Author Topic: Antimustachian school stories  (Read 9865 times)

alewpanda

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Re: Antimustachian school stories
« Reply #50 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.   

alewpanda

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Re: Antimustachian school stories
« Reply #51 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. 

Rural

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Re: Antimustachian school stories
« Reply #52 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.

talltexan

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Re: Antimustachian school stories
« Reply #53 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.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Antimustachian school stories
« Reply #54 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...