Author Topic: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt  (Read 15890 times)

ducky19

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And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« on: September 01, 2015, 10:21:26 AM »
Do I think that a college education is important? Hell yes. Do I feel at least partially responsible for helping my kids pay for one? Absolutely. Am I going to ship my kid off to a school halfway across the country, fund her Starbucks lattes, furnish her dorm or apartment, and fly her home every break? Um... hell no. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the same culture that spends itself into a drunken stupor and then complains about not being able to save is the same culture that feels it necessary to spend $43 BILLION a year on higher education. I think I feel a facepunch coming on... *sigh*

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/09/01/432222772/back-to-school-back-to-the-piggy-bank

EricP

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 10:35:35 AM »
So $43B gets spent on "unplanned purchases."  Which in this context means everything that isn't tuition or room and board.  There are 20M students in college so that's only $2k per student and when you're looking at everything from books, a new laptop, a mini fridge, a futon, a microwave, and even paper to do math problems on, it's not too surprising that the number balloons to $2k.

It really doesn't seem like that high of a number at all.  There's no way that $43B includes all the things the author discussed: Health insurance, cell plans had to be excluded or it would have been even higher.

But, yes, student loan debt is funding some lifestyle choices, but the main reason for why student loan debt is increasing is because of increased tuition cost.

MrMoneyMaxwell

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2015, 10:49:09 AM »
I heard this on my way to work today and it made me physically ill. There was a full minute devoted to "matching dorm room decor costing a lot of money."

The part that irritates me the most is the "technology cost". If someone can purchase a computer that ran half of the engineering software we needed I'd be in shock. Try running a Monte Carlo simulation on a MacBook, it'll be done after graduation. The reason that there are computer labs in every building on campus is so kids don't need to buy $1k computers.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 10:52:39 AM by MrMoneyMaxwell »

ducky19

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2015, 10:52:52 AM »
The entire tone of the piece (listen to the audio version) is how all of the "hidden" expenses are killing him - including the lattes, alcohol, etc. that he is funding. You don't want to fund your kid's coffee habit? Make 'em get a part time job at school! Obviously the largest portion of the cost of a college education is tuition, but even that is something that is in your control to an extent. Community colleges offer an incredibly affordable alternative to spending all four years at a university. Some state universities offer degrees that are just as highly regarded as fancy private schools costing multiples more. Case in point, Illinois State University in nearby Normal, IL is widely known as one of the best schools in the are for education degrees. My wife paid her own way through community college and worked her way through her final two years at ISU. All said and done, she had $10k in student loan debt when she graduated. Granted, this was 12 years ago and tuition has gone up, but it can still be much more reasonable than what most people choose. The majority of people seem to think that the more they spend on their child's education, the better off they will be when they graduate which is simply not true.

Mississippi Mudstache

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2015, 11:11:36 AM »
So many states these days have programs to cover the cost of in-state tuition. My tuition in Georgia was paid for, and all I had to do was keep a B-average. Similar programs in Florida and North Carolina. I guarantee you, if these programs still exist when my kids are nearing college age, we will be residents of states where in-state tuition is free. And my kids will go to school in-state, unless they get a full ride elsewhere or want to pay themselves. And if a kid can't keep a B-average, he can pay his own damn way.

I don't feel like the rest of the bullshit in the article - beer binges and Starbucks - are even worth addressing. Give me a break.

runningthroughFIRE

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2015, 11:47:47 AM »
Not all kids in college spend themselves into a drunken stupor and blow mass amounts of money on random bullshittery.  Responsible choices are boring, and you never hear about them.  Having just graduated a few months ago, I can tell you that there's definitely plenty of horribly irrisponsible students out there, but plenty of responsible ones as well.  I know you're exaggerating, but the sweeping generalization seems a bit unwarranted.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm on break at work, and our filters blocked the link you posted, so I haven't been able to read it.  I'm with you all the way on fancy lattes and frills being ridiculous.

[...] The reason that there are computer labs in every building on campus is so kids don't need to buy $1k computers.

$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.  The computer labs get swamped when larger classes have group projects all at once, and it becomes a pain to work in a time when all of your group members are free and you can get space in the labs.  It's expected that you'll have access to emails and online notifications 24/7 nowadays, and a laptop is the only way some students can get that (I had a flip phone until the second semester of my senior year)

mm1970

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2015, 12:16:55 PM »
Sometimes it's important to go back and remember your own college days, and extrapolate to nowadays.

Bedding: I did get a new set of sheets (because they were extra long beds), and comforter.  But that was $30.  I don't expect my 9 year old will be taking spongebob sheets when he goes to college.  But two fitted sheets shouldn't cost much, especially if you buy a "sheet set" and turn the flat sheet into a fitted sheet with some sewing.

Phone: this is new, of course, but the "cheapest plan" is not $1000 a year.

Books: really don't know what to say about that.  You need books.

Laptop: whatever you had in HS is fine.

On vs. off campus: depends on the campus.

Alcohol: wasn't legal till senior year

Fast food: ah ha ha ha!! I worked at the pizza place on campus and got free food.

The eating out and Starbucks is relatively new.  Our campus, back in the dark ages, had a cafe that you had to pay real money for.  Which I did, if I had real money.  But I didn't really have much real money.  My boyfriend had middle class parents, and they gave him a credit card, and a budget of $100 a month for incidentals.  This included the occasional meal out and food and paper products, etc.  But he did NOT use it if we went on a date (our dates were of the taco bell level), he used his own money for that.

And there's the basic thing right there.  I had a job for 5/8 semesters, and all summers.  I was in ROTC, so even when I didn't have a job, I did get $100 a month in spending money.

How will your kids survive if you don't teach them to budget?

MrMoneyMaxwell

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2015, 12:37:18 PM »
Not all kids in college spend themselves into a drunken stupor and blow mass amounts of money on random bullshittery.  Responsible choices are boring, and you never hear about them.  Having just graduated a few months ago, I can tell you that there's definitely plenty of horribly irrisponsible students out there, but plenty of responsible ones as well.  I know you're exaggerating, but the sweeping generalization seems a bit unwarranted.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm on break at work, and our filters blocked the link you posted, so I haven't been able to read it.  I'm with you all the way on fancy lattes and frills being ridiculous.

[...] The reason that there are computer labs in every building on campus is so kids don't need to buy $1k computers.

$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.  The computer labs get swamped when larger classes have group projects all at once, and it becomes a pain to work in a time when all of your group members are free and you can get space in the labs.  It's expected that you'll have access to emails and online notifications 24/7 nowadays, and a laptop is the only way some students can get that (I had a flip phone until the second semester of my senior year)

I went to one of the largest schools in the country. The computer labs in the EE department were filled up twice a year (midterms and finals). The rest of the time it was the same 10 people. (This was last year, I went back to school after the military so as an older student working 2 jobs I was in there during most of my free time)

When midterms/finals/projects were due, all someone needed to do was wake up earlier than usual to set up camp. Nobody needs a MacBook to write a paper, just go on Amazon and get a chromebook for $200 bucks (or wait in line for a computer to open up in the lab).

ducky19

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2015, 12:58:05 PM »

Books: really don't know what to say about that.  You need books.

Books are one of those things that you can spend a lot less on than you could ten years ago. There are many places online that offer rentals that are much more affordable than buying them like we used to. The one exception I can think of is when a class does a "custom" book that will have an ISBN that is unique to their edits. Even then, you can usually buy or rent the full version without the edits for less. It takes a little bit of time and some research, but kids today are much better off when it comes to books IMHO. I just spent less than $100 for my daughter's three classes that would have cost me over $350 used at the bookstore.

Not all kids in college spend themselves into a drunken stupor and blow mass amounts of money on random bullshittery.  Responsible choices are boring, and you never hear about them.  Having just graduated a few months ago, I can tell you that there's definitely plenty of horribly irrisponsible students out there, but plenty of responsible ones as well.  I know you're exaggerating, but the sweeping generalization seems a bit unwarranted.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm on break at work, and our filters blocked the link you posted, so I haven't been able to read it.  I'm with you all the way on fancy lattes and frills being ridiculous.

The sweeping generalization wasn't mine so much as the general tone of the story. I know there are plenty of responsible people out there, but this guy makes it sound like we're all doomed to spend twice what we spent on tuition for a bunch of hidden "other" expenses.

justajane

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2015, 01:06:45 PM »

Books: really don't know what to say about that.  You need books.

Books are one of those things that you can spend a lot less on than you could ten years ago. There are many places online that offer rentals that are much more affordable than buying them like we used to. The one exception I can think of is when a class does a "custom" book that will have an ISBN that is unique to their edits. Even then, you can usually buy or rent the full version without the edits for less. It takes a little bit of time and some research, but kids today are much better off when it comes to books IMHO. I just spent less than $100 for my daughter's three classes that would have cost me over $350 used at the bookstore.

I was a literature major 15 years ago, so most of my books were novels and shorter works. In other words, not textbooks. I checked them out from the campus library at least 50% of time, and you know what surprised me? Their was never a waiting list. I think once in a blue moon I saw students doing the same thing as I did, and sometimes the professor would put the book on reserve and you would check it out in two hour increments. But this saved me a shit-ton of money. It was inconvenient sometimes and also annoying when the copy I checked out didn't match the page numbers of the book that others purchased. Sometimes people would refer to something on pg. X. But I managed and saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars in the process.

Also, a few times, I bought an older edition of a textbook on half.com if I could find out that the newer version was only slightly altered. Fuck textbook makers and their new editions every few years! That's bullshit, especially when you're talking about something like history. Maybe math and science would be different.

Chris22

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2015, 01:11:28 PM »
$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.

Given that a decent computer can be had for $500 (or maybe even less) I'd say it's absolutely a necessity.  Professors are going to expect you to have near-24/7 access to email, for example. 

justajane

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2015, 02:31:10 PM »
$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.

Given that a decent computer can be had for $500 (or maybe even less) I'd say it's absolutely a necessity.  Professors are going to expect you to have near-24/7 access to email, for example.

I just bought a laptop for $250. Yeah, it's not a great laptop or the fastest, but it works. I would also say a computer is somewhat of a necessity in college these days. Hell, our district's middle provides them for all students.

MgoSam

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2015, 04:10:50 PM »
$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.

Given that a decent computer can be had for $500 (or maybe even less) I'd say it's absolutely a necessity.  Professors are going to expect you to have near-24/7 access to email, for example.

I just bought a laptop for $250. Yeah, it's not a great laptop or the fastest, but it works. I would also say a computer is somewhat of a necessity in college these days. Hell, our district's middle provides them for all students.

I was gifted a really nice laptop by my sister and her husband, my brother knows about laptops is the one that chose it out. It was way overboard. Nowadays I just buy a laptop that's around $200 to $300 because if it breaks, I'll just get a new one. Newer models pop up all the time, there's no reason to buy one for $1000 when it will be obsolete in 3 years...would rather just buy 3 $300 ones.

justajane

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2015, 04:46:28 PM »
$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.

Given that a decent computer can be had for $500 (or maybe even less) I'd say it's absolutely a necessity.  Professors are going to expect you to have near-24/7 access to email, for example.

I just bought a laptop for $250. Yeah, it's not a great laptop or the fastest, but it works. I would also say a computer is somewhat of a necessity in college these days. Hell, our district's middle provides them for all students.

I was gifted a really nice laptop by my sister and her husband, my brother knows about laptops is the one that chose it out. It was way overboard. Nowadays I just buy a laptop that's around $200 to $300 because if it breaks, I'll just get a new one. Newer models pop up all the time, there's no reason to buy one for $1000 when it will be obsolete in 3 years...would rather just buy 3 $300 ones.

You and I appear to have the same philosophy. I have to say, though, that after having two cheap laptops fail on me in the course of two years, I went ahead and took I.P. Daley's advice to buy a refurbished Dell that was originally a corporate laptop. Apparently they are still decent, while the Dell consumer laptops are total crap. I believe my husband paid $250. It is MUCH faster and nicer. And the hope is that it won't break as often. I had two motherboard failures with the others- thankfully under warranty both times but still a giant pain in the ass.

Pigeon

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2015, 05:17:01 PM »
I just dropped my kid off as a freshman in college.  I also work for a state university system. While some states do have affordable options for students for a very inexpensive education, many do not.

A computer is a necessity for most students.  Many colleges are starting to get away from having computer labs.  My dd's school requires a laptop.  The school where I work is scaling back computer labs and there are often waiting lines much of the time. Our libraries do not buy copies of textbooks.

My current biggest annoyance is Pearson.  I hate that company so much.  I was able to buy most of my daughter's textbooks used, which was often cheaper than renting.  But my daughter is a science major and many of her textbooks (published by Pearson). are assigned by the faculty to be used in conjunction with Pearson's course-specific textbooks.  The access codes cannot be reused. You might be able to get a used copy of the text but you still have to shell out a ridiculous fee to buy the access code separately.   It is Pearson's way of trumping the used textbook market. Faculty may assign problem sets that have to be done on the web.  Given that almost all colleges already have online course management software like Blackboard, I think that it is inexcusable for the faculty to require the Pearson access.

runningthroughFIRE

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2015, 06:25:02 PM »
Not all kids in college spend themselves into a drunken stupor and blow mass amounts of money on random bullshittery.  Responsible choices are boring, and you never hear about them.  Having just graduated a few months ago, I can tell you that there's definitely plenty of horribly irrisponsible students out there, but plenty of responsible ones as well.  I know you're exaggerating, but the sweeping generalization seems a bit unwarranted.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm on break at work, and our filters blocked the link you posted, so I haven't been able to read it.  I'm with you all the way on fancy lattes and frills being ridiculous.

[...] The reason that there are computer labs in every building on campus is so kids don't need to buy $1k computers.

$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.  The computer labs get swamped when larger classes have group projects all at once, and it becomes a pain to work in a time when all of your group members are free and you can get space in the labs.  It's expected that you'll have access to emails and online notifications 24/7 nowadays, and a laptop is the only way some students can get that (I had a flip phone until the second semester of my senior year)

I went to one of the largest schools in the country. The computer labs in the EE department were filled up twice a year (midterms and finals). The rest of the time it was the same 10 people. (This was last year, I went back to school after the military so as an older student working 2 jobs I was in there during most of my free time)

When midterms/finals/projects were due, all someone needed to do was wake up earlier than usual to set up camp. Nobody needs a MacBook to write a paper, just go on Amazon and get a chromebook for $200 bucks (or wait in line for a computer to open up in the lab).

I went to a pretty large college as well, and the business labs were always being used, and there are routinely weeks throughout the year where you'd be hard pressed to find a space in non-silent labs if you didn't get there really early, and good luck getting your other 3 group mates to show up at 7 in the morning.  I've had classes where I was expected to bring a laptop to certain lectures as well.  A cheap laptop that'll run your basic software and has wifi is all you need, but you do need it.

Textbooks are frustrating.  I did everything from 2 hour book checkout at the library through renting digital copies and access codes.  Buying a new book just isn't avoidable sometimes.

Homey The Clown

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2015, 06:26:59 PM »
I teach math at a community college and I have seen the light. I used to use the Pearson (My Lab) products, but now use all open educational resources. There are free online homework options and many open resource (creative commons copyright) textbooks. That being said, Calculus is a bit trickier. For my class, I have an assigned textbook, but I tell students that if they choose to use a different textbook, it is their responsibility to align the homework from the assigned textbook to the textbook they own. They can find an older edition for $10-15 shipped to their door.

In your situation, I would approach the professor and politely, but assertively ask to do all homework offline with an older edition of the book. All of the Pearson online materials offer ~2 weeks free at the beginning of the semester. Sign up, align the online homework to the textbook you have, and then use that plus free online materials (Khan Academy (shudder, they're not that good, but can work)) to study for the class.

The only reason a professor assigns online homework is to encourage under-motivated students to do the homework because it counts for a grade. Tell the professor that you're happy to forgo that portion of the grade, and have your grade be calculated strictly based on other assignments (tests, quizzes, papers, etc.).

Pigeon

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #17 on: September 01, 2015, 08:40:30 PM »
It's great if faculty are flexible about texts, but many are not.  DD's faculty are adamant about the Pearson access, as are many of the STEM faculty where I work.  There are great open educational resources, but they are under utilized We put on a lot of programs about OERs, but faculty show little interest, Pearson is easier for them. I really do think it's laziness on the part of the faculty.  I work at a public institution, but the faculty tend to be oblivious to the fact that for many of our students a couple hundred dollars makes a huge difference.

Homey The Clown

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #18 on: September 01, 2015, 08:54:11 PM »
What a shame. There is no good reason that a student needs to be on the Pearson system other than to prove to the faculty member that they are doing the work. Their grades on tests and other assignments can easily do that. Pearson is scared sh-tless by OER. Rather than telling us how their materials were better, they tried to scare us about accessibility issues. We do have a company that helps us with OER issues like this, but the students only pay a $5 fee per course (not credit hour) for this service. Honestly, as much as I hate sites like Rate My Professor (there is a negative correlation between faculty ratings and student learning), the ability to determine which faculty are flexible about required materials would be a huge boon to students.

On the topic of the story. I also listened to it (parking lot moment at work) and was also gobsmacked (as my mother would say) that parents would foot the bill for lattés, booze, and matching room accessories. I worked my ass off in college, both in and out of class, and graduated without loans. I went to grad school in a program that had assistantships and finished that debt free as well. I did some stupid stuff with credit cards, but relatively minimal (on the order of $1500 or so). I do know that some things are different now, but the co-op, non-air conditioned dorm (one of 3 on campus at the time, though 1 other had AC) I lived in at UF is now defunct. Their aren't enough students willing to clean their own bathrooms and sweat a bit in September and April.

meg_shannon

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2015, 04:43:20 AM »
The extras are crazy. My husband's Dad paid for a lot of this stuff for him. He's naturally pretty frugal, so he was always very careful about using his Dad's money (FIL isn't frugal and didn't care). I paid my own way through university through living in Alaska (reasonable tuition) and a booming summer tourism industry (worked in restaurants and manufactured windows). I've told him that we will not be funding a similar type of college education for our daughter. I think it's important that she has jobs before entering the professional world. He agrees now (he didn't before because he never really worked more than a few months at a time before landing a post-doc), after seeing lots of adults flounder when phasing out of college - like his current grad student. The guy has an amazing CV, Ivy League schools, track, all sorts of activities, but can't move forward if everything isn't perfect. But that's not how theoretical physics works - nothing is ever cut and dry.

Our plan for funding our kid's college is either through my husband's current work benefits - they'll fund half of the tuition or up to 17K per year (and this rises with tuition cost, it was 12K five years ago) - or he'll seek a professorship at a school that offers free tuition for family members. Landing a full professorship right now isn't doable, but our kid just turned 5 so he's got some time.

mm1970

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #20 on: September 02, 2015, 08:23:27 AM »
Not all kids in college spend themselves into a drunken stupor and blow mass amounts of money on random bullshittery.  Responsible choices are boring, and you never hear about them.  Having just graduated a few months ago, I can tell you that there's definitely plenty of horribly irrisponsible students out there, but plenty of responsible ones as well.  I know you're exaggerating, but the sweeping generalization seems a bit unwarranted.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm on break at work, and our filters blocked the link you posted, so I haven't been able to read it.  I'm with you all the way on fancy lattes and frills being ridiculous.

[...] The reason that there are computer labs in every building on campus is so kids don't need to buy $1k computers.

$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.  The computer labs get swamped when larger classes have group projects all at once, and it becomes a pain to work in a time when all of your group members are free and you can get space in the labs.  It's expected that you'll have access to emails and online notifications 24/7 nowadays, and a laptop is the only way some students can get that (I had a flip phone until the second semester of my senior year)

I went to one of the largest schools in the country. The computer labs in the EE department were filled up twice a year (midterms and finals). The rest of the time it was the same 10 people. (This was last year, I went back to school after the military so as an older student working 2 jobs I was in there during most of my free time)

When midterms/finals/projects were due, all someone needed to do was wake up earlier than usual to set up camp. Nobody needs a MacBook to write a paper, just go on Amazon and get a chromebook for $200 bucks (or wait in line for a computer to open up in the lab).

I went to a pretty large college as well, and the business labs were always being used, and there are routinely weeks throughout the year where you'd be hard pressed to find a space in non-silent labs if you didn't get there really early, and good luck getting your other 3 group mates to show up at 7 in the morning.  I've had classes where I was expected to bring a laptop to certain lectures as well.  A cheap laptop that'll run your basic software and has wifi is all you need, but you do need it.

Textbooks are frustrating.  I did everything from 2 hour book checkout at the library through renting digital copies and access codes.  Buying a new book just isn't avoidable sometimes.
Back in the dark ages, we met in the computer lab at 2 am to do our projects, and you had to sign up for the slots.

Years 2-4, ROTC paid for my books, but they got to keep them and reissue them the next year.  If I wanted to keep them, they'd sell them back to me at something like 1/2 price.

mm1970

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2015, 08:25:27 AM »
It's great if faculty are flexible about texts, but many are not.  DD's faculty are adamant about the Pearson access, as are many of the STEM faculty where I work.  There are great open educational resources, but they are under utilized We put on a lot of programs about OERs, but faculty show little interest, Pearson is easier for them. I really do think it's laziness on the part of the faculty.  I work at a public institution, but the faculty tend to be oblivious to the fact that for many of our students a couple hundred dollars makes a huge difference.
So which colleges?  So I can scratch them off my 9 year old's list...

Chris22

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2015, 08:28:08 AM »
Not all kids in college spend themselves into a drunken stupor and blow mass amounts of money on random bullshittery.  Responsible choices are boring, and you never hear about them.  Having just graduated a few months ago, I can tell you that there's definitely plenty of horribly irrisponsible students out there, but plenty of responsible ones as well.  I know you're exaggerating, but the sweeping generalization seems a bit unwarranted.

In the interest of full disclosure: I'm on break at work, and our filters blocked the link you posted, so I haven't been able to read it.  I'm with you all the way on fancy lattes and frills being ridiculous.

[...] The reason that there are computer labs in every building on campus is so kids don't need to buy $1k computers.

$1k is pretty crazy for a computer just used for school, but I'd argue that a basic computer (while not a necessity) is highly recommended.  The computer labs get swamped when larger classes have group projects all at once, and it becomes a pain to work in a time when all of your group members are free and you can get space in the labs.  It's expected that you'll have access to emails and online notifications 24/7 nowadays, and a laptop is the only way some students can get that (I had a flip phone until the second semester of my senior year)

I went to one of the largest schools in the country. The computer labs in the EE department were filled up twice a year (midterms and finals). The rest of the time it was the same 10 people. (This was last year, I went back to school after the military so as an older student working 2 jobs I was in there during most of my free time)

When midterms/finals/projects were due, all someone needed to do was wake up earlier than usual to set up camp. Nobody needs a MacBook to write a paper, just go on Amazon and get a chromebook for $200 bucks (or wait in line for a computer to open up in the lab).

I went to a pretty large college as well, and the business labs were always being used, and there are routinely weeks throughout the year where you'd be hard pressed to find a space in non-silent labs if you didn't get there really early, and good luck getting your other 3 group mates to show up at 7 in the morning.  I've had classes where I was expected to bring a laptop to certain lectures as well.  A cheap laptop that'll run your basic software and has wifi is all you need, but you do need it.

Textbooks are frustrating.  I did everything from 2 hour book checkout at the library through renting digital copies and access codes.  Buying a new book just isn't avoidable sometimes.
Back in the dark ages, we met in the computer lab at 2 am to do our projects, and you had to sign up for the slots.

Years 2-4, ROTC paid for my books, but they got to keep them and reissue them the next year.  If I wanted to keep them, they'd sell them back to me at something like 1/2 price.

I had a full ROTC scholarship, and the first year you bought your books with a prepaid card they issued you.  You were supposed to check the ROTC library first, but no one actually did (realistically because professors chose new editions every year anyways). 

After that, the Navy said "nevermind" and reneged on their "free tuition and books" policy and granted $250 a semester instead in cash, about 50% of what we actually needed.  Fuck that fucking bunch of fucking assclowns; that was the first of many "yeah, we had a deal, but now I'm not going to honor and and there's fuck all you can do about it" occurrences within the military. 

MrMoneyMaxwell

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #23 on: September 02, 2015, 08:46:04 AM »
It's great if faculty are flexible about texts, but many are not.  DD's faculty are adamant about the Pearson access, as are many of the STEM faculty where I work.  There are great open educational resources, but they are under utilized We put on a lot of programs about OERs, but faculty show little interest, Pearson is easier for them. I really do think it's laziness on the part of the faculty.  I work at a public institution, but the faculty tend to be oblivious to the fact that for many of our students a couple hundred dollars makes a huge difference.
So which colleges?  So I can scratch them off my 9 year old's list...

At Ohio State, math up until Calc 3 had an online homework system (I can't recall if it was Pearson). Those classes were so large that having any sort of extension of the rules or whatever (i.e. not counting homework) was going to be impossible.

Once you get to the useful math (for EE) like linear algebra and differential equations you're just assigned problems from the professor, or problems out of the book (those books were ~$30 and probably the most useful books I used for math). Also, international student versions are exact replicas sold to the international students. Check Amazon for that version of the text and it will probably save some cash. Or, go the "less legal" route and just download them.

As far as engineering requiring pearson text books, my intro to electromagnetics text was pearson (the Ulaby book for those other nerds out there). But it's pretty much standard and can be found used for ~$30. My professor assigned select problems out of it as well as his own. Everything else the professor either wrote themselves (i.e. they wrote the text book), supplied us with electronic copies, or just handed out printed copies in class. You're also able to rent directly from Amazon for 1/2 the price.

And as to the comment about computer labs "being phased out" or something. Like I said before, try running a monte carlo simulation of any complexity on a laptop. It's not going to happen. Some of the harder simulations we were required to do were done on 32 core computers with gigs of ram and it still took hours to complete. In some disciplines, sure, it's necessary to have a laptop (literature, business, etc.), but honestly, if you're taking notes in an EE course on a laptop you're in for the worst semester of your life. Everything is math, there is no point taking math notes on a laptop (maybe a tablet).


mm1970

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #24 on: September 02, 2015, 11:19:15 AM »
Quote
I had a full ROTC scholarship, and the first year you bought your books with a prepaid card they issued you.  You were supposed to check the ROTC library first, but no one actually did (realistically because professors chose new editions every year anyways). 

After that, the Navy said "nevermind" and reneged on their "free tuition and books" policy and granted $250 a semester instead in cash, about 50% of what we actually needed.  Fuck that fucking bunch of fucking assclowns; that was the first of many "yeah, we had a deal, but now I'm not going to honor and and there's fuck all you can do about it" occurrences within the military.

Big change from my days (1988-92).

I don't even remember how we paid for the books...my NROTC unit was new (1991 was the first graduating year), so I got new books anyway (only one Chem E in the year above me, and 2 of us my year).

Then again, I heard the stipend went up too, it was $100 a month for me.  I got a 3 year scholarship (because I didn't know about ROTC when I started college, just joined kind of last minute).  Ended up working 5/8 semesters to pay for food/ housing/ etc.

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #25 on: September 02, 2015, 02:46:17 PM »
You and I appear to have the same philosophy. I have to say, though, that after having two cheap laptops fail on me in the course of two years, I went ahead and took I.P. Daley's advice to buy a refurbished Dell that was originally a corporate laptop. Apparently they are still decent, while the Dell consumer laptops are total crap. I believe my husband paid $250. It is MUCH faster and nicer. And the hope is that it won't break as often. I had two motherboard failures with the others- thankfully under warranty both times but still a giant pain in the ass.

Lots more almunim and magnesium in the business class laptops of any brand. That replaces plastic chassis parts found on the consumer versions. I see screen surround and hinge cracks all the time on the consumer versions. The business class versions occasionally wear out hinges which are often replaceable. My 2008 Latitude still works just fine for regular use. For heavy lifting (CAD) I'd use a modern laptop (until the assemblies get too large) or more modern desktop with a decent graphics card. Buy them "off-lease" or "refurbished". 
« Last Edit: September 02, 2015, 02:54:04 PM by Joe Average »

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2015, 03:03:05 PM »
You and I appear to have the same philosophy. I have to say, though, that after having two cheap laptops fail on me in the course of two years, I went ahead and took I.P. Daley's advice to buy a refurbished Dell that was originally a corporate laptop. Apparently they are still decent, while the Dell consumer laptops are total crap. I believe my husband paid $250. It is MUCH faster and nicer. And the hope is that it won't break as often. I had two motherboard failures with the others- thankfully under warranty both times but still a giant pain in the ass.

Lots more almunim and magnesium in the business class laptops of any brand. That replaces plastic chassis parts found on the consumer versions. I see screen surround and hinge cracks all the time on the consumer versions. The business class versions occasionally wear out hinges which are often replaceable. My 2008 Latitude still works just fine for regular use. For heavy lifting (CAD) I'd use a modern laptop (until the assemblies get too large) or more modern desktop with a decent graphics card. Buy them "off-lease" or "refurbished".

I agree that Dells are crap. I am a fan of Lenovo and Acer and a few other brands, though I'll admit I don't know nearly enough.

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #27 on: September 02, 2015, 03:07:19 PM »
You and I appear to have the same philosophy. I have to say, though, that after having two cheap laptops fail on me in the course of two years, I went ahead and took I.P. Daley's advice to buy a refurbished Dell that was originally a corporate laptop. Apparently they are still decent, while the Dell consumer laptops are total crap. I believe my husband paid $250. It is MUCH faster and nicer. And the hope is that it won't break as often. I had two motherboard failures with the others- thankfully under warranty both times but still a giant pain in the ass.

Lots more almunim and magnesium in the business class laptops of any brand. That replaces plastic chassis parts found on the consumer versions. I see screen surround and hinge cracks all the time on the consumer versions. The business class versions occasionally wear out hinges which are often replaceable. My 2008 Latitude still works just fine for regular use. For heavy lifting (CAD) I'd use a modern laptop (until the assemblies get too large) or more modern desktop with a decent graphics card. Buy them "off-lease" or "refurbished".

I agree that Dells are crap. I am a fan of Lenovo and Acer and a few other brands, though I'll admit I don't know nearly enough.

Touch wood, I've got a big (widescreen) Dell something or other laptop that I got on my first day of work at my current employer, and it's been flawless since (about 3.5 years)

clarkfan1979

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2015, 01:04:13 PM »
Student loans are unequally distributed between "for-profit" and "non-profit" schools. Some of the for-profits are being shut down. When they start to exit the market place, student loans will start to decrease. There will always be some non-profits in the system, but I would predict less in the future.

What is the average amount of college debt? I bet it's around 20K for non-profits and 50K for "for-profit" schools.

MrsPete

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2015, 09:09:43 PM »
that's only $2k per student and when you're looking at everything from books, a new laptop, a mini fridge, a futon, a microwave, and even paper to do math problems on, it's not too surprising that the number balloons to $2k.
We're paying all the basics for our kids, and the "unexpecteds" haven't been anywhere near 2K -- I mean, I anticipated books, a laptop, a mini-fridge, and paper.  Perhaps these parents didn't stop to think this through well?  Now, the chocolate milk spilled on the laptop -- that was unexpected. 

And their numbers are ridiculously inflated.  $120/month for Starbucks?  No.  Don't most middle class families cover their kids' health insurance already?  Why should this suddenly be a surprise?  How can living in a dorm save you 20K over the course of the child's education? 
The reason that there are computer labs in every building on campus is so kids don't need to buy $1k computers.
Disagree.  A personal laptop really is a necessity for college today.  Professors expect their students to check their email multiple times a day.  Computer labs aren't in every building, and I don't really want my daughter walking across campus after dark just to get to a computer (especially because she's in a snowy location).  Plus, school computers and printers tend to break down fairly often -- probably a result of too many users who aren't particularly careful. 
... Community colleges offer an incredibly affordable alternative to spending all four years at a university. Some state universities offer degrees that are just as highly regarded as fancy private schools costing multiples more ...
My youngest opted to start at community college, and I have to say that I'm under-whelmed with it.  My oldest, who went straight to a 4-year school has received significantly "more" in every way at her school.  My youngest made the right choice for herself, but I do have concerns. 
Books are one of those things that you can spend a lot less on than you could ten years ago.
Definitely!  Back in the 80s, I had two sources for books:  The overpriced book store and the bulletin board full of signs reading "Math book for sale $25".  The internet has opened up some great options for today's students!  And are books ever expensive:  The worst that's come into our house was the $360 Chemistry book. 


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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2015, 10:04:54 PM »
Daughter started school this fall, $35K/yr. She humped her entire senior year for scholarships and got all that paid for except $960. We bought her a new laptop and I told her I'd get her a car, which she turned down. Good kid. If you are smart enough to belong in college, the $ is there for the asking. I heard stories of her classmates who got higher ACT scores who DIDN'T BOTHER to apply for scholarships.

patrickza

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2015, 12:31:58 AM »
Why not send your kids to Germany to study for free?

Our fees are significantly lower than in the US, but I'm still considering that for my son, as the standard of education there is far higher than here (South Africa).

Good piece of reading here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678

yuka

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2015, 01:02:00 AM »
You and I appear to have the same philosophy. I have to say, though, that after having two cheap laptops fail on me in the course of two years, I went ahead and took I.P. Daley's advice to buy a refurbished Dell that was originally a corporate laptop. Apparently they are still decent, while the Dell consumer laptops are total crap. I believe my husband paid $250. It is MUCH faster and nicer. And the hope is that it won't break as often. I had two motherboard failures with the others- thankfully under warranty both times but still a giant pain in the ass.

Lots more almunim and magnesium in the business class laptops of any brand. That replaces plastic chassis parts found on the consumer versions. I see screen surround and hinge cracks all the time on the consumer versions. The business class versions occasionally wear out hinges which are often replaceable. My 2008 Latitude still works just fine for regular use. For heavy lifting (CAD) I'd use a modern laptop (until the assemblies get too large) or more modern desktop with a decent graphics card. Buy them "off-lease" or "refurbished".

I agree that Dells are crap. I am a fan of Lenovo and Acer and a few other brands, though I'll admit I don't know nearly enough.

In the i5 line of laptop processors hasn't improved in performance much over the last five years, but rather in efficiency.

The nice thing about laptops right now is that the used business laptop market is perfect for your average mustachian buyer: cheaply upgradeable, and cheap to get the performance you need as long as you can make a few sacrifices (size, screen, and battery). My school laptop (compulsory issue at military school) was a 2011 business Lenovo laptop (T420) that still performs well for most tasks. For the snappy feel of modern high-end laptops such as MBPs, just buy a SSD (~$70) and re-install onto it. Then open up the underside bay and add 4 or 8GB more RAM for $20-40. As a bonus, the T420 was one of the last laptops to have the legendary Lenovo keyboard; it's so much better than all the short-travel chiclet crap today.

I'm contemplating doing a screen upgrade (~$65 and more complex process), but I haven't charged ahead yet (still fighting off temptations to get a more powerful laptop for my hardware simulations.)

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2015, 09:44:07 AM »
What is the average amount of college debt? I bet it's around 20K for non-profits and 50K for "for-profit" schools.

My alma mater claims $20K for us. I had zero debt but I was a non-trad student. Some of my friends did have about the price of a new car (~$25K-$30K) in debt.

Our goal for my kids at graduation is no debt. Let them live like college students in the old days - eating cheap, sharing a car with the family or a scooter, living at home for part of their college career, etc.

i5 processor: recently adopted a previously used Samsung Ultrabook that a retiring coworker returned. The biggest difference that I noticed was the reduced heat. Previous laptops I've owned got HOT when doing CAD. And yes you are right - a SSD is the way to go when doing an upgrade on an older machine.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 09:52:39 AM by Joe Average »

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2015, 10:44:32 AM »
Ah, I'd love to have an excuse to purchase a laptop, but I have no need for one presently. Built my desktop in 2013, and I am not nearly mobile enough to require a laptop. I do really want a Surface Pro though~

i5 is a nice sweet spot, and I'd argue that the entire line has improved in terms of performance in the last 5 years. Gen 1 was released in 2008 and Gen 2 was released in 2011. If we compare the most popular 2nd-gen i5 M (2520M) with the lowest 4th-gen i5 M (4200M)-which also have the same base clock rates- the power consumption of the 4th gen was negligible while performance received a larger boost. With that said, the IGP is what received the largest performance enhancements since the 2nd-gen processors. If we compare the 2520M to the 5200U, then you'd be right, but I find that comparing M and U isn't quite fair (though anything higher than 5200U will be better than the 2520M in terms of performance).

From looking at the processor lineups, it seems like they're doing away with the M processors... aww :(
« Last Edit: September 17, 2015, 10:46:32 AM by KittyCat »

yuka

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2015, 11:22:54 AM »
Ah, I'd love to have an excuse to purchase a laptop, but I have no need for one presently. Built my desktop in 2013, and I am not nearly mobile enough to require a laptop. I do really want a Surface Pro though~

i5 is a nice sweet spot, and I'd argue that the entire line has improved in terms of performance in the last 5 years. Gen 1 was released in 2008 and Gen 2 was released in 2011. If we compare the most popular 2nd-gen i5 M (2520M) with the lowest 4th-gen i5 M (4200M)-which also have the same base clock rates- the power consumption of the 4th gen was negligible while performance received a larger boost. With that said, the IGP is what received the largest performance enhancements since the 2nd-gen processors. If we compare the 2520M to the 5200U, then you'd be right, but I find that comparing M and U isn't quite fair (though anything higher than 5200U will be better than the 2520M in terms of performance).

From looking at the processor lineups, it seems like they're doing away with the M processors... aww :(

That's where I am, except worse because I built my desktop at the end of last year, and I already have a laptop. So really I can't justify it unless... well, I can't.

KittyCat

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2015, 11:36:19 AM »
That's where I am, except worse because I built my desktop at the end of last year, and I already have a laptop. So really I can't justify it unless... well, I can't.

I imagine that your build is also somewhat high-end? Ah, semi-mustachian-tech-enthusiast problems... wanna upgrade, but current devices will run well for another decade or so, but ooOOooh, ahhh! The only way I can see myself getting one at this point is if I change jobs to a BYOD workplace that requires a mobile computing device that is more powerful/productive than a smartphone. Mmmm, tech eye-candy.

justajane

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2015, 02:17:30 PM »
Why not send your kids to Germany to study for free?

Our fees are significantly lower than in the US, but I'm still considering that for my son, as the standard of education there is far higher than here (South Africa).

Good piece of reading here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678

Because their kids don't speak German? I majored in German and spent a year at German university. The classes kicked my ass. The professors and other students were very kind to even put up with me. I couldn't converse at the same level as the native German speakers.

yuka

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #38 on: September 17, 2015, 09:59:38 PM »
That's where I am, except worse because I built my desktop at the end of last year, and I already have a laptop. So really I can't justify it unless... well, I can't.

I imagine that your build is also somewhat high-end? Ah, semi-mustachian-tech-enthusiast problems... wanna upgrade, but current devices will run well for another decade or so, but ooOOooh, ahhh! The only way I can see myself getting one at this point is if I change jobs to a BYOD workplace that requires a mobile computing device that is more powerful/productive than a smartphone. Mmmm, tech eye-candy.

Yeah that's about right. i5-4460 and 280x, and some nice monitors. I guess I could say it's for work because I get paid to get my master's, and school is BYOD.. But that'd be pretty silly, wouldn't it?

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #39 on: September 17, 2015, 10:18:49 PM »

A computer is a necessity for most students.  Many colleges are starting to get away from having computer labs.  My dd's school requires a laptop.  The school where I work is scaling back computer labs and there are often waiting lines much of the time. Our libraries do not buy copies of textbooks.


Completely agree. It is then up to the student/parent to decide how much to spend to meet this need.  I'm typing this on a $129 Acer Chromebook...the exact same laptop DD has with her at Berkeley.  When we were shopping for a laptop she said "I definitely don't want to spend a lot of money."  Smart girl in so many ways.

patrickza

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #40 on: September 18, 2015, 02:52:31 AM »
Why not send your kids to Germany to study for free?

Our fees are significantly lower than in the US, but I'm still considering that for my son, as the standard of education there is far higher than here (South Africa).

Good piece of reading here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678

Because their kids don't speak German? I majored in German and spent a year at German university. The classes kicked my ass. The professors and other students were very kind to even put up with me. I couldn't converse at the same level as the native German speakers.
According to the article, a number of the courses are now in English!

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #41 on: September 18, 2015, 04:37:50 AM »
Why not send your kids to Germany to study for free?

Our fees are significantly lower than in the US, but I'm still considering that for my son, as the standard of education there is far higher than here (South Africa).

Good piece of reading here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678

I'm living in a German university town while my husband is a researcher at one of their institutes. I looked into taking classes towards a Masters while we're here. The German university system is very different form the US, and, at least here, almost no classes are in English (other than classes like English lit and English), and all theses and/or final oral examinations are in German. Obviously I'm not taking any classes as I can barely hold a conversation in German.
Because their kids don't speak German? I majored in German and spent a year at German university. The classes kicked my ass. The professors and other students were very kind to even put up with me. I couldn't converse at the same level as the native German speakers.
According to the article, a number of the courses are now in English!

justajane

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #42 on: September 18, 2015, 06:55:19 AM »
Why not send your kids to Germany to study for free?

Our fees are significantly lower than in the US, but I'm still considering that for my son, as the standard of education there is far higher than here (South Africa).

Good piece of reading here: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678

I'm living in a German university town while my husband is a researcher at one of their institutes. I looked into taking classes towards a Masters while we're here. The German university system is very different form the US, and, at least here, almost no classes are in English (other than classes like English lit and English), and all theses and/or final oral examinations are in German. Obviously I'm not taking any classes as I can barely hold a conversation in German.
Because their kids don't speak German? I majored in German and spent a year at German university. The classes kicked my ass. The professors and other students were very kind to even put up with me. I couldn't converse at the same level as the native German speakers.
According to the article, a number of the courses are now in English!

Yeah, just because one article says that some courses are in English at some German universities doesn't mean it's a valid place for an English-speaking person to get a degree. Plus there's that pesky reality that Germans pay the taxes for their universities to be free. If a bunch of non-Germans start availing themselves of what is essentially a loophole, then they'll do what the English do and charge more for foreigners. But I guess until then you can, but I guarantee you that you won't be able to escape speaking or writing in German. Funny though, you can write a dissertation in Germany in Latin if you want. That's allowed.

Study abroad is different, since universities have reciprocal arrangements with American universities and German students study here for a reduced or free rate. 

MrsPete

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #43 on: September 18, 2015, 07:48:42 AM »
Daughter started school this fall, $35K/yr. She humped her entire senior year for scholarships and got all that paid for except $960. We bought her a new laptop and I told her I'd get her a car, which she turned down. Good kid. If you are smart enough to belong in college, the $ is there for the asking. I heard stories of her classmates who got higher ACT scores who DIDN'T BOTHER to apply for scholarships.
Good for your daughter!  Both of mine are on full tuition scholarship too.  However, as a high school teacher, I assure you it's a mistake to think that anyone - everyone can make this happen.  I've seen plenty of students who have the grades, who genuinely put in the effort ... and they still come up empty. 

Tom Bri

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #44 on: September 18, 2015, 05:38:24 PM »
MrsPete, That surprises me a little. My daughter did choose an in-demand major that traditionally has few women in it, and one that lots of local organizations have scholarships for, so that certainly helped.

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #45 on: September 18, 2015, 06:18:29 PM »
Daughter started school this fall, $35K/yr. She humped her entire senior year for scholarships and got all that paid for except $960. We bought her a new laptop and I told her I'd get her a car, which she turned down. Good kid. If you are smart enough to belong in college, the $ is there for the asking. I heard stories of her classmates who got higher ACT scores who DIDN'T BOTHER to apply for scholarships.
Good for your daughter!  Both of mine are on full tuition scholarship too.  However, as a high school teacher, I assure you it's a mistake to think that anyone - everyone can make this happen.  I've seen plenty of students who have the grades, who genuinely put in the effort ... and they still come up empty.

I had issues with getting any scholarships even though I had perfect 4.00 GPA. I went to a meeting about scholarships at my university and they were happy to tell us over and over again that you don't have to have high scores to get a scholarship. Unfortunately for me they had none that really cared about your GPA. I barely qualified for any of them. I applied for several that just said they were for anybody and your GPA didn't matter. I think I got a couple hundred dollars which paid for my books at least.

They actually had a few scholarships where the only requirement was being a male, but none for females only. I guess somebody with a lot of money thought there weren't enough men in college these days. I was the only female in my major at the time, but several men were able to get scholarships. Looking back now, I would really like to know who decided we needed special scholarships for men who pick STEM majors. Were they making a statement? I guess someone decided they want to support STEM majors, but lets make sure some woman doesn't end up with the money. That would be a shame.

Tom Bri

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #46 on: September 18, 2015, 07:00:13 PM »
Women in STEM! Forbidden!
But seriously, there are loads of scholarships just for women in STEM fields. Google it. But you have to aggressively chase them. My daughter wrote dozens of essays and filled out scores of applications.

FatCat

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #47 on: September 19, 2015, 04:32:28 PM »
Women in STEM! Forbidden!
But seriously, there are loads of scholarships just for women in STEM fields. Google it. But you have to aggressively chase them. My daughter wrote dozens of essays and filled out scores of applications.

When I was looking for scholarships was back before Google was a thing, so it may be different now.

MrsPete

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #48 on: September 20, 2015, 12:25:34 PM »
When I was in college, we were bombarded with those "Pay us $50 and we guarantee we'll find you 5 sources of money for college" post cards. 

Now with the help of the internet, scholarships are easier to find, but in two decades in the classroom I've never yet seen one of my students actually get one of those red-headed or left-handed scholarships that supposedly go un-awarded because no one applies for them.  The reality is that LOADS of kids (and their parents) throw LOADS of energy (of varying degrees)  into applying for scholarships. 

Who's successful?  Based upon my experience: 

- Needy kids get.  They get from FAFSA, and they are qualified for scholarships that are closed to middle-class kids.  By needy, I mean kids with actual need.  Kids whose parents spent every penny they earned are invited to take out loans.  Beyond FAFSA, quite a few scholarships consider need ... I'm thinking of a student of ours who was up for a very, very prestigious scholarship from our state flagship university ... and he made it to the very last round, only to lose.  When he saw the list of winners and their qualifications, he said sadly, "No matter what I do, I'm still the kid of a doctor and a business owner.  I can't compete with this Cambodian refugee's story of survival." And it IS admirable that the Cambodian kid lived through horrors and still made grades equal to those of the kid I knew, but, at the same time, it's a bit disheartening to those who've worked their tails off ... but have done it from a comfortable middle-class home.  In the world of scholarships, being middle-class is a disadvantage. 

- Minority kids.  This seems to be decreasing a bit.  We have a fairly high Hispanic population at our school, and they're eligible for a bunch of scholarships ... but what happens SO OFTEN is that the kids apply, win the scholarships, and then they're unable to enroll in the school because they aren't citizens.  Or they can't enroll as in-state students, which makes all the difference in affordability. 

- Smart kids have a better chance.  Better GPAs have a better chance at scholarships (like you didn't know that), but those better GPAs also need to have been earned in high-level classes.  Kids who take all general-level classes do not get scholarships; scholarship committees want to see Advanced Placement Classes in the mix -- the student doesn't have to take ALL APs, but they'd better be in a few. 

- Well-rounded kids get.  In my experience, the profile of a kid who expects to get a scholarship and doesn't ... looks like this:  4.6 GPA, well-liked by teachers, took several advanced placement classes ... but it ends there. The kid who has a 4.0 GPA but who was ALSO captain of the swim team AND was in Key Club AND was active in student government all four years of high school is more likely to steal the scholarship from the kid with the higher GPA.  The scholarship committees want to see involvement beyond the classroom.  Community activities are just as valuable as school-oriented clubs, but they particularly want to see leadership experience.  And it's better to have been active in the same club (progressing to officer as a junior or senior) than to jump from organization to organization haphazzardly.

- Kids who plan to go military.  In the last five years, I've seen more ROTC scholarships than anything other single source.  Keep in mind that this is a JOB for the student.  He or she will spend significant time with the program -- time beyond the classroom.  Related:  Kids whose parents/grandparents were military or law enforcement are eligible for certain scholarships.

- Athletics are a fairly big source of scholarships, though most of them are not full-rides any more.  In the past, a school paid everything for a student-athlete; today schools seem to lean towards paying tuition only for three athletes instead of full costs for a single athlete.  It's good business for them.  Keep in mind that, like ROTC, being a college athlete is a JOB.  Even in off-season, the student will attend mandatory practices, etc.  In my experience, parents tend to over-estimate their kids' chances of getting an athletic scholarship.  Realistically, if your kid wasn't head-and-shoulders better than ALL the rest of the kids by 8th grade, he's probably not scholarship material.  I don't mean he's a team captain and is one of the best players; rather, I mean, if he's scholarship material, he will be shutting the rest down by the time he reaches high school.  Ironically, I see more athletic scholarships going to girls these days than guys. 

- Most scholarships come from the community and/or businesses.  Most are NOT school-based or school specific.  Having said that, my youngest daughter IS on a school-specific scholarship, so they're not completely gone.

- Scholarships are widely available for kids going into teaching or nursing.  STEM, business, art -- scholarships specific to those fields are rare as hen's teeth (which doesn't mean those kids won't get a general scholarship -- just that they're unlikely to get something for their specific major). 

- We have a slew of scholarships awarded by individuals within our community.  For example, one of our former state legislators was the first in his family to attend college; he now gives a nice scholarship every year to a student from his old high school.  He gives it to the student with the highest GPA whose parents did not attend college.  These scholarships are often fairly easy to get (though they are few in number).  For example, a doctor's office in our area gives a scholarship to one student from each high school in our county (it's based upon community service), so your student's competition is rather small -- just his own high school!  We have several scholarships that are unique to our county that are awarded in honor of a student who died or a teacher who served the community for years. 

- And, as expected, the kids who apply themselves to the process of seeking out scholarships will have a better chance than those who pick out 1-2 and sit back to await the awards letters.  My oldest applied to 40-50 scholarships; she was awarded two.  My youngest had fewer at her disposal, but she applied to 25-30 and won one.  Because I teach at the high school, I was aware -- painfully -- that my oldest was runner-up for something like 4-5 more scholarships.  That was a bit heartbreaking.  I never told her. 

- Kids want scholarships, they do the research to look them up ...and then they quit.  I see it year after year.  They print the forms, but they don't write the essays, they don't gather copies of their transcripts, they don't ask their teachers for recommendations.  And then suddenly the deadline has passed.  I see this year after year.  They think about their applications and scholarships ALL THE TIME, and they genuinely STRESS over them ... but they don't do the logical thing:  They don't sit down, devote a weekend to the necessary work, and just get it done.  I've said it before:  The single thing my students do worst is time management. 

Whew.  It's a topic I know well, having helped students for so many years.  An involved parent can absolutely help a student find scholarships, but the competition is strong, and no one is a shoe-in these days. 


Zamboni

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Re: And one more reason why kids graduate with $100k in debt
« Reply #49 on: September 20, 2015, 01:18:51 PM »
I guess the thing that bothered me the most about that article was the room decor money issue. Which was said to be something like half of the "extra money needed" for college.

My parents, being clueless, put me on a plane to college with nothing but two suitcases full of my clothes, some toiletries, and one towel. I arrived to discover I needed bedding; called my parents and was told that a box full of the blankets and sheets left on my bed at home would be put in the mail. Roommate let me borrow a sheet & blanket while I waited two weeks for the box (mom couldn't afford express shipping.)

We split the rental of a mini-fridge (the smallest size) to the tune of $10 each, and I bought a corded phone for $20. Roommate had a toaster oven. My sophomore year I was in an on campus apt with a kitchen, so I bought a set of 4 dishes, a wooden spoon, one sharp knife, one spatula, two pans, and a flat sheet for cookie. That cost the $40 I earned that week as an intramural referee. Mom mailed me a skillet and some loose flatware.

And that was it. That was the extent of my room decorating in college. No area rugs, framed pictures, extra lamps, fans, or matching anything.

Edited to add that I just realized that the original link is to an NPR article. Wow, just wow. These are seriously some first world problems.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2015, 02:14:16 PM by Zamboni »