Author Topic: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics  (Read 23246 times)

TheGrimSqueaker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2192
  • Location: A desert wasteland, where none but the weird survive
  • www.theliveinlandlord.com
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #100 on: August 17, 2016, 11:46:55 PM »
I'm going to have to disagree with folks that say "brand" doesn't matter in colleges.  While I agree it tapers off quickly, I have personally seen, witnessed and experienced the effect of being from one of the top of the top schools.  It won't overcome pure stupidity obviously, but it opens a LOT of doors just by name alone.

Any engineer here who says that graduating from MIT, Stanford, CMU, etc doesn't matter at all is either lying to themselves, jealous or just plain deluded.  Being from one of the top schools means:
- instant brand recognition on your resume
- huge network of extremely accomplished peers who *will* open doors for you -- best example are internships during school; the top schools have amazing networks for getting students into internships etc
- world class faculty (leaders in their field) whose recommendations are like golden tickets
- incredible resources -- have any of you seen the startup incubation and VC resources available to these schools? It's mind boggling.

Not saying that going to one of these schools is the right choice for everybody, but pretending there isn't an effect from going to them is foolish.
For how long?  I'm 28 years in. I occasionally get a "wow, CMU is a good school" comment - but I assure you, nobody gives a shit where I went to college.  The absolute best boss, smartest guy I've ever met - a huge success in this industry - went to Oregon State.

My first job was as an officer in the Navy, so the only "requirement" was a school with ROTC.

Did it help me get my first non-military job?  Maybe.  I dunno.  I think half the reason I got the job is because the company knew I'd pass the drug test.

Notice I said it tapers off quickly.  I'd say past 5 years it doesn't matter as much.  And the whole point is to get a better first job or opportunity.  For most people, their entire lifetime earnings are influenced by their first job out of college.  Also, the degree of how much it matters also depends on what you end up doing.

Like I said, you don't have to go to one of these schools to be wildly successful, but to say it has no influence I'd say it's disingenuous.

I'll just leave with this: do you think Larry Page and Sergey Brin would have been able to start Google if they were doing their PhDs at let's say Penn State (very good school but not Stanford)? I'd say the chances of them hooking up with the right people to do it would have been considerably less.

Worth noting, since MIT and Stanford keep coming up: good co-op programs are perhaps even more valuable than good networking if you're in engineering.  If you're diligent, you can work with, earn money from, and impress two or three good employers before finishing undergrad, and at that point you just have to pick, from your well-informed opinion of each, which would make the best fit. My fiancee's brother is taking a really long time to graduate because people keep giving him interesting jobs. He's worked in a few different departments of a company near his state school, and next semester he's working for Tesla. Granted they're just internships, but at a pay level comparable to entry level engineers (~$75k in rural area), I'd say they're taking him seriously, and paying for his school all the while.

Are there enough of those co-ops to go around, such that even the mediocre students get a crack at one? And, of these internships, how many can be leveraged into full-time employment after graduation?

The reason I ask is because there's a difference between what extremely good performers get and what the person who's barely passing can expect. I've known people who make it through fairly difficult programs at prestigious schools. They might finish last in their class, but they don't wash out. But they're completely unable to get employment in their field of study. I mean, at all. No internship paid or otherwise, no articling job if they finish their law degree, no offers after finishing med school and being ready to work as a surgical intern... I mean diddly-ding.

snacky

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9719
  • Location: Hoth
  • Forum Dignitary
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #101 on: August 18, 2016, 12:34:16 AM »
A huge number of my classmates during my undergrad, and even more of my colleagues in my master's, were adult students. They, like me, lived with their kids, not their parents. This whole discussion of fresh-out-of-high-school college students is missing a massive number of students.

In Uni I tutored, got summer jobs, took co-op placements... but on a very limited basis. Kids at home, limited daycare hours. I also applied for student loans and maxed out what I could get, because by doing so I made myself eligible for all sorts of student aid. Need-based funds require that you have exhausted all other avenues, and those always include student loans.

I was lucky, or maybe smart -I was able to live on half of the funds they gave me, and sock away the rest. I finished school with tens of thousands in debt and even more in assets. But there is no way I could have made it through school without loans, and I have no regrets in that area.

Since we're talking about fancy schools vs store-brand, I have been busting my ass getting my older son a full ride scholarship at a fancy private school. He's a cheerful, social kid and I'm convinced that he will network the crap out of his rich classmates and end up with some excellent opportunities as a result of his fancypants education. The public school down the street will also educate him, and more conveniently, but there is value in that which society perceives to have value. Isn't that a fundamental principle in economics?

LOL @ just live with your parents! babysit on weekends! - type advice. That might be how life has worked for you, but it isn't the reality of a huge number of people.

ncornilsen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #102 on: August 18, 2016, 09:45:28 AM »
I'm going to have to disagree with folks that say "brand" doesn't matter in colleges.  While I agree it tapers off quickly, I have personally seen, witnessed and experienced the effect of being from one of the top of the top schools.  It won't overcome pure stupidity obviously, but it opens a LOT of doors just by name alone.

Any engineer here who says that graduating from MIT, Stanford, CMU, etc doesn't matter at all is either lying to themselves, jealous or just plain deluded.  Being from one of the top schools means:
- instant brand recognition on your resume
- huge network of extremely accomplished peers who *will* open doors for you -- best example are internships during school; the top schools have amazing networks for getting students into internships etc
- world class faculty (leaders in their field) whose recommendations are like golden tickets
- incredible resources -- have any of you seen the startup incubation and VC resources available to these schools? It's mind boggling.

Not saying that going to one of these schools is the right choice for everybody, but pretending there isn't an effect from going to them is foolish.
For how long?  I'm 28 years in. I occasionally get a "wow, CMU is a good school" comment - but I assure you, nobody gives a shit where I went to college.  The absolute best boss, smartest guy I've ever met - a huge success in this industry - went to Oregon State.

My first job was as an officer in the Navy, so the only "requirement" was a school with ROTC.

Did it help me get my first non-military job?  Maybe.  I dunno.  I think half the reason I got the job is because the company knew I'd pass the drug test.

Notice I said it tapers off quickly.  I'd say past 5 years it doesn't matter as much.  And the whole point is to get a better first job or opportunity.  For most people, their entire lifetime earnings are influenced by their first job out of college.  Also, the degree of how much it matters also depends on what you end up doing.

Like I said, you don't have to go to one of these schools to be wildly successful, but to say it has no influence I'd say it's disingenuous.

I'll just leave with this: do you think Larry Page and Sergey Brin would have been able to start Google if they were doing their PhDs at let's say Penn State (very good school but not Stanford)? I'd say the chances of them hooking up with the right people to do it would have been considerably less.

Worth noting, since MIT and Stanford keep coming up: good co-op programs are perhaps even more valuable than good networking if you're in engineering.  If you're diligent, you can work with, earn money from, and impress two or three good employers before finishing undergrad, and at that point you just have to pick, from your well-informed opinion of each, which would make the best fit. My fiancee's brother is taking a really long time to graduate because people keep giving him interesting jobs. He's worked in a few different departments of a company near his state school, and next semester he's working for Tesla. Granted they're just internships, but at a pay level comparable to entry level engineers (~$75k in rural area), I'd say they're taking him seriously, and paying for his school all the while.

Are there enough of those co-ops to go around, such that even the mediocre students get a crack at one? And, of these internships, how many can be leveraged into full-time employment after graduation?

The reason I ask is because there's a difference between what extremely good performers get and what the person who's barely passing can expect. I've known people who make it through fairly difficult programs at prestigious schools. They might finish last in their class, but they don't wash out. But they're completely unable to get employment in their field of study. I mean, at all. No internship paid or otherwise, no articling job if they finish their law degree, no offers after finishing med school and being ready to work as a surgical intern... I mean diddly-ding.

Speaking for my experience at Oregon State:
We have a program called MECOP. (Multiple Engineering Co-op program) where interns are given a 6 month rotation at 2 companies their junior and senior years.  about 80% of the engineer students who were still in the program at that point were in that program. A good portion of that remaining 20% found internships elsewhere, outside of the program. In 2008, there were enough internships that only a few individuals didn't get anything. In 2009, it was rougher, but I'll bet 75% of those in MECOP got internships. We were paid $17 to $19 an hour. I ended up hiring on, and still work for, the second company I interned for. (and got enough hours in 2009 for it to count as a year for vesting!)

So, yes, there seemed to be enough to go around, even at OSU, which isn't top 5 but is probably top 20 in the US for engineering.

a1pharm

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #103 on: August 18, 2016, 10:48:44 AM »
There seems to be a delusion that where you go to university matters.  The folks who think it matters are pointing at successful people who went to "good" schools and argue they wouldn't be successful if they didn't go to that school.

Counterpoints include successful people who went to bad schools that found success despite this fact.

I think both arguments, at their core, are discussing correlation vs. causation.  Without adequately powered studies (studies with a large enough sample size), this "debate" cannot be settled.  Confounding variables alone would be terribly difficult for all but the most talented statistician to tease out.  I would have the following advice, gathered from personal experience:

If you are a parent/influencer of a child who is not terribly resourceful or autonomous, but get's good grades/does what they are told, they will likely benefit from going to a "good" school.  This may increase their chances of bumping shoulders with another child who is well connected.  In this scenario, social capital is bought.

If you are a parent/influencer of a child who is very resourceful and/or autonomous, and get's good grades, they probably don't need you telling them what to do.  In this scenario, social capital is built by the child.  These are the children who grow up to be adults whose social capital is tapped by the example above.

If you are a parent/influencer of a child who is not very resourceful/autonomous, and does not have good grades, good luck.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2016, 03:03:28 PM by a1pharm »

TheGrimSqueaker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2192
  • Location: A desert wasteland, where none but the weird survive
  • www.theliveinlandlord.com
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #104 on: August 18, 2016, 11:02:29 AM »
A huge number of my classmates during my undergrad, and even more of my colleagues in my master's, were adult students. They, like me, lived with their kids, not their parents. This whole discussion of fresh-out-of-high-school college students is missing a massive number of students.

Most "good" schools do their absolute best to avoid having to accept adult students. Harvard Law, for example, requires full-time study, very seldom approves a part-time schedule, and forbids students to have work outside school. They are financially and organizationally capable of offering a flexible or part time schedule if they chose, but they elect not to. That's an extreme example of course.

Adults who study full-time and who don't have some cooperative means of material support (parent, family, spouse, etc.) generally do have to take out loans to do it. Even part-time study is not always viable especially if a person's juggling work and family, and doing it solo.

I *have* seen some family collaborations involving older parents and siblings. They share an apartment or house and child care duties while one works and the other goes to school. The ones I've seen in action so far have been successful. Collaborations involving romantic partners tend to be less so. Many marriages don't survive the strain.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7012
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #105 on: August 18, 2016, 12:14:20 PM »
Quote
LOL @ just live with your parents! babysit on weekends! - type advice. That might be how life has worked for you, but it isn't the reality of a huge number of people.

Well, I think one of the points here is...

If you are a top student, and are able to get a serious amount of financial aid to go to a top school (requiring you to borrow less), have at it.  I did that.

If you are a mediocre student, and have to borrow the full amount of a uni education.  STOP.  Don't go to the "best school you can get into".  Because you'll have difficulty paying it back.

A middle class kid who is mediocre, but whose parents can't afford to pay much, might have to borrow 3/4 of the cost of an education.

What if you choose CMU or MIT or Cornell and borrow $45k a year for 3 years, and wash out?  Or graduate with a 2.0 and can't find a job for awhile?

MrsDinero

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 935
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #106 on: August 18, 2016, 12:20:14 PM »
Quote
LOL @ just live with your parents! babysit on weekends! - type advice. That might be how life has worked for you, but it isn't the reality of a huge number of people.

Well, I think one of the points here is...

If you are a top student, and are able to get a serious amount of financial aid to go to a top school (requiring you to borrow less), have at it.  I did that.

If you are a mediocre student, and have to borrow the full amount of a uni education.  STOP.  Don't go to the "best school you can get into".  Because you'll have difficulty paying it back.

A middle class kid who is mediocre, but whose parents can't afford to pay much, might have to borrow 3/4 of the cost of an education.

What if you choose CMU or MIT or Cornell and borrow $45k a year for 3 years, and wash out?  Or graduate with a 2.0 and can't find a job for awhile?

The problem most parents/kids have is recognizing when their kid is mediocre, everyone seems to think they have a special snowflake.

a1pharm

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #107 on: August 18, 2016, 12:25:16 PM »
LOL @ just live with your parents! babysit on weekends! - type advice. That might be how life has worked for you, but it isn't the reality of a huge number of people.

And this is why that same huge number of people are whining about their huge student loan debt.  By the time the whining starts, the damage has already been done and a complainypants is born.

Jrr85

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1204
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #108 on: August 18, 2016, 01:19:36 PM »
I just looked up the cost of attendance for an in-state student at my alma mater (a middle-tier state school), and it's about $21K/year now.  So let's say with tuition increases it's about $90K for 4 years.  Assuming 2 HS years and 4 college years, you'd need a kid to earn $15K per year to cover the cost of attendance.  Minimum wage is $8.10/hour in my state, so they'd essentially have to work full time for 6 years while going to school to come out debt free, which is LEGALLY IMPOSSIBLE given the labor laws that restrict hours worked for high school students during the school year.

As a thirtysomething adult, I would look at that situation and figure out how to cut costs, but I guarantee 18 year old me would've shrugged his shoulders and taken out the loans for the "traditional college experience", assuming that a 4 year degree would allow me to pay off the loans eventually.  I probably would've been tempted to take out some loans to fund "fun" stuff like a spring break trip, because what's another few thousand on top of it all?  After all, everyone else is doing it.

So, I can empathize with recent graduates and lamenting their student loan debt, especially since they were all told they were college material and HAD to go to college and the cost of attendance continues to skyrocket.  I also get frustrated with those who say they paid their way back in the 1980s and dammit these lazy kids today should do it too.  That being said, I don't understand how people can't treat wiping out their student loans as a priority.  Seeing recent graduates lease a fancy new car because "they deserve it" when they get their first real job just boggles my mind.

The cost of attendance is often artificially inflated by schools so that their students can qualify for more loans. 

If people from the 1980's are actually complaining that kids aren't making enough to live off campus and attend a four year university, then yes, they're a little delusional.  But what I hear people saying is don't take on a bunch of debt to graduate from undergrad, which is eminently doable for most people and the right choice for most people.  I'm sure there are some states that are exceptions, but I think most people could easily cash flow a two year degree.  Leaving basically two year to take out loans for.  Even if they want to do a four year university, most states have an option for tuition of somewhere between $5k and $10k a year.  Take out a loan for all your tuition and then work to cover living expenses and books and you're talking about $20k to $40k in debt total. 

Most people with a real problem with student loan debt got into that position by making spectacularly bad decisions (like say paying for four years of private school tuition and living expenses with debt to get a non-marketable degree or going to expensive schools and dropping out all together).  Doesn't mean they don't deserve sympathy (we really shouldn't let 18 year old take out tens of thousands of non-dischargeable debts and a lot of the drop outs with student loan debt are people that were never qualified for college to begin with and were taken advantage of by schools that saw them as a revenue source) and doesn't mean that maybe there shouldn't be a program to help them.  And it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to move away from credentialism and stop artificially inflating the cost of college with guaranteed loans. 

But people should stop with the woe is my generation, it's impossible to graduate without debt crap.  For the vast majority of people that are qualified for college, they can easily get a marketable degree (nursing, engineering, accounting, finance, business, etc) while taking out less than the amount of debt that would be associated with a new car. 

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #109 on: August 19, 2016, 07:07:48 AM »
Quote
LOL @ just live with your parents! babysit on weekends! - type advice. That might be how life has worked for you, but it isn't the reality of a huge number of people.

Well, I think one of the points here is...

If you are a top student, and are able to get a serious amount of financial aid to go to a top school (requiring you to borrow less), have at it.  I did that.

If you are a mediocre student, and have to borrow the full amount of a uni education.  STOP.  Don't go to the "best school you can get into".  Because you'll have difficulty paying it back.

A middle class kid who is mediocre, but whose parents can't afford to pay much, might have to borrow 3/4 of the cost of an education.

What if you choose CMU or MIT or Cornell and borrow $45k a year for 3 years, and wash out?  Or graduate with a 2.0 and can't find a job for awhile?

The problem most parents/kids have is recognizing when their kid is mediocre, everyone seems to think they have a special snowflake.

I agree with both of these points.  People need to take a hard look at what is realistic for their child.  My sister is a special education teacher and has to deal with parents of high school seniors that can't read at a 9th grade level thinking their kids are going to law school.  I'm not saying that kid shouldn't go to some sort of higher education if that's what they want, but the best path would probably be a community college to see if they can handle the coursework before shoving them towards an expensive university and the associated debt when there is a high probability of washing out.


nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #110 on: August 19, 2016, 07:46:13 AM »
I just looked up the cost of attendance for an in-state student at my alma mater (a middle-tier state school), and it's about $21K/year now.  So let's say with tuition increases it's about $90K for 4 years.  Assuming 2 HS years and 4 college years, you'd need a kid to earn $15K per year to cover the cost of attendance.  Minimum wage is $8.10/hour in my state, so they'd essentially have to work full time for 6 years while going to school to come out debt free, which is LEGALLY IMPOSSIBLE given the labor laws that restrict hours worked for high school students during the school year.

As a thirtysomething adult, I would look at that situation and figure out how to cut costs, but I guarantee 18 year old me would've shrugged his shoulders and taken out the loans for the "traditional college experience", assuming that a 4 year degree would allow me to pay off the loans eventually.  I probably would've been tempted to take out some loans to fund "fun" stuff like a spring break trip, because what's another few thousand on top of it all?  After all, everyone else is doing it.

So, I can empathize with recent graduates and lamenting their student loan debt, especially since they were all told they were college material and HAD to go to college and the cost of attendance continues to skyrocket.  I also get frustrated with those who say they paid their way back in the 1980s and dammit these lazy kids today should do it too.  That being said, I don't understand how people can't treat wiping out their student loans as a priority.  Seeing recent graduates lease a fancy new car because "they deserve it" when they get their first real job just boggles my mind.

The cost of attendance is often artificially inflated by schools so that their students can qualify for more loans. 

If people from the 1980's are actually complaining that kids aren't making enough to live off campus and attend a four year university, then yes, they're a little delusional.  But what I hear people saying is don't take on a bunch of debt to graduate from undergrad, which is eminently doable for most people and the right choice for most people.  I'm sure there are some states that are exceptions, but I think most people could easily cash flow a two year degree.  Leaving basically two year to take out loans for.  Even if they want to do a four year university, most states have an option for tuition of somewhere between $5k and $10k a year.  Take out a loan for all your tuition and then work to cover living expenses and books and you're talking about $20k to $40k in debt total. 

Most people with a real problem with student loan debt got into that position by making spectacularly bad decisions (like say paying for four years of private school tuition and living expenses with debt to get a non-marketable degree or going to expensive schools and dropping out all together).  Doesn't mean they don't deserve sympathy (we really shouldn't let 18 year old take out tens of thousands of non-dischargeable debts and a lot of the drop outs with student loan debt are people that were never qualified for college to begin with and were taken advantage of by schools that saw them as a revenue source) and doesn't mean that maybe there shouldn't be a program to help them.  And it doesn't mean we shouldn't try to move away from credentialism and stop artificially inflating the cost of college with guaranteed loans. 

But people should stop with the woe is my generation, it's impossible to graduate without debt crap.  For the vast majority of people that are qualified for college, they can easily get a marketable degree (nursing, engineering, accounting, finance, business, etc) while taking out less than the amount of debt that would be associated with a new car.

Since it's a Friday at work, I went to my alma mater's website to use their calculator to see what it really costs for a freshman.  I opted out of any optional fees (green fee, legal fee, health insurance, media fee, parking pass, etc.) and picked the lowest cost dorm and meal plan. It comes to $10066.00 a semester.  So with another grand for books and another $375 for a $25/week allowance for fun stuff (pizza and beer, Greek activities, dates, etc.), plus laundry money, etc. you're looking at something like $12K a semester.  There is an on-campus housing requirement for freshmen and sophomores, so that's the minimum you can pay.  I have no doubts the colleges inflate cost of attendance numbers, but I don't think they're doing so by that much.

My comment about 1980s and previous graduates is that a lot post here about how they worked part time and cash flowed their way through college and graduated with little or no debt, and they think the sheltered, spoiled kids entering college should just do the same.  Student loan crisis solved!  I am simply pointing out that it would be extremely difficult for most students to do that given the realities of today.  Culturally, we've pounded the idea that every kid is college material into society's head, and as you point out, a lot make really bad decisions on how to accomplish the goal of attaining a 4 year degree.  If you're one of the unlucky kids who gets kicked out at 18 with no parental support, taking out a loan for all of your expenses and living on campus might be your best option, though.

A lot of people mention the GI bill or ROTC too.  I have great respect for those who serve so I can enjoy the spoils of their sacrifice.  But how appealing has that option been for the last decade, knowing you had a high probability of being shipped off to a war zone upon enlistment or graduation?  If they want to do it for love of country / sense of duty and the educational benefits are secondary, that's one thing.  As a parent I don't think I would ever tell my kid they should voluntarily put themselves in harms way just so they can make college more affordable. 

Making Cookies

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1648
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #111 on: August 19, 2016, 09:46:20 AM »
Pick the branch of service carefully. The Amry and Marines carry alot more risk. Also, choose your job carefully within the military. You don't have to sign up to see what they offer. I was an engineer (electrician).

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7012
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #112 on: August 19, 2016, 10:18:07 AM »
Quote
Since it's a Friday at work, I went to my alma mater's website to use their calculator to see what it really costs for a freshman.  I opted out of any optional fees (green fee, legal fee, health insurance, media fee, parking pass, etc.) and picked the lowest cost dorm and meal plan. It comes to $10066.00 a semester.  So with another grand for books and another $375 for a $25/week allowance for fun stuff (pizza and beer, Greek activities, dates, etc.), plus laundry money, etc. you're looking at something like $12K a semester.  There is an on-campus housing requirement for freshmen and sophomores, so that's the minimum you can pay.  I have no doubts the colleges inflate cost of attendance numbers, but I don't think they're doing so by that much.

My comment about 1980s and previous graduates is that a lot post here about how they worked part time and cash flowed their way through college and graduated with little or no debt, and they think the sheltered, spoiled kids entering college should just do the same.  Student loan crisis solved!  I am simply pointing out that it would be extremely difficult for most students to do that given the realities of today.  Culturally, we've pounded the idea that every kid is college material into society's head, and as you point out, a lot make really bad decisions on how to accomplish the goal of attaining a 4 year degree.  If you're one of the unlucky kids who gets kicked out at 18 with no parental support, taking out a loan for all of your expenses and living on campus might be your best option, though.

A lot of people mention the GI bill or ROTC too.  I have great respect for those who serve so I can enjoy the spoils of their sacrifice.  But how appealing has that option been for the last decade, knowing you had a high probability of being shipped off to a war zone upon enlistment or graduation?  If they want to do it for love of country / sense of duty and the educational benefits are secondary, that's one thing.  As a parent I don't think I would ever tell my kid they should voluntarily put themselves in harms way just so they can make college more affordable.

Well, my tuition was $12k a year alone, so the cost as a freshman, including room & board, was about $18k.  So an average of $20k a year for 4 years, starting in 1988.  (And my military service was Navy, added benefit of being less dangerous.  Anyway.)

If you get kicked out at 18, I would absolutely NOT recommend taking out loans to live on campus.  I have a friend (a number of years younger than me) who got kicked out at 18 (she was daughter #3 of 3).  She was still a senior in HS!  Ended up living with her sister.  Her mother is not going to win an award for mother of the year.  She worked FT in a grocery store and went to community college.  Switched from art history to chemistry.  Eventually transferred to the local uni and switched to chem eng.  Many kids at 18 are way too young to be taking out those kinds of loans, not knowing if they are even going to finish.

After all of these discussions, and for giggles, I decided to look up meal plan options for both the local university (UC) and CMU.  Goodness gracious.  Full meal plan (19 meals a week) at CMU is over $6000 a year.  More than I spend to feed my family of 4.  Now, it comes down to about $8.57 a meal, which is about right if you are eating every meal out.  I was required to have the full meal plan as a freshman (just roll that back to 1988 dollars, hence the typical cost of $3-4 I'm guessing).  But after that, I cut down to 7-ish meals a week.  The interesting thing is that they have a cheaper "flexible" meal plan where it's not per week - it's a certain amount of cash and then 160 meals for the year...that one comes out to $25 a meal.  You have to be really bad at math to pick that one.

UC isn't any better. It's hard to figure if you live on campus, because it's "rolled into your room rate", but for off campus students it's $9.55 a meal.

I graduated with about $11k debt with ROTC.  $6k for the first year.  I would have been approximately $30-40k in debt had I not joined ROTC.  The typical starting salary for an engineer in my graduating class was about $40k.  I think that's reasonable.  Borrowing approximately 1x of your starting salary is something that can be paid off.

I'd like to add, it wasn't necessarily "typical" to cash flow your way through college.  My classmates included:
- middle class kids with summer jobs
- ROTC kids
- poor kids like me who hustled and worked during the summers and school years (and sometimes did ROTC too)
- financially responsible kids who worked in HS and saved up $16k before they went to college
- rich kids with cars and computers whose parents bankrolled them
- middle class kids whose dads worked at the school so they got free tuition

The majority of students that I attended college with did not have jobs during the school year.  Most of them did some kind of work in the summer.  Heck, my college boyfriend was in ROTC.  His parents paid for his food and gave him a credit card, to be used for only necessities (and he had to justify every charge).  They also paid for 2 classes every summer so that he had a lighter load during the school year.  He graduated without debt.  But his parents were solidly middle class and could afford that.

robartsd

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2593
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #113 on: August 19, 2016, 10:24:17 AM »
Since it's a Friday at work, I went to my alma mater's website to use their calculator to see what it really costs for a freshman.  I opted out of any optional fees (green fee, legal fee, health insurance, media fee, parking pass, etc.) and picked the lowest cost dorm and meal plan. It comes to $10066.00 a semester.  So with another grand for books and another $375 for a $25/week allowance for fun stuff (pizza and beer, Greek activities, dates, etc.), plus laundry money, etc. you're looking at something like $12K a semester.  There is an on-campus housing requirement for freshmen and sophomores, so that's the minimum you can pay.  I have no doubts the colleges inflate cost of attendance numbers, but I don't think they're doing so by that much.
Academic year 16/17 tuition and fees at the state university I graduated from is $9,075 (I don't know if a student can opt out of any of these fees). Freshmen are required to live on campus (unless they are: age 21, local, married, independent, or military). The cheapest on-campus housing option (shared bedroom in an apartment - meal plan assumes some cooking for self) is $9,553 (plus $42 if paying as a monthly installment rather than the entire year up-front). I think a frugal student can manage to spend no more than $500/quarter for books and school supplies. $900 provides a $25/week allowance for the academic year. Total: just over $21k /year. This assumes the student does not have a car (local bus is included in campus fees, small town is easy to bike). Living off campus sharing a bedroom in a 2 bedroom apartment could bring costs down to about $18k/year.

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #114 on: August 19, 2016, 10:57:20 AM »
Pick the branch of service carefully. The Amry and Marines carry alot more risk. Also, choose your job carefully within the military. You don't have to sign up to see what they offer. I was an engineer (electrician).

My homeroom teacher / wrestling coach in junior high used to show us slides from his time in Vietnam every year.  He knew he was going to be drafted, so he chose to enlist so he'd at least have some sort of say on what he'd be doing.  He picked the Air Force, thinking it was the safest and he'd end up with some desk job in Thailand or some other rear area.  He spent the first half of his tour patrolling just outside of the perimeter of an air base in South Vietnam with an M16 looking for anyone trying to sneak up on the base and launch mortar attacks.  He then spent the second half jumping onto the wings of just-landed, taxiing aircraft to pull the remaining bullets out of the still-hot machine guns and cannons so they didn't accidentally go off and kill anyone.  Those stories were enough to deter me from ever considering the military.

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #115 on: August 19, 2016, 11:08:49 AM »
If you get kicked out at 18, I would absolutely NOT recommend taking out loans to live on campus.

I agree, but it might be the easiest, therefore default, solution to the problem of "where am I going to live?".  No credit / co-signer means you will have a hard time getting a lease anywhere, but the government sure will lend you the money to live on campus.  I am willing to bet the vast majority who are cut off at 18 have had little guidance from their parents as far as healthy financial habits, either.

Obviously the cost of college is a complex issue.  There probably isn't a one size fits all solution that is palatable to the taxpayers voting public.

a1pharm

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #116 on: August 19, 2016, 11:41:31 AM »
Obviously the cost of college is a complex issue. 

I disagree, the cost of college is quite simple, just like the cost of a yacht, Italian sport's car, or vacation home: if you can't afford it, you shouldn't buy it.  My personal rule of thumb: if your expected first year's salary is less than the total cost of education, it will be hard to get started with life.  That means taking out loans for 100k+ to get a degree that does not lead directly to a job is a bad idea.

I would argue that with college now costing so much, it's pretty easy to decide whether or not to go.

As always, throwing your money away without a plan continues to be a bad idea.  College is not the special exception to this rule.

LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1841
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #117 on: August 19, 2016, 12:39:41 PM »
Some of the young people in my neighborhood are entrepreneurs: they hire themselves out providing child care, yard care, tutoring, or other things people need.

Not a very important issue, but selling a service is not entrepreneurship. You aren't some high-falutin' entrepreneur by babysitting for $50 a pop a couple of nights a week, and this isn't going to pay for your MBA.

Anecdote:  I baby-sat a lot in middle school and high school, then was a nanny during my first summer of college.  I earned enough that I bought myself a $16,000 car in cash (well, a personal check) after my second year of college.

Making Cookies

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1648
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #118 on: August 19, 2016, 01:17:05 PM »
Pick the branch of service carefully. The Amry and Marines carry alot more risk. Also, choose your job carefully within the military. You don't have to sign up to see what they offer. I was an engineer (electrician).

My homeroom teacher / wrestling coach in junior high used to show us slides from his time in Vietnam every year.  He knew he was going to be drafted, so he chose to enlist so he'd at least have some sort of say on what he'd be doing.  He picked the Air Force, thinking it was the safest and he'd end up with some desk job in Thailand or some other rear area.  He spent the first half of his tour patrolling just outside of the perimeter of an air base in South Vietnam with an M16 looking for anyone trying to sneak up on the base and launch mortar attacks.  He then spent the second half jumping onto the wings of just-landed, taxiing aircraft to pull the remaining bullets out of the still-hot machine guns and cannons so they didn't accidentally go off and kill anyone.  Those stories were enough to deter me from ever considering the military.

I wonder what he was "promised" by the recruiter. My father had an opportunity during the draft years to join the Air Force and spend his time in Germany. He backed away from that. The guys he knew from HS accepted the offer and did in fact end up in Germany and never saw 'Nam.

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #119 on: August 19, 2016, 01:46:58 PM »
Obviously the cost of college is a complex issue. 

I disagree, the cost of college is quite simple, just like the cost of a yacht, Italian sport's car, or vacation home: if you can't afford it, you shouldn't buy it.  My personal rule of thumb: if your expected first year's salary is less than the total cost of education, it will be hard to get started with life.  That means taking out loans for 100k+ to get a degree that does not lead directly to a job is a bad idea.

I would argue that with college now costing so much, it's pretty easy to decide whether or not to go.

As always, throwing your money away without a plan continues to be a bad idea.  College is not the special exception to this rule.

There are the straightforward "how much can I afford" decisions that are pretty black and white an individual level, and I agree people should consider the ROI before investing in college.  What folks can do to minimize the debt load of obtaining a degree has been talked about throughout this thread.

Perhaps I should have said "the socioeconomic policy related to ensuring a globally competitive populace through post-secondary education" is a complex topic.  The debate on how much, if any, secondary education is made available to those who are academically qualified yet had the misfortune of being born to poor parents is still very much going on.  Should we only give grants to poor people if they get a STEM degree?  Should we not offer federal aid to anyone seeking an education degree or law degree because there are too many teachers and lawyers out there at this moment in time?  Should tuition vary by major at a publicly-subsidized university so whatever majors someone in Washington deems worthy are charged less?  Should society subsidize the education of social workers, artists, etc., since these majors generally get lower paying jobs and will therefore contribute less in taxes later?  Do we focus our higher education dollars on those above a certain IQ and offer vocational training to those below the threshold?  How do we ensure that any policies that are put in place survive the next election cycle so families can plan appropriately for their individual situations? 


LeRainDrop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1841
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #120 on: August 19, 2016, 11:22:40 PM »
A huge number of my classmates during my undergrad, and even more of my colleagues in my master's, were adult students. They, like me, lived with their kids, not their parents. This whole discussion of fresh-out-of-high-school college students is missing a massive number of students.

Most "good" schools do their absolute best to avoid having to accept adult students. Harvard Law, for example, requires full-time study, very seldom approves a part-time schedule, and forbids students to have work outside school. They are financially and organizationally capable of offering a flexible or part time schedule if they chose, but they elect not to. That's an extreme example of course.

I really don't understand how your Harvard Law example supports your position that "good" schools try to avoid having to accept adult students.  As a threshold matter, law school is a graduate level school, so pretty much every single student is going to be an adult in every sense of the word.  Putting that aside, from the school's own website, 63% of its incoming class graduated college a minimum of 2 years prior, and 12% already hold another advanced degree.  It is extremely common for top law schools to require full-time study and forbid students from having work outside of school.  My top ten law school had those same requirements, and if I recall correctly, the median age of our incoming class when I started was 28 years.  The top law schools also award an incredible amount of scholarships, which helps the students and their families get by during the temporary loss of income.  Now, if you were trying to make the same point for "good" schools at the undergrad college level, then that would be a different story, and I would tend to believe you on that.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 11:24:59 PM by LeRainDrop »

yuka

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
  • Location: East coast for now
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #121 on: August 21, 2016, 02:46:01 PM »

Worth noting, since MIT and Stanford keep coming up: good co-op programs are perhaps even more valuable than good networking if you're in engineering.  If you're diligent, you can work with, earn money from, and impress two or three good employers before finishing undergrad, and at that point you just have to pick, from your well-informed opinion of each, which would make the best fit. My fiancee's brother is taking a really long time to graduate because people keep giving him interesting jobs. He's worked in a few different departments of a company near his state school, and next semester he's working for Tesla. Granted they're just internships, but at a pay level comparable to entry level engineers (~$75k in rural area), I'd say they're taking him seriously, and paying for his school all the while.

Are there enough of those co-ops to go around, such that even the mediocre students get a crack at one? And, of these internships, how many can be leveraged into full-time employment after graduation?

The reason I ask is because there's a difference between what extremely good performers get and what the person who's barely passing can expect. I've known people who make it through fairly difficult programs at prestigious schools. They might finish last in their class, but they don't wash out. But they're completely unable to get employment in their field of study. I mean, at all. No internship paid or otherwise, no articling job if they finish their law degree, no offers after finishing med school and being ready to work as a surgical intern... I mean diddly-ding.

Speaking for my experience at Oregon State:
We have a program called MECOP. (Multiple Engineering Co-op program) where interns are given a 6 month rotation at 2 companies their junior and senior years.  about 80% of the engineer students who were still in the program at that point were in that program. A good portion of that remaining 20% found internships elsewhere, outside of the program. In 2008, there were enough internships that only a few individuals didn't get anything. In 2009, it was rougher, but I'll bet 75% of those in MECOP got internships. We were paid $17 to $19 an hour. I ended up hiring on, and still work for, the second company I interned for. (and got enough hours in 2009 for it to count as a year for vesting!)

So, yes, there seemed to be enough to go around, even at OSU, which isn't top 5 but is probably top 20 in the US for engineering.

I lack first-hand experience (I, like MM1970, went the route of letting the military pay), but there are some schools that have mandatory co-op for all engineers. I'm inclined to be skeptical of anything with 100% coverage, but some stuff I found online suggests ~80-90% job placement from those internships. The main school I've heard about for that is Georgia Tech. There are also some private engineering schools like WPI, RPI, and RIT that seem to have big co-op programs, and that I would consider accessible from an admissions standpoint.

I confess I don't remember the entire chain of discussion, and why the mediocre students are coming up. But, some of these schools seem to be set up so you have good job prospects unless you stand out as particularly bad.

http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/rankings/internship-programs
http://www.collegeaffordabilityguide.org/co-op-programs/
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 02:58:31 PM by yuka »

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #122 on: August 22, 2016, 09:54:57 AM »
I confess I don't have first-hand experience (I, like MM1970, went the route of letting the military pay), but there are some schools that have mandatory co-op for all engineers. I'm inclined to be skeptical of anything with 100% coverage, but some stuff I found online suggests ~80-90% job placement from those internships. The main school I've heard about for that is Georgia Tech. There are also some private engineering schools like WPI, RPI, and RIT that seem to have big co-op programs, and that I would consider accessible from an admissions standpoint.

I hire my co-ops out of a regional university's engineering program.  Engineering degrees there are 5 year programs with 3 required semesters of co-op experience to graduate.  Part of the program is a professional development class to learn how to write resumes, interview, etc.  They have an excellent co-op department that helps connect students with employers around the region.  If a student can't get hired (and they legitimately tried) by an outside organization, they do offer some on-campus options so the student can graduate.

Jrr85

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1204
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #123 on: August 22, 2016, 10:46:53 AM »
Since it's a Friday at work, I went to my alma mater's website to use their calculator to see what it really costs for a freshman.  I opted out of any optional fees (green fee, legal fee, health insurance, media fee, parking pass, etc.) and picked the lowest cost dorm and meal plan. It comes to $10066.00 a semester.  So with another grand for books and another $375 for a $25/week allowance for fun stuff (pizza and beer, Greek activities, dates, etc.), plus laundry money, etc. you're looking at something like $12K a semester.  There is an on-campus housing requirement for freshmen and sophomores, so that's the minimum you can pay.  I have no doubts the colleges inflate cost of attendance numbers, but I don't think they're doing so by that much.
  It's not a lot, but at my alma mater I think they manage to inflate it by probably $1k to $4k per year, but they may be one of the most aggressive, as their cost of living is clearly out of line compared to other schools in similar or slightly higher cost areas.  I was just pointing that out but you're right it's not a huge difference maker.

My comment about 1980s and previous graduates is that a lot post here about how they worked part time and cash flowed their way through college and graduated with little or no debt, and they think the sheltered, spoiled kids entering college should just do the same.  Student loan crisis solved!  I am simply pointing out that it would be extremely difficult for most students to do that given the realities of today.  Culturally, we've pounded the idea that every kid is college material into society's head, and as you point out, a lot make really bad decisions on how to accomplish the goal of attaining a 4 year degree.  If you're one of the unlucky kids who gets kicked out at 18 with no parental support, taking out a loan for all of your expenses and living on campus might be your best option, though.


I agree that for people that graduated and cash flowed their way through college a few decades ago acting like current students face the same situation are ill informed and unjustly smug.  But at the same time, we don't really have a student loan crisis.  There is way more student loan debt than there should be and a ton of it represents wasted resources that didn't result in any increase in human capital, but most people still graduate college with very manageable amounts of debt and the total student loan debt, while a drag on the economy and representative of terrible policy choices, is not a crisis.  There are lots of individuals with a student loan crisis, the vast majority of them being people who took out lots of debt to get either a non-marketable degree or to not get a degree at all, and pretty much 100% of them took out way more debt than they needed to because they didn't choose or didn't know about lower cost options. 

 
A lot of people mention the GI bill or ROTC too.  I have great respect for those who serve so I can enjoy the spoils of their sacrifice.  But how appealing has that option been for the last decade, knowing you had a high probability of being shipped off to a war zone upon enlistment or graduation?  If they want to do it for love of country / sense of duty and the educational benefits are secondary, that's one thing.  As a parent I don't think I would ever tell my kid they should voluntarily put themselves in harms way just so they can make college more affordable.
  Completely agree with this one.  A lot more people should look at GI bill and ROTC, but even ignoring the potential harm, the military is not for everyone and I would guess it's not for most people.  It's not like you can't get a four year degree with pretty minimal debt, so educational benefits of the military are still to me a secondary consideration of whether to go that route, only relevant after determining if the military would be a decent option for an individual to begin with. 

TheGrimSqueaker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2192
  • Location: A desert wasteland, where none but the weird survive
  • www.theliveinlandlord.com
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #124 on: August 22, 2016, 11:51:09 AM »
A huge number of my classmates during my undergrad, and even more of my colleagues in my master's, were adult students. They, like me, lived with their kids, not their parents. This whole discussion of fresh-out-of-high-school college students is missing a massive number of students.

Most "good" schools do their absolute best to avoid having to accept adult students. Harvard Law, for example, requires full-time study, very seldom approves a part-time schedule, and forbids students to have work outside school. They are financially and organizationally capable of offering a flexible or part time schedule if they chose, but they elect not to. That's an extreme example of course.

I really don't understand how your Harvard Law example supports your position that "good" schools try to avoid having to accept adult students.  As a threshold matter, law school is a graduate level school, so pretty much every single student is going to be an adult in every sense of the word.  Putting that aside, from the school's own website, 63% of its incoming class graduated college a minimum of 2 years prior, and 12% already hold another advanced degree.  It is extremely common for top law schools to require full-time study and forbid students from having work outside of school.  My top ten law school had those same requirements, and if I recall correctly, the median age of our incoming class when I started was 28 years.  The top law schools also award an incredible amount of scholarships, which helps the students and their families get by during the temporary loss of income.  Now, if you were trying to make the same point for "good" schools at the undergrad college level, then that would be a different story, and I would tend to believe you on that.

Here are some of the things I've seen happening so far at "good" schools but not community colleges, always at the undergraduate level:

* Few to no evening or Saturday classes are available
* No Sunday classes or lab sections whatsoever
* Refusal to accept transfer credit from other schools even for rudimentary 100-level courses that are glorified repetitions of high school
* Courses can be challenged by a student who already understands the material, but the full tuition fee must still be paid anyway
* No children permitted to live in dormitories
* No child care available on campus for students
* Extending a 4 year program to 5 years or more by larding it up with mandatory fluff and a long string of prerequisites
* No parking on or near campus
« Last Edit: August 22, 2016, 02:14:33 PM by TheGrimSqueaker »

robartsd

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2593
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #125 on: August 22, 2016, 02:03:39 PM »
* Few to no evening or Saturday classes are available
* No Sunday classes or lab sections whatsoever
* Refusal to accept transfer credit from other schools even for rudimentary 100-level courses that are glorified repetitions of high school
* Courses can be challenged by a student who already understands the material, but the full tuition fee must still be paid anyway
* No children permitted to live in dormitories
* No child care available on campus for students
* Extending a 4 year program to 5 years or more by larding it up with mandatory fluff and a long string of prerequisites
* No parking on or near campus
State universities are often similar in that it is difficult (or impossible) to complete programs with evening/weekend classes (community colleges tend to excel at serving evening/weekend students). State universities also require full tuition fees to receive credit for challenged courses. College dorms generally don't allow children (community colleges just don't have any dorms).

Jrr85

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1204
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #126 on: August 23, 2016, 08:10:44 AM »
* Few to no evening or Saturday classes are available
* No Sunday classes or lab sections whatsoever
* Refusal to accept transfer credit from other schools even for rudimentary 100-level courses that are glorified repetitions of high school
* Courses can be challenged by a student who already understands the material, but the full tuition fee must still be paid anyway
* No children permitted to live in dormitories
* No child care available on campus for students
* Extending a 4 year program to 5 years or more by larding it up with mandatory fluff and a long string of prerequisites
* No parking on or near campus
State universities are often similar in that it is difficult (or impossible) to complete programs with evening/weekend classes (community colleges tend to excel at serving evening/weekend students). State universities also require full tuition fees to receive credit for challenged courses. College dorms generally don't allow children (community colleges just don't have any dorms).

Not sure how typical this is, but our state universities have satellite campuses that do a much better job of catering to non-traditional students than the main campuses.  You'd think the main campus would have at least comparable offerings as far as night classes go, but they don't.  But I think they actually bus a lot of the professors from the main campus to the satellite campuses, so I guess it makes sense that they only offer them in one place.

Also, our community colleges do have dorms.  Didn't realize that many community colleges don't.

TheGrimSqueaker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2192
  • Location: A desert wasteland, where none but the weird survive
  • www.theliveinlandlord.com
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #127 on: August 23, 2016, 09:28:06 AM »
With nontraditional students there are big logistics barriers to just coming to class. Family and work obligations are real but there are ways to allow flexibility to the student without creating an undue burden for the rest of the class. Here are some more very good options that are also deliberately rejected by "good" schools:

* Correspondence, dial-in, or recorded class sessions (as opposed to mandatory class attendance in person)
* Course sections are recorded electronically and made available to enrolled students who want to review or who have an attendance conflict due to some emergency or due to needing two courses that are only available in one identical time slot
* Absences allowed if student is doing the work (attendance is not part of class grade)
* Online courses that are going to be graded electronically anyway could present all the work at the same time, like an old-fashioned correspondence course, with deadlines expressed in advance so that students can work at their own pace if necessary
* For specific programs, making some effort to synchronize the core classes at the same time of day, possibly even back to back in the same building, so that required classes aren't four hours apart or scheduled in the same time slot. Clearly this won't be possible for elective courses, but if the department requires a specific sequence of prerequisites or multiple prerequisites for the course, why not call dibs on a specific set of time slots for courses that are only available to majors anyway?

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7012
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #128 on: August 24, 2016, 10:00:55 AM »
Quote
I agree that for people that graduated and cash flowed their way through college a few decades ago acting like current students face the same situation are ill informed and unjustly smug.  But at the same time, we don't really have a student loan crisis.  There is way more student loan debt than there should be and a ton of it represents wasted resources that didn't result in any increase in human capital, but most people still graduate college with very manageable amounts of debt and the total student loan debt, while a drag on the economy and representative of terrible policy choices, is not a crisis.  There are lots of individuals with a student loan crisis, the vast majority of them being people who took out lots of debt to get either a non-marketable degree or to not get a degree at all, and pretty much 100% of them took out way more debt than they needed to because they didn't choose or didn't know about lower cost options. 

I disagree that people are ill informed and unjustly smug.

I think what we are recognizing is that things have changed...and in many ways, not for the better.

I bankrolled my way through college with jobs, loans, and scholarships because I had no choice.  Nobody in my family had gone to college before.  I was actively discouraged from going to college by my father "because you should get married and have babies and have an easy life!"  Girls had no business in college.  I realize that I was, at the time, lower class and thus had access to more aid than most (being smart and poor and first gen college = bucks).  Also, I chose a major wisely.  Even so, it was not uncommon for other college students to have jobs during the summer and the school year.  It was expected.

What I see now, with the increase student loans - well, several things:
- more kids go to college, so the potential for disastrous results is higher
- many parents and teachers tell the kids that it's the ticket to a good job, with little to no help/ education on how to pay for it.  Why is this?  Several reasons: 1.  They don't know any better.  The parents themselves did not go to college, in many cases, so they do not know how to navigate the student loan thing.  2.  We've lost the reality of what jobs are there and will the degree even help?  In the 80s, college for anyone who wasn't "upper class" was a means to get a better job.  It wasn't education for education's sake, like it was for the upper classes.  It feels like we've lost that connection now.  People go to college "because you do" and don't think about what type of career that you will end up with.
- costs to live on campus have gone up, and more kids live on campus.  The vast majority of my HS graduating class went to our local university and lived at home.

So the "crisis" to me, is because teens aren't informed about the costs of college, how to keep costs down, and the relationship between loans and starting salary.  (There's a "safe number".)  They don't know if a degree is marketable.  They are starting school too soon in many cases.  And many of them don't work.  Back when college was not as common, people got jobs.  They learned quickly about debt.  They weren't able to get credit cards with large limits.  Now we require a degree to be a receptionist or office manager (a job my non-degreed sister has had for over 30 years), but we haven't made the segue to "okay, if this is the job you expect to have, this is the pay, and this is how you get the degree in a way that you can pay off the loans".

nobody123

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 524
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #129 on: August 24, 2016, 10:54:44 AM »
So the "crisis" to me, is because teens aren't informed about the costs of college, how to keep costs down, and the relationship between loans and starting salary.  (There's a "safe number".)  They don't know if a degree is marketable.  They are starting school too soon in many cases.  And many of them don't work.  Back when college was not as common, people got jobs.  They learned quickly about debt.  They weren't able to get credit cards with large limits.  Now we require a degree to be a receptionist or office manager (a job my non-degreed sister has had for over 30 years), but we haven't made the segue to "okay, if this is the job you expect to have, this is the pay, and this is how you get the degree in a way that you can pay off the loans".

I agree with the above.  I'd also add that as globalization increases and technology advances, economic and industry trends evolve much quicker than a student can adjust to.  A hot industry that requires a degree in X might be unattractive or obsolete 2 years into a 4 year degree.  Then the student has to either finish on time and have a harder time finding employment, or extends their time in school because of a change in major and racks up more debt.  That scenario can affect even the most prepared, knowledgeable student.  Even if they graduate according to plan in a red-hot field, they are still competing with folks from all around the world for that position in a lot of cases, or have to relocate across the country for a job. 

joleran

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 172
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #130 on: August 25, 2016, 08:00:16 AM »
There seems to be a delusion that where you go to university matters.  The folks who think it matters are pointing at successful people who went to "good" schools and argue they wouldn't be successful if they didn't go to that school.

As someone who hires people, I can tell you that someone with MIT on their resume gets a bit more leeway and automatic credence than someone from the University of Phoenix, even when interviewing senior candidates.  I know you feel really strongly about this, but you are simply fooling yourself, if not about the quality of the education then certainly about human nature.

Jrr85

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1204
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #131 on: August 25, 2016, 08:25:29 AM »
There seems to be a delusion that where you go to university matters.  The folks who think it matters are pointing at successful people who went to "good" schools and argue they wouldn't be successful if they didn't go to that school.

As someone who hires people, I can tell you that someone with MIT on their resume gets a bit more leeway and automatic credence than someone from the University of Phoenix, even when interviewing senior candidates.  I know you feel really strongly about this, but you are simply fooling yourself, if not about the quality of the education then certainly about human nature.

It's rarely a difference between MIT and University of Phoenix.  It's a difference between MIT and a school like Ga Tech, or probably more often, the difference between say Vanderbilt and University of Tennessee.  Or maybe University of Tennessee and Community college for two years and then University of Tennessee.  If you can go to an elite school and you are driven to achieve big things, yes, going to an elite school (meaning truly elite like MIT, not very good schools like Vanderbilt) will open up some doors for you.  But for most people, it's usually going to be better to choose the cheaper option.  An engineering degree from a decent state school is going to get you 95-98% of what you'd get at any other engineering school other than maybe your MIT level schools.
Similarly, if you want to work on Wall street, your ivy league equivalent schools are going to provide you some connections you can't get most places, but for the much more likely route of get a four year degree and get on with a company, you're not going to get a lot of return for going to a good but not elite private school versus an affordable nearby public option.   


« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 11:44:41 AM by Jrr85 »

a1pharm

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Car Loans, Student Loans & Politics
« Reply #132 on: August 25, 2016, 11:38:54 AM »
There seems to be a delusion that where you go to university matters.  The folks who think it matters are pointing at successful people who went to "good" schools and argue they wouldn't be successful if they didn't go to that school.

As someone who hires people, I can tell you that someone with MIT on their resume gets a bit more leeway and automatic credence than someone from the University of Phoenix, even when interviewing senior candidates.  I know you feel really strongly about this, but you are simply fooling yourself, if not about the quality of the education then certainly about human nature.

I try to not let dogmatic beliefs trump evidence.  The delusion I referenced is directly related to how successful companies hire people.  Successful/competent hiring managers understand that they are inept at evaluating individuals for positions that they don't understand.  Some hiring managers use failed logical heuristics to make decisions, often to the detriment of the company.

I don't argue with your assertion that human belief clouds judgement - this is readily apparent when a hiring manager associates an institution on a piece of paper with an individual's competence at work.

Don't take my word for it though, take Google's: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/the-science-of-smart-hiring/477561/

Here's some advice for anyone reading this that wants to work for a good company: be the best you can at what you do, this will open up more fulfilling doors for you that focusing on expensive paper.

Bonus advice: if you are precluded from working somewhere because you don't own expensive paper, this is a good thing!  That company is shit and doesn't deserve your talent (it will likely be squandered, along with other resources).
« Last Edit: August 25, 2016, 11:41:04 AM by a1pharm »