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A few weeks ago, my daughter received an acceptance letter from a Prestigious Eastern College, along with the news that she had been awarded an annual scholarship of $26,000. Clearly, she had been SAVED. We were thrilled. We had done our job as parents. The Dean of Admission had even penned her a congratulatory note! I looked through the packet for the total cost of tuition, room and board, trying to understand what our responsibility would be should we accept, but couldn't find it.

It appeared to have self-destructed.

In the meantime, my daughter eagerly devoured literature describing the school's fabulous creative writing program. Many of its alumni are published. Distinguished professors would read and critique her work. She would be able to do an internship at a well-known publishing house. "Mom!" she exclaimed. "It's in New York! Alice Walker went there!" She rattled off a pile of celebrity alumni including Rahm Emanuel. (Okay, maybe Rahm wasn't so thrilling.)

I called the school and learned that the cost of tuition, room and board is $58,000. I would have to cough up at least $32,000 to cover her first year.

Maybe she wasn't going to be saved after all.

I began exploring ways to finance a year at this school for Cassie. I could liquidate what is left of my husband's 201K account after the stock market crash. That might get her midway through her sophomore year. But then, what would I do about my fourteen-year-old son, Ben? And how would we retire? I wasn't thinking about glorious cruises. I just want to make sure we have a house to live in.

"You should do it," urged my best friend. "A house isn't so important. Once she gets there, they're going to love her. They'll see how talented she is. They'll find a way to keep her there."

"But what if they don't?" I worried. "What if they're cold, callous people who don't care about her well-being? Then I have to send her somewhere else. What do I do then?"

I called the school to ask for ideas.  I described some of Cassie's accomplishments. "She organized a team of performance poets to go into our county jail to teach inmates to express themselves through the spoken word," I told the man who answered the phone. "She just started working in the jail this week."

"I can't help you," he said bluntly. "You'll have to consider taking out a low interest parent loan."

"I have no collateral," I tried to explain. "The value of my house dropped by about 40%.  Also, I'm 51 years old and need to make sure my home and debts are paid by the time I'm 65 in case I can't work. I can't take out $128,000 in loans! It would be totally irresponsible. No bank would loan me that. I have another child. He has to go to school, too!"

"We really can't help you," said the man. "Sorry."

I thought this was odd for a school that emphasizes service ethic and diversity.  But last year, the same thing happened to the son of a close friend. He was accepted into Swarthmore. When his mother called the school's financial aid office, she was instructed to sell off or mortgage her family's ancestral farm.

Adam went to UNM.

In the meantime, Cassie received a second acceptance letter, this time from Coe College, an excellent but less well-known school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The letter included both the scholarship and loan amount, and the full cost of tuition. We were short of what we could afford by about $5,000.

A man named Brian called me from their financial aid office. I described some of Cassie's accomplishments including the classes she's teaching in the jail. "She just started her workshops this week," I repeated. "She had to wait till she was eighteen."

"Wow!" he exclaimed.  "That's exactly what we want to see in a student! We'd really like to have Cassie come to Coe. Let me talk to our Vice President and see what we can do."

He called back a few days later with an offer to increase her merit scholarship based on her service to others.  

I tried the Prestigious Eastern School one more time.  

"We don't give merit scholarships," said the woman who answered the phone. "Only need-based scholarships." She lowered her voice. "It's really hard on the middle-class," she confided. "We can defer her admittance until next year but it really won't change anything.  If she earns money it will be subtracted from her current award."

Suddenly, she had an idea. "Do you think there's a possibility you might lose your job? It would help you considerably."

"I'm a political appointee," I answered. "There's always a chance I could lose my job."

I stopped by the County Manager's office and half-heartedly attempted to annoy him.  "I need you to fire me," I explained. "It's the only way I can finance my daughter's college education."

"Go bother a Commissioner," he replied. "I'm not firing you even though you're in violation of the dress code again. Why do you wear two different colored socks? It's probably not a fireable offense but I could dock your paycheck if you want."

I considered my options. Cassie's a prodigy. Her writing talent far exceeds her age. The people in Cedar Rapids seemed genuinely eager to help her. The only problem was the school's location in Iowa. Nobody had ever been SAVED in Iowa (with the possible exception of Barack Obama...take THAT birthers).  If she was going to slip the surly bonds of Earth, she'd have to go to the school in New York where she was more likely to become known as an author.

I called my father on the off-chance he had twenty or thirty thousand dollars lying around. "She got into Prestigious Eastern School!" he exclaimed. "That's terrific!" But he didn't have twenty thousand dollars.

I first met my father my senior year in high school. I had been accepted into St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM.  My mother took one look at the tuition bill and gave me his address.

My paternal grandmother offered to get me into Bryn Mawr and pay my tuition if I would live with her or join a sorority. "Your breeding is atrocious," she informed me. She took me out to a store and bought me a new wardrobe of crisply starched white clothing suitable for a Bryn Mawr sorority. I felt like a cross between Florence Nightingale and a brood mare. I rejected her offer, opting to make my own way through St. John's. I needed to know I was in school based on my own merit. And I liked their egalitarianism, their focus on academics and the laid-back, casual, ratty-jeans atmosphere of the West.

Is Cedar Rapids really the social equivalent of Purgatory? Iowa grows the world's food. I wonder if the Seven Sisters, the Ivy Leagues and other top colleges set aid levels specifically for the purpose of excluding the middle class. Perhaps they need the occasional extraordinary poor person around to convince themselves that they are also extraordinary. But the middle class is so unexceptional! We own grocery stores or teach school; farm or manage restaurants; we belong to neighborhood watch associations, the PTO, the Rotary Club, a synagogue or church. We woman bake sales. We wash cars for charity. We grow old. We forgo botox.

We are the Great Unwashed.

Thirty years ago, I opted out of being SAVED. Sometimes I look back and wonder if I made a mistake. Mostly I don't. I enjoy my life in a fixer-upper house with one husband, two kids, two dogs, three cats, scratching-post furniture, chipped dishes, and a few perpetually blighted rose bushes. I like my job running a county health and human services department. I like my neighbors. I like the mountains outside my door.

I realized, in the heart of the mundane middle, I have put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Originally posted to Personal Storytellers on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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  •  Tip Jar (151+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kestrel9000, gerald 1969, johnny wurster, Rich in PA, AaronBa, badscience, KVoimakas, sodalis, Actbriniel, Mariken, JFinNe, Lepanto, rontun, NoMoreLies, Kevskos, SoCalSal, ER Doc, No one gets out alive, davechen, donnamarie, texasmom, standingup, TXsharon, tardis10, milkbone, genethefiend, gsbadj, indybend, churchylafemme, Egalitare, JDWolverton, Design the Future, thePhoenix13, Tookish, means are the ends, seabos84, JonBarleycorn, magicsister, sydneyluv, dark daze, roadbear, Got a Grip, Cenobyte, LivesInAShoe, Ginger1, fiddlingnero, JanL, Dichro Gal, GAladybug, badger, Rachel Q, klompendanser, Strange New World, cville townie, CherryTheTart, dsb, DBunn, semiot, Element 61, thatwhichisgood, Going the Distance, congenitalefty, Heart of the Rockies, wesmorgan1, cusoon, elfling, camlbacker, GeorgeXVIII, RichM, Justina, prfb, Son of a Cat, virginwoolf, lol chikinburd, el dorado gal, karmsy, phonegery, sullivanst, Terranova0, GreatDane, prgsvmama26, Statusquomustgo, offred, legendmn, Lying eyes, Philpm, BoxNDox, emal, yesdevkmem, pengiep, shanikka, earicicle, asterkitty, Spinster, davis90, Geek of all trades, kevin k, Virginia mom, elwior, Nulwee, IL clb, dotsright, JVolvo, SLeale, Shockwave, irate, Alexandra Lynch, Xapulin, TexasTom, Sister Havana, Van Buren, milton333, LucyandByron, farbuska, icemilkcoffee, ColoTim, Exurban Mom, itsmitch, anastasia p, la urracca, Dissentinator, marleycat, Randtntx, annieli, davybaby, Sparkalepsy, bluesheep, where4art, bluesweatergirl, Idaho Guy, Vita Brevis, anafreeka, kurt, NapaJulie, An Affirming Flame, Dartagnan, nominalize, OllieGarkey, bronte17, millwood, fiddler crabby, Kitsap River, Joe Bob, strangedemocracy, twigg, palantir, radical simplicity, Socratic Method, Oh Mary Oh, denise b, suzq

    I need at least 32,000 in tips by 5/ 1, please!

    Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

    by TheFatLadySings on Wed Apr 20, 2011 at 09:56:08 PM PDT

    •  okay, a couple of comments (50+ / 0-)

      my sister went to Sarah Lawrence.  They have a relatively tiny endowment which limits what they can do with financial aid

      Bryn Mawr is the sister school to Haverford, my alma mater.  They not only do not have sororities, they think their diploma is so prestigious they forgo having a Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

      Yes, connections with the NY Publishing industry can be enticing.

      So can being a real focus in a superb albeit lesser known (nationally) institution.

      Each year I do a presentation for the parents of our juniors, about applying to selective and highly selective colleges and universities.   I do admissions work for Haverford and understand the process pretty well.

      I think the label on the college/university is very much overblown.  It has to be the right fit for the kid.

      There are prestigious places that will provide more aid than your daughter was offered at SLC.  If it were really the only place for her, you might well decide it was worth the sacrifice.

      One of the best students I ever taught -  as a 9th grader I was ready to let her teach my class after 2 weeks - went to University of Maryland College Park because her father was a retired enlisted man and she had a younger brother.  She was in their most prestigious honors program, double majored in poli sci and accounting, worked for a couple of years, and now passed up a largely free ride at UVa Law when she got into Harvard Law off the waiting list.  She is having the time of her life.  She made the decision that she was willing to make that financial commitment.

      Incidentally, she is one of 5 of our former students currently at Harvard, including 3 in one class.

      I don't think all elite colleges are extorting the middle class.  I really don't, despite the comment from the woman SLC.  I hope Cassie is happy with where she goes.  And if she is really interested in seeing about possibly interning in publishing, contact me off blog and let me see if I can help connect her with people for a possible summer internship.  No guarantees, but I do have a few connections -  not enough to get me a book contract, but that is more a function of the kind of writing I do

      Peace.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:06:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What TeacherKen Said.... (19+ / 0-)

        from an educational advisor.  

        I would really say to give serious consideration to Coe.  They really reached out to your daughter.  It sounds as if she will have a lot of opportunities to shine there.  

        Grrrr..this time of year is so brutal....

        It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

        by ciganka on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:50:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are lots of good colleges in the midwest (5+ / 0-)

          I attended Carleton College in MN.  St. Olaf is in the same town.  Macalaster is in St. Paul.  Coe is solid.  Beloit in Wisconsin is good.   That's just off the top of my head.

          The most important thing is finding a good fit.  Going to an Ivy isn't "all that" if you are miserable all the time.

          Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe -- Albert Einstein

          by ccyd on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:04:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Ditto Teacherken (7+ / 0-)

        From a proud Smith alumna.  

      •  Sarah Lawrence is a joke (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        yesdevkmem, where4art

        I would strongly advise the diarist not to waste a single cent on SLC, which has been locked for some time in a yearly struggle with a special-needs school for the dubious distinction of being the most expensive college in the country.  The creative writing program is at best mediocre, and the resources available to students are scant.  

        The students themselves are pompous, confused, and spoiled.  Hard drug use is epidemic.  Few get non-retail jobs.  Upon graduation, most sign their financial lives away for lackluster grad programs at full price just to postpone their inevitable jobless doom (but not to worry!  the vast majority of students will be put up in Williamsburg by their parents after graduation anyway).

        Also, the school is not at all in NYC.  All in all, the commute to NYC is roughly an hour (more if you want to be below 42nd street, which your daughter will 9 out of 10 times), and the trains stop around midnight.

        I implore you not to send your daughter there.

      •  Actually, I hadn't named the college (5+ / 0-)

        because I don't want to prejudice my daughter's chances of getting into a particular school in the future. Also, I think the people in the aid office, especially the woman, were trying to be helpful.  My point was not that they are callous, but that we appear to be inhabiting different cultural universes.

        I guess I forgot to edit the tags though. I will email twigg and ask him/her to do that for me. I am not trying to call out a particular school or financial aid office but rather, to talk about my own experience trying to navigate the system.

        My experience with my grandmother and Bryn Mawr happened over 30 years ago. I have no idea whether Bryn Mawr had sororities at that time or whether she actually had the ability to get me into the school. I only know that that is what she told me. She was a real pistol and there was no love lost.  

        I am sure that not all elite colleges are extorting the middle class. I would not even go so far as to say that SLC intends to extort the middle class. But we do live within a system for whatever reason that significant financial barriers to top schools block middle class youth from attending those schools regardless of merit. Our belief that America is a meritocracy is false.

        I wish you hadn't called out a specific unnamed school at the top of the comment thread despite my tag error. I obviously did not name it for a reason.

        Other than that, I appreciate your comment and your excellent posts.

        Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:31:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would add one caveat (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings, LongTom, kurt, elfling

          I do agree with you that it is tough on the middle class BUT I would not say that these decisions are made regardless of merit. Most of these private institutions do meet the full need of the most meritorius students.

          I have sat in one some of these aid granting sessions, and because there are so many students to consider, and the schools want to avoid arbitrary decisions, they develop a formula.

          Each student--quite apart from the admissions committee that admits on a need-blind basis--is assigned a grade on their merits.

          The students who receive As across the board are given 100% of their tuition needs (of course, capped gov't student loans and even work-study are part of the package). The students who receives Bs are given 70% of their need. The students who receive Cs are given 40% of their need.

          When your child has been admitted to such a school, and has not been given enough aid to attend, it simply means that this particular school did not value your child highly enough. It is actually based on merit.

          There are some schools, however, that have a deplorable ratio when it comes to diversity in economic classes, and this is likely due to a smaller endowment.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:42:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm so sorry for what you're going through. (8+ / 0-)

          The truth is that only the truly elite colleges, with mega-endowments, can afford to provide working & middle class families most or all of what they need. My oldest nephew is at an Ivy. Even though tuition is about 4x what is was when I attended one, his bill is basically zero. He doesn't even have to take out any loans--thank God.

          I think the fact that this other school is really stepping up for your daughter is an excellent sign. I think the fact that America still makes families bankrupt themselves to educate their children is motherfucking insane.

          And I've hardly been around for dKos4--been busy doing the breast cancer thing--but can't you still edit your own diary's tags, and just delete the accidental one?

          Good luck to your daughter. She sounds almost as awesome as her mom! ;-)

          Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

          by earicicle on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:50:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh you're so sweet! I think she's pretty awesome. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Socratic Method, earicicle

            Yes, you can as twigg informed me. And the problem wasn't the tag. It was my mention of Walker and Emanuel. I am not quite used to the unhomey nature of long comment threads that aren't Morning Feature. I usually draw a smaller, less combative crowd. Guess I'd better get used to the change of atmosphere though. I like drawing a wider audience and I suppose this is part of it.

            I hope I see you at NN again this year!

            Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:59:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I went to Presigious Private Engineering school (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Nulwee, kurt, elfling, TheFatLadySings

          and as a student, I liked the concept of aid being need based (you attend because we think you can handle it and want to be here, we will not bribe you to be part of the community), my friends from middle-class families are the ones who are still paying off their loans years later.

          At least with engineering school, most of them have found jobs where they can live and still make payments, but that is still putting off being able to get a house, or start their own retirement savings.

          Actually, the worst case I knew was someone who was disowned by their parents (zero support), who could not get financial aid as the expected parental contribution was part of the formula.

          •  I have family members (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nominalize, TheFatLadySings

            and they graduated in engineering from a state university. No one had any problem finding a job. I don't think any employer required an expensive Ivy League education. Today they all make six figure salaries...

            •  There are good state schools out there (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling, TheFatLadySings

              I dropped out of grad school from one of them.

              While I had a handful of really great professors, I expect I could have gotten a good classroom education other places. What I did get, that is hard to find, was an environment full of other really good engineering students, who were there because they wanted to be, and not just aiming for a decent job in a few years, and an environment where, unlike high school, I had to work to keep up and do well in the subjects I found interesting.

              I'm not worried about my friends from school finding jobs, I'm just looking forward to hear when they get interviewed on slashdot, land on magazine covers, or otherwise hear about when they do really cool things.

              I have a lot of neat friends from other places too, but to me, the benefit of schools that attract notice is they attract more then their even share of interesting people.

        •  There have been several (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt, TheFatLadySings

          articles about what schools are doing to stay solvent.

          A town in Maine hosting foreign students for a year, and for enough money to help keep their
          high school open.

          In California, more out of state students, more money.

          With state budget cuts threatening to limit enrollment -- Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed a $500 million cut to UC -- campuses have turned to out-of-state students to help pay the bills. Starting in the fall, nonresident undergraduates will pay more than $34,000 per year, compared to resident tuition of $11,124.

           At UC Berkeley, more than 31 percent were from out of state, up from about 27 percent last year, and the campus admitted 156 fewer Californians.

          Among the 74 countries whose applicants were admitted to the Berkeley campus were Botswana, Denmark, Macedonia and Rwanda, according to a university statement.

          Schools  are selling some of their product, an education, to hig

          her bidders.  Where this will lead?  

          Democrats - We represent America!

          by phonegery on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:26:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You will also have to delete (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          the references to Alice Walker and Rahm Emanuel. Anyone can look that up in five seconds.

          Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

          by anastasia p on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:38:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  At this point that would be rather pointless. (0+ / 0-)

            Live and learn. Next time I'll realize I'm the blues brothers playing in Wisconsin and put up chicken wire to catch the bottles. Eiither that, or I'll learn to play "Rawhide."

            Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:03:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Pretty uncool to name the school top-thread (4+ / 0-)

        when the diarist had taken GREAT PAINS not to do so in the diary.

        VERY uncool, as a matter of fact. And it may well hurt her daughter's chances of going there. Just how many girls from New Mexico with the background she described are prospective freshman this year?

        This diary is not about you.

        Ho'oponopono. To make things right; restore harmony; heal.

        by earicicle on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:42:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's expensive even at the non-prestigious rate. (10+ / 0-)

        One person I know had a scholarship, pell grants and everything, She did three years at a JC, the last two at UC  and owes the government 100k in loans. She worked full time during the time she attended JC, as well.

        But she graduated. Woot! (?) lol  

        It just seems like a huge burden to bear as a graduate. You can still buy a house in some areas for 100k.

        I know several people who had to wait to complete college because their parent's income disqualified them for financial aide, and their parents simply could not (or would not) afford to help them.

        I wish you well in finding a solution. Student loans seem to be the only way to afford an education for the middle class.

        “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

        by Terranova0 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:47:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OMG! 100K for a JC?? That's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sister Havana

          outrageous!

          Loans will be a part of the picture for my family and my daughter but we won't become so heavily in debt that we can't dig our way out.

          Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

          by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:51:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no- it includes 2 yrs expenses at University of Ca (5+ / 0-)

            Sorry that wasn't clear

            “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

            by Terranova0 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:55:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  to further explain (8+ / 0-)

              She spent three years getting her two year degree while working full time, then transferred to University of CA to complete a 4 year degree.  During the 5 years while going to school she borrowed 100k. Most of that went for expenses the last two years at UC (university of California).

              “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

              by Terranova0 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:02:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Some schmuck told me on here (0+ / 0-)

                that he had to work two jobs and still graduated with a ton of debt back in the 80s. Yeah, sure you know what it's like now.

                Anyone who pretends this is business as usual is so corrupt it calls into question the safety of their soul, and I'm not sure I believe in souls.

                I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

                by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:13:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'll add (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kurt, TheFatLadySings

                  She did not work the last two years for two reasons:
                  1. the demands of upper level classes meant she had to spend a lot more time studying to make good grades.
                  2. she could not afford a 3rd year to complete her degree at a UC, having only a two year scholarship.

                  It may not have been cheap in the 80's to get a college education, but this is insane. Instead of making education affordable, they let people borrow against their future income, yet still raise fees. Not to mention the added interest...

                  All the extra people who could afford education under this scheme should have made the cost go down not up. I think?

                  “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

                  by Terranova0 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:39:20 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  More classes required. (4+ / 0-)

                    More shiny objects and pretty buildings on campuses. Government really should crack down on that, but everyone wants to have the new MSU.

                    If you have to work 2 jobs just to graduate with tens of thousands in debt, not even slightly paid off as you go, something is not smelling nice in Denmark.

                    If you are juggling all that stress against rich people who don't need to worry about finances... at all... take a guess at which of these two groups is going to be more likely to take a GPA hit along the way.

                    Granted, I know someone's little Mary or Billy was class president and rowing club captain and had three jobs and a 4.0 GPA (and probably was on serious uppers the whole time) but not everyone can and will do that, nor is that a reasonable or fair expectation.

                    I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

                    by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:46:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  even our local community college (4+ / 0-)

                      is building lots of shiny new edifices, but also slashing salaries and relying more on teachers contracted per course who have to teach eight courses at different schools to make a decent living. Tenured professors are decreasing so rapidly, they'll be without any in a decade. But they'll have a glorious new sports facility!

                      Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

                      by anastasia p on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:42:21 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Who's to blame? (5+ / 0-)

                    Higher Education has been completely defunded in America.

                    Look at Pennsylvania. Look at Penn State. The amount of taxpayer subsidy to the school at this point is 4% and the new government has proposed cutting that amount by half.

                    Is Penn State to blame for their high tuition? Or are the tea-partiers to blame?

                    Actually, I shouldn't mention the tea-partiers since the Democrats in my state have slashed higher education by 30% in the last 2 1/2 years.

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:56:26 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  The rest fo the story (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      TheFatLadySings

                      ...after graduating a couple years ago, this person is NOT making that phat 6 figure income. In fact, she is not even making a "middle class" income yet (isn't that like 55k a year?- nope not yet) and she is currently working at a job she was qualified to do with her two year degree (although her current employer likely passed over other applicants with less education, so at least she is working in this tight economy). Of course the student loan folks want their money ASAP.

                      Anyway... just sharing.  I bet we all know someone with essentially the same story.

                      “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

                      by Terranova0 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:36:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My best advice: tell her to look up the (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        TheFatLadySings

                        IBR program. It is a godsend. Things are better for student loan borrowers than ever before because of IBR.

                        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                        by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:38:46 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  IBR thanks (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          TheFatLadySings

                          I will pass that info on. They have deferment programs, too. My husband is also still paying his student loans...  I think he may be on this program as our payments recently fell from $350 a month to $250, after he worked a year as a temp. Fortunately, he has a permanent job again, but that means the payments may be going up soon.

                          “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

                          by Terranova0 on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 05:50:05 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, if we ended a few wars, eliminated the (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Terranova0, upstate NY

                      bush tax scam, closed corporate tax loopholes and reduced health care cost, we might be able to invest in teachers again.

                      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

                      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:12:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  I'm not sure what you mean? (0+ / 0-)

                  Who is corrupt? Is it the guy with the jobs and the debt? People who believe his story? Or a country that allows that to happen?

                  Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

                  by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:09:05 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  University of California is now $30k/yr (3+ / 0-)

            for tuition, room, and board.

            So even going the JC route with two years at UC is going to be hugely expensive.

            I have no idea how we will pay for that for my daughter. I'm thinking she'd do better as a plumber.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:35:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I take issue with one thing here... (8+ / 0-)

        I am very sorry to disagree with the esteemed teacherken, but Elite colleges are most certainly extorting the middle class.  

        A fine college education can be procured at many state-sponsored institutions and smaller, better endowed private schools all over the country, for a much more reasonable price.  It is absolutely irresponsible to spend over $100,000 in loans on an undergraduate liberal arts degree.  The student will be in debt for perhaps 15 or 20 years following graduation, and that is before consideration of graduate work.

        Think about that.  This is the time when people are trying to buy houses, start families...and they will be paying off student loan debt well into their early 40s.

        Motivated, excellent students can succeed in average to good schools and still fulfill their life goals, without signing away their future to the student loan companies.

        DailyKos: Saving us from "The Oligarhy of Teh Stupid", one diary at a time.

        by Exurban Mom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:30:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  But how do you reach the conclusion that (0+ / 0-)

          they are extorting the middle class? These are their costs.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:44:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Well, my son was just accepted to (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, TheFatLadySings

          the honors college of our state's public university system. Even though FAFSA says our total family contribution should be in the $16,000 range (which will be difficult enough since we'd have to borrow it all under the PLUS program) they said we'd have to cough up $23,000 (basically the entire cost for a year minus a couple of thousand in unsubsidized loans they will give my son).  On top of that we are paying another $9,000 per year (using the PLUS loans, again) for my other son who is at a state university as well. And that is on top of the $17,000 we are paying off on PLUS loans for our daughter who graduated from college last year. We will be paying off these damn PLUS loans until well after we retire, but I just don't have the heart to tell my youngest that his two older siblings get to go to college, but he doesn't. That would be, in my view, irresponsible to him.

          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

          by marleycat on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:46:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's not extortion if you have a choice. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          nominalize, denise b

          Go to the state school. Who's stopping you?

          If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

          by LongTom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:07:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think she means extorted in the (3+ / 0-)

            sense that they lure your child with promises they may not be able to keep, and your child places pressure on the depth of your commitment as a parent.

            This level of extortion can be easily nullified through frank communication.

            I would not begrudge a parent from going all out to pay for their child's education even if it meant going heavily out of pocket, but the choice has to be well researched.

            In this case, judging from the diary, I don't think the student knows enough about Sarah Lawrence to make the proper judgment.

            I have very young children, but since I'm a college educator, my wife and I have already had a discussion about private versus public education, and we have a cutoff in our minds about schools that it would make sense to pay for (either through borrowing from our retirement accounts, home equity, 2nd mortgage) and schools that simply would not be worth it. We know where that cutoff point is, the point where the education is worth the extreme premium, and the point where it isn't. In other words, I would pay for some schools, but not for others.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:31:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is a very smart approach. I am not (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Socratic Method

              a college educator. I am a lady who runs heroin treatment programs for inmates, case management programs for pregnant substance abusing women and who tries to bring resources into an underserved community for basic services.

              I did not know to have this sort of plan. I spent most of my spare time just getting kids to where they had to be to get a good primary and secondary education.

              It does feel like extortion when they mail a package directly to my daughter without the correct cost information.  That's what insurance salespeople do. Trying to figure out where to send your kid to school should not feel like buying a car.

              Hell, buying a car shouldn't feel like buying a car!

              Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

              by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:20:53 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Interesting about the correct cost info. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TheFatLadySings

                I received financial aid so I remember well getting a breakdown from the school that was very up front. In fact, it included costs that were not at all related to those I would pay the university. It included transportation, my clothing, my cell phone bill, etc. If you go to many university websites, they actually tack on $2-$3k above the money they will  receive from you so that you can keep in mind extra cash that your child will need.

                So, by only mentioning your scholarship without at all giving you a financial aid breakdown is highly unusual. They go out of their way typically to include everything.

                It seems like you have a very difficult job, and researching colleges is not totally possible. I come from an immigrant family that was very poor (my father was a dishwasher and short-order cook) and I went to college without a clue about what I was applying for or where I was going.

                Unfortunately, the onus is on parents and students to be savvy about their college choices. The schools think they're helping by hiring marketers to tell you what the school is about, but I can tell, those schools simply do not know.

                Every spring, I am contacted by about 5-10 college students asking me to tell them about my classes, the department offerings, how I might serve them if they come to my school. Sometimes I meet with these students. I had a student who wanted to double major, one major in the sciences which is my undergraduate background, and one in English. Knowing he got into a prestigious engineering school on the other side of the state, a school that was not very strong at all in the humanities, I pressed him to get a sense of where his heart was. When it became clear that he put a lot of stock in science because he wanted the certitude of a high-paying position, I advised him to go to the other school. My school is solid in engineering, it's an AAU state university of the highest rank, but it's not as good as one of the top tech schools in the nation, which was his other choice. Unfortunately, that school has a less than stellar English Dept. The point is, simply asking to speak to faculty or write to them will tell you a lot about the school.

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:36:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, Coe gave us a complete break out (0+ / 0-)

                  AND spent a lot of time answering our questions. it was a totally different experience and as a result a feel more confident about them than I did.

                  Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

                  by TheFatLadySings on Mon Apr 25, 2011 at 05:02:44 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  State schools aren't affordable any more either (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheFatLadySings

            I don't think $30k a year for in-resident tuition, room, and board at the University of California counts as affordable, personally.

            I graduated from a small private university. While tuition was more, in my personal case, financial aid was much more available, and so I actually paid less there than I would have had I gone to UC, contrary to our expectations.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:40:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I vote for Coe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        liamladdieo

        or a local state school.  

        Why all the focus on prestige?  

        It doesn't really matter where you go to school.  The education matters far more -- except to those who don't care about that stuff.  

        There is an excellent writing program at U of Iowa, also at U of Maine in Farmington, and elsewhere.  

        No school ever SAVED anybody

        Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle

        by not2plato on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:54:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have her go to community college first (16+ / 0-)

      I'm not kidding.

      The first two years are getting used to college and taking requirements. As long as they're going to transfer, she can do that ANYWHERE. Make SURE they will transfer, and get those out of the way locally.

      Way, way WAY cheaper. Way smaller classes. At least as good (and perhaps better) professors. Lots of help available.

      Then, after the basic ed classes are out of the way, transfer.

      The degree comes from the big prestigious institution. The work in her major is pretty much all done there.

      But you've saved yourself a FORTUNE in tuition/fees/room/board.

      On top of that, if she does well, she can be nominated for PTK, which is the community college honor society (little brother to Phi Beta Kappa). That opens MORE scholarship opportunities.

      And on top of THAT, there are often transfer scholarships that she may be eligible for. Sometimes those pay the ENTIRE tuition for the last 2 yrs.

      There really aren't any downsides to doing the first two years locally.

      •  Not to mention state schools (12+ / 0-)

        A LOT of bright, eager kids here in Massachusetts start out at UMass, Salem State, Westfield State, or one of the numerous excellent community colleges (especially the ones in Greenfield and Holyoke) before transferring to other schools.

        Also, both Smith and Mount Holyoke have programs for non-traditional students, usually older women whose educations were interrupted.  I've heard of several women who took a few years off to work and then applied as Ada Comstock or Frances Perkins scholars.

      •  Excellent Suggestion, Both Educational and $wise. (11+ / 0-)

        My son just graduated from the University of Oregon, after doing his first two years at community college, during which he established his in-state residence, since out of state residents at the U of O cost about  $30,000, but in-state residents paid $15,000.  

        He got most of his required courses finished very cheaply, and needed no loans.  When he attained residency, he was accepted by the U of O.  

        By this point, he had matured as a student and as a human being and was well prepared to benefit from the higher level courses.  He also worked throughout his college career, which greatly added to the maturation factor.  Now he's contemplating graduate school, hopefully in a foreign country that does not reduce its students and their parents to penury through astronomical tuitions, as happens in the U.S.

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support single-payer health care,unions, and WikiLeaks.

        by Justina on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:51:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some USC students took non-core classes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        at community colleges precisely for the reason that they are a lot cheaper and the credits transfer over anyways.

      •  Thanks for mentioning this. (0+ / 0-)

        Not enough people know about this option.  I went to a state school, but fellow students of mine, particularly those who had to work part-time, took advantage of taking their basic requirements at the community college.

        In fact, for a while, in Ohio, we had a college credit sharing program.  You could enroll in a state university and take up to a certain number of credits from any university--public or private-- at the cost of your state tuition.

        Don't know if it still exists, however.

        There is so much to research when it comes to colleges.  

    •  I know people who went to Swarthmore (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      and Sarah Lawrence. I've never even been to New York...

      If your question is truly open... the answer is yes. In the late 90s, the shared belief in the universality of education died.

      Its death began at private colleges and public colleges. There are still some community colleges that have managed to have the Pell Grant and can finance pretty much anyone, but Associate's Degrees are dime a dozen--Bachelor's Degrees are too, don't they say?

      Academia is really a nightmare environment much of the time, in fact it seems to stand out the more I experience it. And I'm not that old. I just have had too much experience with too many departments at several schools already, and know people who went to private universities across this country, along with public universities in a couple dozen states. There are a lot of cynical people out there. A lot of burned out people.

      I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

      by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:08:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not sure what's going on with your post (0+ / 0-)

        but this is the way I'd look at it for New York residents.

        Tuition is sub $5k.
        That's $20k over 4 years.
        Fees another $6k over 4 years.
        R&B is $9k or $36k over 4 years.

        The total is $62k over 4 years.

        Assuming 30 hours a week in summer work (4 months $250 a week [which includes SS deductions] should save about $4k or say $3500 if you spend $500 on fun over the summer). 10-15 hours of work a week during the school year (some of my student actually have full-time jobs) should net you $100 a week, or $450 a month x 8 months = $3600. That's $7,000 from work. Add $6,000 from loans. If you're poor to lower middle class, add $5.5k for a Pell Grant. Can your parents contribute $1.5k a year?

        That's $80k you have in resources for 4 years of schooling in New York state. School costs you $62k.

        You should have enough to make it.

        In some states, such as Michigan or Pennsylvania, it isn't possible to attend the best state public school using this math, but in most states it is.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:26:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Pell Grant amounts are lowered if you (6+ / 0-)

          make a threshold of income.

          In other words, the more you work, the less you get. Granted, it's gradual at first.

          There's too many other assumptions in your model. Where's the student going to live in summer (with family). What happens when summer work only covers summer CoL? What happens when you work more than 10-15 hours during the school year and still run out of money and have to beg for more loans? Btw, any chance of me getting the kiss-of-death private loans is out. I tried that once, and my credit is too savaged anyway.

          If you don't have family and if you aren't in certain income brackets you are largely screwed. You might have enough to get through, you might not. If you do, enjoy paying off 30 or $40k. Bachelor's degrees are expected now, along with years of experience. Granted, most college graduates get jobs: what no one ever talks about is the kind of jobs. Some people do get stuck in a rut and end up very, very poor for a very, very long time.

          I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

          by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:35:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Last I looked at Pell grants (0+ / 0-)

            (which was last year when Obama raised the threshold) the average salary was lower middle class.

            Yes, I assume you live with family in the summer. What do you mean by summer COL? That's summer classes? Are they necessary?

            Why are you running out of money during the school year? I've assumed an extra $4.5k over what it would take to house and feed you. I'd say $4.5k should be enough, no?

            I totally agree with you about private loans, and that's why I assumed $6k a year in loans.

            If you don't have family, that is really tough. Especially if that family is in higher income brackets and they count that salary against your ability to pay.

            I don't think that $24k in loans is all that onerous, even with a middle class income. And given the new IBR changes in the student loan program, it's probably the best time EVER to take on a moderate student loan.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:43:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You're right, 24K (3+ / 0-)

              in loans in NY isn't the worst--I'm not going to agree that it's fair at all.

              I know probably hundreds of people who've come from abusive households. This happens more than you think. I know people who were told they would get no help for college.

              The middle-class mentality is not one as broadly inculcated as you'd think; it depends on what circles you live in. None of the New Yorkers I've known under the age of 70 seem to realize that. Not meant to be a diss, just saying. It's a more sophisticated populace on whole.

              It's amazing to me that we're making this conversation about personal responsibility in the same place where we expect universal healthcare.

              There's several obvious reasons why Germany's economy is better than our's, right now. 1) the strength of unions 2) a different business culture, where outsourcing and offshoring are less attractive 3) HUGE: 7 years of education in Germany is a common standard. 4) Education is essentially universal. If you're not fundamentally unfit for education, you can probably go. 5) you may even go for free.

              6) Even if you pay, your fees will usually be quite low.

              In Sweden and Finland, education is essentially free.

              I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

              by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:51:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sweden and Finland, no! (0+ / 0-)

                http://en.wikipedia.org/...

                Swedes have no tuition, but they pay for R&B, up to $10k a year in loans.

                Americans wrap R&B into tuition (rightfully) and consider that the cost of attendance. But you can't compare that to free tuition in Sweden when you haven't included R&B.

                I've done a full year of higher ed. in Europe where my classes met once a month, for lectures, and we had infrequent conferences with professors in their offices (with a few other students from the course). The cost per student at these renowned universities (in my case, a renowned school that started in the 12th century) were about 1/3rd of an average American public school. This is why American universities are considered the best in the world. This is not a knock on the European model since it works well for them, but the truth is, they have a totally different model. They do less work, even if they attend school for a longer period (and they can, because it's cheap).

                We too can decrease the costs of American education, if we do less research on our campuses (American schools do so much more research than European schools), cut down on the liberal arts and focus on pre-professional programs, enlarge classes by a lot and have fewer classes. The quality of American higher education would suffer, but maybe that's what we need to do.

                So, who goes first?

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:15:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Never said R&B was free... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  An Affirming Flame

                  which is the reason why I'm not in Scandinavia right now.

                  That said, there are Americans who are finding significant savings through that model, especially if they have relatives or friends over there.

                  Yup. It's the shiny objects and the mindless textbook monopoly and other arbitraries that are causing this rise in CoE. No one will crack down on them, though.

                  I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

                  by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:27:41 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You can't blame schools for shiny new buildings (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Nulwee

                    when state legislatures are defunding higher education, and so much of the cost is being saddled onto research grants. Guess what? There are no research grants without the new buildings precisely because those buildings require specific research capabilities. Research grants are actually contracts that force you to provide these capabilities if you agree to the contract.

                    Now, if you're talking about Club Med spas for students, then I agree with you, but even then, in most universities, R&B is revenue netural and to be considered outside the general budget. In other words, you want a spa-dorm lifestyle-->those costs are included in R&B.

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:31:56 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  We could also simply stop funding wars, cut our (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  upstate NY, suzq

                  military budget, eliminate the Bush Tax giveaway, lower health costs, end corporate tax loopholes and invest in an excellent education and health care system.

                  I think this would be an excellent use of our resources. i see no reason why education and health care should not be readily available to all.

                  Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

                  by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:40:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe tuition in NY is 5k annually (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          Not even close in Colorado. Annual estimated cost at CU, tuition, fees, room and board = 21K

          •  Well, we have R&B too (0+ / 0-)

            But like I said, a student with only $1k help from family should be able to get $20k a year together through moderate work (12-13 hours a week) and $6k loans and pell grant.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:24:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

      Well, it's hard to criticize someone for not giving you enough charity.

      Corporations are people; money is speech.
      1984 - George Orwell

      by Frank Palmer on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:09:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, I don't disagree (0+ / 0-)

        that private institutions have their own priorities.

        I guess what you're missing is the fucking sense of entitlement people have to universal education. What this diarist didn't say is that public universities cost way, way, way too much too.

        I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

        by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:16:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, considering that the Iowa Writers Workshop (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nominalize, Joe Bob

      is considered one of the most prestigious program in the country, don't sneer at the Iowa location! Your daughter probably has just as good a chance of success at Coe as Sarah Lawrence. Especially in these days of digital communication, BEING in New York is way overrated for creative people.

      Jennifer Brunner for Governor of Ohio 2014

      by anastasia p on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:33:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some issues with this diary. First of all, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob

      what about PLUS loans and student loans? Are those part of the "scholarship" offered? If so, then you really do have a sizeable gap.

      Second, it's not "extortion" if you have a choice. And you do. I agree that it's a shame to disappoint your child, but did you really not know the tuition structure of the colleges your daughter was applying to? Colleges can charge whatever they want. Is it "extortion" that Rolls Royce charges $475,000 for a convertible?

      Third, although all colleges say their financial aid is need-based, it's not. If they really want a kid, they pay. They all have non-need based grants and scholarships that they reserve for the best applicants and athletes. Sarah Lawrence is 75-25 female. Unfortunately for your daughter, they are dying for male students, and the best deals undoubtedly go to them.

      I visited SLC last year, and though it's limited in some ways by its size, it struck me as a great place to go to college, unless you're a female who needs to have a boyfriend. Not sure it's worth $120k debt!

      If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

      by LongTom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:57:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Status costs money and SUNY Purchase would (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      give her a comparable education at a lot less $.

      Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

      by annieli on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:00:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  in fact there are some actual "public Ivies" and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        a whole bunch of posers, but you would save approximately 50% and still get what you and your child need

        Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

        by annieli on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:03:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  BTW. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          upstate NY, TheFatLadySings

          I went to a top 20 private national liberal arts college and wouldn't have changed that experience for anything even though I chose the one with the lowest tuition in deference to my parents' income

          Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

          by annieli on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:06:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, too late for total damage control, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      texasmom, TheFatLadySings

      but I changed your tags.  Of course, the alumni references are another matter.  

      And just a question:  Can't you edit your diary/tags after posting in DK4?

      Hugs to you.

      Whether we lose 1 or a 100 seats in the House, we'll waste more ink debating what those losses "mean" than we ever did organizing to prevent them. - pico (ed.)

      by mindoca on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:16:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I guess I could and didn't know it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mindoca

        Thanks! How are you anyway?

        In the end I suppose it doesn't really matter. There was some good info in this comment thread that I can use which would not have popped up if teacherken hadn't outed the school.

        Long time no see! it's great to find you in the comment thread. Are you going to be out here any time in the near future?

        Also, do you think you might be interested in teaching field organizing to health coalition coordinators at the Communities Joined in Action conference in DC in early October?  I was just talking to a board member who suggested I do it but I thought someone with serious training like you would be the better choice.

        Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 06:48:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's late here and I am just about to go to (0+ / 0-)

          sleep.  Let's chat privately.  My e-mail is still my screen name at AOL.

          Hugs.

          Whether we lose 1 or a 100 seats in the House, we'll waste more ink debating what those losses "mean" than we ever did organizing to prevent them. - pico (ed.)

          by mindoca on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:56:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It costs a lot to run Swarthmore. (19+ / 0-)

    It's not like they're making a profit.  And as for not getting a merit scholarship, the problem with elite schools is that extreme merit is the baseline just for getting in.  There's no basis for saying someone has more merit than that.  The appropriate response is to treat it like any other product and buy the best one you can afford.  There are some excellent public liberal arts colleges, in Maryland and Massachusetts to name two.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:36:09 AM PDT

    •  If you are an out-of-stater, they (25+ / 0-)

      are not that much more affordable. But I think we are happy with Coe.

      Life has changed since I was my daughter's age. I was able to attend college because of government aid and merit scholarships. Otherwise it wouldn't have happened.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:48:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We went through a similar process last year (5+ / 0-)

        Daughter ended up at Grinnell College in IA.   Entire process of dealing w/ various colleges and universities was not pleasant--private schools (including my undergrad alma mater) really don't care.  One word to the wise--get what you can now, as financial aid offices don't start getting more generous as your child progresses through college.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:07:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't say they don't care (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings, Nulwee

          I would say the intermediaries that answer your phone calls don't get paid enough to care. People always say that schools should have better "customer relations" and I agree, but I can tell you that with the limited resources, that office is always on the chopping block.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:15:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We had unpleasant dealings w/ a # of depts (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheFatLadySings

            not just a lowly financial aid person.  She also applied for a music grant, and they totally gave us the runaround.  It's water under the bridge now, but it was a disillusioning experience.

            Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

            by RFK Lives on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:38:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you for this advice. eom (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RFK Lives, Nulwee

          Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

          by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:53:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Some financial aid offices do get more (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          upstate NY, TheFatLadySings

          generous.  My daughter's private college in PA gave her more and more every year she was there. I found the financial aid office extremely helpful and understanding. Likewise, my son will be a junior nest year at a state university and they just upped his grant by $1,000 a year. Every little bit helps.  I'm guessing they would like to keep students who have shown they can do the work.

          A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

          by marleycat on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:52:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  even though that college took a $250M hit to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          their $1B endowment in the recent crash, they're still doing well....

          Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

          by annieli on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:07:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  In a normal year, they make a big profit. (9+ / 0-)

      In fiscal year 08, they made a 76 million profit.  Their interest and dividends alone from investments covers about 95% of the tuition they charge.

      Swarthmore, IIRC, doesn't even have a large endowment relative to its peers, so I think these schools could be doing a lot more to make tuition affordable.  IMHO, that should be the minimum required for them to keep their tax exemption.

    •  swarthmore (19+ / 0-)

      yep, you said it, its a product. An over priced dressed up scam of a product like so many others. .  It cracks me up, these schools act as if they have some secret books or knowledge that you can only get there. LOL.  I know places like Swarthmore and Penn well.  Nice schools to be sure, Swarthmore park like setting really is nice, but really, the tuition they ask for is beyond ridiculous.  Penn like other ivy league schools in basically in an e-peen fight with other ivy's about who has the biggest endowment.

      College in america is mostly a scam now.  Its just a product like any other being sold for a profit.

      THE ONLY REASON to go to a high prices ivy school is to network. Thats what you are paying for, so that once you graduate maybe your roomates dad hooks you up with a cake high paying job.

      Higher education is this country is broken like everything else.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:03:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i so agree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee

        i think undergrad education is all about the same, myself.

      •  I agree; my daughter also (9+ / 0-)

        got accepted to a prestigious private college for next year-- she got financial aid, but we would have ended up paying $49,000 even with that aid.
        I do not believe the "product" is any better at those prestigious private colleges then at a good public institution. You may have smaller class sizes for introductory classes, but that's about it. We vetoed the fancy private college.

        We live in MN, so we looked at the U of M, at Morris. A very, very small liberal arts college in the hinterlands, it gets high ratings all the time by institutions that do such things. It is a lovely campus, with 2 wind turbines (their goal is build a couple more & to produce 100% of their energy by 2015), a major in sustainability, a local foods initiative, etc. (plus, you can board your horse, if you have one)!

        She finally decided (just last night) to go to UW, Madison. At that price (MN has reciprocity with WI), we can afford to send her on study abroad programs.

        I couldn't be more excited for her- she will be getting an excellant education, with perhaps not the snob appeal of an ivy league school, but by the side of a large lake, in a vibrant small city, literally next door to the State Capitol Building.

        •  yep (8+ / 0-)

          and like people said, your first real resume you put your GPA in, then by the second real resume, no one cares about GPA and by your third one no one really cares about what school you went too.

          To me, debt is the save chains of this century, and parents would be wise to keep those chains off their kids at all cost.

          Bad is never good until worse happens

          by dark daze on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:43:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  disagree about quality (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          I suppose it depends on the definition of good public institution, but in general I would disagree that a typical undergraduate student gets an education at a public university just as good as one at a prestigious private college.

          I got my undergrad at Macalester, professional degree at the UofM-Twin Cities, and taught both undergrad and grad students at the latter. Based on those relative experiences, I have no qualms stating, in general, that the quality of education at the UofM was not as good.

          It really stood out to me when I would be grading the work of graduate students, almost all of whom also got their undergrad degrees at the UofM. One has a certain expectation of what anyone with an undergraduate diploma should be able to do. To then be disappointed more often than not by people pursuing advanced degrees was pretty sobering. Likewise, it really makes you wonder about the people who graduated in the middle of the pack or worse. What did they really learn at college?

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:11:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Them prestigious schools have been better (16+ / 0-)

    w/ financial aid; the combo of gvt grants / financial aid and the school's financial aid often goes quite a ways, I thought.  I had a few friends at another Prestigious Eastern School ("PES") that were able to finance their entire 4 years through that combo.  They left w/ substantial debt, but were able to attend nonetheless.

    That said, having been out of the PES for a decade & change, it's become clear that not going to a PES is no disadvantage at all.  It's a cool thing, I spose, but ultimately makes fairly little tangible difference.

    •  BTW, I carry a crushing guilt from the fact that (30+ / 0-)

      I took so much of my parents' money for that school, rather than doing the more sensible thing and going to a state school.  Your daughter may well feel the same in the future should she wind up going to PES, so I wouldn't dwell too much on what you can't afford.

      Your exchange w/ the financial aid officers, FWIW, sound awful.  It's the old middle class donut hole: too much money to get material assistance, not enough to pay outright.

      •  Thank you for sharing this. (26+ / 0-)

        I felt like the worst mother in the world when I couldn't come up with $32K without bankrupting my family. But she has struck up a correspondence with a professor at Coe. She would really like to go to the other school obviously, which is a great school, but these days it seems like such schools are not accessible for the middle class.

        Sort of like health care being only accessible for the wealthy.

        Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:55:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

          •  When I was my daughter's age I came from (16+ / 0-)

            a poor family and aspired to become a part of the middle or working class. I liked the values: volunteerism, work ethic, creating a secure environment for one's kids, inclusion, egalitarianism, diversity.  Not that poor peiople don't share these values.

            My mother was a single mother of four suffering from a serious mental illness. She worked hard to make ends meet and these were her values. But there was not much security.

            Stability and security for my children have been important to me. We moved more often than we changed our clothing as kids. It has been important to me to have a house with a yard and that my kids live in the same town from birth through high school. Also that they have one set of parents.

            I got the heebie jeebies when my grandmother tried to improve my breeding. I had never heard that word used in that manner before.

            Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:32:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's why I'm conflicted about (7+ / 0-)

            the tax exemption.  On the one hand, our tax structure enables us to have a truly outstanding university system, but to whose benefit does that redound?  

            I audited charities for several years, and saw the same sort of set-up repeated in smaller form: charities that really only helped the wealthy, and got government subsidies for doing it!  

            •  We have to realize that 90% of American (6+ / 0-)

              students attend public university, so we are talking about a subsection of American public education. It helps to keep that in perspective. As well, the Ivies are a lot more generous with aid, and since many of the more prestigious privates still use a need-blind system for giving aid (35-40% of all tuition is redistributed), we can assume that about 20% of the students at these schools have their needs met.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:47:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  This is a good point. (8+ / 0-)

            They are accessible for some of the middle class. Having taught at one such school, I parked my Subaru Impreza next to my student's BMWs. But this same school did redistribute 40% of all tuition money in the form of scholarships, so there were a substantial number of students from less rarefied economic classes. But for certain, the diversity of private colleges is severely lacking when compared to the population at large. Only the Ivies have managed to overcome this problem. And yet, we're talking about private entities here. They are not public entities.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:44:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I partially agree (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            virginwoolf, TheFatLadySings

            It was never particularly easy for the middle class to attend these schools, but remember that land, salaries, and maintenance of the physical plant are all more expensive in the  East than in the Midwest.  Old buildings are not cheap to heat or keep in good repair, plus most of the older schools had to completely redo their HVAC and wiring to keep with modern communication and Internet requirements.  

            I can't agree that the Eastern schools are all about keeping out the middle class, though.  That may have been true at one point but it certainly isn't now and hasn't been for the last forty years.  If anything, the Ivies, Little Ivies, and Severn Sisters have made great efforts to recruit as diverse a student body as possible, including plenty of students from working class backgrounds who were the first of their families to attend college.  It's not all WASPs and hasn't been for a long time.

        •  NP. (9+ / 0-)

          My parents mortgaged the house to send me, and that makes me feel sick to my stomach when I think about it.  Which I try not to do.  

        •  Iowa writing program (4+ / 0-)

          Something to think about...one of the most prestigious creative writing programs on the graduate level is
          http://www.uiowa.edu/...
          in Iowa! Perhaps Coe has a connection to that program?

          Three years ago our family was in your shoes...son was accepted to his dream school - very liberal school located in Ohio - and received a smallish merit scholarship. He had great stats and had received multiple more generous merit scholarships from many other "lesser" (in his eyes) schools. We fall in the income bracket where we make too much for finc'l aid and aren't really comfortable paying the tuition. After much debate and serious lifestyle adjustment we sent him to the dream school. He has flourished there, but that tuition bill has gone up with each year and his merit scholarship has not. We are hoping he will graduate a semester early due to AP credits - keep your fingers crossed. Our kids are spaced 7 years apart and little brother starts high school in the fall and the only college he'll consider is Stanford. We will be having a reality check discussion with him shortly.

        •  Do not feel bad (11+ / 0-)

          Coe is a great school and you will have funds left for her to take great advantage of other opportunities that come up during college.  

          Remember your daughter applied to Coe.  There was something there that attracted her in the first place.  

          One of my students said to me once, "I know that my school is not one of the best, but this school considers me one of their  best.  I have already met the top five people in my field."  

          It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

          by ciganka on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:59:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  What surprises me about all this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          francophile

          You've had all year -- all four years of high school -- hell, your daughter's whole life to plan for this fall.  You knew what the costs could be.  Why is this month so surprising to you?`

          •  Don't you think you've been a little harsh (4+ / 0-)

            in this thread?

            I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

            by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:20:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There are a lot of people who think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              An Affirming Flame

              like this.

              Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

              by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:30:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I do not subscribe to Adam's thinking and (4+ / 0-)

                I'm in higher ed.

                Your daughter's college costs should relate to your income and not to how much you've saved. Even if you've saved, that likely only affords you a little more wiggle room.

                No one who has been saving for 17 years can be expected to pay the full freight of private school, and the chances are, if you had those savings for college, the school would have accounted for them and given you LESS in scholarship than it already did.

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:58:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The financial aid office was pretty frank about (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  emal

                  that. We might have managed to cobble together a small amount of savings but nothing like what's needed. I live in a rural area and the logistical challenges have been significant.  We have our kids in a neighboring district about 30 minutes away up a mountain pass. In order to discourage out of district enrollment, they placed the two kids in two different schools in two different towns. Neither can be dropped off late or early. We formed a carpool with a family in the same predicament.

                  Then there was the Hebrew school problem which involved six kids in three families.  The six kids were in school in three different towns and had to be transported to Santa Fe on Wednesdays at three different times. Sundays everyone went together thank heavens! Then we had to get them all back to our area at three different times.

                  Add to this severe winter weather with white out conditions and multiple instances of carpools stuck in ditches! B'nai mitzvah years meant transporting several kids in the group to Santa Fe as many as four times a week. Commuting costs and car repair costs are bigger issues here where there is very little public transportation.

                  There are many advantages to where we live, not the least of which is the incredible sense of community these logistical problems have forged between our families, and the exposure to diversity our kids enjoy. So I guess there are pros and cons to everything.

                  A good chunk of our savings disappeared when the stock market crashed and our house lost a lot of its value. There have been four homes for sale at very low prices on my street for a few years. None are moving.

                  I feel lucky that we are able to enjoy a middle class lifestyle. I work with many homeless people and fully understand that many are worse off than me.

                  Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

                  by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:10:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Because I don't go around expecting miracles (0+ / 0-)

              And the idea that free rides were going to be falling out of the sky is not realistic.  The diarist has explained some of her daughter's many fine attributes and activities ... well, they're not exactly unique when it comes to these schools. It's not SLC's fault.

              •  The problem this diary has is its narrow (7+ / 0-)

                focus. The fact is, hardly anyone on here is writing about college costs in general. Hardly anyone cares about it in 2011; it keeps getting conflated with what it was 20, 30, 40 years ago.

                I don't necessarily agree with everything in the diary, but if you take the "top" part out of the title it's still pretty damn true.

                Military benefits for college are not what they once where. Admin costs and fees and textbooks are not what they once were. Student debt is not what it once was. Public universities have changed, and not for the better.

                I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

                by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:39:26 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  It's hard to plan ahead for (5+ / 0-)

              losing one's job. We had funds saved, but when my husband lost his job we had to use those to live on - for two years.  Bye, bye college planning.

              A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. -Greek proverb

              by marleycat on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:58:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I live in a rural/frontier community with (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            churchylafemme, emal, Joe Bob

            notoriously bad schools. I work full time trying to improve health care and educational opportunities in my community for youth, inmates and the general public.

            In general, for the last twelve years, my spare time and money has been spent driving car pools of my kids and kids of friends to decent schools in other districts, or to extracurricular activities, or making sure that they have something valuable to do in the summer.

            It may sound easy but its not. I've chosen to live in an extremely low-income Hispanic/Native American community because I wanted to be of service. Making sure my kids are not segregated but still seeing to their education has been an all-consuming challenge.

            My home and our shared retirement suddenly dropped in value as did those of many others. There is no way I could have saved up the quarter of a million dollars that I apparently need to get my kids through college. If I had, I guess it would be an eighth of a million at this point anyhow.

            Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:27:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I do think this is harsh (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Adam B, Joe Bob

            But, I found myself asking the same thing when I was a senior in high school.  We lived a solid middle class lifestyle.  I'd been an ace from day one, off the charts on aptitude tests, top of my class, honors and awards.  And one day my parents just stated that they hadn't saved any money for my college.  Like it was a surprise to them that I'd want to go, or like I had no business expecting it.  

            I've got a 15-month old, and a college fund in a 529 plan.  I've worked out scenarios for saving in a similar investment plan, and it seems like a very modest $50/month for your child's life would get you enough for 2 years of community college and 2 years of state school.  The cost of cable, likely enough for a mid-tier private school for all 4 years.  $300/month, college plus grad school.

            It's too late now to berate people over their choices, I suppose, but as a PSA to other parents, even small amounts add up over a lifetime.  It is a hard, cold shock to hear that you've striven to achieve all your life and that you're on your own to scramble to pull together college.

            Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

            by milton333 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:07:39 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  am i wrong (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheFatLadySings

              or is $50 per month for 18 years not: $10,800....in 2011 that might get you through a year of in-state public university (or does it?!), but certainly not 4 years.  And what will tuition be in 2021 when your child will be ready to go?  

              •  State schools are affordable regardless (0+ / 0-)

                I think we are talking about shelling out $200k for 4 years.

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:10:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  but what will it cost (0+ / 0-)

                  in 18 years??

                  •  It depends on what we do with the deficit, taxes (0+ / 0-)

                    the budget, etc. if we continue to let the rich hoard all the money, then one of two things will happen. Public colleges will turn into glorified high schools, or they will be slowly privatized.

                    If you refuse to pay taxes for public education, one of two things will happen.

                    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                    by upstate NY on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 10:17:57 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  In a 529 plan (0+ / 0-)

                You're investing in the stock market like you would with your 401k.  Try adding compounded rates of return to the original investment.  And it's about $7k to go to a state school here.

                Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

                by milton333 on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 10:14:21 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Because even the best laid plans (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TheFatLadySings

            don't always go according to your wishes...sorry reality and planning don't take into account, say a job loss or two, a catastrophic illness or a family member, or even  the need to take a leave of absence due to a pregnancy related health condition....never mind the reality of significant wage stagnation even while possessing college degrees and holding a professional job. Never mind the astronomical increases in not only college tuition but health insurance costs...sorry Adam B...sometimes real world collides with the best laid plans.

            We've planned and saved, but even the best laid plans just don't always pan out. I say this as someone who has no problem working hard and am not complaining. I actually consider my family lucky...despite all the unexpected struggles we've been dealt.

            Hope you can understand that...this is a reality that many many people face these days. This is the new normal.

            "When will the American teachers follow the lead of Wall Street and start making some sacrifices for the children"..Jon Stewart

            by emal on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:40:53 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  you can prepare and prepare, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            upstate NY, Adam B, TheFatLadySings

            but you always indulge in some wishful/hopeful thinking after your child actually applies-- it's still a shock when your child doesn't get the aid you think she/he would/should have

        •  Just to put this whole discussion (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings, Sister Havana

          in a little bit of perspective: U Iowa is so good for creative writing that I had a student turn down a full 100% ride to Washington U. in St. Louis (a private school) for a half scholarship at Iowa. I thought she was making a mistake and advised her so.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:17:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  you are a good mother (6+ / 0-)

          We faced the same problem in 2005 when our daughter graduated.  

          We thought that being valedictorian of her large class would have had couriers banging at our door at all hours with hand engraved offers of full ride scholarships for top engineering programs.

          Ha ha ha! Uh...no.  

          State school it was, with a few respectable scholarships here and there.  My husband told her over and over, it isn't so much where you go for undergrad, it's where you go for your graduate degree that counts and those are usually fully funded in her field.

          Good parents don't take on horrible debt loads or allow their children do to so at the very start of their adult lives when it is uncertain as to whether or not there will be a return on their investment by means of an increased salary due to their choice of college.  

          I wish we could have had the big bucks to send our daughter to the most amazing school.  The public university proved to be a fine choice and she is happy in her career.  I hope the same for your daughter.  She's going to do well.  

          Reason, observation, and experience; the holy trinity of science. Robert Green Ingersoll

          by offred on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:38:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  we felt bad too-- this is (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          upstate NY, TheFatLadySings

          really the first time in my daughter's life we had to say, "No, we can't afford it,"  [and we won't allow you to mortgage the rest of your life by taking out huge loans to go to that PES]
          But, she got over it, and I think she is excited about and sees the value of where she will be going-- I felt like it was a bit of a Life Lesson, that money really does matter in the Real World.
          Still stings a bit to know we can't give her everything she wants (I didn't want her to feel "less then" some of her peers), but she never has had a sense of entitlement, & I guess I don't want her developing one now.

          •  You pretty much summed things up for me. (0+ / 0-)

            I always have managed to find a way around a problem till now. Even now, the more I read through the comment thread, the happier I am with Coe. I actually believe it is the right school for her.

            Things will be pretty tight for the next eight years but I'm sure we will get our kids through the schools that are right for them.

            Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:17:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I not only took their money for a private (14+ / 0-)

        undergrad university degree, I failed out due to undiagnosed LDs and depression. That was fun for all of us. :-(

        The good news is I got several opportunities to go back and figure out what was in the way. I'm 42 and finally halfway thru grad school in the field of my dreams: Educational Therapy. And that didn't exist as an educational path 20 years ago when I began this journey.

        Don't feel bad about your decision. I really appreciate your diary for asking the questions it asks b/c there are a lot of middle/upper middle class assumptions driving this train and I believe they are driven by interests That Are Not Mine (nor are they most of ours).

        Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

        by Tookish on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:53:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Depression is a huge problem on campuses (3+ / 0-)

          and it will derail your education completely if it can.

          Many people, for one thing, are taught to see mental health as bullshit, and that's the parents and peers at work. Depression can also just be brain-splittingly vague and confusing. If you were depressed all your life, what's new to notice?

          I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

          by Nulwee on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:22:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Everything you've said is so very true (3+ / 0-)

            I actually had already had 2 depressions before I ever got to college that went totally unrecognized b/c they were only a few months long and went away when the situations that supposedly caused them had passed. But not everyone responds to difficult situations with depression. And our family has a history of depression. So I was a ripe candidate. Esp w/ undiagnosed ADHD and learning disabilities.

            I have become a very vocal advocate for mental illness and the need to bring it out of the shadows. Also, there's a lot of intersection between LDs, undiagnosed LDs and mental illness. Often, someone who has a learning disability that is being misread as a character deficit (lazy, not trying, willfully unmotivated etc) is, by college, very demoralized and despairing which can understandably lead to depression. Esp. with all the increased complex demands that college and adult life brings.

            Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

            by Tookish on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:57:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good for you for your advocacy! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tookish

              Please don't beat yourself up about college costs. I'm happy to pay for my kids' education.  I just want to put them each in the school that is right for them. Advice in the comment thread has made it easier for me to muddle through that choice.

              Consider what its like to buy a car if you don't know what to look for. As a first-time college-buying Mom, I find it hard to know what's best. Good thing there are so many knowledgeable people reading this diary and offering excellent ideas!

              Okay, there some globs of icky goop too, but there always is. So please ignore the folks who are just slinging goop and definitely don't feel bad about the tuition your parents paid. Just keep going out there and doing good!

              Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

              by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:23:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I am very glad things are looking up for (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tookish

          you.

          Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

          by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:31:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you :-) (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ScienceMom, TheFatLadySings

            I've got other things to feel guilty about, of course-lol.

            My 3 boys are 14, 11, and 5. I'm basically spending their college $$ on my graduate school. I'm praying to the FSM that sanity will prevail before my middle son hits 18. I say my middle son b/c my 14 yr old has ADHD, severe exec. function issues, and we're scaling back our expectations of him so that he feels like life is doable as well as interesting and meaningful, so college for him may require a gap year or community college or a trade school.

            Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

            by Tookish on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:47:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are NOT spending their college dollars. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tookish

              You also have a right to go to school. Good for you for finishing up. You will be able to earn more when you need to put them through school. Also, you will qualify for more aid.

              The lady who suggested I'd be better off if I lost my job was actually correct from a financial aid point of view.

              Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

              by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:26:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank you so much for your kind words of (0+ / 0-)

                encouragement! It's so amazing how much those words can mean :-)

                Let the yoke fall from our shoulders; Don’t carry it all, don’t carry it all; We are all our hands and holders; Beneath this bold and brilliant sun; And this I swear to all - The Decemberists

                by Tookish on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:23:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Yep (4+ / 0-)

      I went to law school on a full ride merit scholarship, at a state university.  A "fourth tier toilet" in the charming lexicon of my snobby peers.  But I make a 6-figure salary at a job I mostly enjoy.  No way can you convince me that it would have been a better investment to take out the loans necessary for me to attend a more prestigious school.  I can assure you that all my professors were Ivy grads who passed on the benefits of what they'd paid far more money to learn.

      Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything - Henri Poincaré

      by milton333 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:59:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  left w/ substantial debt is a real problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      for somebody who is a prospective writer.

  •  singingfatlady, I am exactly where you are. (19+ / 0-)

    My assets are not liquid; the only way to get money out of them is to cash them in (meagre IRA accounts) or sell them (house). Our family makes enough to pay our mortgage and not go further into debt. Nothing left over.

    Financial Aid at the "elites" (and that is a broad group, from the truly elite to elite-like) is a joke.

    Retirement looms and I'm moving backwards. I've got a 13-year-old too.  

    I'm lucky - got a job, got a house, got health. The smaller aspiring colleges are far more generous; they know they have to bribe you to abandon the hopes of the coasts.

  •  And most likely that's just for the first (7+ / 0-)

    years, after that you're totally on your own!

    Like Nancy Reagan said "Just Say No!" - that'll teach 'em!

  •  In my opinion... (16+ / 0-)

    Go to the small school and make the most of it.  You never know when an opportunity like that could enhance a life.  AND....a person can always transfer.  My son went to four different schools before he finished...and he did fine.  

  •  Tipped & Rec'd (17+ / 0-)

    Your daughter will succeed in Iowa.  True talent finds a way.  We are in the same boat with you.  Our son took and we paid for one year at a CCSU in CT instead of Hamilton in New York.  He refuses to have us go into debt just so he can put the "right name" on a resume.  He is an extraordinary writer also.

    There is definitely an "on paper" advantage to having the prestigious university on the resume, but it is not the sole determinant of future success.  Her values and attitude will determine her success - not a piece of paper (especially not if the piece of paper is the mortgaging of the rest of the family's future).

    Well done :)

    In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. " - Buddha Shakyamuni

    by Actbriniel on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:48:35 AM PDT

    •  IMHO, the paper advantage isn't worth the (7+ / 0-)

      premium.  At least I don't think it was for me.

      •  I'm really sorry you had that experience. (5+ / 0-)

        That's so sad. Fortunately for me, my family was already poverty-stricken so I didn't have the opportunity to cause them severe financial distress.

        Also fortunately for me, I received help with tuition from the government and the school. I was offered work study and graduated with reasonable amounts of loan. And my father, who I never met before I turned 17 helped me out too.

        Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:08:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree wholeheartedly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings, johnny wurster

        It is not worth the premium - I was just acknowledging that they are able to sell the cachet of their name to eager young students (and the parents that want the absolute best for their kids).

        In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. " - Buddha Shakyamuni

        by Actbriniel on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:14:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another math problem - PES connections - Table 298 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nulwee, TheFatLadySings, Actbriniel

        when you do NOT get a math or science or engineering degree, you're part of the herd.

        http://www.census.gov/...

        297 - Degrees and Awards Earned Below Bachelor's by Field: 2008 [Excel 65k] | [PDF 73k]

        298 - Bachelor's Degrees Earned by Field [Excel 49k] | [PDF 73k]

        when you go to some fancy PES school, part of that herd are the offspring of the big shots of the AIGs and the Goldmans and the Fords and the Microsofts ...

        AND maybe those connections will pay off to get you to the head of the line of the herd ...

        AND maybe they won't.

        NO ONE can take your biology degree away from you.

        SOMEONE might elbow you outta the way of the other ass kissers, catch farts, back scratchers and back stabbers.

        rmm

        Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

        by seabos84 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:59:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The teaching environment at the PES (10+ / 0-)

      sounds amazing. But there is something to be said for going to a school that is delighted to have you, thinks you are special and wants to help you succeed.

      If the financial aid office seems to look down on the middle class, I can imagine what the attitude of other students might be. Which is why I turned down my grandmother's offer to get me into Bryn Mawr. It would have been yucky to be at a school where people looked down their noses at me. St. John's was great. I was accepted because of my mind, not my "breeding."

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:00:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  bryn mawr (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, Nulwee, TheFatLadySings

        i can't let that one stand....my daughter has zero breeding...and Bryn Mawr was perfect for her....yes, we'll be paying for it for many, many years....but it was perfect for her....and, as stated before, there are no sororities there

        •  My grandmother made this offer to me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Actbriniel

          over thirty years ago. I had and still have no idea whether she was making stuff up. She and her best friend, Jasmine, spent most of the day on the phone arguing with one another over who was going to have the Philadelphia Phillies over for a barbecue first that year. According to my father, she actually did periodically have the Phillies over for dinner.

          This was my first experience with Eastern social climbing. I moved the very next week to northern NM.

          I have other relatives in the DC, Philly area who are much more down to earth. I love visiting them.

          However, that being said, this was my experience meeting my grandmother when I was 17. There is nothing fictional about it.

          I'm glad your daughter loves Bryn Mawr.

          Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

          by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:54:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Daughter would Shine, shine shine (19+ / 0-)

    at a college like Coe.  Small colleges put great emphasis on taking advantage of extras like, for example, forensics, debate, theater production, choirs, and the list goes on.  In large schools, even the most talented can get overlooked and lost in the crowd.  Student teacher ratios are smaller, everybody knows your name (a good and sometimes bad thing), and Cedar Rapids is definitely not hicksville, USA.

    •  Well that is good to know because Espanola, (16+ / 0-)

      where we live, is DEFINITELY hicksville. That's what I like about it. My daughter is ready to spread her wings and explore the world.

      My comments about Cedar Rapids were meant to satirize our strange collective attitude about the middle class and middle America rather than to reflect on Cedar Rapids.

      I think middle class values are good. Staging bakes ales for the chess club might be unexciting but its a lot more productive than staging a hostile corporate takeover. Donald Trump perfectly embodies the corporate ideal that has dominated our nation since Reagan. I don't want to emulate him. He's appalling!

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:05:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like you - that is all ;) (8+ / 0-)

        In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves. " - Buddha Shakyamuni

        by Actbriniel on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:15:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  small town colleges (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        Just to share one of my observations: I think one of the inherent flaws of small colleges in small towns is that the transition after graduation can be pretty wrenching. Even if it’s a lovely place to live, there is not enough of a job market to keep people there. So, either you, or most of your friends, basically have to move away.

        Your social network is broken up and scattered across the country. Similarly, because the graduates get scattered everywhere it’s harder to make career contacts with alumni or get your foot in the door somewhere because the business community knows the college and its reputation.

        On the flip side, if someone is the type who likes to dive into something completely new every few years, just take it as a given that you’re going to have to relocate again after college and enjoy thinking about where that might be. Also, the small colleges in the hinterlands tend to be subject to some regional center’s gravitational pull. Relative to Cedar Rapids, I would imagine that place is either Minneapolis or Chicago and that a decent proportion of Coe grads end up in either place.

        Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

        by Joe Bob on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:56:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dunno if it's too late... (4+ / 0-)

    ... but there's any number of small scholarships to apply for.  The electric co-ops, for one example, give out scholarships - which helps them get their quorum for the annual meeting (amongst other things.)  Kid I know from Taos cobbled together enough to go to Georgetown, making up that gap in the college's funding with several $2K-5K scholarships from local entities.  (That family's relentless!)  Even if it's too late for the daughter next year, you can start looking into it for the next one down the line.

    That said:  College educations have always been more available for the wealthy.  If you can pay, you get a better choice of schools than a comparable student who needs assistance.  It's always been true, albeit less so for the last few decades.  And increasingly so now.

    There's a lot of students coming out of college with loans to pay off.  That's the other option; she takes out the loan and owes it after graduation.  Not an excellent option, but it's there.

    exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

    by Land of Enchantment on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:03:12 AM PDT

  •  Coe is just (21+ / 0-)

    a few miles from the internationally famous Iowa Writers' Workshop.  
    http://www.uiowa.edu/...

    Iowa -- we moved here in 1992 thinking we would leave in 4 years after graduate school.  Now I don't think we will ever move.  You may think it is a cultural backwater; it is not (at least not everywhere.)  Cedar Rapids is a small mid-western city and has amenities and friendly people.  Iowa City (home of University of Iowa) has all the benefits of a Big 10 (11 or 12) school, amenities and friendly people.  Really the only thing we don't have here is good shopping.  But that is not worth an extra $32,000 a year, is it?

    Plus, take my word for it as a long-time investment manager -- you can't borrow for retirement, so don't look at ways to cheat yourself out of lifetime income and stability.

    •  Thank you! (7+ / 0-)

      I would definitely like her to check out the Iowa writer's workshop. I'm glad there is no shopping. I can't afford it. Fortunately, she's pretty good at cobbling together amazing fashions from yard sales and thrift shops. It's part of her style.

      I'm sure Cedar Rapids is more urbane than Espanola. We are a town of ranchers.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:43:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We cross posted this info n/t :) (0+ / 0-)
    •  Iowa Writer's Workshop (4+ / 0-)

      I spent two of the most amazing weeks of my writing life during their summer festival. I'm not sure what they call it, but it's not the Writer's Workshop -- but open to all.

      I can't tell you the level of teaching and friendships I experienced. I had enough fodder to writer for months.

      My own niece wants to be a writer, and even though her parents could afford to send her ANYWHERE, should she be accepted (which she may as she's very bright), I suggested she go to Iowa.

      On a side (but related) note, my brother went to Yale. We are definitely a middle-class family. It was during an era when the then-President wanted to broaden the student profile at Yale. BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER.

      My brother never fit in socially, although he was still at the top of his class. There is an elitism in some of those schools that you may not want to subject your child to.

      Look into the University of Iowa!!

      •  I got my MFA from the Iowa Writer's (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        Workshop.   Doing your undergrad at University of Iowa won't necessarily help you get into the WW.  Now, this was years ago, but there wasn't much interaction between grads and undergrads, except grad fellows taught some undergrad workshops.  

      •  I did suggest it but she didn't want to go (0+ / 0-)

        to a large school. I am hoping that once she gets to Iowa, she will check it out.

        Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:57:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd hate to mention this now (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          northsylvania, TheFatLadySings

          but I didn't realize you were from NM. UNM has an MFA program, one of the few (37) in the country, and they have an undergrad degree in creative writing, pretty rare.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:19:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  She has participated for several summers (0+ / 0-)

            in the Voces program, an intensive summer program in performance poetry held in the Hispanic cultural center. She really doesn't want to go to UNM for a few reasons.

            She would like to go to school outside of New Mexico to force herself to expand her comfort zone. She doesn't want to repeat having the same teachers she had through Voces because, although they were amazing, she wants to expand her horizons. She wants to go to a small school where she will feel less lost. And UNM is a bit of a party school.

            The advantage of UNM is that lottery scholarships cover the cost of tuition. I think UNM or the school of mining technology in Socorro might be good options for my son. UNM has a much better reputation for sciences than arts. They have a great med school and I think their water law major is very good too.

            Your suggestions have been extremely helpful to me. You have a lot of knowledge. You ought to consider expanding some of your advice, especially your planning methodology, into a diary. It would be very useful for a lot of people like me who have no idea how to systematically approach the problem.

            I think a series on college planning, choosing, etc., would be awfully helpful.

            Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:41:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for suggesting that. (0+ / 0-)

              Once the semester is over, I will try. I am on the computer practically 12 hours a day now as final paper time requires that I review draft after draft. Believe it or not, DKos is my hourly break!!

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:46:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Doesn't Apply to Yale (21+ / 0-)

    Due to our family income, we are solidly middle-class, my son's first two years at Yale cost $17,000 each. Then the university changed its policy, acknowledging the strains on families, and his final two years were $5,000 a piece. Even when the Yale endowment took a hit in 2009 they did not change this policy. He graduated last May.

    I have strong feelings that students and their families should not go into great debt for college. If Yale had not offered this aid we would have happily sent our son to a state college. I am just glad we are done with our two kid's college education as state governments across the nation are slashing support for what I see as one of THE best uses of my tax dollars: education.

    Keep your eyes on the prize.

    by Better Days on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:18:36 AM PDT

  •  Congratulations to your daughter. Our son did too. (7+ / 0-)

    My wife and I teach. They both have finished and have jobs, which is better than a lot of their friends they graduated with. Especially my younger son who turns 25 on the 25th who attended Middlebury College, the perfect PES. He, like your daughter received 26,000 a year, but left 16,000 the first year, and more each year he attended.

    My wife and I both have our Masters, and we really do pretty well in this small rural area. However, only one or two other people at Middlebury were really in our his SES. His room mate went to a $30,000 a year prep school, which now costs $40,000. It is just a different world I guess.

    We debate a lot about whether he got our moneys worth.

    I live in Iowa, about 5 hours from Coe, but we have a couple of our students going there. They love it, but their internships are in Chicago and not New York.

    We married young and had kids young, yet we won't pay off our student loans until we turn 65, but at least our home loan will be done in 2 years. It was a tough decision, but we did it. Wish I could give you advice. I guess, go look at COE.

    Again, congratulations to your incredible daughter.

  •  your title says it all (7+ / 0-)

    college has turned into a protection racket.

    Total student debt  is greater than total credit card debt.

    Your daughter will end up back in her room in Hicksville if she can't find a job as a performance poet specializing in corrections... and is carrying 60k in debt.

    and for heaven's sake, to fret about studying writing in IOWA?

    besides,  who stays at the same school for their whole college career?

    take a stiff drink,  and forget about Eastern Prestige.

    It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

    by sayitaintso on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:27:48 AM PDT

    •  the odd thing is that Iowa (11+ / 0-)

      is home to the most prestigious creative writing MFA program in the entire country, by a mile, at the University of Iowa. The undergrad program there is probably as good as it gets for that discipline (I say this as a current MFA student in Minnesota).

      •  Not when I was at Iowa. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, Nulwee, TheFatLadySings

        You're not more likely to get into the MFA program if you're an undergrad at Iowa.  Many of the folks I was with at Iowa went to Ivies.

        For the record, it's the most prestigious program, but it's not necessarily the best.  

        •  I'm not talking about getting into the MFA (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          program. I'm talking about being part of an institution that values writing as a discipline, has undergraduate writing initiatives (which they do) and which has a top MFA program providing some of the TA's.

          In other words, it's silly to say that Iowa isn't a good place to study creative writing, as the diarist implies.

          Iowa produces relatively few MFA grads that go on to do anythign that they wouldn't have done without the program, but it does attract some good people.

          •  I really don't mean to insult Iowa. (0+ / 0-)

            I know about the MFA program. I was spoofing my (and our national) horror of the ordinary. Sometimes ordinary is exceptional and extraordinary (ala Donald Trump) is pretty stupid.

            And I was reflecting on how much of my middle class identity I actually value.

            Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

            by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:05:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I have talked to her about the Iowa (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ER Doc, texasmom, cville townie, kevin k

      writers workshop. I'm sure that when she gets there and gets her bearings, she will be more than interested in it.

      She has already struck up a conversation with a professor she likes at Coe.

      The funny thing is, she would have totally excited about Coe if she hadn't gotten the "acceptance" letter from the PES in the first place. It seems like a cruel sport to send out letters like that if you actually have no intention of making the offer attainable. What's the point?

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 05:51:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I pay my student loans (4+ / 0-)

      but one of the big problems with student debt is the for-profits.

      I'm more than happy to pay my high debt because I think I got my money's worth.

      The problem is the for-profits that do NOT give students their money's worth.

      The explosion in student debt is largely related to for-profit education, not to the non-profits since the cap on guaranteed student loans has stayed relatively stable over the last few decades.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:55:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For Profit, University of Phoenix is a joke...n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        upstate NY, TheFatLadySings

        "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

        by Mr SeeMore on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:29:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  EXCELLENT point. (0+ / 0-)

        Thank you for that!

        Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:06:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  not so (0+ / 0-)

        certainly not here in NJ, where state funding for higher education has actually decreased over 20 years.

        Work study pays about the same as it did 10 years ago, and off-campus  jobs are overwhelmingly in retail.  No one works their waythrough college working at Ford or GM anymore.  UPS is probably the best you can do... and bartend at the Shore in the summer.

        Tuition "caps" allow increases of up to 10% per year.  Fees go up even faster.

        It's tens of thousands in debt,  even for degrees from our state colleges, which are decent, but not prestige institutions.

        Working class kids cycle in and out of community college, and  then become easier prey for the for-profits and their slick advertising.

        It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

        by sayitaintso on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 06:49:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I wrote cap on student loans (0+ / 0-)

          Not cap on tuition.

          There's a cap on how much in guaranteed government loans you're allowed to take out.

          Unless you're referring to my statement about most loan defaults occurring with for-profits. The last number I read was something like 65% default at for-profits, 6% at non-profits.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Sat Apr 23, 2011 at 08:57:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Here is a list (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings, Actbriniel, JanL

    I haven't researched it so can't vouch for it.  But it gives a "return on investment" assessment to a long list of colleges.  Take a look.

    http://www.payscale.com/...

  •  Sure, they're extorting us! (9+ / 0-)

    But why fall for it?  The eastern schools don't have a monopoly on brainpower.  Why saddle yourself with enormous debt in order to spend four years among the spoiled children of tax-avoiding conspicuous consumers?  Our kids can get a decent education most anywhere in this country if they're willing to work at it.  There's no point wasting time (and money) trying to break down the doors of snooty overpriced schools.

  •  Alternatives to the North (11+ / 0-)

    My Daughter was accepted to several PES she was also accepted to a number of Prestigious Canadian Schools hereafter known as PCS. The Canadian schools offer the same caliber education as the PES at a bargain price. She opted for Queens University in Kingston Ontario, a beautiful town on the shores of Lake Erie, 20 minutes over the NY border. Queens is a major research university with a world wide reputation. It has one of the best engineering schools around. It also has a medical school, law school, B-school, etc. The cost 25% of a PES. 4 years at queens cost the same as 1 year at a PES. Limited financial aid was available, but it was affordable. All US financial aid and loans was accepted. The office of international students was enormously helpful and available throughout her stay. I would urge the college bound as well as their parents to check out: Queens, University of Victoria, University of Toronto, McGill. World Class Universities in the same league as our much lauded Ivies.

    •  Most of ours have chosen to attend out (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kat herder, TheFatLadySings

      of the US. A very good move for some students. Financially & educationally.

      "George RR Martin is not your bitch" ~~ Neil Gaiman

      by tardis10 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:57:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Canada, UK, Ireland (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tardis10, TheFatLadySings

        All have outstanding, world-class universities for about half the price of PESs (as do other countries for students who are fluent in other languages). And for any students who plan on graduate school, admissions officers understand that there are many excellent schools both in the US and abroad that provide the same quality education as the PESs.

        Something else to keep in mind--with the academic job market being as bad as it's been for the last 15-20 years, schools at all levels of the prestige-scale have been able to recruit graduates from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. Not that the prestige of a professor's graduate school predicts the quality of their teaching, but you can find outstanding professors at some of the most obscure "no name" schools in the country.

    •  University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland...n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

      by Mr SeeMore on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:26:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What a good idea. (0+ / 0-)

      I got my masters at a prestigious school in Tokyo. It was an amazing experience. I hadn't thought of looking at Canada.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:07:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Both of our children received good offers (6+ / 0-)

    for top scholarship dollars at prestigious schools, but they both chose state universities instead. The amount of loans involved was the deciding factor. They attended out of state schools, but at a cost well under that of University of Texas-Austin.  As young adults, I think they are beginning to realize that graduating from college debt-free is one of the largest tangible "gifts" they will ever receive.  Many of their friends are already despondent over what looks like a lifetime of debt.

    I will add that each year of school, they somehow picked up a few additional departmental scholarships of $500-$1000 each.  Oh - and they could not be happier with the education they received.

    The truth always matters.

    by texasmom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:16:00 AM PDT

    •  About half my students are in debt (6+ / 0-)

      as graduating seniors.  I teach almost 100 students in the Finance department at UI.  I surveyed them at the beginning of the semester and about half have debt.  It ranges from not-much to jaw-dropping.  A large portion of these bright, personable young people, who have been taught to "be involved" and "pad your resume" all their lives, do not have jobs lined up.  They do have loan payments lined up.  Their parents have gone into debt on their behalf, as well.

      A couple of weeks ago we discussed college savings plans and I pointed out that right now, a 4-year in-state public education costs $80,000-$100,000.  Some of them gasped a little, never having thought before the total ticket.  I finished by saying that "next time you speak to whomever is helping to subsidize your education, tell them 'thank you'."

      I woke up this morning only to realize, it's opposite day again.

      by Melanie in IA on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:22:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  goe! she'll be a big fish, but she can do grad (3+ / 0-)

    school at PES.  you are paying for MENTORING and relationships--small classes costs big money.
    i'm a college admissions counselor...
    1/5 of the student's are involved in the music dept. at Coe.
    that's cool!  what's not to like about music?  heh.

    always look at the guidance counselor page, altho these stats are a little polished and oblique...:
    The Facts:
    Enrollment: Approximately 1,300 students representing most of the United States and 20 foreign countries.
    Average class size: 16
    Student-Faculty ratio: 11:1
    Average HS GPA: 3.6
    Average ACT score: 25
    Average SAT score: 1,215
    Faculty: 80 full-time, 58 part-time, and no teaching assistants; 91 percent hold the highest degree in their field.
    Total cost: $38,150 for full-time tuition, room, board, and student fees in 2010-2011. Coe is committed to assisting students through its financial aid programs.
    Graduate placement: Within six months after graduation, 98% of Coe graduates are employed or attending graduate school in the field of their choice.
    Graduate on time: 98% of students who graduate from Coe graduate in four years.
    Enjoy Cedar Rapids: The second largest city in Iowa offers abundant opportunities.
    Get Involved:
    Every Coe student participates in an internship, student research, practicum or a study abroad program during their time at Coe.
    Coe offers over 25 study abroad opportunities.
    Coe has over 72 student clubs and organizations available for student involvement.
    The Coe Difference:
    30% of incoming Coe freshmen rank in the top 10% of their high school class.
    One in seven Coe students scored a 30 or greater on the ACT.
    45% of Coe students come from out-of-state.
    Interested? Visit Coe!

    Say No to Frankenfish

    by stagemom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:22:44 AM PDT

  •  Tell your daughter... (5+ / 0-)

    ...to major in some science or math field and to avoid liberal arts and education majors if she wants a job thar makes any kind of money post-graduation.

    (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
    Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

    by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:36:15 AM PDT

    •  I agree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pacplate, yesdevkmem, soros

      we tell kids in our family.  You gonna be an engineer or nurse, otherwise whats the point of college?

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:11:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bad advice (6+ / 0-)

      What do you say to the people who majored in those other "useless" fields and have good careers?

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:05:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Be nice to the scientists and engineers? (4+ / 0-)

        There are many ways to be a productive member of society.  It all works when your ability to produce and contribute exceeds your ability to consume...

      •  The numbers don't lie (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        soros

        The most popular career for English majors is teaching. The second most 'popular' career is administrative assistant.

        There are outliers in every field, but when your kid is the one feeling the bite of unemployment while his/her more technical peers have mostly good jobs, protestations that some liberal arts majors make it big will ring very hollow.

        It is unpleasant to contemplate, but technical degree holders have almost a total superset of the skill set of liberal arts majors. In the real world, being able to write literary criticism or understand the history of art are useless skills. Being able to do chemistry, practice medicine, design something in Autocad, etc are real skills of value. The difference between being Hemingway and just being able to write a competent email is worth almost nothing.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:12:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is incorrect in the real world (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings, LucyandByron

          English majors do not go into teaching mostly. They honestly don't. My father-in-law still spends his time doing business writing and he makes $135k a year--as a writer in a corporation. Not an administrator.

          Friends who graduated with me OVERSEE the projects of computer programmers for customer relations websites BECAUSE they can write well, and have a sense of aesthetics, something that is sadly wanting among computer people.

          There are so many jobs out there that require research skills (in terms of databases) and these are precisely the types of skills that English majors learn.

          The average salary is about $70k for English majors.

          Really the idea that Autocad is somehow a real skill of value while researching and writing aren't is hard to fathom. This is a big world. There are so many disciplines that require precise communication. How can you possibly say that it's not a real skill when we see entire industries out there built on written communication and information delivery?

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:32:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I am sure grateful for the teachers I had (0+ / 0-)

          both as a kid and in college. I have a liberal arts degree and I run a health and human services department. I love my job passionately.

          I'd make a lousy engineer.

          Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

          by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:13:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Tech writers refudiate you, sirrah (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          "Omnipotent" technical degree holders pay my sister $120K/year to translate their blather into readable English.    Fascinatingly, those with foreign educations need the least help.  That's not just manuals, articles and books, for some that's also making their conference presentations effective and interesting.   In the old days, they used to make their wives do all that.  Since Betty Friedan freed the slaves, now people get paid to make others look good.  :)  

          If we must play the snob game, I could not care less how much more money you make than I do:  I am descended from the Heaven-born, and unless my least simpatico cousin is now affecting a more pompous style than he used to, you're not.  /eyebrow lift

          "A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds a purchaser!" -King Jugurtha of Numidia

          by LucyandByron on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:20:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not my experience (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          It may be unpleasant to contemplate, but many of the 'technical degree holders' I work with not only can't write like Hemingway, they can't write a competent email either. Nor are they very good at other basic 'liberal arts' tasks like understanding and interpreting a text and conducting research and gathering information.

          The technicians may be more employable on a basic level but a lot of them lack what's really needed to truly advance in a career. In my own experience, I see a lot of people who get a liberal arts degree and later acquire technical qualifications. I see comparatively few technicians who later in life learn how to read and write worth a damn.

          As an aside, designing things with AutoCAD is actually a big part of my job and I was an art major in college. Far from being useless, knowing something about art helps a designer understand how what they are designing fits into the world of things that have already been made. It's unfortunate you seem to have such a constrained view of what is or isn't useful.

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 04:38:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Ha! (4+ / 0-)

      Spoken like a true engineer.

      Seriously, most everybody I know who majored in liberal arts fields (including myself) has ended up just fine - making a decent living doing enjoyable work. You're not handed a job on a platter, and you have to do a little more mental work to figure out how to apply your skills, but things aren't particularly bleak if you give it half a try.

      And it's better to make a little bit less money than it is to be stuck 40+ hours a week in a job you don't enjoy.

    •  Unfortunately for her pocketbook (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      texasmom

      she is a very talented writer. She is competent at math but she hates it. I'd rather have her be poor but happy than to wade through life being depressed.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:11:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If your daughter wants in live in NYC (4+ / 0-)

    there's no rule that says she has to get there right out of high school....once she graduates college she has a whole lifetime to go wherever she feels most at home....and it will be a lot easier if she can start out without that debt load limiting her options.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:36:27 AM PDT

  •  I don't understand the tone of the diary (14+ / 0-)

    but maybe I can help.

    I have taken those creative writing classes, I've done a MFA, I've taught at top private schools, I teach at a top public school.

    You're in Iowa? Iowa has a fantastic undergraduate creative writing program, likely better than the one at that prestigious Eastern school.

    I will say this, private education in the USA is for people that can afford it, and despite what that school said to you (I think they were trying to be kind by telling you there was no such thing as merit scholarships), they DO give out merit scholarships. The trouble is that your wonderkid is just like thousands of others with the same idea. I think you're talking about Sarah Lawrence, but I could be wrong. SH is a great school, but unlike the Ivies, it does not have unlimited resources for middle class kids. The Ivies will shower your kid with money however.

    Some facts to consider: 90% of American college students attend public schools. For the most part, these schools are a fantastic bargain (given the actual cost per student which is subsidized not only by state taxes but also by endowments, research grants, patents, etc. which multiply the tuition money by 3 or 4). My school costs under $5k for tuition.

    I don't see why you should think the private school is extorting you. If anything, it's been proven that private schools actually extort wealthy families by charging them an amount ABOVE the actual cost per student. This is proven. They take that money then and give it to other needier children, and some are arguing now that this is unfair (I can't agree).

    From someone in the creative writing field, let me say that Sarah Lawrence's grad program is actually a low-residency program which means the writers are rarely on campus. You have to wonder how well your daughter will be served as an undergrad in such a program. I am willing to bet she might find more fruitful possibilities elsewhere.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:40:12 AM PDT

    •  Thanks, upstate, very true. nt. (0+ / 0-)
    •  This is very helpful. Thank you. (0+ / 0-)

      I am not anywhere near Iowa. I live in the rural/'frontier mountain west.

      I seriously don't have anything against Iowa. My comments about not being saved in Iowa were supposed to be humorous. I'm probably not very good at humor.

      And I had no intention of calling out a particular school as I mentioned above. However I appreciate your insight about specific schools. They will certainly help us to make a decision.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:19:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I teach at a state school and I help (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        my students go onto "unfruitful" things such as an MFA if I feel they really want it, and are good writers. Most professors are delighted when an undergraduate takes an interest in their field. Unfortunately, I have 80 students right now and can't spend a lot of time with all of them, but I go out of my way to do everything I can for students who are really good writers, from inviting them to private salons with visiting writers, to meeting with them regularly at coffee shops to discuss their work, to incorporating them into the life of their department, to featuring them reading alongside writers of renown at a downtown reading venue, to writing great recommendations and calling friends at other schools to give them a spot. I am certain your daughter will meet a professor who will help her, and all will be right with the world.

        Here's a dirty little truth about English Lit. classes. About 1/3rd of my students are totally engaged with the class and do very well. 1/3rd are engaged but are not majors and thus can't afford as much time as they would like (do to work, their major, families, etc.) 1/3rd don't care. In a writing class of 25 students, that leaves me with about 8 who are truly interested in writing and literature. of these, only 2 or 3 will be committed enough to writing to think of it as a lifelong vocation, and maybe 2 of them will have the talent. That means I have a lot of time to help them reach their goals.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:38:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  the new indentured students (8+ / 0-)

    One of the more pernicious aspects of this is the taking out of huge student loans.

    A debtor cannot remove the burden of paying off the loans by bankruptcy.

    The result is a new class of indentured servants who spend much of their careers paying off debt.

  •  Are they extorting the middle class? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10, Nulwee, kevin k

    In a word, yes.   If you save too much, as we did, you will end up paying more for your only child's education because you are subsidizing financial aid packages for others who have more than one child, or for some other reason do not have as much saved.

    Instead, we ended up sending our daughter to the flagship state school where she is doing well and is about to graduate.  She and we are debt free at this point and can afford her graduate education.

  •  Thank you for rescuing me here in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Actbriniel, la urracca, texasmom

    the outlands of NM! I have to go to a meeting up in Tierra Amarilla in the mountains near the Colorado border. I will check in and respond to comments as soon as I am able.

    Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

    by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:44:46 AM PDT

    •  Borrowing for college (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      virginwoolf, kevin k, TheFatLadySings

      Please don't take out huge loans so you daughter can go to an Ivy league. Especially if she wants to be a writer and has any talent at all. I'm sure Coe College will be fine and once she has her undergraduate degree she can get a FREE MFA in Creative Writing. Most of the top-ranked programs (by the way Columbia isn't one of them, if that's the Ivy you're referring to) provide a full tuition waiver and a stipend in exchange for teaching a couple of undergraduate composition classes.

      When you're born into this world, you get a ticket to the freak show. But if you're born in America, you get a front row seat. --George Carlin

      by greenwood lefty on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:22:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Math Problems. 1.Too Many College "Educated" Look (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pacplate, icemilkcoffee

    down the math and accounting and finance and engineering skills which MAKE the world go around, so

    2. they don't know that, for example,

    From the Statistical Abstract of The United States, 2011, table 701, “Money Income of People ... 2008” .

    There were appx. 240,000,000 men and women over 15 with Money Income.
    There were appx. 24,000,000 with Money Income over $75,000.
    There were appx. 216,00,000 with Money Income UNDER $75,000.
    There were appx. 180,000,000 with Money Income UNDER $50,000.

    3. because they do NOT want to recognize that, for us underlings, for decades the economy has been transitioning to paying for SKILLS, not for nebulous degrees,

    4. because they like to point to that person who got that history / english degree and has that GREAT caree,r cuz they need to ignore that most of those with history and english degrees, sadly, end up with JOBS... which are frequently crap jobs.

    5. cuz ya can't go along and get along

    when you tell everyone in your middle class life that the internet boom isn't going on forever ...

    I mean that housing prices are a reflection of bubble-nomics and thievery not reality ...

    WHEN YOU TELL OTHER MIDDLE CLA$$ PEOPLE THAT THERE IS MORE TO THE JOB MARKET THAN JUST GETTING A COLLEGE DEGREE.

    Of course the colleges and universities are taking advantage of people who will NOT recognize that it is no longer 1964.

    My wife was told by her Boston school teacher grandmother in 1978 that whatever she did in college SHOULD get her a job where her starting salary was equal to the 4 years of tuition.  My wife ignored granny and got a who knows what degree from Harvard, BUT, that was 3 bubbles ago.

    IF you're family wealth is NOT in the top 5%, I'd recommend getting a biology or chem or math degree from Muncie College over nebulous degree from Fancy College.

    Do the math -

    rmm.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:50:39 AM PDT

    •  It's just not true that English (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, tardis10, TheFatLadySings

      and History degrees are nebulous and unworthy.

      You need to look up the studies that have been done on exactly this question. English and Philosophy grads do better than Business grads, for instance.

      There are some degrees that indeed earn less, in the Arts, in Social Work, in Psychology, but I would not dismiss those degrees simply for the value they bring to society. If my child wanted to major in ceramics, I would encourage her. We'd plan for her future around it.

      There is a woman renting a cottage home next to mine who is a former art major, who does not have a high income, who works a day job, who paints, sells her paintings for about $1k a pop, and who is very very happy with her life. She might not have bourgeois trappings, but I would not be at all displeased if my daughter found fulfillment in such a life.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:02:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  wow ... how many ways did you take (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pengiep, icemilkcoffee

        my comment in directions I didn't intend ... and didn't imply?

        the diary is about colleges ripping people off. College are ripping people off cuz they can.

        you provide some anecdotes - what about YOUR personal financial situation?

        will the college degrees of your offspring wipe out your retirement savings? or, you don't know? you don't care?

        will the college degrees of your offspring wipe out your home equity, so that when you're older & broken down you'll STILL be paying a mortgage? or, you don't know? you don't care?

        is some family / friend gonna take care of this stuff, which is why you don't mention it?

        since before I was a boston college freshman in 1978, NOT a PES, either - since the 10 years I spent as a cook in Boston in the 80's, since the 20 years I've lived in Seattle in relatively affluent neighborhoods -

        over 90% of people who deign to tell me that filthy lucre is NOT the only thing to value are people who have plenty of filthy lucre! paying the rent is NOT a concern for them!

        and 10% would be happy with oatmeal and a tarp.  

        I grew up on welfare, and poverty sucks. IF you like it, great. spare me the stories about how noble it is to get 1 pair of glasses a year, to break your glasses and to be walking around in fuzz for 2 weeks as some bureaucrats fiddle fuck around with paperwork cuz you only get 1 pair of glasses a year, and you do NOT have any fucking money to but replacement glasses.

        the diary is about colleges ripping people off, and the colleges are ripping people off cuz so many of them have their heads so far up their asses that the colleges can get away with it.

        rmm.

        Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

        by seabos84 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:43:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  English and philosophy grads do better than (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seabos84

        business grads? :)  How about comp. sci., physics, chemistry grads?  Studies have shown that as the economy tanks more students shift into the harder sciences.  Those 'parks 'n' rec' degrees don't look too good when unemployment is high.

        The real problem with college education is that there are not enough students going into the STEM subjects and the US is going to get its ass handed to it in twenty years if not sooner.

        [Pay no attention to me, I'm just grumpy this morning]

        •  Parks and Rec, eh? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          Thank god we don't live in the world you imagine. It would seriously suck.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:09:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Let's be honest here. Compare those (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            seabos84

            with the hard sciences and engineering degrees, the liberal arts degrees are a cakewalk.

            In many asian countries, the liberal arts are for students on the 'slow track' in high school.

            •  People are different. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              TheFatLadySings, denise b

              A student who excels in the liberal arts may not excel in the sciences, and vice versa. I mean, what are you basing your assessment on? How rigorous the programs are? I have a BS. I had straight full scores on my science/math tests. I did not find my courses for my Chemistry BS to be more rigorous and difficult. Have you ever written a paper for an upper level English Lit. class? Some of these kids in those classes put a lot of work into their research, writing, thinking, and produce exemplary work that some in the sciences could never hope to produce. I'm just wondering what you're basing your assessment on.

              Let me give you some other analysis. Every year we take kids with the highest scores on graduate standardized tests and put them up against the rest of the students admitted into other fields or schools (in the sciences, wherever). These students are eligible for full fellowships that are given according to the scores. We receive as many fellowships through this process as any of the sciences.

              This is at a Carnegie research 1 university, an AAU school, with billion+ research foundation yearly.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:17:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  By the way, engineers are usually paid the most (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yesdevkmem, TheFatLadySings

          BUT I can put you in touch with a creative writing student who is the project manager over a team of computer science people who don't know their ass from their elbows when it comes to designing a customer relations website for a big company. Can't write worth a lick, their sense of aesthetics is akin to the beauty of MySpace. He earns what they do!

          So this entire argument about what we should be doing is totally specious because it looks at education, one, from the point of view of how much money you make, and not what you contribute to society. Second, one wonders if any of the services/products produced by the science types would be evident at all were it not for the simultaneous development of human knowledge in non-scientific fields. In fact, Thomas Kuhn seems to think they wouldn't.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:15:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I had a Grad. student teacher that was working on (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        a biology degree. This is after he got his Electrical Engineering degree that his father demanded he get (his father was an E.E.).

        He hated the E.E. profession and went back to University to earn his degree in his true passion...Biology.

        In my opinion, higher Education is for enlightenment and to become learned in things that interest you.

         If one is just looking for job opportunities then go to trade school an become a plumber...(not that there is anything wrong with plumbers).

        "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

        by Mr SeeMore on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:17:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a problem with plumbers (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          They rely on failure. You can't build a country on failure. Despite Rush Limbaugh's wishes. Maybe he should have been a plumber.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:27:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Problem is too many of those (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seabos84

        I don't mean to slight people with history and english degrees. I would have majored in history myself if I was following my heart. But does the society really need this many english majors?

        Seabos is right. Get a major in one of the medical disciplines (doesn't have to be Med school neither- it could be anything from pharmacology, to health management, to therapy, etc) and you'll have a decent chance of paying back your student loans.

        •  Yes, we need people with better communication (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          and critical thinking skills.

          Of course we do.

          Beyond that, you've had some executives bemoaning the lack of creativity in the workforce.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:24:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  with austerity coming (4+ / 0-)

      not sure what bio/math degrees are gonna do for you either.  Once the govt starts cutting, alot of those jobs are in such things as math/bio etc..

      People forget, the economy has basically sucked for overall decade now, and in this time the govt has spend 10 TRILLION dollars over its limit just to keep things running at a shitty level.  Now its gonna be cut off.

      Things for the next decade are going to go from bad to much worse.

      Bad is never good until worse happens

      by dark daze on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:18:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunately I don't know what you (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      seabos84

      just said. It was not written in a language I can read.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:58:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  due to many intentional attributes of middle (0+ / 0-)

        class go along get along-ism,

        lots of middle class people haven't a freaking clue how the economy or world works,

        so colleges and universities get to rip off the middle class people.

        rmm.

        Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

        by seabos84 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:11:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yes they are extorting the middle class (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dark daze, TheFatLadySings

    that's really all there is to it. Parents get the same feeling that you do, that their kid won't make it unless they go to some top school. The kids get that same feeling frequently too. I don't know anything about that school in Iowa, but the bottom line is that kids seem to have a tendency to make the best out of their situation. Not everybody at my school right now had this school as their first choice, but they're all making it work, and most are probably going to come out pretty successful.

    I have more to say, but I gotta run unfortunately, I wish you and your daughter the best, though!

  •  Take out a student loan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Blair

    You don't need collateral, and if it really is a prestigious university and your daughter puts in the necessary effort on her part there, the loan can easily be paid off either with her future earnings or with loan forgiveness programs of various kinds available to young college graduates.  You don't even need to make any payments on the loan while she's in school.  Yes, it's a crime that higher education is so expensive for the middle class, but it is also true that it's worth going into debt for, and the debt really is quite manageable.  If it wasn't, millions of middle class students wouldn't be doing it every year.

    If you're not from Iowa, I'd have said go to Iowa State for creative writing.  But if you are from Iowa and what to be a writer, go to NYC.

    But, whatever you do, don't pay cash out of pocket for school.  This is for her, so take debt out on her behalf (her loan, co-signed by you, this means) which she will repay when she finishes school.

  •  Education (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cville townie, TheFatLadySings

    Theres no saving, first of all. Get what you can, protect those you love, and try to make sure n one dies.

    At least, thats the basics. Sadly, your daughter may have to accept a "lesser" school but I assure you, jsut being in the middle of nowhere is meaningless.

    I grew up in Wyoming. My dad was a teacher at the university of wyoming. he took the job there on purpose, from one that was in south california.

    I have never been anywhere nicer. We moved right before the...unpleasantness...In Laramie (where we lived) but even with that event, it was still a great place.

    Big cities can eat people alive if they're not ready. My best friends, and my best memories, are from living in the quiet mountains.

    Everything after that went to suck. You find out smething great living in these places: Resources mean nothing compared to the people. the lack of them brings out the best really, where people must work together. they have indeed chosen to do so, and everyone prospers.

    I wanted to go to a bunch of different schools..didnt quite imagine myself ending up in Kentucky, but aside from the lack of moutain vertigo, its been alright.

    Kids...They get excited, and determined. But one thing is clear...The school knows what its doing. Its lied and its deceived you.

    I cant, and god knows i shouldnt, dictate a decision for you. But I do want to tell you that that sort of behavior from a school is very disturbing. A place of education should not be blatantly deceptive.

    If they are willing to do this...to be so underhanded...I fear what else they may do when you can no longer directly intercede.

    Young, smart people tend to be extremely unaware of the destructive cruelty of the  real world...Think of all youve been trying to do, a lifetime of knowledge of these systems of these people, and still see how they respond.

    So now you have to wonder..how much worse will they do when you arent in range to grab the phone and yell at them personally? Your kid seems enraptured by the school. And they seem to be fostering this very attitude.

    They may well seek to manipulate her (get more money out of), using this very enthusiasm as the stick to keep her, and you, paying. I wouldnt be surprised if that 'scholarschip" dissapeard.

    Our future is what we make it. In some places you get the fast track to success, knowing all the right people.

    I mean, just look at George W Bush.

    But in some places, in the best places, you get your way to the top through determination and local networking. These prestigious schools are only prestigious because they ahve a lto of fancy names. I wonder.

    How many people would suddenly flock to the iowa school, if your kid became famous?

    Obviously, i cant make any real, informed decisions or reccomendations. I just hope to make the point, that its more about who you are than who you know. That school probably wouldnt have cheered Rahm's presence when he was a first year student.

    But t hats going to be a hard, painful talk with your child. Like, i feel punched in the gut just thinking about it.

    You should make sure she's informed. Pretending we are rich whe nw are not doesnt benefit children...it confuses them...

    "May whatever power they believe in show the rightwingers mercy. They have been led astray by devils with chalkboards."

    by kamrom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:00:35 AM PDT

    •  .... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster, TheFatLadySings

      is NOT meanignless. That was probably the worst typo i couldve put in.

      Thou Shalt Commit Adultery still comes out ahead though, so im in the clear!

      "May whatever power they believe in show the rightwingers mercy. They have been led astray by devils with chalkboards."

      by kamrom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:02:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ..I hate my friends (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        who have kindly suggested I make clear that I'm a high school drop out, though it was for medical reasons (17-21 i spent getting massive medical work done.) And that I should share one particular...annoyance.

        I  took the GED when I realised finishing highschool was not gonna be an option between the painkillers and the pain. I did phenomenally well; 99th percentile in science...But sadly, people often only lcare that I didnt graduate high school. The fact that im a scary genius (and insane, but not Tesla-Tunguska-Death-Ray insane yet) gets routinely ignored for the three letters.

        ...And yeah i know it was a meteor. But wheres the fun in that?

        "May whatever power they believe in show the rightwingers mercy. They have been led astray by devils with chalkboards."

        by kamrom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:09:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Coe also might sound even more attractive (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rachel Q, TheFatLadySings

    If your daughter figured that extra money saved might finance something like a semester abroad.  Especially cause she could save extra because of lack of social status pressure to have fancy clothes, car etc.  Just saying.

    I went to a non-cool/prestigious college and really hasn't held me back.  What helped was doing the right work/study program in my chosen field to supplement the fact that the college was not very strong in that area.

    Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

    by barbwires on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:01:04 AM PDT

  •  I'm a professor, and the first in my immediate (5+ / 0-)

    family to attend college. I teach at a very good private liberal-arts school with annual costs to students at about $55k. I have no idea how anyone affords this, apart from many of our students having had the great fortune to have been born into wealthy families.

    That said, in today's job/career market, I can certainly see why many people would feel that they'd blown tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars on an education, only to see their graduate go without work, and find that to be unjust. I sure as hell would.

    And I wonder -- as they say, the world need ditch diggers too, but that doesn't justify a system that tells the wealthy that their scions get to have higher education, while simultaneously telling the less financially fortunate that they cannot. That's entirely too Brave New World for me, and it appears to be happening more and more.

    I simply do not believe that being born into wealth should mean that one has more privileges, de facto rights, or options than those who are not.

    So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

    by Cenobyte on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:06:18 AM PDT

    •  I agree with your points but... (0+ / 0-)

      again, over 90% of American college students do not attend private schools, and I'd imagine that your school too gives at least 10% of the students some significant help to afford the school when they otherwise couldn't.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:04:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True. But the cost of attending higher-education (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        upstate NY, TheFatLadySings

        institutions, including public universities, continues to climb at rates much higher than inflation.

        So he says to me, do you wanna be a BAD boy? And I say YEAH baby YEAH! Surf's up space ponies! I'm makin' gravy WITHOUT THE LUMPS! HAAA-ha-ha-ha!!!

        by Cenobyte on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:17:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know, it's a problem, made worse (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          by the wholesale cutbacks from our government.

          The ultimate answer will be a combination of things. The American university system will suffer a loss of reputation as it devolves (schools still make a ton of money attracting foreign students funded by their governments BECAUSE the USA system is still the best). And, within states, universities will break off an become quasi-private (as is happening at Penn State currently) while satellite schools (with fewer offerings) remain affordable for the general population.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:28:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Do whatever gets her through with the lowest loan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, TheFatLadySings

    burden, and preferably no loans at all.

    Debt's a terrible burden to start adult life with.

    •  It depends on the amount of debt. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam B, TheFatLadySings

      if you can come out with $20k in debt, you can handle it. Trust me. I handled it with low pay.

      Also look into IBR which significantly lessens your debt post graduation. And if you end up working for the government in ANY capacity, your debt goes away after 10 years of low payments.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:02:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. Also depends on employment prospects (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      $100k is crushing debt for a creative writing major. It's manageable for a Harvard MBA or MD.

  •  There's no 'formula' at a Small Lib Arts College/U (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    upstate NY, TheFatLadySings

    PES is a private school, they can pay whatever they want in financial aid. I learned too late at my small, prestigious private college, that private school financial aid is NOT according to a formula, and that when they offer you a 'package' that it is still negotiable. Every year they would increase the 'family contribution' that my (single, not-rich) Mom would 'have' to pay. Later I found out that you could actually march into the financial aid office and tell them "Nope, not good enough," and they'd magically start turning loans into grants, and turning grants into bigger grants. The trick is, to get leverage, you have to enroll.  If you never enroll, you're a non-stat, something that never happened.

    The leverage you have if you enroll is this: at a small private school (1000-2000 students), each student is 1/2 a percentage point in their class cohort. You drop out or transfer, you're a 'bad stat'- 2 or 3 like you and you're effecting the US News rankings, believe it or not. Anyhow, it's probably different at public U's, but at small private colleges, believe it- you get the financial aid you demand, not what you 'apply for.'  But of course you have to become a student and make some noise first.  
    Good luck!

    Make your free throws at the end of regulation, and you'll be ok.

    by El Sobrante on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:13:22 AM PDT

  •  you are WRONG!! about Iowa colleges.. (5+ / 0-)

    University of Iowa [the Writer's Workshop] has one of the most prestigious writing schools in the nation.  Marvin Bell, our greatest living poet, reigned there for decades until recently.

    If your daughter is so talented, Iowa would serve her well.  If she is middling then she might need a prestigious name to bolster her chances.

    My best guess was a reflection that did not look back, an image lost in every mirror.

    by Zacapoet on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:14:13 AM PDT

    •  Thanks. I feel armed with words. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Socratic Method

      She's been corresponding with one of the professors. I think once she forms relationships with people, she'll love the place.

      I'm increasingly thinking of the letter from the PES as a diversion. Writing this diary was a way to clarify my muddled emotions on the topic. The part about Iowa was satire. I was satirizing myself. Obviously, if I have to explain this point over and over, I didn't do a good job of satirizing.

      How is it possible to take the statement, "nobody has ever been SAVED in Iowa" seriously? It is ludicrous on so many levels!

      I guess I thought it was so ludicrous that nobody would ever take it seriously.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:21:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My alma mater, the U of Penn, is trying to help (4+ / 0-)

    They have grants and no-loan packages available which are a step above most Ivies.  

    And I have not forgotten how they helped me.  My parents were "too rich for grants, too poor to pay."  They offered me a so-called Butcher no-interest loan to help me through my first years.  And when I went back, after a year hiatus, and told academic advising that I had no money, but wanted to graduate, they allowed me to attend classes and have my grades registered.  I wasn't allowed to collect my diploma until I fully paid off my obligations, which took a few years.  But it was a creative solution that allowed me to get my degree.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:14:44 AM PDT

  •  there are valuable lessons to be learned here (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    i am speaking as a parent whose last kid is about to graduate from undergraduate school with two degrees.  my husband and i hold six degrees between us.  our three kids have two apiece, and one of them is working on a third.  my kids are doing well.   one is working, having just landed a good it job. one will finish his doctorate in two years, but is employable right now if things change.   one has an offer in her field of choice when she graduates in one month.

    they each went to the university of texas... not a prestigious eastern school. they have very  modest student loans, but handleable.  we are paying those currently.  what we couldn't pay in cash, we financed with stafford loans.  but their tuition was not >  50,000/year.

     annual graduate school tuition is about the figure quoted by that prestigious eastern school. does she want to go to grad school?  maybe get an mfa? it's gonna cost.  what will she be doing when she graduates?    something else to think about.  a degree in the creative arts is a hard sell in the job market.  always has been.  i have a bfa and an mfa; not terrible marketable.

    some things to think about.

    best wishes to you and your family.

    •  Let me add a couple things (3+ / 0-)

      The vast majority of MFA programs in CW fully fund their students. It's free. That being said, it's nothing you can count on since there are so few spots available in those programs and the admittance rate is at about 5%.

      If you're worried about employment after an MFA, the information you'll find will be anecdotal. I've been through this before when we conducted a study, and the degree prepares some for academia, other for works as tech writers, business writers, editors and publishers. People can make a really good living in those fields.

      As for the question of the MFA preparing you for a career in creative writing, DO NOT HARBOR that illusion. It will almost certainly not (probably a .001% chance that it will). I know writers with MacArthur Genius grants who still only make about $20k per book. not enough to live on. The chances that your daughter will win a MacArthur Genius Grant are not that high.

      In sum, the MFA is actually a marketable degree, but creative writing is NOT a marketable field. This isn't a contradiction however since those who undertake this degree teach college classes, write critical papers, develop editing skills, etc. In other words, they are trained to do so much more than to write poetry, fiction, etc.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:00:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's different for someone approaching retirement (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    but on the whole, education is the best possible investment anyone can make. When all's said and done, you can't have your degree repossessed if you can't pay the bills. You will always have that level of marketability.

  •  If I could share an anecdote... (7+ / 0-)

    I went to a Prestigious Eastern (if Southeastern) University.  When I was accepted in 1998 (when tuition was considerably less, but still extraordinarily expensive for the time and my parents' income), we received an initial aid offer of about $10,000/year.  Two months later, once I had accepted their offer, they sent a revised statement which included nothing but a guaranteed loan.

    My parents made the hard choice of sticking to the promise they had made to me in middle school: if you can get into a top tier school, we'll find a way to pay for it.  Looking back, I can't say that I'm sure they made the right decision.

    I am currently reading Chris Hedges' "Empire of Illusion" in which he discusses American higher education as transforming into vocational schooling for corporate America.  Corporate sponsorship on college campuses has become standard.  At my school, there was a joke that if you were seen with a Pepsi product on campus, a sniper would shoot you from a roof.  The fact is that as a college degree has become a prerequisite for corporate America, major institutions have taken advantage.  

    But this problem is not the University system in isolation; it is a symptom of neo-liberal economic policies that have perverted our incentives.  Physics PhDs aren't working to solve climate change, they're building algorithms to trade the stock market.  Professors are marginalized for having liberal views, even when the data supports it.  To cut this rant off, the point is that we cannot look at this problem in a narrow context.  The problem is America, and I cannot see a solution coming about without a radical reformation of the social contract.

    Freedom of religion is freedom FROM religion. Tweeting @dmiller23

    by DailyDrew on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:33:14 AM PDT

    •  Really great comment. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Socratic Method

      I'm sorry for what happened to your family. It seems like that should be illegal. It truly sucks! And yes, you are so right about the state of our corporatized nation. We must, must MUST repeal corporate personhood. It is a travesty destroying our civic life.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:29:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Elite colleges have higher costs. Professors (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Akonitum, TheFatLadySings

    are paid more, facilities are better (and thus more expensive). All these colleges are non-profit, after all. It may very well be a better option for your daughter to go to smaller school so you will still keep your house. In a smaller school she may very well be one of the best students and will have some additional opportunities b/c of that.

  •  To me a bigger problem with higher education (3+ / 0-)

    is the fact that state schools cost so much more than they did decades ago. In the 60's students that were smart enough to get into UC Berkeley, for example, could get a spectacular education for very low tuition.  The same was true, more or less, for state systems around the nation.  Now administration bloat and reductions in state support have made many state schools expensive.  Private schools are a choice.  Parents and students can decide whether they are worth the cost, and whether it is worth taking out student loans to attend them.  State schools, however, should guarantee affordable education to all qualified, motivated students.

    I'm truly sorry Man's dominion Has broken Nature's social union--Robert Burns

    by Eric Blair on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:48:22 AM PDT

    •  The new model is going to be (4+ / 0-)

      high costs for top research schools and lower costs for non-research universities.

      Because of the defunding of higher education in America, the state systems are now responding by dissolving state education systems and allowing schools to venture out on their own. This is going to happen all over the country.

      So, your top state public will charge a greater amount to maintain research programs while other state schools (satellite schools) will continue to charge a more affordable amount.

      That will be the new paradigm.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:20:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Blair, TheFatLadySings

      There are some great state schools here in NY too, but the costs, even for in-state tuition, is quite substantial. True, it's way below the full price for a "Prestigious Eastern School", but with the kinds of offers the private schools were making even to our upper-middle class family, the difference in cost to us ended up below the point that it was a decisive factor.

      I can very easily imagine that there are family income points at which even state colleges are not affordable, and also that there are income points at which the assistance offers you'd get from a "Prestigious Eastern School" would make it cheaper than state college.

      Actually on the affordability question, I know for sure there are income points at which state colleges are not affordable. The in-state cost for Buffalo or Binghamton is several thousand dollars a year more than the maximum allowable combination of Pell grants plus Ford loans.

  •  Seems inevitable that a diary on Dkos (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ellid, sullivanst, Akonitum

    about college will eventually attract posters with right-wing talking points arguing that college is a scam, as though there's something inherently wrong with a liberal arts education.

    The difference between Swarthmore and a public school ISN'T that Swarthmore is a scam while the cheaper public school isn't. The difference is that the cheaper public school is subsidized.

    People look at tuition and assume that's the cost of education. You get $10k's worth at a public, while Swarthmore rips you off for $40ks worth, when it's not 4x better than a public.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Tuition does NOT account for a majority of the cost per student at most state schools with research components. Research grants, patents, etc., subsidize the actual cost.

    These funds are not so available to Swarthmore. Nor are taxpayer dollars that make up maybe another quarter to a third of the budget.

    Some of you are calling Swarthmore a scam or an extortion racket when the truth is they charge more BECAUSE they can't subsidize the true cost with anything BUT their endowment. Beyond that, they do EXTORT their wealthier students by charging them MORE than the actual cost of study in order to REDISTRIBUTE that money to needier students. That's the model they operate under. If you think that's extortion, don't go there. Simple as that.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:53:55 AM PDT

    •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      speak2me, pollyusa

      For pointing out the inconvenient truth that public universities are less expensive because, y'know, our tax dollars pay for the professors, staff, maintenance, and ancillaries.  Private schools get nothing from the taxpayer except a property tax exemption, and that's nothing compared to the millions public schools get.  

      That said, smaller liberal arts schools can be a great deal, plus there are some Midwestern schools (Grinnell for one) that are every bit as good as the Ivies.   But slamming the Eastern schools as scams is really a bit much.

    •  Problem is the cost inflation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal

      I don't think it's a right wing talking point that college tuition has gone up well over the rate of inflation for the last dozen of years or so.

      It's like health care. When the cost is spiraling out of control, it needs to be examined.

      College costs have been going out of control precisely because people have decided that they cannot live without that prestigious Swarthmore degree. They charge this much money because they can. If the diarist's daughter tursn down the offer from SL, I am sure another student on the waiting list will be more than glad to take her place. It's a seller's market here.

      •  You're just wrong about this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        The studies HAVE BEEN DONE, and you can't simply talk about the cost of tuition rising above inflation without discussing the concomitant defunding of education by government. That's why costs are rising, not because college budgets are rising. College budgets are DECREASING even as tuition is RISING. Think about that.

        The studies that have been done show that colleges are incredibly efficient enterprises with little waste.

        I'm not sure what your point is about Swarthmore. But these same studies have shown that at schools like that, tuition has gone up BECAUSE of the need-blind admissions policies which redistribute money from richer students to poorer students. In other words, the tuition charged is above the actual cost-per-student, so whatever excess money is culled is then redistributed.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:21:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Mmmm, I see (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          I admit I have only seen cursory (mostly alarmist) data on the rise of college tuition.  So are you saying that tuition costs have gone up in direct relationship to the decrease in government student aid? But this has been a fairly long term trend far predating the current economic crisis/state govt meltdown. Does this explain the long term trend in tuition costs outpacing inflation by (IIRC) 3X or so?

          •  Yes, it's been going on awhile (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            icemilkcoffee, TheFatLadySings

            I wrote a diary about it a while back.

            http://www.dailykos.com/...

            Private school cost rises relate to maintaining scholarship levels for poor students. At public schools, the rise is associated with reductions in public funding. You have to remember, during the Cold War and with the GI Bill, colleges used to receive a lot of money from the government in addition to state funding, all of which have been steadily cut over the years.

            Penn State is now at 4% taxpayer funding for their entire budget, and the new GOP Gov. wants to cut that by half. 4% public, 96% private.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:24:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  That's very interesting. That would explain (0+ / 0-)

          what is pricing the middle class out of the market for these schools. But you are mistaken if you are reading right wing talking points into my diary.  

          I believe that our government absolutely should be subsidizing education. State schools should be superb and students should be able to finance tuition at a private school. Loans would be fine if they could genuinely be paid off through public service. This works for medical loans. Why not others? The GI bill was a great thing. There should be one for teachers, one for nurses, doctors, social workers, etc. We should stop subsidizing wars.

          Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

          by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:40:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm not one to argue rightwing talking (0+ / 0-)

            points about education. I was responding to his contention that universities are to blame solely for the rise in tuition.

            By the way, something to take heed of for your daughter. Loans can be paid off through public service. Check out the IBR program. The amount she pays back will be tied to a small % of her income (for instance, $300 a month for someone with $60k in loans with a job making $60k), and after 10 years of employment, the debt is forgiven. So, you take out $60k in loans, work in public service, repay $36k in sum over the next 10 years.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:50:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  in response to your title (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    YES. the cost of college has doubled in the past 10 years.  that's insane. it was already very high.

    but you can never escape the argument that it's still technically worth it in terms of ROI.

    If i did it again, i'd do state school for at least 2 years.

    On DailyKos nothing is significant unless Obama doesn't do it.

    by glutz78 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:17:52 AM PDT

  •  The prestige is probably not worth the price (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    speak2me, TheFatLadySings

    I work in an academic department for a college that is part of the largest urban public university system in the US.  Over the past few years, we have definitely seen an increase in the number of "overqualified" (for lack of a better term) students who were accepted at more prestigious institutions whose tuition their parents could not afford, or that chose not to take on catastrophic student loan debt.  I am not sure that private colleges are trying to extort the middle class, so much as they are utterly unconcerned with how unaffordable they have become for the middle class.  While wages for so many of us have gone nowhere for the past 30 years, tuition at private schools has risen spectacularly and so many parents are turning to public colleges and universities.  Ironically, of course, this is happening just as almost every state is dramatically defunding these same institutions.  As some posters here have noted, what you get out of college is very much about what you are willing to put in.  You can get a good education at most state schools, even with all the budget cuts.  While many prestigious institutions feature well-known faculty, that doesn't necessarily translate into more opportunities for a student when they graduate.  Some of our most prestigious schools have their networks and "mafias," but even those don't guarantee anything, especially at the undergraduate level (and especially in this job market).  If Coe College is willing to offer a much better deal for your daughter (and it sounds like they would be genuinely happy to have her), that seems like a better way to go than the most expensive college in the United States

    •  The reason private college tuitions have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      risen spectacularly: they redistribute that tuition to students that could not otherwise afford the school. I know, it's counterintuitive. But national studies have been done on this issue, and that has been the number #1 cost driver for private higher ed. in America.

      In recent years, the tuition increases have been capped. That tells me that these schools are less inclined to redistribute the money of richer students to poorer students.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:33:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I wonder how many of the students (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      Focused exclusively on "name" private schools?  There are a ton of excellent, low cost liberal colleges that cost half what the more prestigious schools do.  Wilson (my safety school back in the day) and Thiel (my mother's alma mater) both provide a quality education at a much lower cost than the likes of Smith (my school) or the University of Pennsylvania (where my father went).

      From what I've seen, a lot of students are so hellbent on getting into Harvard that they're ignoring less expensive liberal arts schools that aren't are as well known.  Big mistake, since most of what you get out of college is what you put into it.

  •  I'm in the middle of the process, & loved this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    I loved this (but more importantly, I wish you luck...)

    I read your diary right after reading this remarkable article in The Atlantic from a few years back about the tools college admissions officers use to shape their classes and maximize revenue at the expense of those without a whole lot of cash to spare: http://www.theatlantic.com/...

    You'll find it interesting (and perhaps infuriating).

    I must say that I am far less enamored of the higher education "industry" today than I was a year ago, before I started helping my son find a college. For both better and worse, I think the next populist rebellion in this country is going to be targeted at high-priced colleges, universities, and everything that's come to surround them.

    You might also want to read Crazy U. It's written by a conservative (an editor at Bill Kristol's awful Weekly Standard). But it happens to be the funniest and truest thing you'll ever read about the college admissions process.

    •  Don't join the radical right-wing's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ellid, TheFatLadySings

      jeremiad against higher education.

      Just because a lot of us liberals teach there doesn't mean we are the problem with America.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:45:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Having spent my entire career in higher ed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    virginwoolf, TheFatLadySings

    (and having not read through all of the comments, I may only repeat what others have already said) I'd say that the key is grad school, not u-grad.  Coe is a perfectly good school and would set your daughter up well for the best possible grad opportunities (like, as has been mentioned, Iowa's writing program).

    Besides, the plebian public school self I am can't help but wonder just how many of those banksters who got us into trouble are graduates of PESs.....

    Who knew? Ignorance isn't bliss after all; it's only simple-minded certitude!

    by aggieric on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:31:35 AM PDT

    •  Grad school is key especially in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      upstate NY, aggieric, TheFatLadySings

      Creative Writing.  I went to a completely unknown college and was accepted into a top-tier program in Creative Writing.  It really is based on your work.  

      •  As someone who is on grad admissions (4+ / 0-)

        you're absolutely correct, but I would go beyond that an also say it applies to disciplines outside creative writing. GREs and pedigree count less than the great critical article you wrote for your last Eng. Lit. class.

        We'll admit the Appalachian State kid over the Colgate kid on that basis. Even if Colgate has higher GREs, etc.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:47:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Eh. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ellid

        You can certainly be a very successful novelist without the MFA. It may help brand you if you're going into more literary fiction rather than commercial, but whatevs.

        •  Oh, absolutely! You don't need (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ellid, annieli, aggieric, TheFatLadySings

          an MFA to write fiction at all.  But if you want to teach at a college level, you do.  

          The other thing an MFA does is give you time--if you don't have to take out loans to do it.

          •  That's what the MFA does: train writing teachers (0+ / 0-)

            Most people who actually write for a living have a BA and a day job, or a spouse with a day job.  MFA graduates usually end up teaching MFA-style writing at smaller schools, publishing short stories in little magazines, and producing poetry chapbooks.  They aren't the ones who write commercial fiction, even high class commercial fiction, and from what I've seen, many actively winnow out writers who are interested in anything other than consciously literary fiction or magic realism.

            •  No, no (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              aggieric, TheFatLadySings

              Look at your published fiction writers from commercial houses in America today. The vast majority have MFAs, the vast majority. People have been making the argument that it's a niche field for decades now, but you should listen to John irving go on about his cohort. All his writer friends have an MFA. Irving has an MFA. If you're talking about genre fiction, you may be write. but if you're talking about mainstream fiction, you're wrong. The MFA is ubiquitous among writers aged 55 and under.

              About your last point, it's ironic because my view is that most MFA programs mainstream students into writing commercially publishable fiction, and tend to exclude writers interested in anything overtly literary or innovative (except for a few specialized programs out there).

              Regardless, most MFA students certainly do not end up teaching creative writing.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:03:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  These days it seems like what you need is (0+ / 0-)

          a spot on Fox News and a ghost writer.

          Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

          by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:46:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Writers should write, not go to grad school (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nominalize

      Seriously.   MFA programs, even well known ones like the Iowa program, do NOT necessarily produce good writers.  If anything, MFA programs have done a lot to stifle creativity in American letters, as anyone who's glanced at the stacks of finely wrought cookie-cutter novels about quirky middle class ennui can testify.  

      If the diarist's daughter is serious about writing, she needs to write.  Period.  It doesn't matter if she writes every day, or twice a week, or every Saturday between 10 and 2.  Setting a schedule and keeping to it will do much more to teach her the discipline she needs to be a solid, productive writer than any number of classes, even with prestigious teachers.   A good writing manual, like John Gardner's The Art of Fiction, will help tremendously, but seriously - getting life experience and writing those infamous million unpublishable words will do a student writer a lot more good than a program that will only qualify the student to teach other people how to write to the specifications of an MFA program.

      For advice on actually being a writer, I'd recommend John Scalzi's blog, Whatever.  There's a lot of great advice for young writers there, from an award winning writer and blogger.  And no, he didn't ever go to an MFA program. :)

      •  I'm not part of a MFA program now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nominalize, aggieric

        but I totally disagree with you. There are very few spaces in America today where one can devote themselves to literature for three years without relying on a job. Most MFA students are not post-BA, they have a few years and some experience. They have been writing. What the MFA affords them is MORE time to write, but also to consider writing in larger contexts that are largely missing from much of American cultural life. Gardner's "The Art of Fiction"? A good MFA program will go so far beyond that.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:07:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with upstateNY, but for a different reason (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        , because the other thing top grad programs do - in ANY discipline - is create and nurture networks.

        You are correct that writers need to write, and that some great writers don't have an MFA, but the reality is that there are lots of great writers who either don't get published or end up self-publishing.  We may rail at the negatives of the good ol' boy networks (many of which do include women, these days) but they exist, top grad programs are plugged into them, and can help launch careers.

        :-)

        Who knew? Ignorance isn't bliss after all; it's only simple-minded certitude!

        by aggieric on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 07:18:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Big school vs. small school thing? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    Coe's easily small enough that their finaid office actually has a chance to learn their applicants' individual circumstances and make judgments accordingly.

    A big school like basically all of the prestigious NY colleges is unlikely to have that luxury, and likely to have quite rigid standing procedures in their finaid offices.

    Also, the recession hurt college endowments along with the rest of us. It seems to me quite likely that it also reduced the rate at which colleges receive donations. Combine that with a significant increase in need, and the result is squeezed finaid resources. Schools that operate need-blind/meet-the-need policies have little room left to provide extra aid.

    It's not necessarily fair to blame the colleges. We have a system that says you gotta pay to get in, and offers little assistance to the middle class (and, really, inadequate assistance to the poor).

    Have you investigated the Fedeal Parent Plus loan program? They require no collateral and the credit check is minimal.

  •  the most enticing thing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    Would be to earn a diploma while taking on no or minimal debt -- at least for most people.

    Few people actually work in the area that they studied in college and one must weigh the marketability of a college degree against it's earning potential.

    Back in the 1970s, when I went to college, tuition wasn't that high -- I could pay for it with part-time work -- and I had the luxury to choose a major that appealled to my creative side.

    Today, many students (and parents) will face 20 or 30 years of crushing debt to finance a college education.   One must consider this when making a decision.

    Bear in mind that, unlike the 1970s and 1980s, when student loans were "good" (i.e., fair) loans, today student loans (i.e., parent loans, private loans) are as bad as credit card or pay-day loan debt -- thanks to deregulation.

    Kids don't think about money -- and they don't understand how crushing debt can be.  ALL schools expolit this -- and the aid offices push loans from companies including Wells Fargo (the worst of the worst) without a thought to whether the loan product is good or manageable.

    Colleges are not benevolent -- they want money -- tons of it -- and they expect us to spend our lifetimes to pay for it.

    Beware!

  •  similar situation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kevin k, texasmom, TheFatLadySings

    in the 1990's ;

    you and your daughter will be a whole lot happier and stable if you don't go for the IVY League personal loans.... following the teaser $26K scholarship;

    she will be better off without a huge debt burden after college;

    that's my 2cents

    There’s nothing courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill. ~ President Obama

    by anyname on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:14:19 AM PDT

    •  Right about the "teaser" word (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anyname, TheFatLadySings

      ... because there is no guarantee that they will do another "scholarship" next year.

      To me, to offer a scholarship that leaves so much unpaid is kind of a scam -- particularly when in the original notification the college didn't even reveal the additional money needed to attend!

      I know my tone on colleges and universities is negative here -- however they are as bad as the health industry when it comes to pushing prices up.

      Oh -- and student loan debt is not cleared with bankruptcy -- "the gift that keeps on giving".

  •  Imagine this diary hits home to many here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    texasmom, TheFatLadySings

    here....my family included. If I had the writing talent and skill that you possess, I could have written this diary myself. So I thank you for doing it.

    Same situation, same same same...except for minor differences in state and PES.

    Our in state public university aggressively pursued our son. After the initial acceptance letter, it appeared that every week brought a new enticement or financial reward, a 4 year recurring merit scholarship, a new community service scholarship, a guaranteed paid internship offer, a new telephone call or email from admission staff discussing honors program benefits and what it would mean for him, an invitation for a reception for said top scholars considering this state university with all the university tops...chancellor, deans, honors programs staff, etc all in attendance ...big whigs whose speeches were filled with words such as, "you're the top students we want here""...etc...we want you" " You're the cream of the crop".
    Very flattering to be so wanted.

    But the bottom line was always going to be the money .. So said offspring finally committed after much consideration (and some minor input and support that we would support his decision) this past week to commit to the public state university and will be pursuing a health related professional degree ...with an option for 5th year masters...and the cost will be manageable even with said son taking out a small loan each year to cover part of the cost of room and board.

    As others above has stated, it will be what he makes of it, and I'm hoping that he will not come out of it unduly burdened financially. I am hoping that the intensity in which they have enticed and pursued him, is sincere and they will continue to bolster his confidence and drive. We support his decision...he's got quite a level pragmatic head on his shoulder and has really thought this all the way through, initiating phone calls and communication with appropriate college staff all on his own. We are very lucky and proud of him.

    I wish you the best....and have a feeling these things all happen for a reason.

    Good luck, I believe you're making a wise decision.

    "When will the American teachers follow the lead of Wall Street and start making some sacrifices for the children"..Jon Stewart

    by emal on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:28:01 AM PDT

    •  Heh - you are right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, TheFatLadySings

      about things happening for a reason.   Our youngest met his most wonderful wife at the college that started out 3rd or 4th on his list.  Everything just fell into place financially and he really clicked with the department head on two visits.

      Come to think about it, I met my husband of 30+ years at a university that was not my first choice, either.  Met my best female friend there, too.  

      [disclaimer - I am not saying women go to college to find a spouse, best friend, etc.]

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:55:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  as long as he keeps his grades up :) n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emal, TheFatLadySings, texasmom
      •  Personal responsibility (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings, texasmom

        How right you are...he understands that scholarship and paid internship have criteria he must sustain to keep them...and yes maintaining a 3.0 is a part of it.

        That said,he fully understands he's been given a great opportunity and it is up to him to take advantage of and fly with it. He's certainly motivated..he's certainly aware of the consequences.  It's all in his hands...all we as his parents can do is hope that he continues to make wise choices at this point and seeks out support if needed.

        "When will the American teachers follow the lead of Wall Street and start making some sacrifices for the children"..Jon Stewart

        by emal on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 03:02:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Since this seems to be a creative writing (0+ / 0-)

    experiment rather than a piece of journalism, originally published in a place called Personal Storytellers  and no names of the the "prestigeous" Eastern school are mentioned, it makes me question exactly how much of this creative writing exercise is truth, and how much is fiction.  And how does a rant on exploitation of the middle class by organized elite higher education suddenly take an unwarranted metaphysical turn to reference a wartime poem that was originally adopted by the aviation community.  Where was the contextual jump that made any sense at the end.  Another creative writing experiment gone bad.

    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

    by MrJersey on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:38:10 AM PDT

    •  Whoa there, Jersey... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      I started this group, not as a creative writing exercise, but as a place where kossacks can get to know one another better through sharing true personal stories. We take each others' word here, and we respect the words of one another, because it can take great courage sometimes to tell personal stories. As such, it comes as no great surprise that some details may be left out of some stories. Some people may want to tell a story for our group, but not a full accounting for the sake of anonymity. Just keep that in mind from now on.

      Breathe. If you can, you ain't dead yet.

      by Socratic Method on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 08:22:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I assure you the story is true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Socratic Method

      All of my diaries are "creative writing exercises" in that I like to write about what I know best...my own life. I don't write fiction.

      I explained above that I did not name the specific PES because my purpose in writing was not to embarrass specific individuals. It was to talk about my experience as a Mom trying to get her daughter into college.

      The poem is not about war although it was written in wartime. It's a poem about soaring through the sky. The diary was about soaring (or not).

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:14:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I guess it depends on what you consider 'top (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kevin k, TheFatLadySings

    colleges.' I'm the product of the public school system in the country - K-12, undergrad, Master's, and Ph.D. I went to 12 public school districts from FL to WA as a kid. One of the major lessons I learned was the educational experience is what you make of it. I don't for a minute regret going to a Big 10 university for undergrad, an SEC university for my Master's, and an ACC university for my Ph.D. I think going to these incredible, state-supported institutions had a profound effect on my views on life in general and greatly increased my tolerance for people from different walks of life. There's something to be said for having to learn to navigate among 50,000+ students.  

    It sounds like the school in Iowa really wants your daughter to attend their program. That's not something that should be easily dismissed.

  •  one word answer: yes . nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Socratic Method, TheFatLadySings

    witness the GOPranos...rethugs....Paul Wolfowitz: "If they fuck with me or Shaha, I have enough on them to fuck them too."

    by change the Be on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:09:14 AM PDT

  •  State School (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Socratic Method, TheFatLadySings

    Maybe not cheap anymore, but you can still get a fine education for about half.  

  •  Some Points (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Socratic Method, TheFatLadySings

    Myself and my wife went to a top eastern university in the mid 70's.  Our daughters (who were both high school valedictorians) were either not accepted at the top eastern universities or were given so little money that went to other universiteis like the one you are considering.  One went to Trinity in San Antonio.  She got a twelve thousand dollar a year scholarship and it was $5,000 less a year to begin with.  She was Phi Beta Kappa and is now enconsed in a high paying job.  We could have financed her education completely with student and parent loans.  We did some of that.  These are really non-qualifying loand and they don't require any collateral.  Our younger daughter went to the University of Puget Sound and also got an academic scholarship.  Again student and parent loans.

    These loans are easily obtainable, over the internet.  Go to the Sallie Mae site.  We used these loans mainly to bridge over the down times in the stock market, paying them off when our stocks started to rise again.  But if you have to have them for real, then you should know that they are payable on very reasonable terms.  Only drawback is that they are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, so they will have to be paid back.

    My second daughter decided to go to grad school.  From University of Puget Sound she was admitted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Duke.  Amazingly, its one of the "cheaper" DPT schools in the country.  She's on her own for paying for this, so she took out loans.  They loaned her the entire amount of the estimated cost of attendance ($51,000 per year).  She was able to make it on just over $40,000 per year for her first year.  That means that she had $10,000 in loans she didn't use.  So, another point is that the cost of attendance can be inflated and you can do it on less.

    Don't lose hope.  I'm prejudiced, but I think these educations at the high priced schools are worth it.  35 years after graduation, when I tell people where I went to college, it's instant credibility.  That's worth a lot.  However, my daughters both chose (or had chosen for them) a different course.  They both did very well and both will earn good livings throughout their lives.

    •  Yes, my daughter was also accepted to (0+ / 0-)

      Puget Sound but I'm simply worn out from trying to negotiate with financial aid offices.  Looking at schools it appears that Coe is the better school for the kind of writing she wants to do. It is also more affordable.

      My daughter loves the idea of being in Washington and the campus looks beautiful but its quite expensive to get back and forth. My Dad used to live in Seattle.

      I've truly reached a point of negotiation burn out. I suppose I should call and investigate. Sigh.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:37:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  PS. Not the Dad I wrote about above. My (0+ / 0-)

      family is quite complicated which makes it look fake to some people. I have a step-Dad whom I knew growing up and a father whom I met when I was a senior in high school.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:39:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •   I went to a school listed on the top 10 most (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    expensive.  The only way to afford it was to be really poor or really rich.  My house senior year had five people, three who paid the full ride and two who received massive financial aid that made it cheaper than going to good old state.  I have loans, but it is not that bad, and I had a great time on a deep discount, but not everyone could be as poor as I was.

    When I have a kid at that age, I expect the system to be unrecognizable today, but I would encourage them to go to Big State for financial reasons, but also it is a great great school.

    What would Bulworth do?

    by Progrocks on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 11:32:33 AM PDT

  •  Next year, your daughter will be a part (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, TheFatLadySings

    of history (as all Iowans are every four years) as she gets to be ground zero for the presidential campaign.  She'll have an opportunity to meet candidates directly, work on campaigns and do many things that will be an experience that she would never get in New York.

    That's something positive, and you can have her practice her writing skills here on DKos.

      •  More interesting fodder than the Dems (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollyusa

        would have had.  She can practice her critical thinking, her ability to come up with clever bumper stickers or signs to wave at passing candidates, her creativity in figuring out ways to get to microphones or other places where she can actually pose questions to these people, and she can practice her public speaking ability as her thoughtful questions are picked up and posted to the networks, YouTube and DKos.

        I think even Barack will come to Iowa a time or two - he will be campaigning for himself and for the Dems - it wouldn't do to diss Iowa and give the Republicans a lever to try and pry another state away from him.

    •  Great idea. She could have a wonderful (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      time lampooning them.

      Maybe one of them will be SAVED. Will it be the guy who didn't invent the Massachusetts Plan? The Combover? Wolf-Shooting Barbie? Neo-Nazi Barbie? Second Amendment Option Barbie? Newt "Three Wives" Gingrich? Or that Governor Whose Name Nobody Can Remember?

      Do they suddenly become Muslim once they're SAVED?

      How will they know now that airports are not on orange alert?

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:48:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In this day and age education beyond High School (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    is as necessary as High School itself was 60 years ago.

    Therefore it should be available as a tax supported right for everyone who wants to exercise it.

    Otherwise we are simply creating and perpetuating an Aristocracy.

    Even worse we are perpetrating an egregious con on today's parents and their children.

    They are basically being told that they have to mortgage their homes and their retirement as well as let their children start life with a mountain of debt that they can never pay off just to have a smell of what success might really be like.

    We have become a nation that lives only by preying on the poorest among us.

    That always ends badly as recent events should be making indelibly clear.

  •  No, but you can see Iowa City from there... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings
    Is Cedar Rapids really the social equivalent of Purgatory?

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:15:48 PM PDT

  •  Why have school costs risen so rapidly? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    I wrote a diary about this a long while ago:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    I hope this isn't considered diary pimping, this was so long ago and I don't want people to think this is what I'm doing, but a lot posts are referencing how colleges are attempting to price out poorer students. This isn't the case when we're considering private schools since the cost rises relate to maintaining scholarship levels for poor students. At public schools, the rise is associated with reductions in public funding.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:47:36 PM PDT

    •  Please, pimp away! I thought your (0+ / 0-)

      explanation upthread of why the middle class are getting priced out of the market was the most cogent thing I've heard. You have a lot to say. I hope you'll write more diaries.

      I'm all for bringing back GI Bills, loan forgiveness in exchange for public service and government grants.  That's what made our schools so good.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:53:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Short answer YES (3+ / 0-)

    We are right there with you. Our son's been accepted to an excellent school. In the top 10 Liberal Arts colleges in the nation. We love the school, the opportunities for research and work with great professors, a great alumni network for post graduate work and employment. And NO merit money. He's been offered merit money at every other school except one where he's waitlisted.

    We make too much money to qualify for need based aid and not enough to just write a check. We planned for his education but like so many others, not nearly enough.

    So we're stuck hard in the middle. We've met students who will get a full ride and good for them because like my son, they got in on the strength of their academic performance, and we've met students who come from real wealth who again, good for them, have the academic strength...and then there those like us who will have to take out sizeable loans.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 12:57:31 PM PDT

    •  And that is such a very hard place to be. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vita Brevis

      I am not against loans. I just think they shouldn't be so huge that they can never be repaid.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 09:54:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep. Your diary was SO (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        timely because we're making our final visit and deciding next week. Like you we're thrilled at our child's academic accomplishments and want to see them flourish in college somewhere that they get to put those skills to work.

        BEST of everything to your daughter and you. She sounds like a wonderful person and that didn't happen w/out you!

        We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

        by Vita Brevis on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 07:09:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I got lucky in college (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Socratic Method, TheFatLadySings

    I was accepted at Cal Tech and Rice U (back in 1987), and Cal Tech offered me pretty much loans only for financial aid.  Rice offered me mostly grants, and their tuition was MUCH lower, so I went there.

    My dad lost his job just before my sophomore year, so I ended up getting nearly a free ride for 2 years, enough grant to cover almost everything including room & board.

    My senior year he found a new job, so I ended up having to finish a semester early, and graduated with a grand total of $700 in school-related loans (and a few thousand in credit card debt).  If I had gone to Cal Tech I probably would have owed nearly $100k.

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:10:12 PM PDT

  •  Your grandmother must have been bats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    Bryn Mawr did not allow sororities! Never did. Not even Phi Beta Kappa was welcome on that campus.

    BMC also had a pretty good financial aid program. Some of my best friends were in it.

    The place was always elitist but not in a posh-social way. For example, it told Richard Nixon to stuff the federal money when he attached a demand to report on students' political activities.

    •  You won't get any argument from me about (0+ / 0-)

      my grandmother saying weird stuff. It's odd because I am apparently the only grandchild she actually offered to put through college. I have no idea why.

      She had all-white furniture with plastic coverings on it and she made the younger grandchildren walk through the hosue with their hands in the air like they were under arrest so they wouldn't get fingerprints on the walls. I spilled a drop of water on the floor and she made me get down on my hands and knees, press my nose to the floor and look at it (after turning on every light in the kitchen). Her floor was so slippery from wax that I fell down the stairs. She bought me an entire wardrobe of white pin-stripey things that looked like 1950s nurses uniforms and ranted on about me being ill-bred. At the time, I thought she couldn't stand me, but now I am beginning to realize she must have actually liked me a lot and wanted to remake me in the image of what she thought a young lady should be. She actually spent an entire day on her bed with me looking through photo albums. I wonder if the sorority thing was a ploy? Maybe she wanted me to live with her. I could never have dealt with four years of sparkling whiteness or insane phone arguments between her and her friend Jasmine about who would have the Phillies over for dinner first this season. I wonder if she regretted treating my mother so heinously and was trying to make up for it. Maybe she regretted the fact that my Mom ran away before I was born and she never got to know me.

      It makes me kind of sad.  I've hated her all these years. She seemed like such an angry, vitriolic, controlling, malevolent person, but really maybe she was just sad.

      Well, I'm glad to hear that Bryn Mawr is not what I thought it was from her presentation. I probably would have liked the place. But I'm glad I got to go to St. John's on the scholarship I earned.

      She must have felt terribly rejected. I was definitely too young to understand.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:12:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Your daughter's experience is almost identical to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Socratic Method, TheFatLadySings

    ours.  She's class valedictorian and could have gone in-state for next to nothing, or out of state to an unknown private college for far less than the college of her dreams.  The college of her dreams costs more than $50k, just like your daughter's, they offer nothing in the way of financial aid, and they have the very same response to our queries:  "just take out high interest loans."

    In the end, we all compromised.  We plan to send our daughter to a community college in the same town as her target school, where she will transfer and complete only the last two years at the astronomical unsympathetic-to-the-middle-class rates.

    I will be very interested in learning what happens to Cassie.  There's got to be a better way in this country.

    College application process:  a highly competitive game in which the winner gets to go broke.  Similar to the ancient Mayan ball game, in which players compete to hit a ball through a 10-foot high vertical hoop using only their hips and the winner is awarded (some believe) the privilege of being sacrificed to the gods.

    •  In case you're still in the process of making that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheFatLadySings

      decision, and you even care what an anonymous person thinks, I would choose to send her in-state for the entirety.

      If it's a private school, it is not a near-certainty that she will either be able to transfer in or that she will be credited with the courses she took.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 02:27:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think your opinion is very valuable. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        upstate NY

        You obviously know a LOT about this topic. As far as I'm concerned, you're the Matriculation Maven.

        Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

        by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:15:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheFatLadySings

          This is really a passion for myself (and almost all my colleagues) because we know great changes are coming, and not for the better. If we could influence the way that university education will continue to be reduced, then we might have a less awful outcome. That doesn't mean costs will go down. In fact, the Pres. of U. cal. was blunt to the graduating class last year. The students that will follow you will pay more for an education that is not at the level that you all have received. That's what he said. This is going to be the future of Higher Ed. in America. (The beancounters will have to make sure we're still attracting the best foreign students in the world who bring a boatload of money).

          In the future, if you want your child to receive the education that you did, he or she will have to be a much better student than you were. I'm not quite sure this is what was intended when the honchos were emphasizing increased competition in higher education.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 06:49:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I was doing some math the other day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Socratic Method, TheFatLadySings

    When I was a student in the 1980's, University of California tuition went from being around $1500 a year to $4,000 a year. Outrageous.

    But even so, still a bargain. Not counting your living expenses, you'd pay $16,000 and you could graduate and expect to get an entry-level job paying in the $30,000 range.

    Today, in-state UC tuition is around $12,000 a year. So, $48k for a four year degree, and you can expect.. to get an entry level job paying in the $35k range. If you're not one of the unlucky 20% unemployed in this age range.

    As you can see, the economics of this have turned over dramatically - from paying half your first year salary for your education to paying one and a half times your first year salary for your education.

    This is a pretty hideous fundamental change.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:55:35 PM PDT

  •  Not on Purpose (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings, pollyusa

    I don't think that the exclusion is done intentionally.
    I used to work at a Private University. Located in Boston.

    I spent over six years working there as a Financial
    Manager. I saw everything coming in and everything
    going out. Trust Me. The amount of money required to
    run a major University defies the Imagination.

    Running a University is just like running a City. And you
    have all the problems a City has. That includes a lot of
    Old Infrastructure that needs CONSTANT Repairs.

    When the Market crashed, A whole Lot of College and
    University Endowments got Wacked just like everyone
    Else. Mom and Dad lost Thousands. The Universities lost
    Millions.

    Like I said Before, I don't think that any of this is being
    done intentionally.  They are stuck between a Rock and
    a Hard Place. I Know. I Used to Work There. That Rock
    is a Lot larger than you think it is.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 01:55:41 PM PDT

  •  Why can't your daughter take student (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    loans if she really wants to go that school? I had to take student loans to afford college and graduate school. Why can't she also get a campus job to help support her? That way the loans you'd have to take out as a parent would probably be smaller--and more manageable.

    •  Loans and work were part of the (0+ / 0-)

      $26,000 package. There is no way I'm going to let her take out $32,000 for her first year. Or anything like that.

      Let America be America Again - Langston Hughes Rick Santorum

      by TheFatLadySings on Thu Apr 21, 2011 at 10:18:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another thought also came to mind, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TheFatLadySings

        though you are likely not to like it. And she, in fact, may not like it either. She could always join ROTC and have them pay for her school, though she'd have to serve in the military afterward. Not everyone is fit for the military and she may not want to do that, but it is something you might want to consider.

        When I was in college, due to the dire circumstance I found myself in my freshman years, I almost considered it. But I realized I wouldn't do well in the military and borrowed money instead.

  •  Also aren't there scholarships on sites (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    like Fastweb where she can apply to get to get scholarships?

    One other thing. I would not compromise your retirement funds to pay for her school. You have to take care of your retirement.

  •  I am sorry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheFatLadySings

    I went to state school. A jc to get all you can cheaper, then state school.  I will leave my opinion at that.

    Ivy League Schools, lower their tuition for those in need. Many lower it to what a state school would charge.

    I am sorry to sound heartless, but right now I am struggling to find the tuition money to go back and get a certificate at a JC.

    Anyway.

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