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 Post subject: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:05 am 
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There Can Be Only One
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In a previous thread, I was (almost) alone in asserting that student loans were unnecessary for current college students ... as there were sufficient economic routes available to graduate debt free. Mine was a minority opinion. Markedly. Even as I cited that, in my state, with the Legislature Lottery Scholarship and attending a junior college for two years, that the total tuition for four years is less than $8,000.

So, this caught my interest:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelhorn/2018/12/13/will-half-of-all-colleges-really-close-in-the-next-decade/?fbclid=IwAR0ckQn6CWcXjiiVJvLesLjwzrwt1fPBfKdTBIaP9hBxVG0TOvynD7UU-Jc#69c20fc752e5

In particular:

Quote:
...the average tuition discount rate was a whopping 49.9% for first-time, full-time freshmen in 2017–18, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers. That means that students are paying roughly only half of what colleges and universities say they charge.


And, in other reading, I have learned that it is not uncommon for student loans to be used by students for non-education purposes. Trips, repaying other loans, helping out relatives, and other uses.

So, I am still of the opinion that student loans, even if necessary in a very limited way, should be manageable by a prudent student who doesn't buy the marketing deceptions of our higher education institutions. I give little credence to the argument that young folk are young and can't be expected to navigate the labyrinth of financing college; I would agree, in part, that young folk don't want to consider the consequences of being in significant debt upon graduation and, so, some just borrow what they can and are in denial about having to pay it back. As Scarlet said, "After all, tomorrow is another day!" In fact, do we not have strident voices in the political arena, having moved into tomorrow, demanding that they do not have to pay their loans back?

I have also deduced, in my reading, that a common argument against my position is the times have changed and the environment that existed when I attended college has gone with the wind -- things are different than the days of hunting the woolly mammoth. I hold that math is math and accounting is accounting and that students are capable, if reluctantly, of figuring it out.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:57 am 
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The quotation from Forbes is not very informative. I looked quickly at the link and didn't find any additional context that made better sense of the quotation for me. This tuition discount applies, I take it, to tuition. ? Well, first, tuition can be a relatively small part of the cost of college, especially if you live in a state--like, I guess, yours--that has extremely low tuition rates at its public colleges. Second, it's not clear whether any discount at all would be forthcoming if you should happen to live in a state with such extremely low tuition. For example, in state tuition here where I live is something like $9000/year. That's evidently not nearly as low as tuition where you live, but it's quite low when compared to private schools. But how much, if any, of that 50% discount could the average student expect to get? IOW, it seems somewhat likely to me that the great portion of that discount is likely to go to students at those expensive private schools, not at the more affordable public schools. But I don't know. And the article doesn't really help with that.

And, going back to the first point, tuition is sometimes relatively affordable--but that doesn't mean college is relatively affordable. Room and board is generally at least $10000/year, and often more like $15000. Take the lower figure, and take half of the tuition figure I mentioned above. That's $14500/year for an in state student in my state. Plus books, fees, travel etc. I don't mean travel for pleasure. I mean getting there and back.

You can maybe knock out the room and board fees, if you happen to live near enough to a college so that you can commute. But not everyone does. Lots of people in my state wouldn't be able to commute. And then there's the fact that nobody ought to go live in a dorm in a public school, or at most private schools. So if you're going to live on campus somewhere, you've got about 10 schools in the country that are open to you. They're all private, of course. So even if you get that nice 50% off tuition thing, your actual costs per year are going to be more like $10000 room and board plus $12000-$200000 or so in tuition. Plus travel, books, fees, etc.

I think, in short, you are declining to take seriously enough the gravity of the problem that the average young person today faces. Yes, you can concoct a scenario wherein a clever young person who happens to be lucky enough to have excellent opportunities easily available to him can manage to get through school with minimal or no debt. No, that's not normal.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:21 pm 
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Our differing positions, I think, illustrate two markedly different views of how a student and/or his parents approach paying for college.

My approach, even given the particular situation in my state, is that, if one decides they will not borrow to pay for college, they can get a degree. Yours and others' position, seemingly in the majority, is that the environment for paying for college mandates borrowing. My initial reaction is that such a position indicates persuasion by a marketing campaign based upon deception, sometimes self, obfuscation, and preying upon the impulse to accept information provided by "authorities" as valid -- without skeptical examination.

Let me review, from memory, contending elements in the two positions. And let me offer that I am presenting a general case. Specific outliers, in the statistical sense, for either argument, are not beneficial in examining the overall issue.

First, I hold that a degree may take more than four or five or six years. Because a student may not have the funds to be enrolled full-time and may need time to generate funds. Which means that a student might have to sacrifice plans and wishes by putting college at the top of his priority list.

Others seem to hold with the idea that college must be a full-time, completely dedicated endeavor. For various reasons, some of which I understand. Thus, diversions to earn money are not reasonable.

Second, I hold that outside work is available and, although not greatly attractive, capable of generating enough saving to pay for one or more routes to a degree.

The contrary position seems to be that employment is not readily available, and, even if it is, is insufficient to provide for savings for college.

Third, I hold that there are a plethora of junior and community colleges implanted throughout every state that will allow for the first two years, or more, of credits sufficient to place a student in a degree granting school somewhere in his junior year. Many universities and junior colleges have multiple campuses. And that, by design these junior colleges are affordable. There are 980 such schools currently in the US and the average annual tuition and fees are about $3,400. My state has 19. If one is willing to move, then one can place oneself within reach of an affordable education.

The counter is that such junior colleges are not as conveniently available as I seem to think. I have to defer to the local experts, but I posit that a commute of an hour or so would put junior colleges in almost everybody's reach. There are exceptions...see my comment on outliers above.

Fourth, I hold that a prudent student can, with discipline and focus, provide a living and attend a college ... but perhaps not full time and perhaps during alternating semesters. A student can have one or two or three jobs. One can find a way to house and feed oneself and save enough to grind though school. It is not pleasant or, in the current state of values, convenient, but it is possible. The obvious answer is to live at home -- if possible -- not at all what an 18 year old might want to do. But, I ask , what are the 18 year old's priorities? Many tales I hear about the economic wasteland available to young folk fail to distinguish between necessity and luxury -- a luxury being anything not a necessity.

The retort is that I just don't understand basic economics. That it is impossible to take care of oneself, and in the current economic structure, also pay for college. Because one can't get a good job without a degree. And that I just am unwilling to understand the reality of economics for a student.

Fourth, I hold that math in the '60s is indistinguishable from math in the 20-teens. If one examines one's income and expenses, and if one if willing to act to address both, one can find a way to pay for college. For example, if a student's income is low and the student is one of the about 40% who meets the standards to join the military, the student will qualify for the GI bill and have most of his college paid for -- after four or five years. And the student can save while in the military and then have all of his education paid for. This approach, which demands four/five years of financial preparation, does not seem to be on the menu of many students.

And, if one's expenses are an impediment, then one has internet at McDonald's and a non-smart phone to provide basic communication (an Obamaphone is free) and a coffee maker instead of Starbucks . The retort is often that a student "has to have" many things that the student actually doesn't have to have -- IMO. In general, what I hear is that an 18 year old cannot be expected to live in a significantly different way than his peers ... materially or culturally.

The counter is that things are different nowadays. And that I am not a creature of nowadays. That there is a fundamental economic and cultural and gap between the practices and opportunities of the past and of today.

And others.

I suppose that my basic reaction is not that college is too expensive, which it is, but that the arguments I hear seem to focus on the need to have college provided with minimal sacrifice on the part of the student or parents. The ultimate expression of which is the demand to be able to borrow as much as one thinks one needs and then have that debt eradicated by an benevolent government. Admittedly an outlier, but I remember reading about the doctor who finished medical school about $300K in debt and opined that her debt be forgiven because she was so much better than the hoi polloi -- that is, she was a doctor and of such public value that she should not have to pay for her education.

As to the article, the point I though was obvious was that college doesn't cost what college is purported to cost. And that is a major element in defining whether a student can afford it or not. The point is not that college is easily affordable, but that it is not as expensive as some would claim.

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Last edited by Highlander on Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2019 1:36 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
. ... I think, in short, you are declining to take seriously enough the gravity of the problem that the average young person today faces. Yes, you can concoct a scenario wherein a clever young person who happens to be lucky enough to have excellent opportunities easily available to him can manage to get through school with minimal or no debt. No, that's not normal.


Perhaps I should just have replied to this.

I don't discount the gravity of the problem at all. College is way, way too expensive. For many reasons, most of which are political and bureaucratic and not economic. I hold that the basic issue with student debt is that borrowing for college exists at all ... (a bank wouldn't loan an 18 year old unemployed high school graduate money to buy a house, but it will loan that kid $50K+ over 4-6 years to go to school). If student loans were not available and colleges did not plan for students' borrowing to finance their endlessly increasing costs ... then colleges would have to compete for students and, thus, have to control costs and lower prices.

What I challenge is the response of the beleaguered young person and his parents to the problem. The underlying issue I have is that radical solutions, requiring disruption and sacrifice and postponement of plans and material deprivation, are discounted out of hand. For example, if you are convinced that my state is an anomaly in college expenses, you could move here, establish residence after two years, and enjoy our lower costs. But that would be too ridiculous, right? Or better, as a parent, move your child here for their senior year of high school and benefit from our lottery scholarship. That's a one year sacrifice, not two. Or enlist straight out of high school -- and, four years later, college is paid for.

When I hear that the student just doesn't want to entertain such approaches, .... because .... then my empathy diminishes. What I hear is that it should be easy and, that if it is difficult, then it is impossible.

I freely admit that my view is based significantly upon personal experience. After two years of my parents paying for a full ride for me, things happened and I was on my own. I was walking to work to save bus fare, sleeping on couches and floors to pay minimal room mate costs, eating one meal a day, taking any job for any reason to make the next semester's tuition, living in the library to study and to have a warm place in the winter, cramming every possible course into summer school because, on a semester hour basis, tuition was cheaper. Surprisingly, my social life was improved ... my friends were a better quality of friend and the women I socialized with had more solid values and judgement and better personalities than in my halcyon days.

Yes, it is not normal. But it is possible. And it could solve the problem.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:55 am 
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I went to a local University (Wichita State) living at home with my parents and incurred no student loan debt. Of course the cost per credit hour and student campus fees were far less than those today. Also during that time most kids were not expected to go to college (1963). I understand that many do not live where a college or university is available locally. So housing/living costs can be a major factor to the overall expense, which may be more than tuition and don't forget books. Even in my day books were a rip off.

College costs have risen in the current market, with the idea that every child must go to college, a supply and demand function.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:25 am 
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Highlander wrote:
What I challenge is the response of the beleaguered young person and his parents to the problem. The underlying issue I have is that radical solutions, requiring disruption and sacrifice and postponement of plans and material deprivation, are discounted out of hand. For example, if you are convinced that my state is an anomaly in college expenses, you could move here, establish residence after two years, and enjoy our lower costs. But that would be too ridiculous, right? Or better, as a parent, move your child here for their senior year of high school and benefit from our lottery scholarship. That's a one year sacrifice, not two. Or enlist straight out of high school -- and, four years later, college is paid for.

When I hear that the student just doesn't want to entertain such approaches, .... because .... then my empathy diminishes. What I hear is that it should be easy and, that if it is difficult, then it is impossible.

Right. This is, I think, the root of our disagreement. You see that a debt free way of getting through college could be managed, and then, in effect, place blame on those who don't make these admittedly radical moves in order to find that way. But these moves are radical, and as such aren't going to be the sort of thing that the average person considers. (And you wouldn't want the average person to consider them. How many families like mine do you seriously think your state and its college--to say nothing of high school, etc--system could absorb before it collapsed?) You're proposing approaches that almost by definition apply to a small minority. But we've created a culture where young people more or less have to go to college. To say that the majority of these students will do so in the way that the majority of these students do so is obviously tautological. And hence obviously true. And it's that tautology that you're resisting here. Good luck to you, my friend!

Plus there's the fact that you're simply and obviously ignoring the counter to your proposals. I could just move to your state, establish residence, and enjoy your lower costs? I could? What the hell would I do there? My life is here. My job is here. It is not easily portable. I'm not a nurse or something like that. I am basically here. (And ignoring that, you're arguing for cutting all ties and simply up and leaving hearth and home, for strictly financial reasons. That puts money before family and heritage, and obviously no Catholic would seriously consider that.) So your proposal, in addition to being one that's radical, is also one that is easily met with contrary force. The money I could theoretically save by moving to your state is more than offset by the money I'd lose by leaving my home and career and winding up doing Lord knows what out there--working in a convenience store? Even if I managed to work my way into a decent field, it would probably take years and my kids would be up and grown by then--as I worked away the remainder of their childhoods to re-establish myself in a new life in a new place. To save some college money. It doesn't make sense.

Could my kids enlist and get some financial help out of that? (College paid for through a four year enlistment? I'd have to see the math on that one.) Yes, but then they'd be very likely to be sent to fight in almost certainly immoral wars. Would I expect my boys to enlist if we should become involved in a just war and were fighting for our survival? Damn right. Would I want my boys to enlist as things are now so they can make some college money? Hell no. (I take nothing away from the young men who see things differently than I do on this one. I am sure that most of our boys over there honestly believe that they are somehow helping preserve our freedom or keep us safe or whatever, and they sacrifice themselves with the very best of intentions. But I also believe they are wrong about that. I would respect my boys decisions if they enlisted, but I would not encourage it.)

You can, of course, go to college part time and work full time. This has its own problems, most obviously regarding your ability to support a family. Yes, a young man could put off marriage until he's in his 30's and has finished college and managed to get settled into his post-college career and so on. But it's at least necessary to put this thought into play when you propose your radical solutions. You're presenting a situation where marriage is likely to be long delayed. That's another cost you don't appear to take into account.

I'm still on board with saying that you don't appreciate the gravity of the situation. You write:

Quote:
My initial reaction is that such a position indicates persuasion by a marketing campaign based upon deception, sometimes self, obfuscation, and preying upon the impulse to accept information provided by "authorities" as valid -- without skeptical examination.

If we're going to make such claims--in effect, that the other party in this discussion is mindlessly repeating marketing slogans and not thinking critically--then I'd invite you to rethink your Ayn Rand world of young Gail Wynands bootstrapping their way to riches via determination and brilliance and sheer self reliance. That may not be an entirely fair appraisal of where you stand. I still think it's closer to true than your account of where my position comes from.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:47 am 
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I agree with all who argue that getting a degree is costly. Except, apparently, in New Mexico. I follow the issue of college costs with some interest and can provide many examples of why the cost is exorbitant. For example, courses are deliberately scheduled to, at times, force a student to attend for an extra semester ... or year. One of my friend's sons is going through that now ... having to finish his degree by taking one course next fall ... because it is required but only offered in alternate years. Keeps the student count up, which results in more money from the legislature.

And I am not arguing that graduating without student debt is easy. It is deucedly difficult ... and disruptive ... and demands sacrifice ... and time. And thinking outside the box. What I am arguing is that there are routes that will result in a debt free degree. Frankly, the most obvious ... for about 2 out of every 5 aspirants is serving in the military and receiving the GI Bill. Another is ROTC (competitive):

Quote:
ROTC cadets committed to serving in the military after college are eligible for scholarships covering the costs for tuition, fees, and textbooks for four years, plus a monthly stipend for personal expenses. If you have additional financial need, you are free to apply for regular financial aid and non-ROTC scholarships.


...and ...

Quote:
Upon activation, all scholarship cadets receive a nontaxable monthly allowance (stipend) during the academic year. Currently, the monthly stipend is $300 for freshmen, $350 for sophomores, $450 for juniors and $500 for seniors.


Surprise, but I have heard the proposition that SJW's also be given such scholarships if they serve as community activists for several years after graduation. After all, if you have it and I want it, then I should get it. Much in the tone of the recent CNN Hero Awards ... since there are lots of deserving heroes outside of the military and first responders. I wonder when such will receive CMHs.

Another is going to school in Canada, like my older. It was cheaper going out of country than out of state. Transportation costs were our major hurdle. I have asked the parents of students preparing for college what they think of attending a school in Canada ... or the UK or Australia or New Zealand ... and receive only blank stares or the response that I'm being ridiculous. Why, that would mean travel and expecting the student to be responsible.

I am also, as has been pointed out repeatedly, of a different generation. Yes, I know that things have changed. You can run the numbers. But, I hold, one thing that has changed is the belief that everyone has to go to college, thus disrupting the supply/demand function. Another thing that has changed, I further hold, is a new sense that each young inquiring mind is entitled to go to college without any impediments to whatever fantasy they think they are living. There is a strong and overt political impetus to the idea that every high school graduate or proud GED holder must attend college and pay whatever they have to pay ... a product of the progressive/educational/banking axis married to the education bureaucracy. But what has changed most, in addition to costs, I proffer, is the idea that, like Burger King, you can have it your way.

So, when a fresh graduate with a degree in lesbian dance theory realizes that they have a $50,000 student debt, payable beginning now, the first place they should look is in the mirror.

What I definitely don't buy is the idea that a young student is just incapable of figuring out costs and payments and schedules and living arrangements and is somehow forced to borrow. Frankly, borrowing is the lazy first choice in resolving the expenses of school. It may, ultimately, be a choice ... but it is not the only choice.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:51 am 
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Did you miss the part of gherkin's post where he explained why he doesn't regard military service as the answer?

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 9:57 am 
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1HCaAC wrote:
I went to a local University (Wichita State) living at home with my parents and incurred no student loan debt. Of course the cost per credit hour and student campus fees were far less than those today. Also during that time most kids were not expected to go to college (1963). I understand that many do not live where a college or university is available locally. So housing/living costs can be a major factor to the overall expense, which may be more than tuition and don't forget books. Even in my day books were a rip off.

College costs have risen in the current market, with the idea that every child must go to college, a supply and demand function.



And every child who goes to college should do so in the currently approved manner, time frame and paradigm, with certain assumptions being sacrosanct.

You, I, and Highlander are of an age, and the age in which we were of college age was different, in a number of ways, as all agree. But among those differences in the generations, including costs, were the attitudes, expectations, and assumptions of the parents and the students, as Highlander has, (IMO) convincingly demonstrated. A felt need = a right; a right assumes that someone (some institution, some agency) has the obligation to make that right manifest. Someone must pay.

Given the job I had (student library assistant), the scholarships I garnered, and my parsimonious and hermit-like life style, I cost my family maybe $600-$800, total, for my first two years of college, before the Air Force took over all costs for me. Another way the military could be a road to the diploma.

My child, whose college financing resembled my own, only more so, thirty years later ( when times had changed, yes; times always change) cost me roughly an occasional roll of quarters for the parking meters. I did supply the car, until she graduated and was employed.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:11 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Did you miss the part of gherkin's post where he explained why he doesn't regard military service as the answer?



Not addressed here, but I didn't. I can certainly understand that moral issue. Whether someone in the military is literally sent to fight, or merely supports the larger purpose, I understand the moral issue for some. But that means that to eschew that path still requires someone to assume the responsibility that that declined path offers, to solve the immediate felt need. Having the strength of one's moral convictions means that one should be the funding source of first choice. IMO. Convictions certainly have costs. You know it and I know it.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:13 am 
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GKC wrote:
A felt need = a right; a right assumes that someone (some institution, some agency) has the obligation to make that right manifest. Someone must pay.

You and Highlander appear to be making the same fundamental error of compounding two quite obviously separable things. First, there's the truism that nowadays college is very nearly a requirement for a job in the US. (Despite what may be the appearances in this thread, I think this truism is less true than it might appear, and indeed I encourage resistance to it. Here's a book I regularly push on people who assume that college is absolutely necessary! But the truism is nevertheless so widely taken for granted, and has such a legitimate basis in reality, that in general we can treat it as true.) Second, there's the attitude that one often finds on the American "left," that college should be dished out without sacrifice or cost to just anyone who lines up at the trough, and that all the poor little snowflakes need to be insulated from any consequences of their choices regarding college--or anything else.

I think this thread would possibly hold some promise of getting somewhere if we'd stop lumping the two together.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:19 am 
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Highlander wrote:
For example, courses are deliberately scheduled to, at times, force a student to attend for an extra semester ... or year. One of my friend's sons is going through that now ... having to finish his degree by taking one course next fall ... because it is required but only offered in alternate years. Keeps the student count up, which results in more money from the legislature.

If that snowflake had been paying attention and planning ahead--to say nothing of obtaining (as is so easy!) a ROTC scholarship, as well as working full time while attending college part time--he would have figured out how to take that course in its previous offering and not foolishly stuck himself with the "problem" of "having" to take it next fall.

:fyi:

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:47 am 
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Hey, you guys are getting way ahead of me. I'll catch up. Gotta leave for a while.

First, let me thank you (Gherkin) for the tone of your response. It is energetic and pointed, but not disrespectful ... a tone not always evident in these sorts of exchanges. In addition, you make points that I am forced to consider, because they have merit.

Let us examine your counters.

gherkin wrote:
You see that a debt free way of getting through college could be managed, and then, in effect, place blame on those who don't make these admittedly radical moves in order to find that way. But these moves are radical, and as such aren't going to be the sort of thing that the average person considers. (And you wouldn't want the average person to consider them. How many families like mine do you seriously think your state and its college--to say nothing of high school, etc--system could absorb before it collapsed?) You're proposing approaches that almost by definition apply to a small minority. But we've created a culture where young people more or less have to go to college. To say that the majority of these students will do so in the way that the majority of these students do so is obviously tautological. And hence obviously true. And it's that tautology that you're resisting here. Good luck to you, my friend!


Yes, I do argue that there can be debt free routes to a college education. I do not argue that the average person will take such courses ... else they would not be average. However, if they, in the aggregate, did, as a matter of social policy, States and private schools might have to reexamine the structure they have created on the backs of the average, somewhat gullible, tuition payers and legislative bodies that fund the education machine.

The idea that young folk have to go to college is pervasive ... and, I hold, incorrect. There is a growing sense that there are options for a good, middle class life, that do not include college. However, I do agree that the mass of high schoolers and their parents have eaten the poisoned apple and have been convinced that college is the only option for entering utopia. Yes, hyperbole is a characteristic of my writing.

Another factor put in play by the educational complex is that kids have to go to "good" schools. For "good", read "expensive". I quit listening to my kids' guidance counselors as soon as I realized that they were advocating schools based upon reputation, cause my kids had decent grades, not upon affordability.

gherkin wrote:
Plus there's the fact that you're simply and obviously ignoring the counter to your proposals. I could just move to your state, establish residence, and enjoy your lower costs? I could? What the hell would I do there? My life is here. My job is here. It is not easily portable. I'm not a nurse or something like that. I am basically here. (And ignoring that, you're arguing for cutting all ties and simply up and leaving hearth and home, for strictly financial reasons. That puts money before family and heritage, and obviously no Catholic would seriously consider that.) So your proposal, in addition to being one that's radical, is also one that is easily met with contrary force. The money I could theoretically save by moving to your state is more than offset by the money I'd lose by leaving my home and career and winding up doing Lord knows what out there--working in a convenience store? Even if I managed to work my way into a decent field, it would probably take years and my kids would be up and grown by then--as I worked away the remainder of their childhoods to re-establish myself in a new life in a new place. To save some college money. It doesn't make sense.


Good points. And clear priorities. And, by implication, you have run the numbers at at least a cursory level. I'm a strong advocate of running the numbers. And I would expect, that if you make those your priorities, you understand that you have to accept the other, non-radical, consequences of your decision. But, I've seen Mom move with the kids to establish residency while Dad stays at the old home place. Priorities.

Could my kids enlist and get some financial help out of that? (College paid for through a four year enlistment? I'd have to see the math on that one.) Yes, but then they'd be very likely to be sent to fight in almost certainly immoral wars. Would I expect my boys to enlist if we should become involved in a just war and were fighting for our survival? Damn right. Would I want my boys to enlist as things are now so they can make some college money? Hell no. (I take nothing away from the young men who see things differently than I do on this one. I am sure that most of our boys over there honestly believe that they are somehow helping preserve our freedom or keep us safe or whatever, and they sacrifice themselves with the very best of intentions. But I also believe they are wrong about that. I would respect my boys decisions if they enlisted, but I would not encourage it.)[/quote]

Yes, essentially. The GI bill will pay for a good bit of college. You'd probably have to work as well, but student debt could probably be avoided. Again, you present values and priorities. And if the GI is rejected as an option, then the consequences of that decision should be as readily accepted.

[/quote]You can, of course, go to college part time and work full time. This has its own problems, most obviously regarding your ability to support a family. Yes, a young man could put off marriage until he's in his 30's and has finished college and managed to get settled into his post-college career and so on. But it's at least necessary to put this thought into play when you propose your radical solutions. You're presenting a situation where marriage is likely to be long delayed. That's another cost you don't appear to take into account.[/quote]

I had not considered the model of the married student and my comments do not address such. However, I would take the cost of postponing a family into account. It is another factor in deciding whether one should borrow money to go to school.

gherkin wrote:
I'm still on board with saying that you don't appreciate the gravity of the situation. You write:

Quote:
My initial reaction is that such a position indicates persuasion by a marketing campaign based upon deception, sometimes self, obfuscation, and preying upon the impulse to accept information provided by "authorities" as valid -- without skeptical examination.

If we're going to make such claims--in effect, that the other party in this discussion is mindlessly repeating marketing slogans and not thinking critically--then I'd invite you to rethink your Ayn Rand world of young Gail Wynands bootstrapping their way to riches via determination and brilliance and sheer self reliance. That may not be an entirely fair appraisal of where you stand. I still think it's closer to true than your account of where my position comes from.


Horatio Alger, too. Yes, it is a bit of an unfair characterization of my POV. And, I repeat, I do appreciate the gravity of the financial issues facing prospective and current college students. I faced them, in a less drastic form, with my kids. And friends' kids and grandkids are facing them now.

In fact, this discussion had helped me clarify my reaction to student debt. It is not so much the fact that the majority of students decide to borrow money, about 75%, but then that they bemoan the consequences of doing so.

Gotta run.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 10:49 am 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Did you miss the part of gherkin's post where he explained why he doesn't regard military service as the answer?


No, but the posts marched on.

Again, that is a decision. And that decision eliminats one route to a debt free future for a college graduate. It is a consequence.

If the argument is that one who decides not to follow that route should have the same financial subsidy as one who does, cause they would like to ... then I reject that POV.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:37 am 
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gherkin wrote:
GKC wrote:
A felt need = a right; a right assumes that someone (some institution, some agency) has the obligation to make that right manifest. Someone must pay.

You and Highlander appear to be making the same fundamental error of compounding two quite obviously separable things. First, there's the truism that nowadays college is very nearly a requirement for a job in the US. (Despite what may be the appearances in this thread, I think this truism is less true than it might appear, and indeed I encourage resistance to it. Here's a book I regularly push on people who assume that college is absolutely necessary! But the truism is nevertheless so widely taken for granted, and has such a legitimate basis in reality, that in general we can treat it as true.) Second, there's the attitude that one often finds on the American "left," that college should be dished out without sacrifice or cost to just anyone who lines up at the trough, and that all the poor little snowflakes need to be insulated from any consequences of their choices regarding college--or anything else.

I think this thread would possibly hold some promise of getting somewhere if we'd stop lumping the two together.



I'm not sure they are separable. But this is not a bridge I am going to die on or even engage in lengthy firefights over (the whole question, that is). I find Highlander's points well researched, cogent, and reflective of a problematic social posture far beyond the "higher education" field, congruent with much of the modern mind set, where truisms are widely held and present themselves as things that must be engaged, in terms of their assumptions and definitions. In short, I agree him. But this is not the sort of thing I will respond to in the sense that there are other points that I will demonstrably respond to (which, thankfully, have not appeared for years. So let it be. Amen).

I will likely make applauding comments here, if warranted, however.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:43 am 
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Highlander wrote:
First, let me thank you (Gherkin) for the tone of your response. It is energetic and pointed, but not disrespectful ... a tone not always evident in these sorts of exchanges.

Back atcha.

Quote:
The idea that young folk have to go to college is pervasive ... and, I hold, incorrect. There is a growing sense that there are options for a good, middle class life, that do not include college. However, I do agree that the mass of high schoolers and their parents have eaten the poisoned apple and have been convinced that college is the only option for entering utopia. Yes, hyperbole is a characteristic of my writing.

There are options that do not include college. The most commonly-mentioned are the trades. This is important for young people to know. However, there are many fields which are quite simply unavailable to those without a degree, including many fields that obviously have exactly zero connection to any degree. So for a young person who isn't drawn to the trades, or who wants to keep his options open, a college degree really is almost a necessity nowadays. Indeed, it's increasingly a necessity because in order to get anywhere in a given field, you actually need an advanced degree, or at least coursework towards an advanced degree, and obviously you can't get that without a bachelor's degree.

Quote:
Another factor put in play by the educational complex is that kids have to go to "good" schools. For "good", read "expensive". I quit listening to my kids' guidance counselors as soon as I realized that they were advocating schools based upon reputation, cause my kids had decent grades, not upon affordability.

I don't have any interest in "good" schools in the Harvard/Princeton/Yale sense. I do, however, have an interest in "good" schools in the sense that you can get a solid Catholic education there, and you can find a dorm life that's not simply debauchery. There are very few such schools in this country, and they are expensive.

Do I here simply take for granted certain lazy assumptions about having to go to school full time and live on campus and suchlike? Yes and no. I don't make those assumptions because I'm blinded to the alternatives. But I do make the assumptions that for many young people who want to get a decent Catholic education as their way of getting that magical passkey called a degree, it makes sense for them, if they can, to get that degree as quickly as possible. And the reason for this is precisely that the degree does serve as a magical passkey to their lives. The quicker they can jump through that hoop (while also actually becoming educated!) the quicker they can get on with living. Typically, unless you're really lucky and happen to live in Steubenville or something, you're going to have to move to these colleges and go full time and live on campus (or in an apartment nearby, or whatever, but the point is: not in your parents' house) if you want to get through them in 4 years.

It's always an alternative to go to your local community college. You'll often get a fairly poor education in more ways than one in such places. For example, frankly the academic level of the students at these colleges is generally deplorable. It's not always a lot better at low-level 4 year colleges. But it's far better at a place like Steubenville. So the level of the teaching is often much lower than it would be at a college with better-prepared students. More importantly, your local community college will obviously not give you any kind of solid basis in the Catholic intellectual tradition, which means whatever you do pick up will be more likely to harm you than help you, except in explicitly trade-related classes like accounting. (I took two accounting classes at a community college, as it happens, and they seemed to me to be fairly rigorous. This was 20-some years ago, however. Things have continued to deteriorate in the interval.)

Then there's the social problem. Where I live, the local community college has no Catholic life at all. A student at the local community college might luck into finding some Catholic friends, or might luck into finding a nice Catholic girl. But more than likely not. I believe I've mentioned before, but maybe I haven't, a local Catholic family who sent their girls to a local college. The girls lived at home. They got their degrees from this secular liberal college. They are now in their mid-20's and are both single. Both unattached. My heart really goes out to them. They graduated without debt, as far as I've gathered. But they met nobody. Now there's a trade off for you.

Quote:
I'm a strong advocate of running the numbers. And I would expect, that if you make those your priorities, you understand that you have to accept the other, non-radical, consequences of your decision. But, I've seen Mom move with the kids to establish residency while Dad stays at the old home place. Priorities.

Right, priorities. And money isn't really one of mine. See the above story about the two single ladies. See yours about a Mom and Dad in effect tearing apart their family over money. That's not a move I'd ever consider. Priorities.

Quote:
In fact, this discussion had helped me clarify my reaction to student debt. It is not so much the fact that the majority of students decide to borrow money, about 75%, but then that they bemoan the consequences of doing so.

Right. There are multiple issues at stake here. You've got to think through your choices and their consequences. But also, we've got to realize that we live in a certain culture and that culture imposes certain expectations on us. When we make cultural impositions on young people, it's at least partly on us to help them sort through the implications of those impositions.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:51 am 
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GKC wrote:
I'm not sure they are separable.

I assure you that they are separable. This is not debatable. Take...I don't know...me, for example. I was led by nearly 10 years of post high-school life experience to realize that I needed to get a college degree. In order to get that college degree, I took the standard route of borrowing money. I am now paying back that borrowed money. I will finish when I am roughly 60 years old. I do not whine about it, or expect anyone else to pay for it, or demand that Bernie Sanders make it all better. I made a choice and I accept the consequences.

So yes, the "need" to go to college is one thing, the entitled attitude you bemoan is something entirely other. They are separable. QED.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 12:51 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
GKC wrote:
I'm not sure they are separable.

I assure you that they are separable. This is not debatable. Take...I don't know...me, for example. I was led by nearly 10 years of post high-school life experience to realize that I needed to get a college degree. In order to get that college degree, I took the standard route of borrowing money. I am now paying back that borrowed money. I will finish when I am roughly 60 years old. I do not whine about it, or expect anyone else to pay for it, or demand that Bernie Sanders make it all better. I made a choice and I accept the consequences.

So yes, the "need" to go to college is one thing, the entitled attitude you bemoan is something entirely other. They are separable. QED.



If so, the problem disappears. Structure the available programs to support any such as yourself. Close an ear to any demands that circumstances require someone else to fund me and pull me out of the hole I went into. Make a choice and accept the consequences.

From the other post to Highlander: "But also, we've got to realize that we live in a certain culture and that culture imposes certain expectations on us. When we make cultural impositions on young people, it's at least partly on us to help them sort through the implications of those impositions."

These sentences need some unpacking. Culture certainly reflects (and attempts to impose) certain expectations. You would not chose to acquiesce in all of them. But if "we" make cultural impositions on young people (Who we? What impositions are referenced?) sorting through the implications, before the event, seems what Highlander is proposing.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:47 pm 
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gherkin wrote:
GKC wrote:
A felt need = a right; a right assumes that someone (some institution, some agency) has the obligation to make that right manifest. Someone must pay.

You and Highlander appear to be making the same fundamental error of compounding two quite obviously separable things. First, there's the truism that nowadays college is very nearly a requirement for a job in the US. (Despite what may be the appearances in this thread, I think this truism is less true than it might appear, and indeed I encourage resistance to it. Here's a book I regularly push on people who assume that college is absolutely necessary! But the truism is nevertheless so widely taken for granted, and has such a legitimate basis in reality, that in general we can treat it as true.) Second, there's the attitude that one often finds on the American "left," that college should be dished out without sacrifice or cost to just anyone who lines up at the trough, and that all the poor little snowflakes need to be insulated from any consequences of their choices regarding college--or anything else.

I think this thread would possibly hold some promise of getting somewhere if we'd stop lumping the two together.


Let's see if I can parse through this.

You maintain that there are separable issues that I am conflating. The first is a college degree is a near necessity in getting a job that will provide a middle-class lifestyle. You caveat that with a statement that you, personally, don't necessarily agree. You conclude that the zeitgeist has so inculcated this "truth" that it is, in fact, true.

I don't agree. I agree that if one decides to believe that it is true, then they will act and decide and prioritize on the basis that they believe it is true. However, I also believe that there is more --- gasp --- free will involved. Which leads to another belief I hold - that one who accepts the word of an authority figure without question is going to have problems. I did not say that authority figures are to be rejected as sources of truth; just that their pronouncements should be examined to the degree that the questioner feels is needed. Thus I rejected college application advice from my kids's guidance counselors when I realized that their motivation was not a decent, affordable college education for my kids, but their priority was to count coup in placing kids in "prestigious" universities. I fail to understand -- that is, I have difficulty comprehending -- folks who blithely elect a choice that requires them to borrow tens of thousands of dollars without a really, really hard look at alternatives.

The second is an observation that a political/social/economic/moral class is marketing the idea that college should be an economically and psychologically and physiologically effortless experience. Well, you didn't say that, but I expanded upon what you did.

I agree.

I also agree that the two threads are not inexorably linked. However ... ah, the omnipresent "but" ... I think that there is a thread that connects the two. I think that the college industry pimps out students to have them borrow money with a veil of a vaguely defined utopian future shrouding the reality to come. And when the minority or poor or female drops out or finally gets the lesbian dance theory degree -- meaning that they are no longer a source of income -- the colleges could care less.

Many years ago, while attending Plato's Academy, I was on a quest to resolve an academic issue for the woman who was to become my wife (talk about her utopian fantasy) who was on an exchange program at another university. It became immediately and harshly clear that, as she was not enrolled (paying tuition, that is) that semester, there was no interest at all in resolving her issue. I coined the term RGU, Revenue Generating Unit, as a synonym for a student.

But, you're essentially right. The two need not be linked to continue examining the issues.

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 Post subject: Re: College Tuition and Student Loans
PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 1:52 pm 
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GKC wrote:
gherkin wrote:
GKC wrote:
A felt need = a right; a right assumes that someone (some institution, some agency) has the obligation to make that right manifest. Someone must pay.

You and Highlander appear to be making the same fundamental error of compounding two quite obviously separable things. First, there's the truism that nowadays college is very nearly a requirement for a job in the US. (Despite what may be the appearances in this thread, I think this truism is less true than it might appear, and indeed I encourage resistance to it. Here's a book I regularly push on people who assume that college is absolutely necessary! But the truism is nevertheless so widely taken for granted, and has such a legitimate basis in reality, that in general we can treat it as true.) Second, there's the attitude that one often finds on the American "left," that college should be dished out without sacrifice or cost to just anyone who lines up at the trough, and that all the poor little snowflakes need to be insulated from any consequences of their choices regarding college--or anything else.

I think this thread would possibly hold some promise of getting somewhere if we'd stop lumping the two together.



I'm not sure they are separable. But this is not a bridge I am going to die on or even engage in lengthy firefights over (the whole question, that is). I find Highlander's points well researched, cogent, and reflective of a problematic social posture far beyond the "higher education" field, congruent with much of the modern mind set, where truisms are widely held and present themselves as things that must be engaged, in terms of their assumptions and definitions. In short, I agree him. But this is not the sort of thing I will respond to in the sense that there are other points that I will demonstrably respond to (which, thankfully, have not appeared for years. So let it be. Amen).

I will likely make applauding comments here, if warranted, however.


What he said, more or less. He may be smarter, but I'm better looking.

The issue of the linkage of the chimera of a college education being a sine qua non for any life than that of a serf and of the free and consequenceless carrot being dangled in front of the noses of our sturdy, independent, strong (don't get me started on self-proclaimed strong women) youth can be argued both ways ... at different levels of connection. But one can be examined without invoking the other. Even if one might could.

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