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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: Kimera757 on September 02, 2017, 09:37:08 AM

Title: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Kimera757 on September 02, 2017, 09:37:08 AM
Post-secondary education is expensive. You either need to work for the money, borrow it, ask your parents (or spouse) for it, or get free funding from the school or government, but apparently you need to get a decent mark for "free" money. You could have to pay for textbooks, supplies, or even a dorm room. A big point of higher education is to get a better career and so get paid better. When I was a starting student I knew nothing about money and couldn't tell you what income I might expect after graduation.

I'm a full-time employee who recently took an intro-level accounting course as a "mature student". It's good for my particular career. It cost just over $500 Canadian and the textbook was over $100. The textbook gave us access to a web portal to do the homework, which was worth 20% of the mark. (You could get a used textbook for half off, but you would lose that 20%, since the web access code was already used.) Most of the students were first year college students from Canada, but some were international students, who had to pay over $1,500 to take the course. Unfortunately many of the students did poorly and wasted their money.

It was a summer course taking place on Saturday morning. Unlike summer high school, the pace was reasonable, and I personally found it to be easy, although the homework and studying was time-consuming. I was working full-time, some of the students were as well, some part-time, some taking other courses, some basically on summer vacation, so it's hard to say how much time students had available to study.

On the first day, the professor told us we should expect to spend 10 hours a week studying for it, and many students said they were taking it for the second or even third time. Students would clearly state why they failed the last time, such as say they didn't study at all between classes... and then go on to do the exact same thing this year. (You didn't need 10 hours per week. Five would do the trick.)

Given that a student had to pay a minimum of $600, and many students are poor, I expected they would study hard. But only a few did. A student could drop out and get a course refund by a certain date (I think right after the second big test), but at least two thirds of the students (including many struggling students) were still there by the final exam. You couldn't get a full refund for a new textbook (since you were really buying the web access code). You could sell the textbook back, though, if you hadn't marked it up too much, and probably get a third or half of the money back. (Speaking of which, when I'm buying my textbook for the next course, I need to return my textbook...)

Immediately I noticed attendance was poor. To be honest, you probably could take the course and get a decent mark if you only showed up for tests and did the homework, and quite a few students did just this. One dramatic-looking student (in that I would have noticed his existence on the very first day due to having a giant purple mohawk or something, but didn't) showed up for the first test about an hour late. Alas, he didn't know we have our tests first thing in the morning, so he missed it, and of course couldn't say he was sick or something. He showed up for every test, but other than we never saw him again.

Many of the students told each other and even the professor that they weren't doing the homework. They might look shame-faced when they said that, publicly, but they still weren't doing the homework. If you spend $100+ on the textbook and weren't doing the homework, you wasted at least $50, and were losing 20% of your marks as well. The textbook is a good teaching tool (IMO), but the homework assignments were worth more than their marks; they actually made sure you knew the stuff. Some concepts could only really be learned through practice (IMO). I don't think it's an opinion to say you cannot learn bank reconciliations without practice, unless you're a literal genius.

Students who actually showed up weren't necessarily more serious than the other students. You could tell when the professor would ask them a question who had done the homework and who hadn't. Often the professor would ask a student a question, and the first couldn't answer, the second couldn't answer... it could take four students before one got the right answer (and often because the professor would turn to a high-performing student to save time rather than see that most of the class hadn't done the homework). There were eight chapters to study, and there were students at class who couldn't answer questions from the first couple of chapters during the final review session. (By that point, it was too late to drop out.)

A student who had failed the previous year told me, before the final exam, that he had received a good mark on the tests this year. He tried to attend every class, but due to illness only made it to about two thirds of them. His good mark didn't really surprise me, since he could answer most of the questions... until he told me he wasn't doing the homework, which wasn't helping him due to the disadvantage of missing a lot of classes. So instead of (say) 80% maybe he's really only getting 60%... and then he told me he did badly on the final exam, which was worth 40% of the entire mark and is a stress-filled "dream crusher". Even the best students did worse on the final exam than on the tests, so they'd try to do really well on the tests to make up for the inevitable drop in marks. He literally could have failed just because he gave up 20% from his homework. Even if he passed, you need a 65% to progress (which means passing at 60% was a waste of time and money).

As for myself, there's an antimustachian school history. When I was going to school full-time I signed up for a course once and completely forgot about it. I got a literal 0% (and of course, since I didn't actually drop out, no refund for me). I think I found out when I looked at my transcript. I ended up paying for it again and taking it again the next year (and getting a good mark). At least I only bought the textbook once! But paying for a course twice is obviously a stupid thing when you're a financially-struggling student.

But that's not the worst. I took a test at work to avoid having to do an accounting course, only I "failed". I procrastinated too much and so didn't study effectively. The multiple choice test was out of 40 and there were 4 options per question. I looked at my mark of 25 and wondered how I could have screwed up so badly that someone randomly picking options would have gotten the same mark. (It turns out I got 25/40, not a great mark, but more than enough for work purposes.) Well with the course done at least I can further my education and get a better job with another employer with this course. Silver lining.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Chesleygirl on September 02, 2017, 10:30:51 AM
I took Spanish at a community college, as an older adult. Most of the other students were older, also. People in their 40s, 50's, 60's were taking this Spanish class, mostly because they needed some Spanish for their career.

Over half the people dropped out. Our professor told us that he hated it when people dropped the class without talking to him first, and he mentioned these people had lost money on the course by not dropping prior to the deadline. A few had also dropped so late that it would show grade of "F" on their transcript.

Not that I care what other people do, but I just find it somewhat interesting. The class for me, was a financial investment and not something I'd want to throw away. Most of the course could be done online, as well. It wouldn't have made sense for me to drop.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Paul der Krake on September 02, 2017, 11:31:50 AM
Not quite academic, but this story happened at a community college a few years ago.

There was a beginner course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation at the local community college. It costs around $200, and spans 3 days. All you need are shoes covering your ankles, a pair of gloves, and normal clothing. They provide helmets, motorcycles, fuel, and instructors. At the end, you can bring the certificate to the DMV and automatically get the motorcycle endorsement on your license. It's a great deal.

On day 1, it's just a Friday evening class where we learn about the bikes and safety, no riding. We are told repeatedly, as in, every 15 minutes, that we must be on the parking lot at 8am sharp tomorrow, or we won't be allowed to ride. The instructors even ask people individually how they would feel about losing $200, and it's clear that it is a lot of money to everyone in the room. Everyone audibly agrees that it's a good idea to show up early.

You can guess where this is going. The next day, two dudes show up late. Man were they pissed when they were turned away.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Tass on September 02, 2017, 11:58:01 AM
My graduate program offers a $30/month reimbursement on any personal fitness expenses you can provide a receipt for. I use this to take a variety of rec classes (surf, dance, Tae Kwon Do) and turn in my receipts promptly at the end of each class, but the number of my friends who just forget to do the paperwork - and mind you, there isn't exactly a deadline, they just don't get around to it - and shrug as their refund slips away boggles my mind.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: spjulep on September 02, 2017, 12:40:22 PM
As an adult, I can't believe I skipped so many classes at my fancy-pants private college. In tuition, I'm sure that was more than $500 per class. And that I took so many useless classes a la underwater basketweaving just for fun and with no consideration of how it would help me with a job. And these classes didn't even contribute to me being a well-rounded, thoughtful person - they were just interesting and easy. I was incredibly lucky to have my parents paying for school and I completely took it for granted. When my kids go to college, things will be different!
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Imma on September 02, 2017, 01:29:14 PM
This is the reason why I chose to study parttime with mature students and not fulltime with other young people. After all those years in high school I had the gut feeling the people I went to school with weren't suddenly going to be mature in college.

Every time I took a class that had both parttime and fulltime students, I was reminded I made the right choice. Even though some mature students were just as bad, they didn't generally turn up for class just to waste everyone's time and disrupt the class.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Travis on September 02, 2017, 02:02:52 PM
I attended a conference a few days ago where the speaker quoted that only 1 in 4 college freshmen will graduate, but nearly all of them will incur student loans of some amount.  We talk a lot here about how bad it is getting a degree and taking half a lifetime to pay for it. It boggles the mind thinking there are folks out there paying off loans without the degree to show for it.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Paul der Krake on September 02, 2017, 02:33:04 PM
I attended a conference a few days ago where the speaker quoted that only 1 in 4 college freshmen will graduate, but nearly all of them will incur student loans of some amount.  We talk a lot here about how bad it is getting a degree and taking half a lifetime to pay for it. It boggles the mind thinking there are folks out there paying off loans without the degree to show for it.
About 30% of college graduates have no debt upon finishing their undergraduate degree.

https://ticas.org/posd/state-state-data-2015#

Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Kimera757 on September 02, 2017, 02:46:51 PM
Quote from: Paul der Krake
About 30% of college graduates have no debt upon finishing their undergraduate degree.

I'm as worried at the 25% graduation rate. I thought it was much higher (since I keep hearing that 40% of people younger than me have finished college).
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Tass on September 02, 2017, 03:04:11 PM
I attended a conference a few days ago where the speaker quoted that only 1 in 4 college freshmen will graduate, but nearly all of them will incur student loans of some amount.  We talk a lot here about how bad it is getting a degree and taking half a lifetime to pay for it. It boggles the mind thinking there are folks out there paying off loans without the degree to show for it.

That doesn't sound right to me, honestly. No school with an under-50% graduation rate would stay open without a lot of negative press. I think maybe they're counting everyone who ever starts college, including people (think community college) who don't have any intention of completing a bachelor's. Or maybe for-profit schools are doing really badly?

My school didn't have any charges for going over a certain limit of courses, so I crammed in as many as I could and ended up with three unrelated majors. Still might have picked differently if 17 year old me had understood how much money was going into it, but at least I eked everything I could out of those four years.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Rimu05 on September 02, 2017, 03:17:19 PM
I signed up for a Statistics class last week as I really want to up my quant skills. Well, I dropped it yesterday. I attended two classes and left lamenting the state of college education.

1.) The Pearson book is $250 and it comes with an access code, I was planning to buy the ebook as it is $100 cheaper, but basically all the homework is online on this pearson website and the teacher also just reads from the pre-designed lecture from this site.
2.) When the teacher was talking about exams, she said notes were allowed, even for the final exam. At that point, all my desire vanished. I mean $500 for this and it's pretty much just independent study, not to mention, taking notes doesn't mean one retained the information.


At the very least, I can go back to taking Spanish. I may as well add to my list of languages and get some benefit. I took calculus in college but never did take statistics. I still want to take Math classes in the future to a higher level than I have, but definitely going to look into the state college or see if my job will fund classes.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: FINate on September 02, 2017, 03:55:42 PM
When I was at university back in the late '90s I was surprised by the number of peers who just seemed to be treading water. Could not pick a major or changed semi regularly. Dropped classes. Took less than full load even though they were not working. Actively sought out the easiest classes and instructors. You're in school to learn and better your life and the opportunity costs of foregoing work for 4-6 years are quite high. Why not make the most of it by taking as many credits as possible, taking hard classes, and even getting in some summer sessions? I guess for some people there's not much incentive to push yourself if you have an account at the Bank of Mom and Dad.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Laura33 on September 02, 2017, 04:20:46 PM
So my antimustachian school story is about my kid's elementary school.  End of 4th grade, they did one of those "fun" projects: if you had $1,000,000, how would you spend it to set yourself up for the future?  I immediately said "VTSAX."  And DS said no, that's not allowed -- you have to spend all $1M, you can't keep any of it.  Wtf?  I mean, I get that they don't just want the kids to turn in a report that says "I would put $1,000,000 in VTSAX," but couldn't they have at least included savings as one component of it?  DS "paid" full freight at Harvey Mudd, bought a lovely 3/2 house with pool outside of Charleston (good jobs + close to beach), bought a used Maserati and a fancy gaming computer, and bought a second condo at the beach next to his grandma, and he still had like $250K left to give to charity.

On the flip side, I lucked into a good deal my junior year in college: my mom taught at a college, and even though I didn't go there, I signed up for their junior year abroad program and arranged for my college to give me credit for it.  Because she taught there, I got free tuition for that semester -- AND the school set me up in an apartment with a family and gave me an allowance to live on every month.  So, basically, I paid no tuition to my college that semester, and her school paid me to study abroad.  Freaking awesome.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: FINate on September 02, 2017, 07:55:21 PM
So my antimustachian school story is about my kid's elementary school.  End of 4th grade, they did one of those "fun" projects: if you had $1,000,000, how would you spend it to set yourself up for the future?  I immediately said "VTSAX."  And DS said no, that's not allowed -- you have to spend all $1M, you can't keep any of it.  Wtf?  I mean, I get that they don't just want the kids to turn in a report that says "I would put $1,000,000 in VTSAX," but couldn't they have at least included savings as one component of it?  DS "paid" full freight at Harvey Mudd, bought a lovely 3/2 house with pool outside of Charleston (good jobs + close to beach), bought a used Maserati and a fancy gaming computer, and bought a second condo at the beach next to his grandma, and he still had like $250K left to give to charity.

What a silly project! Buying VTSAX is "spending" since it's an investment not savings. If I couldn't invest in the market my report would be "Spend $1MM buying investment properties with high ROI." The report essentially becomes a way to launder the hypothetical $1MM through contrived rules.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Travis on September 03, 2017, 09:56:44 AM
I attended a conference a few days ago where the speaker quoted that only 1 in 4 college freshmen will graduate, but nearly all of them will incur student loans of some amount.  We talk a lot here about how bad it is getting a degree and taking half a lifetime to pay for it. It boggles the mind thinking there are folks out there paying off loans without the degree to show for it.
About 30% of college graduates have no debt upon finishing their undergraduate degree.

https://ticas.org/posd/state-state-data-2015#

I have a copy of his presentation. I'll see if there were any sources listed in the notes.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: I'm a red panda on September 03, 2017, 10:47:11 AM
I did an online M.Ed.  Only about half the people (maybe even less) who started the program finished it, likely just because life got in the way, but also because the classes got pretty difficult near the end for people who mostly taught elementary school.

It was $500 a credit hour. So a single class was $1,500. 

To not finish - that is SO much money.


(I'm so fortunate to never have had any student debt. My parents paid what scholarships didn't for my Bachelors degree, and I paid cash for my Masters degree while working full time.)
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Laura33 on September 03, 2017, 01:35:30 PM
So my antimustachian school story is about my kid's elementary school.  End of 4th grade, they did one of those "fun" projects: if you had $1,000,000, how would you spend it to set yourself up for the future?  I immediately said "VTSAX."  And DS said no, that's not allowed -- you have to spend all $1M, you can't keep any of it.  Wtf?  I mean, I get that they don't just want the kids to turn in a report that says "I would put $1,000,000 in VTSAX," but couldn't they have at least included savings as one component of it?  DS "paid" full freight at Harvey Mudd, bought a lovely 3/2 house with pool outside of Charleston (good jobs + close to beach), bought a used Maserati and a fancy gaming computer, and bought a second condo at the beach next to his grandma, and he still had like $250K left to give to charity.

What a silly project! Buying VTSAX is "spending" since it's an investment not savings. If I couldn't invest in the market my report would be "Spend $1MM buying investment properties with high ROI." The report essentially becomes a way to launder the hypothetical $1MM through contrived rules.

I actually tried to point him in that direction, but I couldn't find a good source for possible rents from specific properties.  😉
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: BTDretire on September 03, 2017, 05:45:08 PM
So my antimustachian school story is about my kid's elementary school.  End of 4th grade, they did one of those "fun" projects: if you had $1,000,000, how would you spend it to set yourself up for the future?  I immediately said "VTSAX."  And DS said no, that's not allowed -- you have to spend all $1M, you can't keep any of it.

 How, um, normal! Spend it all.
 It would have been great to push back.
 I bought a piece of the IBM company, a little bit of the Caterpillar co.
etc. Even if each piece was through VTSAX.
 Get the $40,000 of income and show how I would buy a home with a mortgage
$3.2% and a payment of $xxx.00.  It seems be a better setup for the future, than spend it all.
aargh!!
I guess the best lesson is for your son to see there are 2 different paths.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: RetiredAt63 on September 03, 2017, 07:59:21 PM
I attended a conference a few days ago where the speaker quoted that only 1 in 4 college freshmen will graduate, but nearly all of them will incur student loans of some amount.  We talk a lot here about how bad it is getting a degree and taking half a lifetime to pay for it. It boggles the mind thinking there are folks out there paying off loans without the degree to show for it.
About 30% of college graduates have no debt upon finishing their undergraduate degree.

https://ticas.org/posd/state-state-data-2015#

I have a copy of his presentation. I'll see if there were any sources listed in the notes.

There is nothing new in having high attrition rates.  When my Dad did his B. Eng. (during the Depression) one Prof told the first-year class that 1/3 of them would not graduate.  My Dad said he was right.

I know we started with about 200 in Honours Biology when I started my degree, we were about 40 graduating (rest dropped to regular B.Sc) - but that was because most people couldn't cope with the Organic Chemistry course we had to take with the Honours Chemistry students.  Of course that meant they didn't have to take Biochemistry with the Pre-Med students, which was another tough course.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Tass on September 03, 2017, 08:25:06 PM
There is nothing new in having high attrition rates.  When my Dad did his B. Eng. (during the Depression) one Prof told the first-year class that 1/3 of them would not graduate.  My Dad said he was right.

I know we started with about 200 in Honours Biology when I started my degree, we were about 40 graduating (rest dropped to regular B.Sc) - but that was because most people couldn't cope with the Organic Chemistry course we had to take with the Honours Chemistry students.  Of course that meant they didn't have to take Biochemistry with the Pre-Med students, which was another tough course.

Not graduating in the subject you started in is different from not graduating at all, though.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: RetiredAt63 on September 04, 2017, 09:45:35 AM
There is nothing new in having high attrition rates.  When my Dad did his B. Eng. (during the Depression) one Prof told the first-year class that 1/3 of them would not graduate.  My Dad said he was right.

I know we started with about 200 in Honours Biology when I started my degree, we were about 40 graduating (rest dropped to regular B.Sc) - but that was because most people couldn't cope with the Organic Chemistry course we had to take with the Honours Chemistry students.  Of course that meant they didn't have to take Biochemistry with the Pre-Med students, which was another tough course.

Not graduating in the subject you started in is different from not graduating at all, though.

True.  I have no idea how many did not graduate at all in either of my stories, so was not able to give that information.  And of course when my Dad was in University it was the Depression, so many may have dropped out because of finances.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: alewpanda on September 21, 2017, 10:30:14 PM
I attended and paid for most of my private faith-based college tuition in cash.  We got married part way through college, and DH and I paid for our own wedding and honeymoon, which meant taking out about 7k in student loans to eke out the last 2 semesters and graduate. 

What boggled my mind was how many students took out all the student loans offered to them...regardless of the amount they needed for tuition.  They literally lived off of the rest of the loans instead of working or saving.  They weren't getting highly marketable degrees -- they were getting MINISTRY degrees.  AKA...never going to make lots of money.  Jobs that (should you actually graduate with your complete degree) won't qualify you for a heck of a lot of highly skilled jobs, likely won't have fantastic benefits, and will often be highly volatile.

I knew the path I had chosen, and I don't regret my degree.  I paid for most of it in cash and DH and I paid off those 7k in loans within a couple years of graduation. 

These idiots were taking private college classes at 6k a semester (counting room and board), taking the max loan allowed (often an additional 3-4k on top of it each semester), and playing stupid about the choices they were making.  They didn't work, seldom had great work ethic or motivation, and several that I knew would fail at least one class a semester.  Students were walking away with a faith-based ministry degree after 6 years of being unemployed students, and they had anywhere from 70k to 90k in student loans!!  An absolute recipe for disaster......
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: TheGrimSqueaker on September 21, 2017, 10:52:27 PM
I attended and paid for most of my private faith-based college tuition in cash.  We got married part way through college, and DH and I paid for our own wedding and honeymoon, which meant taking out about 7k in student loans to eke out the last 2 semesters and graduate. 

What boggled my mind was how many students took out all the student loans offered to them...regardless of the amount they needed for tuition.  They literally lived off of the rest of the loans instead of working or saving.  They weren't getting highly marketable degrees -- they were getting MINISTRY degrees.  AKA...never going to make lots of money.  Jobs that (should you actually graduate with your complete degree) won't qualify you for a heck of a lot of highly skilled jobs, likely won't have fantastic benefits, and will often be highly volatile.

I knew the path I had chosen, and I don't regret my degree.  I paid for most of it in cash and DH and I paid off those 7k in loans within a couple years of graduation. 

These idiots were taking private college classes at 6k a semester (counting room and board), taking the max loan allowed (often an additional 3-4k on top of it each semester), and playing stupid about the choices they were making.  They didn't work, seldom had great work ethic or motivation, and several that I knew would fail at least one class a semester.  Students were walking away with a faith-based ministry degree after 6 years of being unemployed students, and they had anywhere from 70k to 90k in student loans!!  An absolute recipe for disaster......

Now I'm interested in Joel Osteen's back story.

Did the doctrine of wealth play into any of the decisions of these classmates? I mean it's fashionable in popular culture, but did anybody actually take out a loan with the intention of getting rich off of televangelism or some similar populist tripe? There are people who do make a fabulous living in the ministry (much like in underwater basket weaving), but they're in the extreme minority. It's kind of like taking a loan out for a theatre arts degree thinking: "yeah, I'll go to Hollywood and become an A-list actor". It happens once in a while but it's not a predictable result of leveraging oneself to the hilt.

Did you by chance get to talk to any of these classmates and learn the reasoning behind their decision making?
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: MgoSam on September 22, 2017, 08:55:06 AM

Did you by chance get to talk to any of these classmates and learn the reasoning behind their decision making?

The thinking has changed, but it seems like a decade ago the general consensus was to go to the "best" school you can go to and "follow your passion." Ignore the price tag or the student loans, just do what you wanted and don't worry about money, the rest will just take care of itself.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: economista on September 22, 2017, 09:22:10 AM
At my fancy-pants private university it was $1400 per credit hour and each math class was 5 credit hours, so each math class cost $7000.  I tutored a student who was in Calc 2 and found out it was his 3rd time taking the class!  At this point his parents had paid $21,000 for a single class, and he was on the brink of failing it again.  He said he was a computer science major, and this was the end of his 2nd year of college.  I pointed out to him that comp sci majors had to minor in math, and at that point he would need to take 6 more math classes to get the minor, so it might not be a realistic expectation.  I tried talking to him about switching majors to a computer-related major that didn't require the math minor and he wouldn't hear of it.  We ended up disagreeing about the purpose of higher education.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: BabyShark on September 22, 2017, 09:28:34 AM

Did you by chance get to talk to any of these classmates and learn the reasoning behind their decision making?

The thinking has changed, but it seems like a decade ago the general consensus was to go to the "best" school you can go to and "follow your passion." Ignore the price tag or the student loans, just do what you wanted and don't worry about money, the rest will just take care of itself.

I was going to say that this was the thinking even when I went to college, which was 2008, soooo a decade ago (yikes didn't realize that's how long it's been).  "There's always a way to pay for it, don't worry about the cost."
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: londonstache on September 22, 2017, 09:42:00 AM
My favourite college story was a friend who got a government student loan (super low interest, just above base rate inflation, best rate you'd get in your life) and then when we finished university proudly announced to me "I've cleared my student debt already! I took out a bank loan and it's now all gone!"

I was not a Mustachian at the time but could see the weakness in this cunning plan...
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: dcheesi on September 22, 2017, 09:45:53 AM
At my fancy-pants private university it was $1400 per credit hour and each math class was 5 credit hours, so each math class cost $7000.  I tutored a student who was in Calc 2 and found out it was his 3rd time taking the class!  At this point his parents had paid $21,000 for a single class, and he was on the brink of failing it again.  He said he was a computer science major, and this was the end of his 2nd year of college.  I pointed out to him that comp sci majors had to minor in math, and at that point he would need to take 6 more math classes to get the minor, so it might not be a realistic expectation.  I tried talking to him about switching majors to a computer-related major that didn't require the math minor and he wouldn't hear of it.  We ended up disagreeing about the purpose of higher education.
To be fair, advanced calculus really isn't necessary for most software development, which is what most "computer science" undergrad majors are actually interested in. And most other computer-related majors* are geared more toward IT work, which is not the same thing. It could be argued that the problem was with the curriculum/requirements, rather than the student.

[* excepting those majors that are more hardware-oriented, which are really closer to E.E. than C.S anyway]
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: coynemoney on September 22, 2017, 12:40:26 PM
At my fancy-pants private university it was $1400 per credit hour and each math class was 5 credit hours, so each math class cost $7000.  I tutored a student who was in Calc 2 and found out it was his 3rd time taking the class!  At this point his parents had paid $21,000 for a single class, and he was on the brink of failing it again.  He said he was a computer science major, and this was the end of his 2nd year of college.  I pointed out to him that comp sci majors had to minor in math, and at that point he would need to take 6 more math classes to get the minor, so it might not be a realistic expectation.  I tried talking to him about switching majors to a computer-related major that didn't require the math minor and he wouldn't hear of it.  We ended up disagreeing about the purpose of higher education.

For a second I thought I might have been your student - however, I went to a lowly public university. I had to take a couple math and physics classes multiple times out of pure laziness. It took me until my 5th year "bonus semester" (which coincidentally was when my parent's funding was shut off) to realize what it meant to be a good student. I ended up getting something stupid like a 3.9 in my final semester classes (which were all of the most grueling classes of the major) and finishing with an overall GPA of ~2.6.

Very embarrassing stuff...
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: penguintroopers on September 22, 2017, 12:50:50 PM

Did you by chance get to talk to any of these classmates and learn the reasoning behind their decision making?

The thinking has changed, but it seems like a decade ago the general consensus was to go to the "best" school you can go to and "follow your passion." Ignore the price tag or the student loans, just do what you wanted and don't worry about money, the rest will just take care of itself.

I was going to say that this was the thinking even when I went to college, which was 2008, soooo a decade ago (yikes didn't realize that's how long it's been).  "There's always a way to pay for it, don't worry about the cost."

I'm hoping sometime soon everyone would wake up and realize that relying on loans isn't really the solution to the problem here.

That being said, student loans suck. I hate thinking about how I'm one of the lucky ones by graduating on time, with a relatively average final loan burden, who will be gainfully employed starting next week (while finishing a masters program. phew!). Those that never finish but took loans still have the loans to pay back, despite not having the fancy-pants high paying job they took said loans to get.

Its a brutal system.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Spiffy on September 22, 2017, 02:02:45 PM


What boggled my mind was how many students took out all the student loans offered to them...regardless of the amount they needed for tuition.  They literally lived off of the rest of the loans instead of working or saving.  They weren't getting highly marketable degrees -- they were getting MINISTRY degrees.  AKA...never going to make lots of money.  Jobs that (should you actually graduate with your complete degree) won't qualify you for a heck of a lot of highly skilled jobs, likely won't have fantastic benefits, and will often be highly volatile.

A lot of senior clergy make a lot more money than you might think. At one church I know, they pay the clergy at a rate that is similar to others in the area that have graduate degrees. This is a college town, so lots of people with degrees making big salaries. I personally do not think that an Mdiv is anything like having a Masters or PhD, but that guy is making well over $100 thousand a year.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: jinga nation on September 22, 2017, 03:13:08 PM

Did you by chance get to talk to any of these classmates and learn the reasoning behind their decision making?

The thinking has changed, but it seems like a decade ago the general consensus was to go to the "best" school you can go to and "follow your passion." Ignore the price tag or the student loans, just do what you wanted and don't worry about money, the rest will just take care of itself.

I was going to say that this was the thinking even when I went to college, which was 2008, soooo a decade ago (yikes didn't realize that's how long it's been).  "There's always a way to pay for it, don't worry about the cost."
I was going to say that this was the thinking even when I went to college, which was 1998, two decades ago (yes, it has been that long).  "There's always a way to pay for it, don't worry about the cost."

Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: dogboyslim on September 22, 2017, 03:24:51 PM


What boggled my mind was how many students took out all the student loans offered to them...regardless of the amount they needed for tuition.  They literally lived off of the rest of the loans instead of working or saving.  They weren't getting highly marketable degrees -- they were getting MINISTRY degrees.  AKA...never going to make lots of money.  Jobs that (should you actually graduate with your complete degree) won't qualify you for a heck of a lot of highly skilled jobs, likely won't have fantastic benefits, and will often be highly volatile.

A lot of senior clergy make a lot more money than you might think. At one church I know, they pay the clergy at a rate that is similar to others in the area that have graduate degrees. This is a college town, so lots of people with degrees making big salaries. I personally do not think that an Mdiv is anything like having a Masters or PhD, but that guy is making well over $100 thousand a year.

I was on the council for a small rural church.  When we needed a new pastor, they get a housing allowance that is not taxed and then a small income.  Total package for a church of 300 families was near 90k (including benefits).  Its by no means a high salary, but it is enough that most college loans could be extinguished.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: facepalm on September 23, 2017, 12:11:11 PM
I signed up for a Statistics class last week as I really want to up my quant skills. Well, I dropped it yesterday. I attended two classes and left lamenting the state of college education.

1.) The Pearson book is $250 and it comes with an access code, I was planning to buy the ebook as it is $100 cheaper, but basically all the homework is online on this pearson website and the teacher also just reads from the pre-designed lecture from this site.
2.) When the teacher was talking about exams, she said notes were allowed, even for the final exam. At that point, all my desire vanished. I mean $500 for this and it's pretty much just independent study, not to mention, taking notes doesn't mean one retained the information.


Were you taking an intro stats course? Was it at a JC? Not surprised they allowed notes on the final.  Also not surprised that the instructor read or followed the lecture notes given by the publisher. Intro stats classes are often given non tenure track faculty (guest lecturers).

The trick is to get past the entry level courses. Upper division courses are much more fun.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on September 23, 2017, 12:23:29 PM
OP, a lot of students don't bother doing their work, because according to current public education doctrine in the United States, all student failure is due to poor teaching and schools are punished if kids don't score well. Therefore, teachers find ways to pass every student in every subject and the students know this is going to happen. Why would anybody work hard if it isn't necessary? Students can do whatever they want and they are still going to pass.

These students get to college and they no longer get the hand-holding and social promotion that they are accustomed to and they end up crashing and burning. This is starting to change, though, because it looks bad for colleges when so many students flunk out, so professors are now being pressured to pass everyone just like high school.

And this is what progress looks like in the 21st century.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Goldielocks on September 23, 2017, 04:01:42 PM
I signed up for a Statistics class last week as I really want to up my quant skills. Well, I dropped it yesterday. I attended two classes and left lamenting the state of college education.

1.) The Pearson book is $250 and it comes with an access code, I was planning to buy the ebook as it is $100 cheaper, but basically all the homework is online on this pearson website and the teacher also just reads from the pre-designed lecture from this site.
2.) When the teacher was talking about exams, she said notes were allowed, even for the final exam. At that point, all my desire vanished. I mean $500 for this and it's pretty much just independent study, not to mention, taking notes doesn't mean one retained the information.



Also not surprised that the instructor read or followed the lecture notes given by the publisher. Intro stats classes are often given non tenure track faculty (guest lecturers).

The trick is to get past the entry level courses. Upper division courses are much more fun.
You have to realize that non-tenure track professors  / instructors are earning $54k per year to teach 6 classes at a time, as FT hours, from September through end of May (or if april, they use 1 month in summer to prepare), including course set up, administration, marking, etc. for which they get no additional pay or credit for.   Of course they take the shortcuts of using the predefined lecture and quiz material... even that takes time to review and put into presentation format for the specific class.

Also, many are very part time, paid on a per course basis with no benefits.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: RetiredAt63 on September 23, 2017, 04:46:12 PM
I signed up for a Statistics class last week as I really want to up my quant skills. Well, I dropped it yesterday. I attended two classes and left lamenting the state of college education.

1.) The Pearson book is $250 and it comes with an access code, I was planning to buy the ebook as it is $100 cheaper, but basically all the homework is online on this pearson website and the teacher also just reads from the pre-designed lecture from this site.
2.) When the teacher was talking about exams, she said notes were allowed, even for the final exam. At that point, all my desire vanished. I mean $500 for this and it's pretty much just independent study, not to mention, taking notes doesn't mean one retained the information.



Also not surprised that the instructor read or followed the lecture notes given by the publisher. Intro stats classes are often given non tenure track faculty (guest lecturers).

The trick is to get past the entry level courses. Upper division courses are much more fun.
You have to realize that non-tenure track professors  / instructors are earning $54k per year to teach 6 classes at a time, as FT hours, from September through end of May (or if april, they use 1 month in summer to prepare), including course set up, administration, marking, etc. for which they get no additional pay or credit for.   Of course they take the shortcuts of using the predefined lecture and quiz material... even that takes time to review and put into presentation format for the specific class.

Also, many are very part time, paid on a per course basis with no benefits.

Plus, having the formulas available means very little.  The hard part of stats is understanding what you are doing - so you can have all the formulae handy, and if you don't know which one to use, and how to use it, and what the results mean, you are lost anyway.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Kimera757 on September 23, 2017, 05:29:51 PM
OP, a lot of students don't bother doing their work, because according to current public education doctrine in the United States, all student failure is due to poor teaching and schools are punished if kids don't score well. Therefore, teachers find ways to pass every student in every subject and the students know this is going to happen. Why would anybody work hard if it isn't necessary? Students can do whatever they want and they are still going to pass.

Canada has a different system. In grade 10, every student must take a "literacy" test (it's literacy and math). While teachers teach to the test, there are no bell curves or ways of modifying the marks, and the marking is done by the province on a multiple choice test. The general guidelines are the same per province.

In some provinces, students get passed all the way to grade 10 despite being basically illiterate... and then they run into this "dreamcrusher" of a test. They can still advance to grade 12 but cannot graduate unless they pass this test. There are all kinds of negative words you can use for this -- bureaucratic, central planning, etc -- but I think it's a great way of ensuring that students deserve to pass.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: SwordGuy on September 23, 2017, 07:36:59 PM
I hate thinking about how I'm one of the lucky ones by graduating on time, with a relatively average final loan burden, who will be gainfully employed starting next week (while finishing a masters program. phew!). Those that never finish but took loans still have the loans to pay back, despite not having the fancy-pants high paying job they took said loans to get.

Its a brutal system.

In what way were you lucky?

Ok, didn't get horribly ill or injured and unable to go to school.  Ditto for family having the same problem and having to quit school to take care of them.

Check.  Then again, most people are that lucky, so it's better described as "normal" instead of "lucky".

Did you actually pay attention in high school and learn the high school material you were supposed to learn?  I would wager that 70% or more of American students did not do so.
It really cuts down on the studying required for the lower level classes when you've already learned a lot of the material.   

Did you actually pay attention to the courses you had to take to graduate, per the requirements written down by the college?   It's amazing how much faster one can graduate when one takes the right classes.   I would wager at least 50% or more of American college students do not - and trust their "advisor" to do their thinking for them.   Those extra semesters taking classes that they missed cost a lot of money and time.

Did you actually pay attend class?  Pay attention in class?  Do the reading for class?  Do the assignments for class?   Actually try to do the assignments for class correctly?   And do those assignments on time?  A huge percentage of American college students do not bother to do many of these things.   It costs a lot of money to take multiple classes 2 and 3 times. 

Did you attend a college nearby instead of gallivanting across state boundaries to attend a state university at 4 times the cost?   It costs a lot of money to partake in "collegiate tourism" simply because one wants to be at "the cool school".  Whatever that is.

Did you work while you were in high school and save the money for college?   Did you work while you were in college to help cover expenses?   Did you do what you could to keep expenses low instead of living it up on student loan money? 

Did you take advanced placement courses in high school so you could test out of college courses?  Or take college courses while still in high school to get free credits?  Or apply for grants or scholarships?

Did you actually stick with it and graduate?

Because if you did a lot of that, you weren't "lucky".   You were smart.

Now, if the bank of mom and dad paid for everything, that was lucky.

As for having a "relatively average final loan burden", median student loan debt is around $26,000.  That's a sum that's lower than the median price for a new car in America.

Since I see a lot of Facebook posts celebrating the purchase of a new car, I can't see how a smaller debt is so very burdensome.

Unless there are no nearby state colleges where you live, college is very affordable in this country.    Even then there are ways to make it more affordable.



 


Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on September 23, 2017, 10:28:40 PM
OP, a lot of students don't bother doing their work, because according to current public education doctrine in the United States, all student failure is due to poor teaching and schools are punished if kids don't score well. Therefore, teachers find ways to pass every student in every subject and the students know this is going to happen. Why would anybody work hard if it isn't necessary? Students can do whatever they want and they are still going to pass.

Canada has a different system. In grade 10, every student must take a "literacy" test (it's literacy and math). While teachers teach to the test, there are no bell curves or ways of modifying the marks, and the marking is done by the province on a multiple choice test. The general guidelines are the same per province.

In some provinces, students get passed all the way to grade 10 despite being basically illiterate... and then they run into this "dreamcrusher" of a test. They can still advance to grade 12 but cannot graduate unless they pass this test. There are all kinds of negative words you can use for this -- bureaucratic, central planning, etc -- but I think it's a great way of ensuring that students deserve to pass.

The USA has standardized tests too, but since teachers were afraid to let kids fail and they passed them anyway every year, the scores were too low. So the government has repeatedly lowered the bar to pass so make the numbers look better. That way, the kids don't have to actually learn anything and it still looks like the scores are improving each year. It's a terrific system for everybody as long as the students aren't expected to ever have successful lives.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: shelivesthedream on September 24, 2017, 05:11:12 AM
I'm British and briefly toyed with the idea of going to university in America. I liked the idea of doing a liberal arts degree and taking lots of interesting-sounding extras in addition to my core major classes. I probably could have made it cost about the same as going to university in the UK if I'd got a good scholarship but the application would have been a lot of hassle (with much much less guidance from my school) so I gave up the idea pretty quickly. Looking back, I don't know if I would have done well at an American college at age 18. I don't think I would have made good course choices. In the UK, you pick your subject when you apply and then you have limited class options within that. I had to pick something like 5 of 8 (two of which were compulsory) in my first year then 4 of 16 in my second and third years. The construct-your-own-schedule thing sounds great, but 18-year-old me would have really struggled to navigate it, especially without anyone (like parents or friends going through the same system) to ask for help.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Dave1442397 on September 24, 2017, 09:28:06 AM
I'm British and briefly toyed with the idea of going to university in America. I liked the idea of doing a liberal arts degree and taking lots of interesting-sounding extras in addition to my core major classes. I probably could have made it cost about the same as going to university in the UK if I'd got a good scholarship but the application would have been a lot of hassle (with much much less guidance from my school) so I gave up the idea pretty quickly. Looking back, I don't know if I would have done well at an American college at age 18. I don't think I would have made good course choices. In the UK, you pick your subject when you apply and then you have limited class options within that. I had to pick something like 5 of 8 (two of which were compulsory) in my first year then 4 of 16 in my second and third years. The construct-your-own-schedule thing sounds great, but 18-year-old me would have really struggled to navigate it, especially without anyone (like parents or friends going through the same system) to ask for help.

I agree with that. I went to college in Ireland, and I believe the only choice we had was between German or French. Everyone took the same classes, and only fifteen of the original twenty-eight people in the class graduated. I always thought our college was closer to an American high school than an American college.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: penguintroopers on September 24, 2017, 12:29:04 PM
I hate thinking about how I'm one of the lucky ones by graduating on time, with a relatively average final loan burden, who will be gainfully employed starting next week (while finishing a masters program. phew!). Those that never finish but took loans still have the loans to pay back, despite not having the fancy-pants high paying job they took said loans to get.

Its a brutal system.

In what way were you lucky?

Ok, didn't get horribly ill or injured and unable to go to school.  Ditto for family having the same problem and having to quit school to take care of them.

Check.  Then again, most people are that lucky, so it's better described as "normal" instead of "lucky".

Did you actually pay attention in high school and learn the high school material you were supposed to learn?  I would wager that 70% or more of American students did not do so.
It really cuts down on the studying required for the lower level classes when you've already learned a lot of the material.   

Did you actually pay attention to the courses you had to take to graduate, per the requirements written down by the college?   It's amazing how much faster one can graduate when one takes the right classes.   I would wager at least 50% or more of American college students do not - and trust their "advisor" to do their thinking for them.   Those extra semesters taking classes that they missed cost a lot of money and time.

Did you actually pay attend class?  Pay attention in class?  Do the reading for class?  Do the assignments for class?   Actually try to do the assignments for class correctly?   And do those assignments on time?  A huge percentage of American college students do not bother to do many of these things.   It costs a lot of money to take multiple classes 2 and 3 times. 

Did you attend a college nearby instead of gallivanting across state boundaries to attend a state university at 4 times the cost?   It costs a lot of money to partake in "collegiate tourism" simply because one wants to be at "the cool school".  Whatever that is.

Did you work while you were in high school and save the money for college?   Did you work while you were in college to help cover expenses?   Did you do what you could to keep expenses low instead of living it up on student loan money? 

Did you take advanced placement courses in high school so you could test out of college courses?  Or take college courses while still in high school to get free credits?  Or apply for grants or scholarships?

Did you actually stick with it and graduate?

Because if you did a lot of that, you weren't "lucky".   You were smart.

Now, if the bank of mom and dad paid for everything, that was lucky.

As for having a "relatively average final loan burden", median student loan debt is around $26,000.  That's a sum that's lower than the median price for a new car in America.

Since I see a lot of Facebook posts celebrating the purchase of a new car, I can't see how a smaller debt is so very burdensome.

Unless there are no nearby state colleges where you live, college is very affordable in this country.    Even then there are ways to make it more affordable.

Yes, most of those are true for me. I didn't rely on my advisor and re-worked my schedule pretty much at the end of every semester. I took a lot of AP classes, but it didn't really minimize expenses because I pretty much used those credits to have time to finish a minor. Which, if I wanted to seriously minimize expenses, I could have avoided, but I consider it at least moderately valuable in the end in increasing my marketability. I went to a college out-of-state, but looking online it looks like my university was about $5k more per year than local City University, and very comparable to State University. I did work in school, to fund most of a study abroad program.

Thing is, I mostly just fell into most of those things. I had the encouragement in high school to do more difficult AP classes. I had the blessing of a great on-campus job, that lots of students apply for but very few get. I had a scholarship given to me based on my ACT score alone. Lots of scholarships practically scoffed at me because my family's EFC was $10k more than the total cost of attendance, so I should have had no problem paying. Well, its no problem so long as I sign up for tens of thousands of dollars in loans.

Now compare that with the go to school to get a good job! movement that never slows down. Lets take average Jimmy, who is in a public school. Jimmy could do one AP class a year because that's all his parents have cash for, or that's all he can study for. But AP classes are only offered to sophomores. So he gets three done. Or lets say he manages to get 6 done by doing two a year. Whatever. Those 6 classes would generally be 3 hours each, so by loading up his high-school time, he's only finished one semester of college. At 18, you don't hear how expensive school is, you just hear that you should go somewhere, and when you don't have the cash to pay for it, you just sign up for loans. A few students may realize "boy, this is money that I have to pay back later, maybe I should make smart and frugal choices here". Most don't, because they wont have the benefit of seeing what debt does to people because adults don't show "I'm struggling with debt" to a 18 year old because they don't want to feel shame.

And if I run around telling high schollers "When you look at colleges, make sure to consider the cost of attendance". I look like a bad guy because it comes across as "you're too stupid, don't waste your money going to school."
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Laura33 on September 25, 2017, 06:37:02 AM
Thing is, I mostly just fell into most of those things. I had the encouragement in high school to do more difficult AP classes. I had the blessing of a great on-campus job, that lots of students apply for but very few get. I had a scholarship given to me based on my ACT score alone.

I think there is truth on both sides of this issue, and that which "truth" you see depends in large part on your socioeconomic status.  My DD's experience so far is much closer to penguintroopers than SwordGuy's or WhiteTrashCan's -- we live in a MC/UMC neighborhood, she was identified as a smart kid early on, and as a result, she has been tracked into challenging classes and an advanced curriculum.  This year (junior), she has AP English, AP history, AP Physics, and double AP calculus -- this is the "standard" track for GT kids -- and her primary elective is two separate engineering classes.  For kids like her, the default track is high expectations and the kind of resume is that looks good to colleges and will prepare her for college-level work; it's actually hard to get the kid off the super-demanding track (I had many conversations with her and the guidance counselor about the ridiculous expectations for juniors, but was unsuccessful in persuading them that this was too much, and she wanted to do it).

The thing is, this is not some fancy, ritzy HS -- this is the local public school.  DD has a lot of friends who are pulling average grades in average classes, and who will struggle to get into the state flagship.  And even if they get in and do decently in their classes, they are going to come out with debt, because the school is not commuting distance, and it is developing a real reputation for not offering sufficient sections of required classes to allow kids to graduate on time.  I don't think it's a coincidence that many of these kids come from a lower socioeconomic status than we do.  These kids have heard the same "you need to work hard and go to college," but they are not challenged to do the kinds of things that will help them get scholarships or succeed if they get there.

IOW, I think our current system is reinforcing inequality.  Kids like my DD, who come into school with many advantages, get tracked into demanding classes, and the school has high expectations for them, so the "default" expectations for them are to do the kinds of things that will get them through college on time and without huge debt.*  OTOH, the kids who don't have the parental advantages get tracked into the average or "slow" classes early on, graduate with middling grades, struggle to get into college, and are more likely to take longer to graduate (if they graduate at all) and rely on debt to pay the bills as they have no family resources.

*Not that some of them don't make stupid decisions along the way.  But the deck is stacked in their favor, in ways that they likely don't even notice.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: penguintroopers on September 26, 2017, 07:33:57 PM
Thing is, I mostly just fell into most of those things. I had the encouragement in high school to do more difficult AP classes. I had the blessing of a great on-campus job, that lots of students apply for but very few get. I had a scholarship given to me based on my ACT score alone.

*Not that some of them don't make stupid decisions along the way.  But the deck is stacked in their favor, in ways that they likely don't even notice.

And it took about half a year or so after graduation for me to realize how really lucky I had it... and I don't think some people ever realize it.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: SwordGuy on September 26, 2017, 10:31:07 PM
Thing is, I mostly just fell into most of those things. I had the encouragement in high school to do more difficult AP classes. I had the blessing of a great on-campus job, that lots of students apply for but very few get. I had a scholarship given to me based on my ACT score alone.
[/quote]

I started college with 23 credit hours from AP classes in high school.   Was I lucky?

Let's explore.

Poor kids - like all the poor - get the shaft in life.   

So I'm going to limit my analysis to the kids who went to my junior and high school.   They were mostly middle class, with some upper class folks and lower middle class mixed in.

Was I lucky that I was encouraged to take advanced classes in high school?

Hell no.

The teachers didn't wander down the halls saying, "Hmm.  I need some random kid to fill up my AP math class.  Oh, there's one!  He'll do!"   

I was encouraged because I could and did do the school work from kindergarten onwards.

I actually took the time to read my school books, study their contents, and do the homework.  I didn't just "do" the homework, I did my best to do the homework right.   So when it came time for the teachers to look for kids who would do well in advanced classes, they thought of me.

I'm not smarter than other folks.

I just did the damn work to the best of my ability.   There's an old saying, "Luck looks a whole lot like hard work."

What about the bulk of my fellow middle-class students?   They did the minimum amount of work that would get them to pass.  Instead of actively attempting to learn and master the material, they took pride in not bothering to learn it.

They are sixty years old and a hell of a lot of them still don't know the difference between you're and your, our and are, there, their and they're, to, two and too, etc.   That's how damn intellectually lazy they are - in sixty years they haven't even managed to learn basic English grammar by osmosis. 

They still can't do basic arithmetic, like "How much is 7 - 3 * 2?"   

It's not that I was lucky, it's that they weren't even trying.   In the land of the intentionally blind, the one eyed man is king.

Now, did I have it lucky compared to the poor or minority groups or people born in 3rd world countries?   Damn skippy I did.   Big time.   But was I lucky compared to the bulk of the middle class kids I was in school with?  No. 


Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: talltexan on September 27, 2017, 08:40:50 AM
I hate thinking about how I'm one of the lucky ones by graduating on time, with a relatively average final loan burden, who will be gainfully employed starting next week (while finishing a masters program. phew!). Those that never finish but took loans still have the loans to pay back, despite not having the fancy-pants high paying job they took said loans to get.

Its a brutal system.

In what way were you lucky?

Ok, didn't get horribly ill or injured and unable to go to school.  Ditto for family having the same problem and having to quit school to take care of them.

Check.  Then again, most people are that lucky, so it's better described as "normal" instead of "lucky".

Did you actually pay attention in high school and learn the high school material you were supposed to learn?  I would wager that 70% or more of American students did not do so.
It really cuts down on the studying required for the lower level classes when you've already learned a lot of the material.   

Did you actually pay attention to the courses you had to take to graduate, per the requirements written down by the college?   It's amazing how much faster one can graduate when one takes the right classes.   I would wager at least 50% or more of American college students do not - and trust their "advisor" to do their thinking for them.   Those extra semesters taking classes that they missed cost a lot of money and time.

Did you actually pay attend class?  Pay attention in class?  Do the reading for class?  Do the assignments for class?   Actually try to do the assignments for class correctly?   And do those assignments on time?  A huge percentage of American college students do not bother to do many of these things.   It costs a lot of money to take multiple classes 2 and 3 times. 

Did you attend a college nearby instead of gallivanting across state boundaries to attend a state university at 4 times the cost?   It costs a lot of money to partake in "collegiate tourism" simply because one wants to be at "the cool school".  Whatever that is.

Did you work while you were in high school and save the money for college?   Did you work while you were in college to help cover expenses?   Did you do what you could to keep expenses low instead of living it up on student loan money? 

Did you take advanced placement courses in high school so you could test out of college courses?  Or take college courses while still in high school to get free credits?  Or apply for grants or scholarships?

Did you actually stick with it and graduate?

Because if you did a lot of that, you weren't "lucky".   You were smart.

Now, if the bank of mom and dad paid for everything, that was lucky.

As for having a "relatively average final loan burden", median student loan debt is around $26,000.  That's a sum that's lower than the median price for a new car in America.

Since I see a lot of Facebook posts celebrating the purchase of a new car, I can't see how a smaller debt is so very burdensome.

Unless there are no nearby state colleges where you live, college is very affordable in this country.    Even then there are ways to make it more affordable.

Not the OP, but I've considered myself lucky for having parents with continuous, reliable employment who believed their first priority was to provide resources to educate me.

I was also lucky to be an only child ;-)

But seeing these stories about student loans, I feel like I was spared a major burden without having the good sense (at age 22) to avoid it were it up to me.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Tass on September 27, 2017, 11:55:12 AM
I was lucky to have parents who told me not to take out loans. At 17 I wouldn't have known to go against the advice of adults. Granted, I still didn't understand what the price tag of my education really meant until well after I had picked my fancy private college, but at least I worked my butt off while I was there in order to graduate with zero net worth.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: talltexan on September 29, 2017, 12:57:15 PM
What is your Ph.D. in, Tass? Mine was in Economics.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Tass on September 29, 2017, 01:39:27 PM
Biophysics! And they pay me to do it, so my NW does continue to inch upward.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: alewpanda on October 03, 2017, 11:09:45 AM
I attended and paid for most of my private faith-based college tuition in cash.  We got married part way through college, and DH and I paid for our own wedding and honeymoon, which meant taking out about 7k in student loans to eke out the last 2 semesters and graduate. 

What boggled my mind was how many students took out all the student loans offered to them...regardless of the amount they needed for tuition.  They literally lived off of the rest of the loans instead of working or saving.  They weren't getting highly marketable degrees -- they were getting MINISTRY degrees.  AKA...never going to make lots of money.  Jobs that (should you actually graduate with your complete degree) won't qualify you for a heck of a lot of highly skilled jobs, likely won't have fantastic benefits, and will often be highly volatile.

I knew the path I had chosen, and I don't regret my degree.  I paid for most of it in cash and DH and I paid off those 7k in loans within a couple years of graduation. 

These idiots were taking private college classes at 6k a semester (counting room and board), taking the max loan allowed (often an additional 3-4k on top of it each semester), and playing stupid about the choices they were making.  They didn't work, seldom had great work ethic or motivation, and several that I knew would fail at least one class a semester.  Students were walking away with a faith-based ministry degree after 6 years of being unemployed students, and they had anywhere from 70k to 90k in student loans!!  An absolute recipe for disaster......

Now I'm interested in Joel Osteen's back story.

Did the doctrine of wealth play into any of the decisions of these classmates? I mean it's fashionable in popular culture, but did anybody actually take out a loan with the intention of getting rich off of televangelism or some similar populist tripe? There are people who do make a fabulous living in the ministry (much like in underwater basket weaving), but they're in the extreme minority. It's kind of like taking a loan out for a theatre arts degree thinking: "yeah, I'll go to Hollywood and become an A-list actor". It happens once in a while but it's not a predictable result of leveraging oneself to the hilt.

Did you by chance get to talk to any of these classmates and learn the reasoning behind their decision making?



Depended.  Some had a general idea that student loans were a neccesity, and that getting a degree was the most important thing...   A few seemed to have a genuine desire to help and serve and simply went about the college avenue without a lot of common sense.  A few were the type who had relatives in the ministry, so it was a "thing" or expectation, but almost all of those particular students dropped out after a year or two, meaning lots of student loans with no degree.  There are always a few who seem to ride the "popularity" train, seeming to think that the money will just come to them.  Sometimes the loans are in parents names so as long as the parents will sign, they take the loans.  I even knew students whose parents actually didn't want them to work in college, so the loans were to make up for that insistence! 

The worst though were the stereotypically "M.R.S." students.  AKA, only there to theoretically find a good preacher husband.  That almost NEVER worked out in their favor...




I obviously am quite aware that the ministry field of education (particularly as it became more liberal arts driven as opposed to strictly preaching and teaching) is filled with many many foolish and sometimes outright hypocritical individuals.  My attempt has always been to be neither of those stereotypes.   
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: alewpanda on October 03, 2017, 11:20:41 AM


What boggled my mind was how many students took out all the student loans offered to them...regardless of the amount they needed for tuition.  They literally lived off of the rest of the loans instead of working or saving.  They weren't getting highly marketable degrees -- they were getting MINISTRY degrees.  AKA...never going to make lots of money.  Jobs that (should you actually graduate with your complete degree) won't qualify you for a heck of a lot of highly skilled jobs, likely won't have fantastic benefits, and will often be highly volatile.

A lot of senior clergy make a lot more money than you might think. At one church I know, they pay the clergy at a rate that is similar to others in the area that have graduate degrees. This is a college town, so lots of people with degrees making big salaries. I personally do not think that an Mdiv is anything like having a Masters or PhD, but that guy is making well over $100 thousand a year.

I was on the council for a small rural church.  When we needed a new pastor, they get a housing allowance that is not taxed and then a small income.  Total package for a church of 300 families was near 90k (including benefits).  Its by no means a high salary, but it is enough that most college loans could be extinguished.


Its true that some do make a reasonable salary.  Some don't, however.  Factor in the volatility (many serve for 5 or less years at various churches), and the potential for burnout without much of a fall back option, and those loans could be a source of serious struggle.  Many ministers in our area make 30k...with families to support.  Its doable, but the average American isn't used to a salary like that.  Also, spouses have to deal with the volatility too...so many can't keep a consistent chain of employment at one place either.  It does depend on the area you live in and the median incomes as to whether or not the loans will be difficult to pay off.  For reference, the independent college I attended is in central MO.  A large portion (maybe not the majority, but close) stay in the central United States and serve in what are generally small rural churches.  (200 or less).  Reasonable salaries are harder to find in local churches here, and if you want to do missions work, your options are severely limited if you have loans to pay off!  Many had to stay in the states 5-7 years after graduation to pay off the loans, before they could move overseas on mission support. 
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Rural on October 03, 2017, 07:36:08 PM
I signed up for a Statistics class last week as I really want to up my quant skills. Well, I dropped it yesterday. I attended two classes and left lamenting the state of college education.

1.) The Pearson book is $250 and it comes with an access code, I was planning to buy the ebook as it is $100 cheaper, but basically all the homework is online on this pearson website and the teacher also just reads from the pre-designed lecture from this site.
2.) When the teacher was talking about exams, she said notes were allowed, even for the final exam. At that point, all my desire vanished. I mean $500 for this and it's pretty much just independent study, not to mention, taking notes doesn't mean one retained the information.



Also not surprised that the instructor read or followed the lecture notes given by the publisher. Intro stats classes are often given non tenure track faculty (guest lecturers).

The trick is to get past the entry level courses. Upper division courses are much more fun.
You have to realize that non-tenure track professors  / instructors are earning $54k per year to teach 6 classes at a time, as FT hours, from September through end of May (or if april, they use 1 month in summer to prepare), including course set up, administration, marking, etc. for which they get no additional pay or credit for.   Of course they take the shortcuts of using the predefined lecture and quiz material... even that takes time to review and put into presentation format for the specific class.

Also, many are very part time, paid on a per course basis with no benefits.


$54K for non-tenure track? Seriously? That's not typical - far too high a wage.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: talltexan on October 05, 2017, 07:43:13 AM
That $54,000 sounds like five courses for each of two full academic terms, plus four summer school courses. A very difficult schedule for anyone with a shred of caring about quality of the teaching.
Title: Re: Antimustachian school stories
Post by: Prairie Stash on October 05, 2017, 12:07:36 PM
I'm a full-time employee who recently took an intro-level accounting course as a "mature student". It's good for my particular career. It cost just over $500 Canadian and the textbook was over $100. The textbook gave us access to a web portal to do the homework, which was worth 20% of the mark. (You could get a used textbook for half off, but you would lose that 20%, since the web access code was already used.) Most of the students were first year college students from Canada, but some were international students, who had to pay over $1,500 to take the course. Unfortunately many of the students did poorly and wasted their money.

In my province the aw says the University can't charge you for the online portal. Once you pay tuition there can't be any additional fees, unless you choose to pay them. No class can mandate a textbook purchase either.

I had an online portal for a class, while on student loans. I told the professor I wasn't paying, since it wasn't in my budget (student loans sent me a budget breakdown). He said it was compulsory and I said no it wasn't and we could escalate this (I knew he was bluffing). He backed down, wrote the company and secured a few passcodes for students, others were also poor and overheard me. Remarkably the well known publisher was pretty quick about the free codes, almost like they knew they had to or would get blacklisted from selling books at the school in the future...