The cost of college

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Apr 22, 2018
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I'm the product of an undergraduate and graduate state school education. In 1996 my state school tuition was $3k per semester and even with books let's say $8K per year or $32k for 4 years. I went to dental school at a state school where 3 out 4 years were in-state at $25K per year with housing and living expenses. My total education expenses for 11 years of higher education were $160k which is a deal these days. We are starting to look at schools with my oldest and the current costs are:

State School - UMass is $35K per year or $140K per 4 years or $420k for three kids.

Private University - We did a tour of Providence college today which is $75K per year or $300K per 4 years or $900K for three kids.

State schools have gone up 5x in 22 years. My wife went to Trinity College in Hartford CT and graduated in 1996 and it was $40K per year meaning private schools have increased 2x in 22 years.

Where does it end?
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
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It’s ridiculous! College expenses have really gotten out of hand IMO.

We’ve managed to navigate ISU for our youngest one with off campus living and no meal plan. That makes a huge difference. Boy we learned a lot after our oldest sons first year at ISU.

Just my $0.02
 
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A Barrier Island
In Illinois where I went the state schools waived tuition for active-duty service during the VN War period. I also used the GI bill, so I basically got a free ride. I did pay for my son's four years at a North Carolina state school. Unless the student is in mostly STEM classes college is not worth the return today. Imagine paying for a child's education in a discipline ending with 'studies'. No thank you.
 
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Jun 8, 2022
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I have two kids currently at a in state school. Total all in if your paying for everything - dorm, meal plan, etc - is $15K per semester - so presumably $120K for 4 year undergrad if you finish in 4. Fortunately both my kids had great grades and maintain them, so there on scholarship for about 1/3 and I make them take the federal unsubsidized loan (all were eligible for) which is like $2500 per semester, so I write the check for half approximately.

Friend of mine borrowed $100K private loan to pay for his kids to go to school - he didn't save up for it ahead of time.

My wife and I both work hard and make good money, and both grew up poor so spend basically nothing. I have no idea how some families pay for it - loans I guess?
 
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there is the high cost, driven by subsidized loans and unchecked administrative overhead, and the relative “worth” of what actually is taught, to cause concern. large educational debt is a trap.

if my kids were graduating from high school these days i would think long and hard about a lockstep march into college. community college, armed forces, apprenticeship, vocational training, a job with some learning or promotion potential, rotc, all yes.

if and when marching straight from high school into a four-year college education then it should be well-defined and unwoke. college shouldn’t be play-time, with four years morphing into six. no spring break vacations until out and working. if worried that some time away from a lockstep march “prevents” a kid’s later college “success” i argue that kid shouldn’t go to college at all.

what to study? science, agriculture, mathematics, engineering, hard language, management… if humanities then make it classically rigorous, and be prepared to swallow hard and take on a tough job-with a mapped-out future-afterwards.
 
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there is the high cost, driven by subsidized loans and unchecked administrative overhead, and the relative “worth” of what actually is taught.

if my kids were graduating from high school these days i would think long and hard about a lockstep march into college, and i had saved sufficient money for their further education.

community college, armed forces, apprenticeship, vocational training, a job with some learning or promotion potential, all yes. if and when marching straight from high school into a four-year college education then it would be well-defined and unwoke. college shouldn’t be play-time, with four years morphing into six. if some time away from a lockstep march “prevents” a kid’s later college “success” i argue that kid shouldn’t go to college at all.

what to study? science, agriculture, mathematics, engineering, hard language, management… if humanities then make it classically rigorous, and be prepared to swallow hard and take on a tough job with a future afterwards.

finally, no spring break vacations until out and earning one’s own way!


The advantage of your idea is the exposure to the real world while they work to achieve their goal.
 
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Oct 10, 2021
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Iowa
Trade schools are a pretty good bargain these days.

Half a brain and no schooling needed. Many businesses have apprenticeships. Plumbers, electricians, HVAC, etc.
Just have a good work ethic and they will train you. Few years into the job and you can make some fairly good $.

Not DR. $ for sure, however you can make a decent living.
 
Joined
Jun 8, 2022
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there is the high cost, driven by subsidized loans and unchecked administrative overhead, and the relative “worth” of what actually is taught, to cause concern. large educational debt is a trap.

if my kids were graduating from high school these days i would think long and hard about a lockstep march into college. community college, armed forces, apprenticeship, vocational training, a job with some learning or promotion potential, rotc, all yes.

if and when marching straight from high school into a four-year college education then it should be well-defined and unwoke. college shouldn’t be play-time, with four years morphing into six. no spring break vacations until out and working. if worried that some time away from a lockstep march “prevents” a kid’s later college “success” i argue that kid shouldn’t go to college at all.

what to study? science, agriculture, mathematics, engineering, hard language, management… if humanities then make it classically rigorous, and be prepared to swallow hard and take on a tough job-with a mapped-out future-afterwards.
My wife is a high school teacher in the public school system. My kids went through the same district. They push kids to go to college - 2 or 4 year doesn't matter. The schools are scored / ranked based not only on graduation but number of kids that go to college. Its why we have too many unemployed English majors and not enough electricians.

I told my kids if they worked hard and got good grades I would pay, but they had to take something that had defined list of potential careers for which the degree was required. The both chose Stem on their own but I would have been fine as well with business, accounting, etc.
 

Astro14

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Let‘s PM on this one, Doc. I’ve put six kids through college. Some went to the most expensive schools. Some went to state schools. One medical school education complete. One to go.

I’m happy to talk and share details, but don’t want to do so publicly.
 
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Kansas, USA
It took a while but work paid for my bachelors. I don't think I paid even $200 out of pocket. Don't know if it was wise but I told my boys you don't have to rush to get a degree. Find a job and work on it as you go. I found most of classes to be more meaningful being able to relate to the real world. Understandably this won't apply to some degrees.
 
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Dec 30, 2006
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Dallas,Tx USA
there is the high cost, driven by subsidized loans and unchecked administrative overhead, and the relative “worth” of what actually is taught, to cause concern. large educational debt is a trap.

if my kids were graduating from high school these days i would think long and hard about a lockstep march into college. community college, armed forces, apprenticeship, vocational training, a job with some learning or promotion potential, rotc, all yes.

if and when marching straight from high school into a four-year college education then it should be well-defined and unwoke. college shouldn’t be play-time, with four years morphing into six. no spring break vacations until out and working. if worried that some time away from a lockstep march “prevents” a kid’s later college “success” i argue that kid shouldn’t go to college at all.

what to study? science, agriculture, mathematics, engineering, hard language, management… if humanities then make it classically rigorous, and be prepared to swallow hard and take on a tough job-with a mapped-out future-afterwards.
Excellent post! I agree 200%!👍
 
Joined
May 19, 2004
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1,673
Location
Germantown, MD
I'm the product of an undergraduate and graduate state school education. In 1996 my state school tuition was $3k per semester and even with books let's say $8K per year or $32k for 4 years. I went to dental school at a state school where 3 out 4 years were in-state at $25K per year with housing and living expenses. My total education expenses for 11 years of higher education were $160k which is a deal these days. We are starting to look at schools with my oldest and the current costs are:

State School - UMass is $35K per year or $140K per 4 years or $420k for three kids.

Private University - We did a tour of Providence college today which is $75K per year or $300K per 4 years or $900K for three kids.

State schools have gone up 5x in 22 years. My wife went to Trinity College in Hartford CT and graduated in 1996 and it was $40K per year meaning private schools have increased 2x in 22 years.

Where does it end?
Very few people pay the "full" price for college. Those insane prices for places like Providence, or the out of state tuition for a state school, exist so they can charge very wealthy people and foreigners out the *** to subsidize everyone else. I went to Villanova in the late 90s, the full price was about $25k/year but they gave me a 40% "need based" break right off the top. Took the basic Federal loan ($17k total), parents covered the rest which at that point wasn't ridiculous, and we got a massive ROI.

Of course everyone should shop around and consider the student's likelihood of success, cost, and earning potential for their desired degree. My younger brother did the community college then state school route and it was the right thing for him.

Student loans that are made without regard to the potential to repay them are the single greatest contributor to rising college costs. People love to talk about administrators and fancy dorms and student centers with climbing walls etc but it all flows from the supply of money. I can't think of any other loans that are given without regard to credit rating, current income, future income, etc.

jeff
 
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Jul 9, 2008
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British Columbia, Canada
Here are some historic numbers. I started university in 1967 and graduated in 1971 in mechanical engineering.

My total costs for the first year (tuition, books, room and board, and a very little bit of fun) were $1200. My parents paid most of my costs that first year. I had a good summer job after 1st year (hard physical work in a northern bush camp, 60 hour work weeks, but with all found, and nowhere to spend any money) so I saved quite a bit of money. As a result I was able to buy a 3 year old car and paid for my second year of university which had total costs of $1300. After the 2nd year I won a large scholarship that paid $800 a year for the final 2 years and had good jobs both summers. After 4 years of engineering studies I graduated with a good degree, no debts and money in the bank.

To state the obvious, that was quite a different time. The big question has to be why has university gotten so expensive?

Part of it is expectations - I lived in room and board, sharing a bedroom with a friend from my home town for the first 2 years. I couldn't have afforded to stay on campus and I certainly couldn't have afforded an apartment (though I did live in a shared apartment for the final 2 years). I had little time to do anything besides school work for the first 2 years especially and spent very little money - largely because I didn't have any. But tuition and books were also quite inexpensive.
 
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Sep 5, 2021
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The big question has to be why has university gotten so expensive?
Because students loans can't be forgiven when declaring bankruptcy. Colleges are taking advantage and increasing prices since everyone thinks college is naturally the next step after H.S. Most don't realize it's not for all and end up with not so useful degrees if they don't find their calling.
 

PWMDMD

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Apr 22, 2018
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MA
Very few people pay the "full" price for college. Those insane prices for places like Providence, or the out of state tuition for a state school, exist so they can charge very wealthy people and foreigners out the *** to subsidize everyone else. I went to Villanova in the late 90s, the full price was about $25k/year but they gave me a 40% "need based" break right off the top. Took the basic Federal loan ($17k total), parents covered the rest which at that point wasn't ridiculous, and we got a massive ROI.

Of course everyone should shop around and consider the student's likelihood of success, cost, and earning potential for their desired degree. My younger brother did the community college then state school route and it was the right thing for him.

Student loans that are made without regard to the potential to repay them are the single greatest contributor to rising college costs. People love to talk about administrators and fancy dorms and student centers with climbing walls etc but it all flows from the supply of money. I can't think of any other loans that are given without regard to credit rating, current income, future income, etc.

jeff
Yeah...there will be no need-based aid. I make about 6x the US median annual household income. I'm certainly not looking for sympathy there but even being "wealthy" there is still sticker shock based on my own education background. I didn't attend expensive private universities and so even the state school costs seem ridiculously high to me considering I delivered pizzas to put myself through college. My wife who attended a "very expensive private university" has sticker shock because her alma mater is 2.5x what it was 20 years ago and about what state school costs now. My tuition for dental school in the early 2000's was $8500/year for in-state and now it's $37,500/year in-instate or a 4.4x increase in less than 20 years.

I have a bit saved for college but not a $1M dollars saved for all three kids...
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2003
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Hopewell, Virginia, USA
The problem with trades is that few of those businesses offer apprenticeships or on-the-job training to get new hires up to speed. Instead, most expect job applicants to get the training and certification at their own expense before applying for a job.

One example is truck drivers. Only a couple of carriers will subsidize you getting a commercial driver's license, and they spring a requirement that you buy your own road tractor on you after you get that CDL. The other carriers expect you to have your CDL and some driving experience before you can work for them. Similar situations apply for other trades.

In areas such as southeastern Virginia that had widespread apprenticeships in the shipbuilding industry, many of those programs are shells of their former selves. I've heard some even want apprenticeship applicants to have a uni degree (or at least some college) first.

Credentialism is the big problem for job seekers today. The unstated attitude among employers is that an indebted workforce (from student loans or borrowing for training) is a docile workforce.
 
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