSU, lived at home for the first year, worked a succession of part-time jobs, confined his studies to the U.S., and graduated debt-free. The other brother and sister went elsewhere – to a place called U-M – and although they, too, worked part-time jobs, one spent a semester in Mexico, the other in France. They both graduated with moderate debt.

I'm not saying one route was better than the other. Each had its own advantages and costs. But what's there to whine about? The three graduates all got what they wanted.

By the way, generally speaking, a college degree is still a good deal; the unemployment rate for college grads remains significantly lower than for non-grads.

So, in summary, my advice to recent college grads is this: Wake up. Own up. Pay up.

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Sat, 06/07/2014 - 12:20pm
The author of this article is too far removed from the reality college graduates live in. "You borrowed it, pay it back!" is an outrageous oversimplification. When I was in my senior year of high school 09-10, the economy was in the dumper. My father worked at deutsche bank and his entire department was closed in 08. My mom was a mortgage broker and her company went bankrupt. Our homes' value was half what it was in 07. That year my parents told me they could no longer contribute anything whatsoever to my education. Having been a good student I'd been accepted to NYU, Tulane, Fordham, BC, Northeastern and a number of other very competitive but also very expensive universities. NYU was $55k/year. When my parents went, it was $8k/year. I decided to try to go to a military academy, but I failed the medical exam. Late in April, Loyola university accepted me and offered me a scholarship worth the cost of tuition (not including room and board). For all four years of college I worked full time, and borrowed the cost of room and board only freshmen and sophomore year. By junior year, tuition had risen so significantly that I owed tuition at the end of the year, even with my scholarship, so I borrowed that too. Altogether I borrowed $28,000. All my other expenses like food, rent, books ($1000/semester plus when you study economics and mathematics) healthcare etc I paid for myself. I graduated in may and I owe $33,000 now (interest accumulates). I have a 3.8 GPA and two internships. I've published my economic research (including a paper I wrote freshmen year arguing college education is a bubble). I've been applying for jobs since November and am still working my shifty service industry job, living in what's basically poverty. Students don't have the option of forgoing a college education anymore. Its like getting a high school degree. It costs thousands and if you want one of the best educations it costs hundreds of thousands. Student debt is a problem because the ease with which students are able to borrow is the cause for the high price of education. Its enabling. Moreover it's our parents and teachers crammed the importance of a college education down out throats. Yes, some students were irresponsible with their borrowing, and yes we are responsible for our debt. But some of us, many of us, have every reason to be upset. Our parents went to college for less than a quarter the cost we did. They graduated, and they got jobs. We face a terrible job market as a result of a shit economy that isn't our fault. We did what we were supposed to do. Now we're left holding the bag. The same argument could be made the housing bubble, except those were adults buying homes they didn't need. My mom dealt with these people who used home equity loans to go on vacation. Children have had college crammed down their throats. We HAVE to go to be doctors, nurses, accountants, lawyers etc. We HAD to borrow. Im typing all this on my phone, so I must digress, but this article boggles my mind with its naivete.
Dr. McConnell
Sat, 06/07/2014 - 5:50pm
Sat, 06/07/2014 - 1:28pm
The biggest fallacy committed by this article is that it seems to indicate that there is a way to get a bachelors degree without basically bankrupting yourself. This, from my own personal experience, and my time as the President of the Student Association of Michigan, simply doesn't exist. Its about as real as those mythical jobs that we were told would be waiting for us once we graduated, aka less real than the Easter Bunny. I stayed at home for as long as I could, stayed in my home town, didn't study abroad, went to one of the cheapest schools in the state, and will still have roughly $35,000 in debt. There certainly are programs that are more expensive, there certainly is waste, but I think by painting the student debt issue with such a broad brush, Mr. Schneider seems to be saying that it's ok to bankrupt 18-25 year olds who were just doing what their parents, teachers, family, etc had been telling them to do their entire life. He say's "sorry not sorry, suck it up", we hear "sorry we completely ruined the economy, defunded public education, and are saddling you down with our mistakes, but my generation got ours, and that's all that matters".
Sat, 06/07/2014 - 3:31pm
Great comments. Big Banks get almost zero interest loans and I am paying 6.5 on grad loans to Sallie Mae which I can not refinance with underwater mortgage. I guess we should just follow your son lead and goto LA and start a rock band. stupid us going to school and work in public sector.
Sat, 06/07/2014 - 5:31pm
Just one thing... you make the point that you offered to pay for your children's tuition and they would be responsible for room and board. You use this as an example of choices students make when taking on debt. What about the students whose parents can't afford to pay their tuition? For some kids, an education is sold to them as their ticket out of poverty. Taking on tuition debt on top of room and board costs, even if they don't study abroad or go to an out of state school, can still leave them paying off that education well into adulthood. No college education leaves them working low-wage jobs and never "getting out" of the situations they were born into. How is this fair? Are these the kids you accuse of whining, the ones whose moms and dads (if they even have two parents) don't have the resources to pay for them to go to college?
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 12:21am
Horsehockey. Putting everything in 2013 dollars, average all in annual tuition and room (net tuition, fee, room & board aka NTFRB in the academic world) in 1991 was $7,550 or 1,041 hours at 2013 minimum wage. In 2013 it was $12,620 or 1,750 hours at 2013 minimum wage. People are graduating with debt because the costs are far outstripping inflation and wage growth plain and simple.
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 1:12am
Good grief. So, we're supposed to prepare students for jobs in a global economy, but taking a semester to study abroad and actually have some experience is grounds for getting chastised about fiscal irresponsibility? Caviar is an interesting word in the headline...because this logic is akin to saying that someone went bankrupt because they bought a can of it once in their life...rather than paying attention to the litany of actual causes and issues that surround the situation.
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 8:41am
How about a free public education through 4 years of college? My depression era Father, (Mom was a stay at home Mom) found a career with just a high school diploma..isn;t a college education needed today for the same opportunity? I know, it will cost too much..where will the money come from? I contend in the long run, it would cost less (College graduates w/o debt, working would be able to be tax payers, ability to purchase items..etc.) Or, if the business community needs college degreed worker and they complain that colleges are not educationg well, use some of their "meager "profits to pay fo college expenses for students. If you don't think that this is a viable solution, here is my prediction if things don't change..there will be a college loan bubble burst, more college students will be living in poverty (ie Parent's basements, on government assistance, unemployed or vaslty underemployed). Let's keep doping the same things and expecting different results.
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 11:45am
As an adjunct at a community college...I have students who work full time and part time coming to my classes, but let's look at reality in actual dollars for today's students. An informal survey of my 60 students who work full time (minimum of 30 hrs per week): Average wage= $8.00 p/hr Yearly income (40 hrs./week) = $16,640 Tuition Costs for Part Time Students attending 2 classes per semester (6 credit hours)= $98 per credit hour + fees Community College Tuition plus fees per each semester attending "2" classes (6 credit hours)= $1100 (must be paid at time of registration or student is dropped from classes) Note: Average Associates Degree takes 60 to 70 credit hours. (Two classes per semester x 3 semesters, including summer = 18 credit hours earned each year= +/- $3300 per year) Yearly Gross Wages = $16,640 = $14,100 net wages. $14, 100 - $3300= $10, 800 per year= $900 per month to cover rent, food, transportation, etc. Time required for Associates Degree= 10 to 12 semesters= 3 to 4 years Michigan State University Costs for junior and senior undergraduate years: $476.50 per credit hour for general education degree to $625 per credit hour for engineering degree + $150 fees per semester for generic degrees and $567 per semester for engineering degree. 6 credit hours (2 classes) = $2859 + $150 fees= $3009 "per semester" for generic degrees 6 credit hours (2 classes) = $3750 + $567 fees= $4317 "per semester" for engineering degrees Each two semesters per year attending school part time= $6018 to $8634 per year for students attending Part Time and working full time at $8.00 per hour Net full time wages = $14100 - $6018= $8,082 or $673.50 per month for rent, food, transportation, etc. for generic degrees Net full time wages = $14,100 - $8,634 (engineering degree)= $5466 or $455.25 per month for rent, food, transportation, etc. Average credit hours needed for junior and senior years to get a bachelor degree = 65 to 75 credit hours Time required to finish Bachelor Degree when attending school Part Time ( 6 credit hours per semester) = 11 to 13 semesters to get degree = 6 to 7 years Total time to obtain Bachelor Degree going part time (6 credit hours per semester)= 10 to 12 years...only if you can afford to go 6 hours per semester each year, while continuing to work full time. In 1975, state funding for higher education averaged 60.3% of total costs to students. This has dropped since 1980 through 2011 to an average of 12%. Michigan is heading towards 0% by 2032. (see: would like to ask John Schneider whether he could live on $455.25 to $900 per month while going to school part time and working full time...while also investing 10 to 12 years living this way? The reality in today's world for students is that even if they work full time while going to school, loans are the only way they can survive while getting the education. Gone are the days when most of the costs were subsidized by the states in some way. So, you cannot compare what was there when you went to school to what the students of today face.
John Q. Public
Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:43am
Sun, 06/15/2014 - 9:30pm
Brilliantly figured Jean, your calculations should seriously reach a wider audience. John Schneider scoffs at the financial hardships and drying opportunities for gainful employment (not even well-paid, just enough to stay alive and pay off debt beyond hamster-wheeling the interest) yet never addresses them beyond comparing the UNEMPLOYMENT rates of college grads to high school grads. As if having a job, any job at all, regardless of how inadequate the compensation, justifies the government making an estimated $1.85 BILLION dollars off of student loans.
Sun, 06/15/2014 - 9:41pm
I accidentally hit the "." key, that should read "$185 BILLION". Yes, really.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Mon, 06/16/2014 - 10:57am
Jay, June 15, 2014 at 9:41 pm Re: "$185 BILLION”. "Yes, really." I think the funding banks would get that money, not the government. I think the government just guarantees the loan, so the students get the lowest interest rates the banks are willing to give on that program. I think a better approach would be for the government to purchase a 'credit facility' where they can determine the rate and the length of loan, and other terms. Let's suggest to them they seek loans for students at 0% 10 years. What would that credit facility cost the government to fund 1 trillion in student loans at 0% cost to students for 10 years?
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 11:50am
Although decidedly, and unashamedly, middle-class, my wife and I have worked hard and saved money from every paycheck to help our son go to college. He will be a high school senior in the fall, and has test scores and grades to take him anywhere he wants to go. He will certainly end up in a great engineering program. Because we will have done the responsible thing and saved $90k, we can expect little to no financial aid from state institutions aside from loans; either we or our son or a combination therof will end up borrowing an additional $100k. How on Earth is that right? The author certainly didn't have that kind of worry when he went to college. Our state does such a poor job of funding higher education that the only loans they will offer are in our names at unsubsidized rates which start collecting interest immediately. (So basically we get to take out another mortgage as we hit our mid-fifties...woo hoo.). Michigan, the flagship of the author's state higher ed system is $53k a year. The classism inherent in the author's argument needs to be discussed directly and unabashedly. If he were to have his way, only the rich would get the best educations, and everyone else -- the poor, working class, minorities, -- would be relegated to community colleges and trade schools-- apparently where we belong.
Nancy Derringer
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 12:17pm
How is U-M $53k/year? Grad school? Out-of-state students?
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 4:46pm
Yes, the out-of-state sticker price -- tuition, room &board, books and fees -- is $53k a year.
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 12:06pm
Study abroad does not always mean a huge added expense or added debt. Talk to your study abroad advisor - my daughter is one. In many cases these are transferable classes and therefore can be done within the regular coursework schedule and with grants or scholarship money - just as with your home classes.
Sat, 08/30/2014 - 2:17pm
My two cents with regard to study abroad. As one who always had an interest in world history, cultures, and languages, study abroad was the best thing I ever did. Unfortunately, when I wanted to study abroad I could not muster the financial resources to participate in any programs. That was just my situation. In the end, I discovered that Europe, where I wanted to study abroad most, actually had tons of programs where you could study a European language and at really excellent prices. Lower prices meant that I could spend much more time abroad and that was a crucial factor because language acquisition does not happen over night. Nor does acquiring a truly beneficial level of culturual understanding. Some of the programs I participated in (I did some European university programs and language school programs) can be found on Budget Study Abroad. "Cheap study abroad" should, in my opinion, be taken seriously, especially by US students. The site is you, as a US student, see that tution costs for a lot of programs are less than 2000 euros for a semester and less than 5000 euros for an entire year, you see how than can really help you out, especially when you compare the costs to your home university costs. It drove me nuts that I couldn't afford to study abroad via a US university program. So, maybe this will help somebody out.
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 1:33pm
When I got my degree in 1986, I was able to graduate with very little debt. I attended two private institutions over four years, with higher-than-normal tuition rates. I did it by working part-time, while going to school full-time, I pursued every scholarship I could find (in the days before internet), I received a few scholarships for achievement, I received a state scholarship, Pell Grants and SEOG. I also took out a few students loans. The loans I took, while issued through a bank, we're government-guaranteed at low interest, and I was able to refinance them directly with the DOE at an even lower rate as soon as I graduated. Many of these resources are not available to today's students. Scholarships are smaller and harder to come by; states no longer offer scholarships/grants for higher education; Pell Grants have been cut back; and the SEOG is almost non-existent today. I am now looking at how to send my own kids to college, and although I have tried to save for that purpose, the amount needed continues to grow, while the resources to pay for it are drying up. If we truly believe that a college education is necessary to our children's futures, why are we making it harder and harder to obtain?
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 4:37pm
I graduated from MSU in 1984. Lived on campus. Had a combination of scholarships, loans (very little) part-time work during the school year and full time work in the summers at a nursing home. At the time I wished that I could have gone to England for a class or semester for my English lit degree, but it was out of my reach. Still, I did get my degree and I am glad that I went to college.
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 4:47pm
My kids went to a private college, but lived at home to save money (my oldest did her first two years at the community college and saved even more money). Toward the end of his junior year, my son expressed some dismay over the fact that his debt would be over 24,000. I said to him, "Just think of it like this, $24,000 is about the cost of a new car - a very basic model. As soon as you drive the car off the lot, the value goes down. But your education will continue to appreciate in value." No, my kids could not study abroad, but by making wise choices, they have college degrees for the price of a new car. (My oldest for the price of a good used car).
Loretta Stanaway
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 8:15pm
I went to CMU from 1972-1975. I had some small scholarships, got some grants, got Pell loans, had work study jobs averaging 30 hours a week and carried a full class load. I did not take summers off. I lived on campus in dorms and had a beater car for work and travel home but walked on campus. I ate mac and cheese and tuna fish, got food stamps, and scavenged pop cans and beer bottles for the deposits. I rarely went out socially. I paid off my student loans within their initial terms and never looked back. I have always been grateful that I was able to put myself through. I had no parental financial help. I think it is always a matter of priorities. John is right IMHO.
John Q. Public
Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:42am
All that sounds really similar, Loretta, to my late 70's/early 80's experience (although I graduated before I ever owned a car). The part that I understand that so many our age don't seem to grasp is that with today's prices, there's no way in hell students situated financially the same way we were then can pull that off, no matter how hard they work. Whether through scholarships, grants or gifts, if somebody else isn't paying a big part of the tuition, today's students are going into debt. I did a little, but was able to pay it off within five years of graduation. It didn't consume a good chunk of my income for the majority of my working life the way it does for many now. Where I went to school, tuition is up 700% (from about $45 per credit to nearly $350) since I attended. Meanwhile, the ol' minimum wage is up about 200%. One other point, made often by others here and elsewhere: I majored in a field with job prospects for life. I never "followed my dream". I have never really enjoyed my work, but I've never been out of it, either.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 9:48pm
Bridge Readers who are commenting: You folks are breaking my heart here. Yes, I did work my way through Michigan State in 1969 in Engineering. Yes, I had a lot a help back then, just enough as it worked out. I had a lot of 80-hour plus work-weeks to make it happen in four years. My folks were Depression-Era survivors. They did not go to college, but they lived. They never saw much caviar. There were days where they worked for a dollar-a-day. There were many 16-hour work days. My Mom left high-school a straight A student, in 11th grade, to help her parents live. There were times when there not only was no caviar, there was nothing, but rice. My thoughts are not with how hard they had it back then, nor how I had it back when, or how hard you folks have it now. I had people who did not have much, help me in ways that you might find useful too. I had a lot of people kind of make it their business to make it happen for me. You might make it your business to help others too. I was voted the 'Most Likely to Succeed', by my classmates, but the reality was far different in real life. The teachers at my school put together a Scholarship of $100 for one student. It kind of amounted to the one least likely to have the resources to actually make it through college. But they did not say that of course. They offered it to my friend who was a lot smarter than me, but she refused, saying she 'did not plan to go to college.' I accepted it. Three teachers conspired to help me find a great summer job, to help me pay my way, and make my way in Engineering. The job was sorting cherries, with new state of the art sorting machines - automation. The company offered me all the hours I could handle, and included winter and spring break as well as all the summers I wanted. My boss called me, 'The Highest Paid Production Line Worker in America.' Another teacher, had me apply for every scholarship available. A Superintendent offered free room and board at a down state college where he was moving to. The testing included the Air Force Academy. Except I had no political connections. But the last two years at MSU, taking Air Force ROTC, I got a scholarship and books in exchange for a four-year commitment as an Officer in the USAF. I invite you to take up the challenge. As a group if you need to. Work out how to do it. Work out how to make it happen. If you want to get a degree make it your business from that point. Look for people that want to help you. Bill Gates didn't do it that way. He just left college and made it happen in business. You may be able to do this too if that is your bliss. The founder of Domino's Pizza went to the same one-room school as my wife. He never finished college until after being successful. He said in a class once, if I had done my accounting like this, I never would have made it. You might want to respect his advice. I believe in something called a Basic Purpose. Everyone has one. Everything one does that is successful may be traced back to his or her Basic Purpose. All the things they failed at, were too far away from their basic purpose. One might call this basic purpose, 'their bliss.' Many have called it 'their Passion.' Others think of it as, 'What they most want to do in life.' 'What I most like to do.' You may know someone that quit a minimum-wage job, or a dead-end job, with little more reason than, 'I was meant for more than this!' They were, and they knew this at some level. It is what you most want to do in this life. You may have 'A Calling' or 'A Cause' you know has to be done. If you are ever going to be all on-fire to do something, can't wait to get up the morning to do it, it might be worth your trouble to take the time to work out what I'm talking about here. My Basic Purpose is, 'To Help Others Create!' I invite you to work out what yours is. It may come to you in a Flash, or quietly, or softly. I might be something someone else said, mine was not. I once had completed 18 major projects (40 million dollar value) with 100% success, in a work environment that was hopeless for many others. A promising young Engineer asked me how I managed projects. I had never been asked, and had not thought about it. I remembered that I had resolved to do each project as a new thing. To improve my skills each time I did one. So they were always changing. When doing Proposals I always tried to find Six Things that aced out the competition. So what was left at the end of 18 major projects in 12 years? The most important thing in these projects was the most important thing to my clients, the Ship Date, the day the customer got the products he had purchased. (No missed ship dates.) If you get the jobs you want or start your own businesses this one piece knowledge may be very important to you. I had decided this one thing was most important, and I resolved to make that happen for my Clients, no matter what. You may be able to help someone get a great job. You might arrange things for someone to help them get a 10-year no-interest loan. Make it your business to help these young people make something of their lives, we all can be proud of. All my Best. - Leon
Sun, 06/08/2014 - 10:37pm
Why not have a report on all the reasons college costs have gone up the way they have? It's far more more than just state aid cut backs. Costs have been rising far longer than the recent years of state cuts. Look at private schools and their costs. How about textbooks costs, explain this! Why is it taking 5 years instead of 4 years to get a degree? Extra required courses and fees? University Personell numbers and costs , what has happened with these? Is it so wrong to question the investment verses the return equation on degrees and majors, as the author is implying? Maybe if more thought was given to this we wouldn't hear all the whining.
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Mon, 06/09/2014 - 1:15pm
Matt, I think the Fed has a lot to do with it. I first looked at average four-year school costs for 2014, and compared to 30 years ago. Then I used an Inflation calculator to find how much of the increase came from inflation alone. Inflation alone, per that calculator, increased the costs 2.34 times, 234 percent. Everything else lumped together gives 2.29 times increase, or 229% in 30 years. I then looked at inflation for the 30 years before the Fed was formed in 1913. The total for the entire 30 years was 6%. I believe the inflation caused by the Fed money policies accounts for at least half of the cost increases for American colleges. Another way to look at these inflated costs is to look at federal government deficit borrowing. The government borrows 1.4 trillion or so in one year, and the gross domestic product (GDP) is published as 17 trillion or so. The last time I calculated the numbers that was about 8%. 8 percent of the GDP is actually not productive capacity, or goods or services produced, it was just paper, or a number in a government account. It was borrowed money. The amount of goods and services actually produced was 1.4 trillion less. If the economy was reported as increasing by 2%, then it actually was negative 6%. I don't know how this is legally possible, but the numbers are easy to come by in the news most every day. There are no doubt, other things that increase the costs of American college educations. But this is my quick analysis.
Mike Watza
Mon, 06/09/2014 - 8:07am
SMUG CURMUDGEON. You must be quite a treat to hang out with for all the others who, like you, stripped all the topsoil off Michigan's economy and got out with a paid home,cottage and retirement, the likes of which most of the rest of us who didn't get to retirement in time will never see. You must all be having quite a time whooping it up in your lounge chairs on your private beaches commenting on the slovenly youth who missed the boat which you, by pure happenstance, rode to unprecedented benefts, wealth, retiremement etc. And you must have laughed even harder when you wrote this garbage as you looked askance at the plight of our kids for whom we sacrificed every nickel we could find and who regardless, have far more debt for education and far fewer prospects for paying jobs than you did at the time you got started in the booming economy of the 60's. We haven't seen that kind of prosperity since. Must be nice to ride the wave right over the 2nd Great Depression which is still killing the rest of us. So, thanks for rubbing your glee in the rest of our faces today. I enjoyed it as I head to work, as I will be doing well into my 70's and my kids will into their 80's, once they find work, so you can sit back and laugh at us, while you spend our income with your Social Security and every other one of your benefits we are paying for with current dollars....Kinda makes you wonder how much longer we are going to allow that to happen doesn't it?
Mon, 06/09/2014 - 10:35am
I attended a community college and later a 4 year university while raising 2 children on my own and working full time. I received a little bit of help to pay for childcare costs and then I got a 60 cent raise. I lost all help and had to take out loans just so I could afford to pay for childcare and the higher costs of education at the 4 year university. I earned almost $10,000 from a prior job to use towards college and that with grants still wasn't enough to keep me debt free. I tried as long as I could to not take out loans. I have no problem paying the money back, but the amount I borrowed has more than doubled. I now have a child in college working 2 jobs and another one going to college next year. I am still paying on my student loans all these years later. It's overwhelming.
Mon, 06/09/2014 - 3:47pm
It occurs to me that the author makes some good points, but so do those who disagree with his main premise. I live near one larger Michigan's larger universities, and it seems like whenever I go out to eat, there are quite a few diners who appear to be university students. They are entitled to eat at Applebees or wherever, the question is how often do they spend the money to do so? Also, I know that many students spend significant amounts on alcohol. (Hasn't that always been true?) That said, I do think that today's students have a much greater challenge financially getting through school, as described by several commenters, and also find a much more challenging job market. Can we agree that many students need to be more careful with their finances? Also that the state needs to gradually increase funding for universities and community colleges, which need to do their part in keeping tuition expense increases as modest as possible. Finally, Congress needs stop being dysfunctional long enough to pass legislation that will help the job market. For instance, infrastructure improvements need to be funded which will help the entire economy
Mon, 06/09/2014 - 8:46pm
John S is out of touch. Always has been, always will be.
Mon, 06/09/2014 - 9:32pm
Nice how comments, that are truthful, respectful but disagree with the writer are "banned" from the page! Freedom of speech, my eye!
Leon L. Hulett, PE
Tue, 06/10/2014 - 5:37pm
vinta, What was banned? Leon
John Q. Public
Tue, 06/10/2014 - 12:20am
Man, that JJ is one savvy financial whiz! "How'd you graduate with no debt, dude?" "A steady diet of eggs, potatoes, Ramen, and mac 'n cheese. Part-time work all the way through. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the most important and dad paid all my tuition, and some of my room and board. It was tough, but worth it!"