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View Full Version : What do you guys think about this student loan debacle?



kevdog
May 13th, 2012, 01:44 PM
At the risk of this thread getting shut down, I'm going to try to keep this non-political.

I'm writing this since a lot of users in this forum are either in school, or have just graduated.

For international users reading this column, there has been a lot of press lately in the US about the extreme cost of college or university, and the debt that the young graduate is saddled with when he/she has graduated. A lot of people worry about strudents potentially defaulting on their loans starting another credit crisis (although here in the US you can't declare bankruptcy to get rid of educational loans).

I graduated from college a long time ago and then went onto advanced schooling. I remember back in 2004 I had debt of over $250K. That's a lot by even today's standards. 8 years later, the debt has been payed off, and I'm onto borrowing for different things, house, car etc.

Given my own individual experience with my loan, I'm very unsympathetic to the "modern" generation complaining about their debt burden. I'm just wondering other people's take on this issue. Particularly anyone that may have dropped out of college due to debt, or anyone having a very hard time paying it back.

whatthefunk
May 13th, 2012, 02:04 PM
What gets me is that people go into debt for degrees that wont actually earn them money. If you accumulate a quarter of a million dollars in debt to get a degree in education that wont pay you more than 40,000 a year, its your own fault and you wont get any sympathy from me. People need to be smarter about going to college. I went to a smaller in-state school and walked out degree in hand without a single cent of debt and have a decent paying job.

Bandit
May 13th, 2012, 02:36 PM
What gets me is that people go into debt for degrees that wont actually earn them money. If you accumulate a quarter of a million dollars in debt to get a degree in education that wont pay you more than 40,000 a year, its your own fault and you wont get any sympathy from me. People need to be smarter about going to college. I went to a smaller in-state school and walked out degree in hand without a single cent of debt and have a decent paying job.

Education degrees dont require the individual to fully pay back the loan. They are asked only to make the min payment for a given peiod of time. 20somethign years I think. Then they goverment absorbs the rest of the payment. This is perk to get teachers into the system.

As far as loans go, how the heck does someone accumulate 250k for college loans? Man I thought I was bad off only needing to pay back 4k.

whatthefunk
May 13th, 2012, 02:52 PM
Education degrees dont require the individual to fully pay back the loan. They are asked only to make the min payment for a given peiod of time. 20somethign years I think. Then they goverment absorbs the rest of the payment. This is perk to get teachers into the system.

As far as loans go, how the heck does someone accumulate 250k for college loans? Man I thought I was bad off only needing to pay back 4k.

I was just using that as an example off the top of my head... You know what I mean I think. Even for a doctor to accumulate $250 dollars in debt is ridiculous and they get paid well enough to pay it off.

flemur13013
May 13th, 2012, 03:17 PM
College costs have been increasing far faster than inflation; it's the inevitable result of government subsidies and their distortion of free markets. I'm lucky I was done with that stuff 30+ years ago because college is literally about 5-10 times as expensive now as it was then, in constant dollars, depending on the field.

whatthefunk
May 13th, 2012, 03:31 PM
College costs have been increasing far faster than inflation; it's the inevitable result of government subsidies and their distortion of free markets. I'm lucky I was done with that stuff 30+ years ago because college is literally about 5-10 times as expensive now as it was then, in constant dollars, depending on the field.

Government subsidies arent the only thing making college costs go up. Free market competition is just as much to blame.

mips
May 13th, 2012, 04:53 PM
It scares me when I read about the debt of US students. How do you pay back $250k as a graduate? Is that $250k at the extreme end of the scale and not the norm?

I'm fortunate in that my parents paid for all my studies and it was not that expensive back then although still hard on them. The scary thing these days is that grade 1-12 schooling can be more expensive than university depending on where you sent the little ones.

Studying abroad could also be a cheaper alternative. I know some people from here studying medicine at a top Chinese university because they cannot gain entry locally and it's cheaper over there.

kevdog
May 13th, 2012, 05:21 PM
I'm asking because a lot of the news sources (I won't quote sources here although a google news search will turn up plenty), write about students going to small liberal arts schools I've never heard about amassing $100-$150K in debt routinely. I'm not sure if this is actually the case or if the news stories are taking extraordinary examples and making it seem like the norm.

As someone mentioned above -- a little common sense is in order. If you are going to amass a lot of debt but major in a field with job prospects that do not pay a lot -- I hold the student responsible for the bad decision.

Bandit
May 13th, 2012, 05:24 PM
I was just using that as an example off the top of my head... You know what I mean I think. Even for a doctor to accumulate $250 dollars in debt is ridiculous and they get paid well enough to pay it off.

All good, 250k in debt is still OMG high though. Guess I need to re lookup the cost for a phd for doctors. That amount of debt is just not practical. I was thinking a PHD here in the US was on high end 75k. But seems things have skyrocketed completely to mars.


IMHO, and this is MY OPINION and you all can take it with a grain of salt. 4 year college should be free to anyone who served 4 years in the military. And for the most part it is through Montgomery GI Bill. Its about 1473 USD for 36 months. Or $53,028 USD which you get to pay for your tuition and live on for those 36 months. Which means if you want a 4 year degree you have to hustle and take summer classes or find a summer job in between. This you dont have to pay a red penny back to the government. Its an investment load of a sorts, you pay $100 a month for 12 months, then when you get out in 4 years your 1,200 dollar investment leads to 53,028 as of Oct 1, 2011.

This just leaves you with 6 to 8 years of college left to pay for, now here is were I think the GI bill needs changed. For every year extra you spend in the military past your 4 year mark. They should let the service member pay in an additional 100 a month and amend an additional 9 months of GI Benefits for each additional year up to 8 years of service.

IMHO, this want eliminate loans by a long shot, but will drastically cut the amount down for those willing to sacrifice going to college so early in life.

Bandit
May 13th, 2012, 05:28 PM
It scares me when I read about the debt of US students. How do you pay back $250k as a graduate? Is that $250k at the extreme end of the scale and not the norm?

I'm fortunate in that my parents paid for all my studies and it was not that expensive back then although still hard on them. The scary thing these days is that grade 1-12 schooling can be more expensive than university depending on where you sent the little ones.

Studying abroad could also be a cheaper alternative. I know some people from here studying medicine at a top Chinese university because they cannot gain entry locally and it's cheaper over there.

You mention this, my wife and I are making plans to move out of the states by next year and move to the Philippines where she is from. We can send our daughter to the most prestige private school in that area for only 800 USD a year and 4 year private college there cost 1/3rd of what a 2 year community college would here in Mississippi.

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 05:42 PM
I would agree with flemur13013, but not with whatthefunk on this one.

Oh, and let's get one thing very clear here, right up front: you cannot honestly or accurately discuss this subject without at least admitting to some degree of politics, because that's essentially what's gotten us into this mess in the first place. However, to simply say "It's all the Democrat's [or Republican's] fault" is to equally well be dishonest and overly simplistic, UF's "no political discussion" rule notwithstanding. The whole problem is far more complicated than that.

While this has been an on-going problem for a long time, the whole "entitlement society" problem, which in my opinion is largely at the crux of this, got its start properly in the 1960s, and President Johnson's policies known collectively as the "great society" helped fuel it. Where I'm going with this simply is to say both the people and politicians of many stripes for reasons of political expediency have supported the government subsidies which have inflated costs of education, starting sometime in the 1970s, but really getting worse in the 1980s and into the 1990s.

And by the 1990s especially, we started seeing large numbers of companies saying you can't have certain ranges of jobs without a college degree. This has now expanded to the point where only the lowest of entry-level jobs are available without a college degree, regardless of whether a person truly "needs" a degree to do the work associated with it or not. This is also another form of (not necessarily "political" per-se) distortion, and has again helped artificially push prices up.

Free market competition drives prices down, whatthefunk, not up. It's the absence of a true "free market" in the education industry which drives prices up.

Besides, while on the face of it, whatthefunk's "don't get a degree in something that won't pay for the degree" advice sounds good, it also leads to another form of distortion in our society. Consider…

So, let's assume for the sake of argument that degrees in political science, in history, in biology, in art, in education, maybe even in nursing don't pay for themselves, but degrees in law, medicine (doctors), and medical surgery (surgeons) do, and most everyone follows whatthefunk's advice. Now, understand, I'm not meaning to pick on you, even as much as this post might seem to suggest the opposite; I just want you and everyone else to think objectively about this. So, if everyone follows whatthefunk's advice, we'll wind up with a society where we have nearly no teachers, people savvy in politics, knowledgable in history, much of the sciences, or medical support roles, but we'll have tons of surgeons, doctors, and lawyers. (Incidentally, I didn't write this with the deliberate intent in mind to talk about the U.S.'s present situation, but doesn't what I'm describing sound just a bit too familiar?)

The short version of our problems -- and this I'm writing also for non-U.S. citizens to help them understand -- revolves around power grabs and empire building by "the folks in charge", and by that I really am talking largely about politicians, but also the unelected government officials, who desire power too greatly and value civic responsibility too lightly. Again, I'm in no way trying to point fingers at only one group or another, but to say it's complicated here in the U.S. because of so many individuals and groups who have their fingers "in the pot" so to speak, and with a great many expecting a hand-out or feeling entitled or simply craving power.

Bandit
May 13th, 2012, 05:46 PM
..........

The short version of our problems -- and this I'm writing also for non-U.S. citizens to help them understand -- revolves around power grabs and empire building by "the folks in charge", and by that I really am talking largely about politicians, but also the unelected government officials, who desire power too greatly and value civic responsibility too lightly. Again, I'm in no way trying to point fingers at only one group or another, but to say it's complicated here in the U.S. because of so many individuals and groups who have their fingers "in the pot" so to speak, and with a great many expecting a hand-out or feeling entitled or simply craving power.

I agree.

Carborundum
May 13th, 2012, 06:05 PM
It's times like these I'm happy I live in Scandinavia. :)

Don't get me wrong, having the highest taxes in the world isn't always great, but as a university student I can't complain about the free education (I'm sure I will in a few years when I'm working though).

nathan.the.sane
May 13th, 2012, 06:37 PM
Besides, while on the face of it, whatthefunk's "don't get a degree in something that won't pay for the degree" advice sounds good, it also leads to another form of distortion in our society. Consider…

So, let's assume for the sake of argument that degrees in political science, in history, in biology, in art, in education, maybe even in nursing don't pay for themselves, but degrees in law, medicine (doctors), and medical surgery (surgeons) do, and most everyone follows whatthefunk's advice. Now, understand, I'm not meaning to pick on you, even as much as this post might seem to suggest the opposite; I just want you and everyone else to think objectively about this. So, if everyone follows whatthefunk's advice, we'll wind up with a society where we have nearly no teachers, people savvy in politics, knowledgable in history, much of the sciences, or medical support roles, but we'll have tons of surgeons, doctors, and lawyers. (Incidentally, I didn't write this with the deliberate intent in mind to talk about the U.S.'s present situation, but doesn't what I'm describing sound just a bit too familiar?)


I think you make a lot of good points, but I disagree that following whatthefunk's advice will lead to a dearth of people knowledgeable in the subjects you mention, for the simple reason that having a degree is not a prerequisite for gaining that knowledge. For example, I'm a math/computer science major, but I could hold my own in a discussion of 20th century literature, medieval philosophy or the history of Rome with people who have degrees in those areas because I'm fairly widely read. And if I run into something I'm not familiar with I can go read whatever books there are on the subject provided I'm actually interested enough in the topic to put in the necessary time.
Basically, I think it's a good thing that surgeons, doctors and lawyers are the ones predominantly coming out of the universities, precisely because those are the subjects which I couldn't become competent in just through going to the library. That the lawyers are going into ridiculous copyright-infringement cases and patent wars is a fault with other parts of our society, not the academic system.

I don't think we need Real Estate, Global Studies ("prepares students to succeed in the global environment". WTF?), or Marketing majors. That might be the height of arrogance, but there it is.

cprofitt
May 13th, 2012, 06:51 PM
All good, 250k in debt is still OMG high though. Guess I need to re lookup the cost for a phd for doctors. That amount of debt is just not practical. I was thinking a PHD here in the US was on high end 75k. But seems things have skyrocketed completely to mars.

Not so sure about that for private schools.

Many schools seem to cost about 42K a year for room and board at the undergrad level. Then when you get to the graduate level its about 44K a year.
link (http://www.rit.edu/studentaffairs/ritpedia/wiki/Tuition)

If that process takes you 6 years (4+2) that would be 256K.

Sure if you are only getting an undergrad degree it would only be 168K, but that is still huge.. my cost for 4 years of school was about 32K. Now, I went to a state school... but that same state school now costs roughly 20K a year... so today it costs 48K more to go to school.

The real question is if that education pays for itself in ten years or not. I would argue that if it does not then it is over priced.

Bandit
May 13th, 2012, 06:55 PM
....

The real question is if that education pays for itself in ten years or not. I would argue that if it does not then it is over priced.

Yea I agree. Any investment that takes longer then 10 years to pay for is overkill.

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 07:12 PM
I'm going to make up an analogy to try and explain this better.

University A decides to charge students $250k/year for its various degrees. Proximate to this college are universities B, C, D, E, and F, all of which charge an average of $20k/year for their degrees.

What *should* happen is: University A should totally be allowed to charge whatever it wants for a degree. After all, who has the right to disallow anyone -- individual and institution alike -- from trying to go after what they want? However, the forces of market competition should effectively and far more naturally force the prices that A charges down significantly, else they will fail and go out of business.

What actually *does* happen is: University A charges $250k/year, some groups out there decry this as profiteering and want laws passed to limit what's legally allowable. Other groups say it's unfair that some people "get" to be able to go to University A because of the accident of birth, and everyone should be equally capable of going to University A because they're just as entitled as those "rich kids". How dare we discriminate, and so forth. So, pressures are put on society, which eventually involves the government and both well-meaning politicians and those who want to win re-election, and so subsidies are created to allow the "disadvantaged" to attend. So now we're propping up A's business model through the government.

But then, B - F decide to get in on the act, and so they start charging more. After all, why not cash in on a larger (rather than smaller) pool of money? It's just going to go somewhere else, or go to waste, so grab as much as you can. And suddenly, we find that B - F charge, say, $50k/year or even $75k/year or possibly $150k/year.

Mind you, the "real" value of the courses being taught is probably $5k/year - $10k/year, but never mind that. There's money to be made, or on the other side there's evil greedy educational businesses to be constrained, controlled, and taught a lesson to.

And when someone (such as flemur13013 or myself) comes along and says "Government is the problem because of the distortion!" everyone else just shouts us down because they think they need Government -- which is fundamentally causing the problems in the first place -- to help beat the evildoers down, and how ignorant are we for wanting less government in the face of these evil corporations screwing the public and discriminating.

*That* is the truth. That is what goes on out there, and not just in education, either. ;)

rai4shu2
May 13th, 2012, 07:21 PM
I think this is appropriate:

Every Major's Terrible (http://xkcd.org/1052/)

mips
May 13th, 2012, 07:23 PM
Many schools seem to cost about 42K a year for room and board at the undergrad level. Then when you get to the graduate level its about 44K a year.

If that process takes you 6 years (4+2) that would be 256K.


Why such a long process, why this thing about undergrad + grad degrees? I don't understand the US system in all honesty hence me asking.

I just read the following which is for doctors http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undergraduate_degree#North_America

Many countries offer bachelors degrees that are equivalent to American graduate degrees, for example the M.D. degree offered in the U.S. is equivalent to the MBBS or MBChB degree.

I've read things that say if you want to become a lawyer you first do a normal degree (whatever that means) and once completed you enrol at 'law school' for your law degree. How much of the first degree is actually relevant to the field of law as I get the impression a lot of it is wasted (humanities, history etc etc) and more aimed at making you a 'well rounded' individual. Over here you can do a 3yr BA or BCom with legal subjects and then do a 2 yr LLB or you can do a straight 4 yr LLB in order to become an attorney or advocate.

Over here most people do a 3 or 4 yr degree (which is internationally recognised and accredited) and if they want to do a honours, masters or higher most do that part time while working. Jobs advertised in the US seem to require graduate degrees but if someone from over here applies their 4 yr B.Eng or B.Sc is good enough after the accreditation is done.

Surely making the process longer is gonna end up costing you more money and get you into the workplace later.

lisati
May 13th, 2012, 07:35 PM
I consider myself fortunate that at the end of my short experience at university, my level of debt was more easily measured in hundreds rather than thousands of dollars.

Although tertiary education (universities etc) has its place, I've probably learnt just as much (if not more) from the school of hard knocks and a dose of life experience.

KiwiNZ
May 13th, 2012, 07:48 PM
One more political post and this thread will be closed

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 07:51 PM
No, mips, you understand the U.S. process surprisingly well, and probably way better than you realize.

All of the very basic, entry-level stuff you take in college (well, not all, but most) is generic and, as you say, is geared to making the student more well-rounded. This would be the Associates-level of classes. And yes, all Associates degrees have some specific kind of title to them, but in reality it's basic and fairly generic stuff. Bachelors starts taking you in a more specific direction, such as medicine or management or computer technology or education or what-have-you, but you're going to be going to college for a minimum of four years to get that far.

Now, if you'll permit me to go on a tangent for a bit, I'd like to add the following. As a result of "good intentions" as well as all the usual empire-building and power grabs, America's education system has, not totally but for the most part, become all about "teaching to the test". For instance, in many states, there are these state-level standardized tests you have to take. The theory is that it keeps the schools accountable and ensures they're all teaching equally well. The problem is that since this is the chief way in which school systems, individual schools, and teachers are judged, they teach to the test to ensure the best possible results and so that they all look good. The end result of this is students who come out of the K-12 process knowing relatively little, who can barely put sentences together (much less string whole sentences or thoughts together on paper), who are highly incompetent in math, and who for most of the rest of their educational process are given minimum exposure because of all the regular evaluative testing that goes on as a part of the bureaucratic overhead required.

These "students" then graduate K-12, go into college (because of course we have this whole mantra of "You have to go to college to get ahead in life" in the U.S.) and, naturally, they are totally unprepared for college. This then forces colleges to dedicate ever-expanding numbers of resources (professional staff, professors, classrooms and buildings, curriculum design, etc.) to remedial coursework to bring the ill-educated (forget about whether they're motivated or not) somewhat up to standard so they can at least pass some basic college classes.

At my school, there are students who are literally in some number of remedial classes for upwards of 2-3 YEARS (yes, you read that right) before they can even *think* of taking many of the normal college classes offered. And, of course, funding suffers because now many of the dollars that would ordinarily be spent on college classes, hiring and retaining professors for those classes, and all manner of resources associated therewith have to be diverted to remedial preparedness educational courses.

The proposed solution for this? Why, we need *more government* !!! Forget that they're causing most of the problems (at a functional, where-the-rubber-meets-the-road, level) and forget the fact that we have *never* pumped more money into our educational system, and forget the fact that there has *never* been more levels of "oversight", than what we presently have. And so the attitude seems to be "Well, the states are all screwing things up, so we need to run things from on-high at the Federal level". They're the ones, starting back in probably the 1950s or 1960s, who have helped to create the mess in the first place!

And the people here -- many of them -- are too unaware of what's really going on, so as the various state education systems start "eliminating" standardized achievement tests as failed policy, the public will cheer, having little to no idea that it's just being kicked further up the road, and thereby even *further* out of their control.

Sorry for the tangent everyone, but this subject is very near and dear to my heart. Besides, at its core, the point of this thread is about the problems going on in our education system, and there seems little point in discussing the matter without actually discussing the whole thing.

EDIT: Sorry, KiwiNZ, it's probably my fault, but as I said above, I'm not trying to bring "politics" in the conventional sense into this discussion. It isn't any one specific group's exclusive fault, and I am opposed to such partisan bickering anyway.

wilee-nilee
May 13th, 2012, 08:15 PM
At the risk of this thread getting shut down, I'm going to try to keep this non-political.

I'm writing this since a lot of users in this forum are either in school, or have just graduated.

For international users reading this column, there has been a lot of press lately in the US about the extreme cost of college or university, and the debt that the young graduate is saddled with when he/she has graduated. A lot of people worry about strudents potentially defaulting on their loans starting another credit crisis (although here in the US you can't declare bankruptcy to get rid of educational loans).

I graduated from college a long time ago and then went onto advanced schooling. I remember back in 2004 I had debt of over $250K. That's a lot by even today's standards. 8 years later, the debt has been payed off, and I'm onto borrowing for different things, house, car etc.

Given my own individual experience with my loan, I'm very unsympathetic to the "modern" generation complaining about their debt burden. I'm just wondering other people's take on this issue. Particularly anyone that may have dropped out of college due to debt, or anyone having a very hard time paying it back.

If you are defaulting to being unsympathetic you're not really looking at the issues. In a somewhat abstract way you're just saying or thinking it worked for me.

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 08:20 PM
If you are defaulting to being unsympathetic you're not really looking at the issues. In a somewhat abstract way you're just saying or thinking it worked for me.

While that may be a somewhat harsh view of the OP's original post, I would certainly like to add that, at this point, it is hardly the students' fault that college courses cost what they cost, and besides, in a culture which espouses (or at least pays a heckuva lot of lip service to) the belief that college is the ticket and key to future success, what are they to be expected to do, apart from a bit of shopping around (which doesn't always help anyhow, given that not every college or university teaches every course they may either require or desire)?

KiwiNZ
May 13th, 2012, 08:24 PM
I know it is hard to discuss this topic without including politics. Student loans is an important topic and an emotive topic and I would sincerely like to see the discussion keep going.

It is a very relevant topic here in NZ right now.

So please keep discussion with in the rules

Thanks

wilee-nilee
May 13th, 2012, 08:28 PM
While that may be a somewhat harsh view of the OP's original post, I would certainly like to add that, at this point, it is hardly the students' fault that college courses cost what they cost, and besides, in a culture which espouses (or at least pays a heckuva lot of lip service to) the belief that college is the ticket and key to future success, what are they to be expected to do, apart from a bit of shopping around (which doesn't always help anyhow, given that not every college or university teaches every course they may either require or desire)?

Unfortunately as to the nature of this forum I can not address some of the known social norm problems backed up with empirical peer reviewed data that might give a little wider view, rather then what I have seen in the thread so far.

I'm not saying that any of you are not aware of these, but people in general I think are not aware of the depth of them.

lisati
May 13th, 2012, 08:31 PM
It is a very relevant topic here in NZ right now.

True: there have been a lot of changes in the 30-something years since my short-lived experience as a university student.

KiwiNZ
May 13th, 2012, 08:43 PM
True: there have been a lot of changes in the 30-something years since my short-lived experience as a university student.

I have two sons at University right now, my oldest is doing his second Doctorate and my youngest is doing his first degree.

I have a deal with , each if they succeed I pay their costs, that way they graduate without debt.

CharlesA
May 13th, 2012, 08:50 PM
I have two sons at University right now, my oldest is doing his second Doctorate and my youngest is doing his first degree.

I have a deal with , each if they succeed I pay their costs, that way they graduate without debt.
Lucky sons.

I've got to handle all my debt myself and it'll probably be a long while before it is all paid off.

I figure I will have around 80 grand in student loans by the time I finish my bachelor's degree. Such fun.

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 08:53 PM
KiwiNZ:

You're absolutely right about being careful of straying too far afield here with regard to politics. So, grant me a one-time exception for non-abusive and very quick use, and it will also help eliminate any inappropriate straying in the future. And, if you feel this post is inacceptable, just delete it and leave the thread be, and I'll take that as your call and not pursue the matter further.

Most other countries out there -- and I'm thinking of ones which have some form of elected or otherwise representative government -- typically have a plurality of relevant or significant political parties. In the United States, even though there actually are a great many political parties, our somewhat-evolving political process has essentially made it a two-horse race: Democrats and Republicans.

The only reason I'm mentioning this is because there are only two political parties in the U.S. which are generally considered either relevant or extant, it becomes exceedingly easy to just blame "one or the other". Moreover, especially in the last 20 or so years, we in the U.S. have become a VERY polarized country around, in essence, *just* those two parties. The Republican Party is used generally to try and represent all "conservative" (a.k.a. Classical European Liberal) people, and the Democratic Party is likewise used to represent all "liberal" (not sure what this translates to outside of the U.S.) people, even though there's a ton of us U.S. citizens who fall significantly outside of the bounds of these two parties.

One of the biggest reasons -- if not the biggest -- that I support UF's "don't discuss politics" rules is that it is very divisive, especially here in the U.S., and I really hate to drag that into the conversation here because it just distracts from the actual issues at hand.

The reason I feel this particular post is useful is because I really just want to make the point that, even though many would try and blame "Democrats" or "Republicans" for our various failings, I feel that is not just inappropriate, but is fundamentally inaccurate.

Again, KiwiNZ, please review this post for its appropriateness and, if you feel it's necessary, kill it instead of locking the thread. Either way, I will understand.

KiwiNZ
May 13th, 2012, 08:56 PM
Lucky sons.

I've got to handle all my debt myself and it'll probably be a long while before it is all paid off.

I figure I will have around 80 grand in student loans by the time I finish my bachelor's degree. Such fun.

When I became a parent I decided I had these responsibilities...

Feed them
House them
Keep them well
Educate them
Prepare them for life
Love them unconditionally

KiwiNZ
May 13th, 2012, 09:00 PM
KiwiNZ:

You're absolutely right about being careful of straying too far afield here with regard to politics. So, grant me a one-time exception for non-abusive and very quick use, and it will also help eliminate any inappropriate straying in the future. And, if you feel this post is inacceptable, just delete it and leave the thread be, and I'll take that as your call and not pursue the matter further.

Most other countries out there -- and I'm thinking of ones which have some form of elected or otherwise representative government -- typically have a plurality of relevant or significant political parties. In the United States, even though there actually are a great many political parties, our somewhat-evolving political process has essentially made it a two-horse race: Democrats and Republicans.

The only reason I'm mentioning this is because there are only two political parties in the U.S. which are generally considered either relevant or extant, it becomes exceedingly easy to just blame "one or the other". Moreover, especially in the last 20 or so years, we in the U.S. have become a VERY polarized country around, in essence, *just* those two parties. The Republican Party is used generally to try and represent all "conservative" (a.k.a. Classical European Liberal) people, and the Democratic Party is likewise used to represent all "liberal" (not sure what this translates to outside of the U.S.) people, even though there's a ton of us U.S. citizens who fall significantly outside of the bounds of these two parties.

One of the biggest reasons -- if not the biggest -- that I support UF's "don't discuss politics" rules is that it is very divisive, especially here in the U.S., and I really hate to drag that into the conversation here because it just distracts from the actual issues at hand.

The reason I feel this particular post is useful is because I really just want to make the point that, even though many would try and blame "Democrats" or "Republicans" for our various failings, I feel that is not just inappropriate, but is fundamentally inaccurate.

Again, KiwiNZ, please review this post for its appropriateness and, if you feel it's necessary, kill it instead of locking the thread. Either way, I will understand.

I have strong views on this subject, I not believe I am neutral , I will ask if other staff are reading this that they review this post, but review with a degree of latitude.

wilee-nilee
May 13th, 2012, 09:01 PM
Lucky sons.

I've got to handle all my debt myself and it'll probably be a long while before it is all paid off.

I figure I will have around 80 grand in student loans by the time I finish my bachelor's degree. Such fun.

Just finished my bachelors at $57,000$ now heading for grad school I suspect in the end with a PhD about $160,000 or so.

CharlesA
May 13th, 2012, 09:01 PM
When I became a parent I decided I had these responsibilities...

Feed them
House them
Keep them well
Educate them
Prepare them for life
Love them unconditionally
Good responsibilities. ;)

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 09:10 PM
My sincerest hope, naturally, is that we can get a handle on the situation here in the U.S. and do something responsible about it, and not just the usual thing, which is to simply point fingers and accomplish nothing.

As a college student, I am acquiring debt. It's understandable and, given my particular college's per-credit-hour changes, isn't too awful. But yes, at some point, I will probably have a fair amount of debt built up. Will I be able to pay it off? Well... the answer to that would most certainly be political, so all I'll say is "let's see what happens" and hope for the best.

In response to this on-going thread, I've done some spot research and found there is much to my liking about how Australia, of all places, handles their educational funding, and I wish my country could be more like that.

Smilax
May 13th, 2012, 09:55 PM
Just finished my bachelors at $57,000$ now heading for grad school I suspect in the end with a PhD about $160,000 or so.


i got thro bachelors with ~$7000 in the red,
masters with another ~$8000 (different city, not living at home)

but...

i just convinced 'them' to pay me to do a PhD,

which is

EPIC!!!!:guitar:

VTPoet
May 13th, 2012, 09:56 PM
Interesting thread. I have very strong political leanings, but admit to being cautious when blaming Republicans or Democrats for the current cost of education. Though there are partisans readily willing to pin the blame on one party or another, I'm just not seeing it.

What I am seeing are American colleges and universities generating massive profits, building, and expanding at phenomenal rates. I see University "CEOs" with million dollar salaries. I live next to Dartmouth College and they are building at a phenomenal rate. I know, first hand, the pampered life that Dartmouth staff and faculty live. Tuition pays for all of the excess. It's offensive.

I live in Vermont. UVM recently went on a multi-million dollar building spree prompted by ex-President Danial Fogel. The result? The cost of attending UVM, even for in-state students, sky-rocketed. Meanwhile, Fogel retired back into the faculty with a $200,000 dollar a year stipend! -- in addition to his faculty salary!!! For what? Think how many students could be educated with that money. As far as I'm concerned, the guy should tarred and feathered and hung by his ankle from a flag pole. It's offensive.


Fogel will be granted a paid leave beginning August 1 that will last until December 31, 2012. When Fogel initially announced his resignation in March, he was granted a paid, one-year leave of absence that was to begin in mid-2012 once his successor was hired. That one-year paid leave has been extended by five months so Fogel will now get 17 months of paid leave. Fogel receives a total benefits package valued at more than $400,000 per year. From here (http://7d.blogs.com/blurt/2011/07/uvm-president-dan-fogel-resigns.html).

Universities and colleges have turned into country clubs. Someone said that competition would promote lower costs; but what competition? There isn't any competition.

Every day we hear the pundit-ocracy tell kids that their income will be several times greater if they get a college degree. But it's not true. It's a "truism". It omits a wide variety of exogenous and concomitant considerations. A recent study demonstrated that the debt obligations of the current decade, on average, wipes out the potential benefits of a college education.

For example, if an individual were to invest the same amount of money in the stock market (let's say an index fund just to keep things honest) rather than in college, their return on that investment (at this point) would equal or exceed that of a college education.

Debt is an ugly thing and it infuriates me to see so many kids going into debt for what has, essentially, become a massive ponzi scheme. I don't know what the solution is, except to make use of my dual citizenship and move back to Europe when my daughters are college age.

wilee-nilee
May 13th, 2012, 10:06 PM
i got thro bachelors with ~$7000 in the red,
masters with another ~$8000 (different city, not living at home)

but...

i just convinced 'them' to pay me to do a PhD,

which is

EPIC!!!!:guitar:

Depends on the PhD programs really some have a tuition waiver with TA work.

KiwiNZ
May 13th, 2012, 10:10 PM
In New Zealand we have a two level system, Student loans and student allowances. Student loans speak for themselves, they are suspended loans to cover actual course costs, that is Fees books etc etc and limited living costs for those who do not qualify for Student Allowance. The loans become repayable at the end of studies and the Graduates income reaches set limits or they leave New Zealand. Interest rates only occur at a very low rate.

Student allowances are non refundable but are income tested and parental income test until the student 25 years old. Student allowances are to cover lining costs, sort of.

New Zealand citizens get discounted fees.

If my oldest son kept a student loan until he graduated his second DR he would have a loan around $400K my youngest around $120K, something I did not want them to have, so they borrow at the beginning of the year, if they pass I clear the debt for that year.

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 10:30 PM
@VTPoet: couldn't agree more. Of course the bitter truth is that students really can't do that with the stock market because you can't get loans to invest in the stock market, but you can get them as a student.

mips
May 13th, 2012, 10:32 PM
... America's education system has, not totally but for the most part, become all about "teaching to the test".

I thought I noticed that. People being taught how to essentially pass a test. Also noticed that people study for SATs which I find weird. Here we have similar tests although with different names but you don't study for them, they're basically used to determine aptitude and readiness.

Sadly one school (grade 1-12) generation ago our government introduced outcomes based education which has been a total flop to the detriment of student. People are generally not failed and results are adjusted and you are just put through to the next level and so the cycle continues. A 30-40% final year pass in high school (which people call illiterate) essentially says you can go to university now. So now you get a whole lot more people than before with the expectation of going to university. So they take in a lot more people that are not nearly ready for university and now offer a 1 yr bridging course before you can even sign up for a normal degree course. About half if not more of students drop out in their first year of their degree course seeing they don't have what it takes. Even the current A (75 or 80%) level students are ill prepared and struggling so universities have to now work around this and provide extra classes etc. This is a relatively new phenomenon around here and not present 15yrs ago, back then you would simply be denied entry, now people think it is a right because they got 30% in high school they are told that they are good enough for university.

The problem as you mentioned starts earlier in school from grade 1-12. Without a proper foundation you are essentially doomed. There's a reason why parents send their kids to extra tutoring with private individuals and programs like Kumon etc. This would really not be as necessary if the school system worked. In my days there really wasn't stuff like this. I feel sorry for the kids of today as the failure of our schooling system in the past few years is not their fault.

Really is a sad state of affairs.

chili555
May 13th, 2012, 10:47 PM
I think it's a vicious cycle. The government (read: the taxpayers like me) subsidize a college education with reduced rate loans. They do so in the belief, probably true, that a college educated citizen is more helpful to the economy and to the tax rolls than a high school educated citizen. The colleges see more applications, because more can afford it with taxpayer assistance, and raise tuition prices. The poor students pay more and more for less and less and it's a big fat political football. Our US congress-persons are far more interested in gamesmanship than fixing the problem.

I'd love to see an impartial cost-benefit analysis covering all the students that graduated from an Ivy League university, a decent state university and a technical college. I rather imagine the results are shocking.

For what it's worth, I worked full-time, went to a community college and then a decent state university and graduated in eight years debt-free. With the funds I would have otherwise used to repay student loans, I instead bought my first house.

VTPoet
May 13th, 2012, 11:17 PM
For what it's worth, I worked full-time, went to a community college and then a decent state university and graduated in eight years debt-free. With the funds I would have otherwise used to repay student loans, I instead bought my first house.

That's absolutely admirable. My hat goes off to you. Hopefully my daughter's will make a similar choice - in the sense that they will avoid debt. Not only that but, being a builder in addition to a writer, I plan on helping them build their first house - hopefully keeping them out of *that* debt-trap as well.

my O-pinion on tuition inflation

Back when the insurance bill was being discussed, I strongly hoped for a public option. The public option would have kept the insurance companies intact, but would have given Americans a real opportunity to see whether, in fact, government could do better than private industry. Naturally enough, the insurance industry fought the "public option" tooth and nail. They made the utterly disingenuous argument that they couldn't compete with a government-run insurance program. OK, but it was disingenuous because, all the while, they were funding lobbyists, think tanks and an advertising campaign whose message was that government run programs are inefficient, bloated and wasteful. So... they wanted it both ways. They couldn't possibly compete against the government because the government is too efficient, but you don't want government-run health care because the government is intolerably inefficient and wasteful.

Likewise, I'd like to see a far more robust 'public option' for college students. For-profit universities and colleges, I suspect, would fight such an option tooth and nail, just like the insurance industry. They would be scared to death. They would actually have to compete. Just like the insurance industry, they would deride any such program as being (potentially) a woeful waste of taxpayer money while at the same time claiming (in contradiction) that they couldn't fairly compete with the efficiency of any government-run institution. A public option, I think, would be competition. I don't think the community college is a robust-enough option.

If for-profit universities and colleges could actually do it for less, then lucky us... but I think such a public option would burst the education bubble - though that might just happen all on its own as the population of students begins to decline.

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 11:40 PM
VTPoet, I can't really get into discussing the insurance situation for political reasons, but I think if the government here did what it does in Australia, and took away all other subsidies and programs (ones for veterans, the disabled, and certain other completely legit ones not included, of course) we might have a shot at cracking this nut.

However, I think the thing that's going to cause us grief no matter what is still the whole "what's going on with our K-12" issue. Ultimately, what do we need colleges for if nobody is competent enough and capable of attending?

My college has an open-admissions policy. That's because it is a public, community college. If it was strictly a test-into type college, for example like four-year universities typically are, or like all the Ivy League colleges essentially are, they would probably have something approaching 1/5 their present student population, or even less. Of course, their success rate would go way up because they'd only be accepting those who are ready, willing, and (key word) ABLE to attend.

I recently had a conversation with one of the Statistics professors at my college, a very nice woman whom I think I will work out quite well with as a student. Anyhow, she was telling me they've finally decided to revise their curriculum somewhat, and this is due in part to the fact that 85% of the students in their stats classes have come out of the remedial program, and are in no way, shape or form math majors. It's my understanding that they're mostly looking at the approaches being used in the classroom, and not so much just cutting out parts of the curriculum itself.

A point I've long thought about that my Econ I professor brought up this past semester is that, in terms of college education, we may in fact be "over-educating" our population, giving out college degrees to many who will never actually use them. It also has the net effect of devaluing degrees. Or, in my own terms, college degrees will become so utterly common that you'll need an Associates just to push a broom or serve coffee.

KiwiNZ
May 13th, 2012, 11:45 PM
I believe in targeting education, do we need to churn out thousands of Bachelor of Arts degrees when as a country we are desperately short of Doctors?

We need to determine what we need now and what we will need in 5, 10, 20 years time and target accordingly, subsidise those degrees we really need and if someone wants to to a meal ticket degree then they pay the full cost.

MisterGaribaldi
May 13th, 2012, 11:55 PM
[deleted this message because it's too repetitive and I need to think it through a bit more]

VTPoet
May 14th, 2012, 12:03 AM
We need to determine what we need now and what we will need in 5, 10, 20 years time and target accordingly...

In theory, that sounds good; but I'm not sure that would work out in practice. The usefulness of a college degree isn't always determined by ones eventual occupation. There are a host of economic benefits to a more educated populace that your theory might overlook.

However, in keeping with what you wrote, Obama (I think) recently proposed holding colleges and universities accountable. That is, if colleges offer degrees in occupations in which students can't, realistically, be expected to obtain work or, at minimum, a minimal standard of living, then the colleges or universities forfeit some of their federal funding. The idea, in effect, is meant to encourage what you propose: that students pursue responsible fields and that colleges and universities offer "realistic" degrees.

KiwiNZ
May 14th, 2012, 12:09 AM
New Zealand is a well off Nation our debt is around 30% of GDP, however we have a small population, just over 4 million so Fiscal prudence is vital, so targeting Government spending is very necessary. Targeting who we spend money on to train and for what I believe is sound fiscal responsibility.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 12:30 AM
KiwiNZ's idea about incentivizing degrees is something I've heard discussed before, in both political and academic circles. To be honest, it sounds good to me, but my only real concern is what mechanism we can, as society, set in place to make it happen. I think I'm less concerned with the "who" than I am with the "what" in this particular case.

And by "what", I think we're kind of dancing around a particular pair of concepts we've all seen in another context: free market economy vs. central economic planning. Well, why can't we have free market academics instead?

To be fair, I don't think this would require us to "do" a great deal of things so much as it would kind of require us to "undo" things. Things such as VTPoet's example of over-paid administration and over-funded schools which could make a zillion times better use of their monies. Or, subsidies like what chili555, myself, and others have talked about. Also, again going back to something VTPoet said, the fact that in reality colleges are absolutely not competitive (a lot of this I think has to do with the nature of state-level government controls).

Some of the private colleges have the right idea, gearing up to sell you an education based on current relevant demand. However, their execution is flawed, from what I understand, and so you often have students churned out with degrees of questionable value. But I think the principle is a good one, and perhaps could serve as a good starting point.

To address a somewhat unrelated issue that chili555 also brought up, the ability to pay your way through college requires two external inputs: availability of jobs, and availability of sufficiently well-paying jobs. Lots of areas (mine, for instance) don't have very many of these, and that combined with today's economy make it a necessity for most people here to go with grants, subsidies, and loans. This means we need to have and support a much more mobile population than we have right now (support in the social sense, not necessarily the financial one).

Oh, and to your points, VT and Kiwi, about finance and government spending, if we were to completely throw most of my own values out the door for the sake of argument, here is a fact: there are any number of line items in the U.S. Federal Government's budget we could eliminate singly and pay off EVERYONE's college education, even to the point of providing free doctoral-level degrees to every last man, woman, and child. What we spend on foreign aid in a year, what we spend in just foreign bribes in a year, what we spend on a hundred different too-controversial-to-discuss-here things would do this.

VTPoet
May 14th, 2012, 01:00 AM
VTPoet, I can't really get into discussing the insurance situation for political reasons...

Feel free to PM me.



...free market economy vs. central economic planning. Well, why can't we have free market academics instead?

The problem is that demand exceeds supply by a very wide margin. Colleges can, and are, charging whatever they want. (The only thing that reigns them in seems to be embarrassment.). This is why I would like to see a robust public system. The end result, I think, would decrease the cost of an education for all of us. We need to level supply and demand.

Anyway...

That's just one theory for how to create competition. Maybe someone else can come up with something that doesn't involve the government or taxpayers....


...the fact that in reality colleges are absolutely not competitive (a lot of this I think has to do with the nature of state-level government controls...

Can you elaborate on that? How does state-level government control disrupt competition? Not a hostile question. Genuinely curious to know your thinking.


...here is a fact: there are any number of line items in the U.S. Federal Government's budget we could eliminate singly and pay off EVERYONE's college education, even to the point of providing free doctoral-level degrees to every last man, woman, and child. What we spend on foreign aid in a year, what we spend in just foreign bribes in a year, what we spend on a hundred different too-controversial-to-discuss-here things would do this.

Yes, that's a curious thing. In some cases, we are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on programs in foreign countries (building schools and related infrastructure) that would be, ostensibly, identical to the same programs we refuse to extend to our own citizens.

rai4shu2
May 14th, 2012, 01:22 AM
... when as a country we are desperately short of Doctors?

In this country, I recall every doctor I've asked that what they need is more money. Hospitals are always on the verge on bankruptcy. Heck, the hospitals I've seen are falling apart and are in desperate need of repair. Maybe that's just my experience, though. I don't recall any serious studies on the matter.

kevdog
May 14th, 2012, 02:38 AM
I guess this thread got a little bit off course from where I thought it would go. Interesting points none-the-less. I guess I was more interested to know if there were people out there that "really" couldn't afford college or were clamoring for more government assistance such as loan programs.

The reason I ask this is simple -- the sense of entitlement. Times have definitely changed in my humble opinion. Others here have commented how they worked multiple jobs and such to pay for their education. I remember when I first started working, after budgeting for all my expenses -- college loans included -- I roughly had $150 left per month for "play money". That didn't go far. I lived in a one bedrooom apartment, driving a crappy car for years. I kept dial-up internet for as long as it seemed feasible since I couldn't afford the faster cable connection. I had a TV, but rarely watched it, turned it on maybe 1 time per week -- had no cable. I think I ate almost the same meal every night since I had budgeted it would cost me between $4-$5 to make.

It would seem similar sacrifices aren't being made now-a-days. Everyone needs a nice car, fancy cell phone, good clothes, and want to go out and party 2x/week. Its hard for me to be sympathetic to support further aid programs when this is what I perceive to be the reality. Maybe I'm out of touch, however I doubt it!

KiwiNZ
May 14th, 2012, 02:56 AM
It would seem similar sacrifices aren't being made now-a-days. Everyone needs a nice car, fancy cell phone, good clothes, and want to go out and party 2x/week. Its hard for me to be sympathetic to support further aid programs when this is what I perceive to be the reality. Maybe I'm out of touch, however I doubt it!

If someone has worked hard, qualified and works hard in their chosen career and has the disposable to buy "nice car, fancy cell phone, good clothes," etc then good on them that after all is what it was all about.

Bandit
May 14th, 2012, 03:03 AM
If someone has worked hard, qualified and works hard in their chosen career and has the disposable to buy "nice car, fancy cell phone, good clothes," etc then good on them that after all is what it was all about.

This is true.

VTPoet
May 14th, 2012, 03:14 AM
The reason I ask this is simple -- the sense of entitlement. Times have definitely changed in my humble opinion. Others here have commented how they worked multiple jobs and such to pay for their education.

(...)

It would seem similar sacrifices aren't being made now-a-days. (...)

I don't think the sense of entitlement is any different than at any time. I've never bought into these "in my day, by gad!" arguments (the notion that every generation is a little more decrepit than the last). There was certainly a time when an education was reserved for those who could afford it (or were truly, in every sense of the word, entitled to it) but Americans used to take pride in the notion that all her citizens had access, equally, to a good and equal education. Now it's been spun, by some, as a gross entitlement; but I don't buy that spin. I think that any country that generously provides an education for its youth ought to be proud. Are there some who don't deserve it? There always will be.

As to whether the same sacrifices are being made today... It's certainly true that there's more assistance available to today's youth than the youth of 30 or 50 years ago, but balance that against the absurd rise of tuition costs in relation to inflation. All else being equal, today's students, even those receiving government assistance, are probably working harder than you did while still being saddled with excessive debt. They are just as likely, rightly or wrongly, to look back at your generation as the ones who got off easy - what with year-long tuitions that wouldn't even buy a modern textbook? 'Must have been hard,' they say to themselves. So it goes, the grass is always greener.

Face-Ache
May 14th, 2012, 03:20 AM
I consider myself fortunate that at the end of my short experience at university, my level of debt was more easily measured in hundreds rather than thousands of dollars.

Although tertiary education (universities etc) has its place, I've probably learnt just as much (if not more) from the school of hard knocks and a dose of life experience.

At 38 years old, i went back to full-time study at the start of this year. If it wasn't for NZ's Student Loans Scheme, i simply wouldn't have been able to do it. My debt at the end of my currently proposed study of 9 months will be $17,500, which is a fairly small amount in the big scheme of things. Through the tertiary provider i am studying with, a 3 year Diploma course is condensed into 9 months :)

With a mortgage to pay, and only my wifes income sustaining us, i simply couldn't have (a) afforded to study at all without a Student Loan, or (b) been able to take 3 years off work to study.

In saying that though, this funding, to me anyway, is a privilege, not a right; i certainly don't feel any sense of entitlement to it. My intention is to pay it back as quickly as possible once i start earning an income again.

KiwiNZ, do you know of anyone in the Waikato looking for a graduate IT person? :D I passed my A+ course with flying colours, and am half-way through the CCNA with an average of just over 95%. Microsoft Certified IT Professional will be the last 3 months of the Diploma. Ugh, Microsoft.

chili555
May 14th, 2012, 03:28 AM
To address a somewhat unrelated issue that chili555 also brought up, the ability to pay your way through college requires two external inputs: availability of jobs, and availability of sufficiently well-paying jobs. Lots of areas (mine, for instance) don't have very many of these,I hope mine is not the last best generation. A lot of us worked very hard, made very good salaries and bonuses and now are comfortably retired with few, if any worries. I see few in our childrens generation that are positioned similarly.

I do sense entitlement disease among a lot of younger people. They seem to prefer being unemployed waiting for an office job in Miami to being employed in a factory in Wichita. Call me old school, but I'd take the factory job, it's grimy salary, gritty 401(k) and its greasy medical benefits and put food on the table. I'd try as hard as I could to get into management and I'd prosper while I played the cards I was dealt.

rai4shu2
May 14th, 2012, 03:38 AM
Call me old school, but I'd take the factory job, it's grimy salary, gritty 401(k) and its greasy medical benefits and put food on the table.

You have any idea how to get a job like that in the first place? I'd really like to know. Seriously.

KiwiNZ
May 14th, 2012, 03:42 AM
I hope mine is not the last best generation. A lot of us worked very hard, made very good salaries and bonuses and now are comfortably retired with few, if any worries. I see few in our childrens generation that are positioned similarly.

I do sense entitlement disease among a lot of younger people. They seem to prefer being unemployed waiting for an office job in Miami to being employed in a factory in Wichita. Call me old school, but I'd take the factory job, it's grimy salary, gritty 401(k) and its greasy medical benefits and put food on the table. I'd try as hard as I could to get into management and I'd prosper while I played the cards I was dealt.

This is definitely not my impression of young people.

This is what I see and have experienced first hand......

http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/149653/thousands-join-volunteer-army

wilee-nilee
May 14th, 2012, 03:42 AM
I would consider as far as entitlement goes this is mainly reaped by the dominant social group. This is somewhat, what I was referencing before without being specific. If you're a member of a oppressed group whether it be gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity there is solid data showing the limitations that will keep you below the same possibilities for the oppressors. Granted the people oppressing may not even realize these limitations in that they are social norms we have gotten used to, or we do not recognize the history of this oppression and the aftermath of it still.

This does not even consider exactly the data that shows members of some of these groups showing lower grades and test scores with all things be equal as far as intelligence and other areas. We have a western centric educational system that requires assimilation for success, this does not fly well in situations where ethnic groups find the regular education not relevant to their experience, and missing large parts of the shared history with the dominant groups.

My point here really is that this is a super complex set of issues and problems, and trying to find a definitive answer that fixes or allows us to have definitive conclusions is not really possible, at least in my opinion.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 04:06 AM
Hey folks!

Let's take this in order, shall we?

1. Kevdog: have you seen the price of textbooks lately? Credit hour costs? Also, are you aware that colleges frequently change editions and vendors of textbooks which in many cases makes it impossible to go for cheaper, used editions?

2. KiwiNZ: Kevdog meant while they were still going to college, not after they graduated and got a good job.

3. chili555: You do realize most of the factory work and other more traditional kinds of "stable jobs" are gone due to out-sourcing and off-shoring, right? We are no longer a major manufacturing economy, but rather a service economy. There's a heck of a difference.

4. rai4shu2: I agree, and in this economy, frankly we're all lucky to get whatever we can find.

5. All: I'm embarrassed to admit what I'm presently doing for a living, or how much an hour I'm making. There's just nothing much available, and whenever there *is* a job, there's 1000 or even 10,000 applications for it. I'm fortunate that I have someone right now to share expenses with, or I'd be out on the street.

Moreover, you can't get a response out of most employers, even a "no". 99.9% of the time, in my experience, the only time I get a response is if they want to hire me, which as perhaps you all can tell hasn't been very often.

EDIT: It is COMMON for textbooks to cost $200 or more. Textbooks for a semester can easily cost $600-$900. And that's at ASSOCIATES level.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 05:48 AM
Ok, so in the middle of trying to get a fitful night of rest before work tomorrow morning, I kept churning this over and over in my head, and I need to just get it out of my system so I don't go nuts, and so I can get some rest.

First off, let's take a trip through basic Economics 101 here. In economics, one looks at (amongst many things) something called "opportunity cost". To keep this simple, I'll go with the classic simple example: guns and butter. To get more guns, you have to produce less butter. To get more butter, you have to produce fewer guns. The way you represent this visually is to draw a simple graph, with an X (vertical) and Y (horizontal) axis, put "Guns" at the top of one, and "Butter" at the end point of the other, and draw a line which is essentially diagonal between them.

That is called a Production Possibilities Curve.

Now, here's the thing, and one half of the point of this late-night post. When you draw a PPC for most things, it is NOT a straight diagonal line; it is CURVED. And you know *why* the line is curved? It's curved because resources are not equally adaptable because they are not equally suited.

Just like with people. And trying to just get everyone to go after something profitable or more "guaranteed" to get you a job is bad logic because it assumes, on some fundamental even if not conscious level, that we're equally suited to anything. That isn't true. Take kevdog, for instance. He sucks at language skills, but he's freaking brilliant with math, and with lots of the abstract reasoning associated with the sciences. Me, I am amazing with language skills and my strengths of abstract reasoning are awesome with logic and politics, but I suck at math and science.

In theory, both of us could be magazine editors, but I'm going to do the job 100 times easier and probably better than kev will. Likewise, kevdog is capable of becoming the next Peter Grünberg, and can do so 350 times easier and better than me. Oh, and I get motion sickness real bad and real easy, and kevdog's reaction times suck, so neither of us is physically capable of being fighter pilots. (Sorry about the language skills, kev, but look on the bright side: you'll be there helping to develop the next generation data storage devices for computers, and that's gotta count for something. ;) )

The other point that was nagging me and keeping me from sleep was this: no matter what the economy looks like, and no matter the present circumstances, we don't need an unlimited number of ANY kind of job. Let's say, sake of argument, that the U.S. will achieve full employment capacity if 175 million people have jobs.

Well guess what, boys and girls... we don't *need* 175 million lawyers in this country, any more than we need 175 million teachers, or doctors, or brain surgeons, or car mechanics, or factory workers, or boat captains, or fishermen, or anything else. This is ON TOP of the fact that you simply cannot get 175 million equally-suited lawyers, teachers, etc. Can't be done. And even if it *could* be done, shame on us for doing it because that's like putting ALL of your eggs in one basket.


So my point in all of this is I "get" that people should make some reasonable effort to get a useful degree, but we have to be very careful how we define utility, and also how we choose to go about it, because we do need variety far more than we need mass quantities.

mips
May 14th, 2012, 07:47 AM
5. All: I'm embarrassed to admit what I'm presently doing for a living, or how much an hour I'm making. There's just nothing much available, and whenever there *is* a job, there's 1000 or even 10,000 applications for it. I'm fortunate that I have someone right now to share expenses with, or I'd be out on the street.

You shouldn't be.Any person earning a honest living has my respect no matter what job it is. Think this boils down to society stigmatising & looking down on people in certain jobs. I recall a friend of mine doing a plumbing trade after school which is not 'cool' and looked own on. Today he's probably one of the most successful people out of his school year as he started his own plumbing business early on and has grown very successful.

lisati
May 14th, 2012, 08:16 AM
At 38 years old, i went back to full-time study at the start of this year. If it wasn't for NZ's Student Loans Scheme, i simply wouldn't have been able to do it. My debt at the end of my currently proposed study of 9 months will be $17,500, which is a fairly small amount in the big scheme of things. Through the tertiary provider i am studying with, a 3 year Diploma course is condensed into 9 months :)

With a mortgage to pay, and only my wifes income sustaining us, i simply couldn't have (a) afforded to study at all without a Student Loan, or (b) been able to take 3 years off work to study.

In saying that
Well done.

When I attended university (1979-1980), if memory serves correctly, the student loan system didn't exist in its current form. I had to make do with a "B" bursary . My fees were paid, and I had enough for some basic living expenses. Sadly, I was more interested in partying than studying, so things didn't work out......


For our non-NZ readers: A "B Bursary" was a qualification based on results from a nationwide examination system. Even that has changed.

Face-Ache
May 14th, 2012, 09:25 AM
Well done.

When I attended university (1979-1980), if memory serves correctly, the student loan system didn't exist in its current form. I had to make do with a "B" bursary
. My fees were paid, and I had enough for some basic living expenses. Sadly, I was more interested in partying than studying, so things didn't work out......

For our non-NZ readers: A "B Bursary" was a qualification based on results from a nationwide examination system. Even that has changed.

I went through that 'partying' phase, which is probably why i didn't go on to Uni after finishing High School. I'm okay with the fact that i just wasn't mature enough to handle it at that point. Being older, wiser and more responsible these days certainly has it's positives.

Totally agree with what mips as said too. We've a guy here who is a local council worker, who i see every morning picking up rubbish and cigarette butts. I shook his hand when i first saw him and thanked him for keeping our city beautiful. I guess it could have been construed as condescending, but that certainly wasn't the intent. He's got a job, paying his own way, and isn't a burden on society - i respect that.

Bandit
May 14th, 2012, 11:39 AM
You have any idea how to get a job like that in the first place? I'd really like to know. Seriously.

Put in an application perhaps? These are traditionally lower paying "blue-collar" jobs that dont require anything other then a high school diploma. Dont get me wrong my previous job a few years ago was a machinist and it paid $17 a hour here in Mississippi. But other then pay raises you dont move up the corporate ladder starting with management without a college degree. So your stuck in the same job for years just about.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 01:26 PM
I went through that 'partying' phase, which is probably why i didn't go on to Uni after finishing High School. I'm okay with the fact that i just wasn't mature enough to handle it at that point. Being older, wiser and more responsible these days certainly has it's positives.

Totally agree with what mips as said too. We've a guy here who is a local council worker, who i see every morning picking up rubbish and cigarette butts. I shook his hand when i first saw him and thanked him for keeping our city beautiful. I guess it could have been construed as condescending, but that certainly wasn't the intent. He's got a job, paying his own way, and isn't a burden on society - i respect that.

Never heard of a city councilman personally picking up the trash before. Wow! I wish we could get out elected officials to do that here.

whatthefunk
May 14th, 2012, 01:31 PM
Never heard of a city councilman personally picking up the trash before. Wow! I wish we could get out elected officials to do that here.

Council worker = public employee. He probably gets paid peanuts and despite Face-Aches admiration for him, the only way his kids are going to college is with a scholarship.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 01:55 PM
@whatthefunk: Oh. Gotcha.

@VTPoet: The best way to explain why I'm against government-funded programs (education, insurance, etc.), certain elements of politics aside, is the fish tank-and-the-goldfish scenario. The larger the tank, the larger the goldfish. The organizations in question also become more inefficient, but that is exacerbated by government regulations.

For example, car insurance being mandatory helps inflate the price, because car insurance agencies know you *have* to have insurance. If it weren't mandatory, they would have to compete, and also they couldn't get away with the range of rates they presently do, because most people wouldn't stump up the cash for it. I might be willing to spend $50/mo. voluntarily, but I wouldn't be willing to spend the nearly $200/mo I presently do.

Also, there's other factors at work here. Yes, you are completely right about the obscene profiteering that goes on inside of schools, and (while you didn't mention them directly) textbook publishers, but another factor involved is the inflation of the currency. After all, they as businesses have to contend with the fact that a dollar isn't worth a dollar anymore. So, let's say they *should* be charging $25 for a textbook. Without inflation, maybe they might be charging $50 or $75 for it. But, thanks to inflation, now they're charging $250 for it.

whatthefunk
May 14th, 2012, 02:06 PM
@whatthefunk: Oh. Gotcha.

@VTPoet: The best way to explain why I'm against government-funded programs (education, insurance, etc.), certain elements of politics aside, is the fish tank-and-the-goldfish scenario. The larger the tank, the larger the goldfish. The organizations in question also become more inefficient, but that is exacerbated by government regulations.

For example, car insurance being mandatory helps inflate the price, because car insurance agencies know you *have* to have insurance. If it weren't mandatory, they would have to compete, and also they couldn't get away with the range of rates they presently do, because most people wouldn't stump up the cash for it. I might be willing to spend $50/mo. voluntarily, but I wouldn't be willing to spend the nearly $200/mo I presently do.

So youre saying that there is no competition in the car insurance market? Despite having over 100 million customers in the US and hundreds of different agencies to choose from there is no competition? Thats silly. Using the same logic, we can say that there is no competition in the food industry since it is mandatory that we eat and there is no competition in the housing market since we all need to have some place to live.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 02:16 PM
At the risk of taking this thread massively off-topic, no, I didn't say there is "no" competition in the car insurance market. What I said is that insurance is a legal requirement, which means they can, to some extent at least, "get away with" charging more for it than they could otherwise.

Also, don't confuse services, which fundamentally is what the insurance industry provides, with commodities, which is what the agriculture industry (one of the ones you named) provides. They are HIGHLY competitive because, while everyone *must* eat, we don't *have* to necessarily eat any given type of food, nor do we need to eat any given manufacturer's -- or distributor's -- food.

mmsmc
May 14th, 2012, 02:18 PM
I am a bit scared, as a high school graduate I will be attending university(in the U.S) in a couple of months, with an engineering degree, in the end I will owe 200 thousand dollars. people say one earns more money with a degree, but I am already losing almost half a mil with a masters.

whatthefunk
May 14th, 2012, 02:21 PM
At the risk of taking this thread massively off-topic, no, I didn't say there is "no" competition in the car insurance market. What I said is that insurance is a legal requirement, which means they can, to some extent at least, "get away with" charging more for it than they could otherwise.

Also, don't confuse services, which fundamentally is what the insurance industry provides, with commodities, which is what the agriculture industry (one of the ones you named) provides. They are HIGHLY competitive because, while everyone *must* eat, we don't *have* to necessarily eat any given type of food, nor do we need to eat any given manufacturer's -- or distributor's -- food.

And so in an effort to get this back on topic, how does this relate to university education?

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 02:21 PM
How are you losing half a million dollars with a Masters if you are just out of high school?

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 02:26 PM
And so in an effort to get this back on topic, how does this relate to university education?

The subsidies the government provides cause it, as does the entitlement mindset, as does the business world "insisting" on college degrees even if technical trade school or even OJT would accomplish the same thing. All of this helps to artificially prop up the prices charged.

What I'm also saying is that we have to be careful about doing down the road of total government subsidization of school for the same reason that the so-called "single payer" insurance system is liable to jack up costs: they're getting to play with a much larger pot, and so their prices will inflate to match what's available, which if the government foots the bill, is a heckuva lot more than what you and I as individuals can possibly afford.

Back in the 1960s (and earlier) and 1970s, health insurance was a nice bonus and perk to get with yoru job, but for the most part you didn't need it because medical costs just weren't that insanely high. Now, you "need" medical insurance because the costs are astronomical.

whatthefunk
May 14th, 2012, 02:34 PM
The subsidies the government provides cause it, as does the entitlement mindset, as does the business world "insisting" on college degrees even if technical trade school or even OJT would accomplish the same thing. All of this helps to artificially prop up the prices charged.

What I'm also saying is that we have to be careful about doing down the road of total government subsidization of school for the same reason that the so-called "single payer" insurance system is liable to jack up costs: they're getting to play with a much larger pot, and so their prices will inflate to match what's available, which if the government foots the bill, is a heckuva lot more than what you and I as individuals can possibly afford.

Back in the 1960s (and earlier) and 1970s, health insurance was a nice bonus and perk to get with yoru job, but for the most part you didn't need it because medical costs just weren't that insanely high. Now, you "need" medical insurance because the costs are astronomical.

This makes no sense. On the one hand, youre saying that government subsidization of higher education has brought university prices up to an unrealistically high level. On the other hand, youre saying that, "for the same reasons" a single payer insurance system will raise health care costs to unreasonable levels. You then say that 40-50 years ago health care was affordable and that now its not despite there having been very little government subsidization of the health care system in the last 40 years. Im confused. What has raised health care costs so much?

mmsmc
May 14th, 2012, 02:40 PM
How are you losing half a million dollars with a Masters if you are just out of high school?

200 thousand for undergrad, another 1- 150 for graduate(again worst scenario)

VTPoet
May 14th, 2012, 02:45 PM
@whatthefunk: Oh. Gotcha.

@VTPoet: The best way to explain why I'm against government-funded programs (education, insurance, etc.), certain elements of politics aside, is the fish tank-and-the-goldfish scenario. The larger the tank, the larger the goldfish. The organizations in question also become more inefficient, but that is exacerbated by government regulations.

Right. That's why I'm not advocating that we do away with private industry. I'm saying the following: Let insurance companies and the educational system compete with a public option. (As it is, your analogy also explains why the college and university systems have turned into big fish.) Government regulations is a whole different topic. I do not subscribe to the truism that government regulations are at the root of all evil/inefficiency in the market place. Unregulated capital market markets, of any kind, always end in crisis. Always. Under regulated capital markets, as amply demonstrated again and again (ahem), always seem to result in massive derivative losses. :-k

An example of private industry competing with a government option would be, arguably, the US Post Office. The Post Office has its problems, mostly having to do with the health and retirement plans of its unions, but it's presence in the marketplace has been a healthy one. If the post office hadn't existed, I have to wonder whether we would see a very different and more expensive marketplace.

As it is, can we really say that college age students have a robust "public" alternative to "for-profit" Universities and Colleges? No. To my knowledge, one cannot obtain a BS or BA degree from a community college. That needs to change. Will it? I doubt it. My argument is pie in the sky, but I think it would make a difference. The key, again, is to level supply and demand. But... it's not going to happen, so we're left having an enjoyable discussion over the economics of education.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 03:00 PM
I really don't want to derail this thread any further, and that's not an attempt at a cop-out. I'm also not a medical doctor, nurse, etc., so there's also only just so far into detail that I can even get with this discussion. All I'm getting at is that subsidies, or so-called "single payer" insurance systems, drive up costs through inflation. If you want, you can research this further by doing some searching for "reasonable and customary" charges. That's a big reason for the escalation in medical costs.

As a customer of mine just pointed out (yeah, I'm at work... busted!) much of these exorbitent amounts of debt incurred by students is their own fault because they are the ones who chose to go to a college which charges $200, $300, or more per credit hour, when there are community colleges and smaller state colleges which charge a lot less.

whatthefunk
May 14th, 2012, 03:40 PM
As a customer of mine just pointed out (yeah, I'm at work... busted!) much of these exorbitent amounts of debt incurred by students is their own fault because they are the ones who chose to go to a college which charges $200, $300, or more per credit hour, when there are community colleges and smaller state colleges which charge a lot less.

Well, why do they choose to go to these schools? They have a choice but they still go to the schools that will leave them with a crippling amount of debt. Note that many students go to these schools with no government help (outside of a loan, which is a lot different than a scholarship) and are alright with twenty years of debt. This is the other side of the free market that many people fail to see. There are people lining up to pay half a million dollars for schooling. Demand is exceeding supply. Why would the universities charge less when their already over priced product is so highly sought after? My guess is that even if government subsidies went down, there would still be a line outside the admissions office. And if there arent enough Americans to pay for the schooling, there are a couple billion Asians who would sell their own organs in order for their kid to go to a Western university.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 04:20 PM
Well, why do they choose to go to these schools? *They have a choice but they still go to the schools that will leave them with a crippling amount of debt. *Note that many students go to these schools with no government help (outside of a loan, which is a lot different than a scholarship) and are alright with twenty years of debt.

Let me attempt to answer that by posing a different question: why do people buy Levi's when they could buy Wranglers or various store brand jeans? Or, looked at another way, why did the kids in my middle school used to pick on each other on the basis of how their parents spent more money on their shoes, clothes, etc., than did the parents of the other kid?


Why would the universities charge less when their already over priced product is so highly sought after? <snip> And if there arent enough Americans to pay for the schooling, there are a couple billion Asians who would sell their own organs in order for their kid to go to a Western university.

When demand is high, prices will scale. MC=MB / QS=QD, in economic terms. And yes, you're absolutely right that there are TONS of foreigners who take their education much more seriously than we do. However, I still don't see government action in any way solving this problem. Even if it didn't cause any problems in and of itself, you can't induce genuine interest in education (which is also a function of self-respect, I would argue) by simply introducing price controls.

John Doe down the street won't value his education any more (or any less) even if he could, for example, go to Harvard for $50 a credit hour. It doesn't work that way. It's a cultural thing.

drawkcab
May 14th, 2012, 04:22 PM
The real problem with American institutions is the ideology which holds that that the cost of higher education will be contained by allowing business folks to administer the university or college.

When you appoint a CEO president of a university or chancellor of a college, what you get is a person whose incentive is not to introduce economic efficiency but to grow the institution. This is easy to do, especially in state schools, because they hold a regional monopoly. Money is disproportionately funneled into new buildings, facilities and technological bells and whistles that only marginally contritbute to the average student's experience--yet they look great in the marketing literature. If you look at the figures, much of the growth goes to promoting and expanding the administration whose interests are increasingly at odds with those doing the actual teaching and learning. In the process the student is reduced to a customer and the professor to a customer service rep. Again, looking at the figures, the student to teacher ratio is increasing as costs go up to pay for all the iterated administration.

MisterGaribaldi
May 14th, 2012, 04:38 PM
+1, drawkcab.

VTPoet
May 14th, 2012, 11:16 PM
And here is a New York Times discussion of the same issue: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/05/12/easing-the-pain-of-student-loans/

Bandit
May 15th, 2012, 01:11 AM
I am a bit scared, as a high school graduate I will be attending university(in the U.S) in a couple of months, with an engineering degree, in the end I will owe 200 thousand dollars. people say one earns more money with a degree, but I am already losing almost half a mil with a masters.

Loose half a mill -vs- never see half a mill.

If money is a concern, join the military for 4 years. Get GI Bill which pays 54k, also get college fund for an additional 30 thousand or more.
So there is a easy 80k you can subtract from that 200k.

eriktheblu
May 15th, 2012, 01:40 AM
I have some opinions on this subject that I don't believe I could word as carefully as MisterGaribaldi.

So, I will simply tell a few related stories.

My wife has ~$40k in student debt. Over the course of about 6 years, she majored in forensic anthropology, education, studio art with a concentration in ceramics, and graduated with a degree in general studies with a concentration in criminal justice.

Currently she works doing tech support and customer service for web hosting site. The skills she employs were not derived from her formal education.

A friend of mine took out massive amounts of loans to pay for education in photography. He eventually dropped out because he could no longer afford it. Now he works retail when he can. He can't go back to school because of his outstanding debt. His credit is non-existent.

I don't entirely blame him for this, because he was young when he made this commitment, he was using funds that were easily available, and he operated under mantra that college=success.

For me, college was a highly considered option when I was 17. The deciding factor for me was simply that I was sick of living with my parents. Through military service (not applicable elsewhere) I've had a decent career, good pay, and unparalleled benefits. I have qualified for a student loan repayment program that I will never use. I intend to use my 36 months of GI bill benefits (tuition paid and a monthly stipend) simply as a means to pad my retirement.

I'd attribute these outcomes to blind luck as much as anything. I could just as easily be paying for college that I will not use. Up until a few years ago, I still subscribed to the mantra.

A degree does not equate to success, and we have been doing a disservice to youth since before my generation by saying it does.

chili555
May 15th, 2012, 01:56 AM
A degree does not equate to success,Ater a 34 year career ending in Vice President-Human Resources, I quite agree. However, given two applicants for a job that has at least the potential to lead to management, I'll usually select a college graduate. The graduate has a proven set of skills that the high school grad does not. That doesn't guarantee that the college grad will be hard-working; aggressive yet polite; patient, etc. It merely suggests that the chances are greater. If we are going to invest many years of training, salary, benefits, etc. on a candidate, we'll always pick the better equipped. At the same time, we are never afraid to admit we've made a mistake, cut our losses and move on.

The replacement is likely to be a college graduate.

weasel fierce
May 15th, 2012, 02:27 AM
This is a weird conversation to watch, now that I live in the US, since my home country views education as an investment in it's future work force.

Incidentally, the reason I moved here, rather than my wife moving there, was because she was bogged down by several thousand dollars of student loans.

whatthefunk
May 15th, 2012, 02:31 AM
Also dont forget trade workers. Electricians, plumbers etc usually havent been to college but get decent pay. The US average salary for an electrician is around $50,000 a year which you can live comfortably on. Plus, I havent met any electricians who have $250 grand in debt at the age of 24.

Bandit
May 15th, 2012, 02:38 AM
Also dont forget trade workers. Electricians, plumbers etc usually havent been to college but get decent pay. The US average salary for an electrician is around $50,000 a year which you can live comfortably on. Plus, I havent met any electricians who have $250 grand in debt at the age of 24.

Electricians here in MS can make around $25 an hour certified. Which is just little over 50K a year before taxes. But if you are married with children this can still be tuff to live on if you have a house payment and or car loan. Single yea its good money, but married the wife will still need a part-time job to live comfortably. Other states like California would be much harder to live on as rent along in Cali can run 1000 to 1500 USD a month for a 1 to 2 bedroom.

chili555
May 15th, 2012, 02:39 AM
since my home country views education as an investment in it's future work force.As does ours; the USA. I don't believe anyone here thinks we should stop taxpayer-subsidized student loans. I think quite a few of us believe it's not working very efficiently as it's currently structured. I urge everyone to get a college degree.

kevdog
May 15th, 2012, 02:45 AM
I really don't want to derail this thread any further, and that's not an attempt at a cop-out. I'm also not a medical doctor, nurse, etc., so there's also only just so far into detail that I can even get with this discussion. All I'm getting at is that subsidies, or so-called "single payer" insurance systems, drive up costs through inflation. If you want, you can research this further by doing some searching for "reasonable and customary" charges. That's a big reason for the escalation in medical costs.


Reasonable and customary? That was how it was charged about twenty years ago. Now providers negotiate their rates with insurance companies up front -- before any events happen. This often happens every year or every other year. Charges for services, or actual money paid out to providers for certain DRGs have actually been declining steadily since the mid 1980's -- this despite inflation. I don't think its reasonable and customary charges that have inflated medical costs, likely the pure number of patients and various procedures that are done now-a-days.

Sorry -- I digress. Back on topic.

VTPoet
May 15th, 2012, 02:45 AM
Ater a 34 year career ending in Vice President-Human Resources, I quite agree. However, given two applicants for a job that has at least the potential to lead to management, I'll usually select a college graduate.

Oh Jeez! :rolleyes: I almost made a very pointed, snarky and sarcastic political jab. Just in the nick of time I remembered where I was. Phew!

I completely understand where you're coming from but still think it's a poor way to hire. If Steve Jobs or Bill Gates had submitted their resumes, George Floberty Higglebottom the Third, with his Bachelors in Mundane Science, would have gotten the job. Then again Jobs and Gates would have been too smart to apply, already knowing they would be rejected. Instead, they would found their own companies and become the richest men in the world.

VTPoet
May 15th, 2012, 02:47 AM
As does ours; the USA. I don't believe anyone here thinks we should stop taxpayer-subsidized student loans. I think quite a few of us believe it's not working very efficiently as it's currently structured. I urge everyone to get a college degree.

I urge everyone to stay out of debt. Get an education but, first and foremost, stay out of debt. Let that be your education.

Bandit
May 15th, 2012, 02:57 AM
I urge everyone to stay out of debt. Get an education but, first and foremost, stay out of debt. Let that be your education.

I tend to agree and if you want 4 year degree, take my advice from my previous post and just go to the military for 4 years. You dont need a doctors degree for everything, a 4 year degree will get you most jobs out there. Then if you join a company that promotes education, have them pay for your masters..

chili555
May 15th, 2012, 03:13 AM
it's a poor way to hire.I disagree...obviously. As you've quite correctly noted, the Gates and Jobs of the world aren't going to be applying there anyway. They believe they have a better way to do things and aren't going to tolerate being slowed down by the corporate culture.

The odds of finding a suitable manager in 100 high school grads is markedly lower than in a pool of 100 college grads. Almost no company has the time and resources to fight the odds looking for a Gates in a haystack.

Bandit
May 15th, 2012, 03:20 AM
Chilli has a point about the degrees. Companies want workers that can complete task, not bail out and run from them. A 4 year degree is the best way to show, "hey I can complete stuff." The company will teach you most of what you need to know, at least in most cases. The degree shows they dont have to start from scratch and that if they give you something to do, you want quit on them in the middle of the task when stuff gets hard. Its not full proof, but its a fair assessment of character.

VTPoet
May 15th, 2012, 03:45 AM
Chilli has a point about the degrees. Companies want workers that can complete task, not bail out and run from them.

I'm not convinced. The reasoning seems pat to me. Show me a study to back this up, then I'll believe it. Until then, it just sounds like self-justifying and circular reasoning.:popcorn:

whatthefunk
May 15th, 2012, 04:12 AM
I tend to agree and if you want 4 year degree, take my advice from my previous post and just go to the military for 4 years.

Not everybody wants to join the military. Four years is a long time and a graduate can pay off a modest student loan debt in four years time if they play their cards right.

Roasted
May 15th, 2012, 05:20 AM
Four years is a long time and a graduate can pay off a modest student loan debt in four years time if they play their cards right.

lol????? Perhaps by living with the parents for years with no other bills whatsoever, working overtime (if it even exists in their job), and of course having a job that pays relatively decently.

whatthefunk
May 15th, 2012, 05:29 AM
lol????? Perhaps by living with the parents for years with no other bills whatsoever, working overtime (if it even exists in their job), and of course having a job that pays relatively decently.

Getting a job is of course key. If you studied pottery and cant find a job, its your own fault. If you studied pottery and accumulated a quarter of a million dollars in debt doing so, I have zero sympathy for you. If you studied something of value and were wise enough to go to a reasonably priced school, its perfectly feasible to pay off debts in a few years.

KiwiNZ
May 15th, 2012, 05:31 AM
Getting a job is of course key. If you studied pottery and cant find a job, its your own fault. If you studied pottery and accumulated a quarter of a million dollars in debt doing so, I have zero sympathy for you. If you studied something of value and were wise enough to go to a reasonably priced school, its perfectly feasible to pay off debts in a few years.

Economic climate of course has no bearing on this does it :rolleyes:

whatthefunk
May 15th, 2012, 05:39 AM
Economic climate of course has no bearing on this does it :rolleyes:

Of course it does. Right now is obviously not a good time to be out of work. However there are many sectors where it is easy to get a job.
Example: my sister went to college twice. The first time she studied history. She had a hard time finding anything to do with it and so went back to school to study technical writing. She graduated in December and had a $40,000 a year entry level job waiting for her. This is called being smart. Americans seem to think that any degree is ok. This is true to some extent I guess, but picking a program based on what you think you can do and future job prospects is a much better way to go.

KiwiNZ
May 15th, 2012, 05:41 AM
Of course it does. Right now is obviously not a good time to be out of work. However there are many sectors where it is easy to get a job.
Example: my sister went to college twice. The first time she studied history. She had a hard time finding anything to do with it and so went back to school to study technical writing. She graduated in December and had a $40,000 a year entry level job waiting for her. This is called being smart. Americans seem to think that any degree is ok. This is true to some extent I guess, but picking a program based on what you think you can do and future job prospects is a much better way to go.

Oh assumptions/generalisations

chili555
May 15th, 2012, 05:44 PM
I'm not convinced. The reasoning seems pat to me. Show me a study to back this up, then I'll believe it. Until then, it just sounds like self-justifying and circular reasoning.:popcorn:I'm not sure there is a formal study; I haven't seen one. But I don't think the discussion is circular. Here is what the college graduate has done that makes him or her a more attractive candidate for a job with the potential to lead to management:

**Took 25-30 courses more advanced than high school in increasing level of complexity. Studied, took and passed tests demonstrating that they have a reasonable grasp of the material.

**Wrote term papers requiring library study, grasp of the material, language and composition skills.

By the way, when I was in Human Resources and ERISA regulation and reporting was introduced, I spent many an hour writing a white paper to explain what was involved and submitted it to the Chief Operating Officer of our company. It involved library study, grasp of the material, language and composition skills. Sound familiar?

**Lived in the dorm, frat house or sorority house with no parental supervision. Balanced leisure and study time efficiently. Made many friends, some lifelong, and not many enemies. Learned to work and play well with all kinds of people from perhaps all over the world. Hopefully learned to steer clear of petty politics and cliques. Managed money efficiently.

**Probably engaged in after-class activities such as dorm association, intra-mural sports, community service, etc. Learned teamwork.

These skills and many more make a college grad a better gamble than a high school grad for a job with the potential to lead to management. They are directly transferable to most management-track jobs. It's not that there aren't a few gems in the pool of 100 high school grads and it isn't that there aren't a few duds in the pool of 100 college grads, it's just that the college pool has better odds.

The gem in the pool of 100 high school graduates will very likely rise to the top and be promoted anyway. I've seen it and I've handed out the promotions.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 12:26 AM
I'm not sure there is a formal study; I haven't seen one. But I don't think the discussion is circular. Here is what the college graduate has done that makes him or her a more attractive candidate for a job with the potential to lead to management (...)


I'm sorry. It still looks like lazy thinking as far as I'm concerned. But if I see a study that backs this up, then I'll believe it. (There are obviously some professions that require the training a specialized degree offers.) In the meantime, this kind of thinking is sweet, sweet music to every over-priced, educational institution's ears.

Show me a study that demonstrates that high school graduates are lacking in all those qualities which the "odds" bequeath to college graduates. Short of that, I hold to my previous assertion. :popcorn:

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 12:38 AM
I'm sorry. It still looks like lazy thinking as far as I'm concerned. But if I see a study that backs this up, then I'll believe it. (There are obviously some professions that require the training a specialized degree offers.) In the meantime, this kind of thinking is sweet, sweet music to every over-priced, educational institution's ears.

Show me a study that demonstrates that high school graduates are lacking in all those qualities which the "odds" bequeath to college graduates. Short of that, I hold to my previous assertion. :popcorn:

I don't need study's I can go from my own experience and that of my peers. I have short listed, interviewed and hired 100's of candidates over a long period of time. Degrees do not guarantee a good employee they do however show training that may or may not fit the Job description and critical factors. Also the candidates specifications are detailed in the CV, a CV containing appropriate qualifications is more likely to be short listed than one that does not, therefore the logical extrapolation of that is, Tertiary qualifications don't guarantee employment but they do enhance the ability to gain and hold employment.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 12:51 AM
...Degrees do not guarantee a good employee they do however show training that may or may not fit the Job description and critical factors...

Yes, some jobs benefit from or require the expertise provided by a degree in a given area; but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm saying, all else being equal, that hiring X over Y because of some untested theory that, somehow, an individual with a degree has proven something that a person who lacks the same degree hasn't, is simply lazy thinking. Again, I'm sorry. I'm not going to be persuaded by anything short of the scientific method.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 12:56 AM
Yes, some jobs benefit from or require the expertise provided by a degree in a given area; but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm saying, all else being equal, that hiring X over Y because of some untested theory that, somehow, an individual with a degree has proven something that a person who lacks the same degree hasn't, is simply lazy thinking. Again, I'm sorry. I'm not going to be persuaded by anything short of the scientific method.

A degree demonstrates that the candidate has taken and will take responsibility for his/her development and is indicative of work ethic etc. Remember at the application time a potential employer has very limited information to go by, therefore in the short listing process qualification play a big role.

MisterGaribaldi
May 16th, 2012, 01:00 AM
I tend to agree and if you want 4 year degree, take my advice from my previous post and just go to the military for 4 years.

*cough*sure*cough*

Sorry, all the respect in the world to those willing to put their lives on the line for their country, but I have no desire to put mine on the line just to get a college degree.


Not everybody wants to join the military. Four years is a long time and a graduate can pay off a modest student loan debt in four years time if they play their cards right.

And not, well, risk combat and combat support roles to achieve it, either.



Economic climate of course has no bearing on this does it :rolleyes:

Indeed it does, and it's just making the whole situation worse for all of us (or, apparently, most of us). I can't tell you the number of places I've applied, to simply get no response at all. One of the reasons that rates of people abandoning job searches are so high in the U.S. is it's not at all uncommon to take 6, 9, 12, 18+ months, if even then, to get something. There comes a point where you just can't survive and hold out any longer, and there also comes a point psychologically where you just can't take hearing "no" (if you hear anything at all) any longer, either.

Besides, and I know this is somewhat off-topic, but I'll throw it out, the unemployment numbers we always hear in this country are called the "U3", which discounts so many categories of people that it really doesn't represent anything useful. The U6, which has hovered around 17% - 20%, is actually far more inclusive and therefore accurate. But nobody wants to admit that the U.S.'s unemployment situation is actually *that* bad because... who knows... maybe they're afraid there'd be a revolt.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 01:03 AM
*cough*sure*cough*

Sorry, all the respect in the world to those willing to put their lives on the line for their country, but I have no desire to put mine on the line just to get a college degree.



And not, well, risk combat and combat support roles to achieve it, either.

Joining the Army purely to get a Degree is silly.

weasel fierce
May 16th, 2012, 01:21 AM
Besides, and I know this is somewhat off-topic, but I'll throw it out, the unemployment numbers we always hear in this country are called the "U3", which discounts so many categories of people that it really doesn't represent anything useful. The U6, which has hovered around 17% - 20%, is actually far more inclusive and therefore accurate. But nobody wants to admit that the U.S.'s unemployment situation is actually *that* bad because... who knows... maybe they're afraid there'd be a revolt.

Yeah, the figures are cooked to make things look better than they are.

The crazy thing is.. we're a consumption based economy. Employment drops and consumption drops. The Greeks are feeling that pretty harshly from the austerity measures pushed there.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 02:07 AM
A degree demonstrates that the candidate has taken and will take responsibility for his/her development and is indicative of work ethic etc.

No it doesn't.

It only indicates that the individual has a degree. I've seen enough college students slide through college to know better.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 02:14 AM
No it doesn't.

It only indicates that the individual has a degree. I've seen enough college students slide through college to know better.

So you are saying those with Degrees have done nothing to get one?

I suggest you never visit a Doctor , or need Surgery.:rolleyes:

Your assertions are wrong period.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 02:38 AM
The crazy thing is.. we're a consumption based economy. Employment drops and consumption drops.

That's one of the concerns surrounding the massive (trillion dollar) debt being amassed by current college graduates. Every dollar of debt owed by a college graduate is a dollar of consumption removed from the economy. That is, instead of using that dollar to consume goods, the money is going to a financial institution which will concentrate that wealth in the financial markets. When CEOs, from these firms, walk away with multi-million dollar bonuses, they are literally walking away with the wealth of hundreds of thousands of students.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 02:41 AM
So you are saying those with Degrees have done nothing to get one?

I suggest you never visit a Doctor , or need Surgery.:rolleyes:

Your assertions are wrong period.


Edit: "So you are saying those with Degrees have done nothing to get one?"

No.

I'm saying that just because someone has earned a degree doesn't mean they'll be better or harder workers than those who haven't. Period.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 02:43 AM
That's one of the concerns surrounding the massive (trillion dollar) debt being amassed by current college graduates. Every dollar of debt owed by a college graduate is a dollar of consumption removed from the economy. That is, instead of using that dollar to consume goods, the money is going to a financial institution which will concentrate that wealth in the financial markets. When CEOs, from these firms, walk away with multi-million dollar bonuses, they are literally walking away with the wealth of hundreds of thousands of students.

Graduates have for the most higher incomes thus usually pay more in taxation, they also have higher disposable income that when spent stimulates the economy and benefits those on lower incomes.

Bandit
May 16th, 2012, 02:43 AM
Not everybody wants to join the military. Four years is a long time and a graduate can pay off a modest student loan debt in four years time if they play their cards right.

Fair argument, but the option is there. From my experience the 4 years in the military cant be beat. Not to mention it helps with getting a job. These days having prior honorable service is what most businesses are looking for.

Bandit
May 16th, 2012, 02:45 AM
Graduates have for the most higher incomes thus usually pay more in taxation, they also have higher disposable income that when spent stimulates the economy and benefits those on lower incomes.

True, but I think the point VTPoet was getting at is that a graduates without the huge debt would help the economy more.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 02:48 AM
If all degree earners were doctors, then your point would have some validity. Since they aren't, your argument has no validity. Period.

Come on, that was an example.:rolleyes::rolleyes:

wilee-nilee
May 16th, 2012, 02:49 AM
Ahh to many variables and outliers to really have any conclusion in just about any if not all arguments in this thread.

Carry on anyway. ;)

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 02:51 AM
True, but I think the point VTPoet was getting at is that a graduates without the huge debt would help the economy more.

That is true to some degree, A home owner without a mortgage has greater disposable income however by not having a mortgage the loan is not being made and interest is not being generated thus having a fiscal negative to the economy.

Bandit
May 16th, 2012, 02:59 AM
That is true to some degree, A home owner without a mortgage has greater disposable income however by not having a mortgage the loan is not being made and interest is not being generated thus having a fiscal negative to the economy.

I can see a see-saw effect. Hmm. Cant argue with that. :)

MisterGaribaldi
May 16th, 2012, 03:07 AM
Hey KiwiNZ, I'm gonna have to side with VTPoet on this one.

Not to be rude, or mean, or anything else, but you don't live here in the U.S. and, frankly, you aren't seeing first-hand what's going on here.

Ever hear the expression "paper MCSE" ? Well, the U.S. is certainly producing its fair share of "paper college grads". I know for a fact that it's the case because I've had to deal with plenty of them in my time, as management, supervisors, co-workers, customers, and so forth.

Now, that's not to say every college graduate is undeserving of their degree. In fact, I don't know if I'd even go so far as to say "most", and maybe not even "half", but darn it, there have been days when it felt like "everyone".

I mean, for goodness' sake, see if you can tune into Jay Leno's Tonight Show sometime and watch how college students/college grads fare on his Jaywalking segments. That crap, sadly, just isn't made up.

Moreover, it's just getting worse. I mentioned earlier about our K-12 system having become largely obsessed with the "teach to the test" mentality. What that is surely going to do to us is twofold: A. Force colleges to dedicate ever-expanding resources to strictly remedial-level coursework; and B. Force colleges, however slightly and however slowly, to lower their standards in order not to "fail everybody". Now, I put that in quotes because it's a bit facetious, but it's not an absolutely inaccurate statement.

It's going to get worse because, as various states are in the process of embarrassing themselves, and for other reasons the CoC would prevent me from discussing, the Federal Government is right now in the process of trying to take over total control and oversight of our K-12 systems. And basically, Race To The Top is like No Child Left Behind on steroids. At least right now if one state is a screw-up, parents can choose to move to a different state that does a better job. If things continue on the path they're presently on, assuming we don't have another revolution between now and then, all states will be under a centralized, crappy system and then it won't matter WHERE you move, it'll be the same nonsense everywhere.

Right now, there's a Turkish gentleman named Fethullah Gülen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fethullah_G%C3%BClen#Education) is in the process of setting up tons of charter schools across the U.S. which, from at least early reports, will probably wipe the walls with all of our schools here (not that this would honestly take much). How sad is it that it takes someone not even FROM the U.S. to step up and help our children's education.

</rant>

Bandit
May 16th, 2012, 03:16 AM
Moreover, it's just getting worse. I mentioned earlier about our K-12 system having become largely obsessed with the "teach to the test" mentality. What that is surely going to do to us is twofold: A. Force colleges to dedicate ever-expanding resources to strictly remedial-level coursework; and B. Force colleges, however slightly and however slowly, to lower their standards in order not to "fail everybody". Now, I put that in quotes because it's a bit facetious, but it's not an absolutely inaccurate statement.

Its absolutely accurate. EVERY college class I took the past few years taught to the test to the point that they gave you the test a few days prior to memorize it. Now the test would be like 25-45 questions and they gave you 60 to 100 Q&A's. But dang, just memorize the most you can and you got an A every time.

wilee-nilee
May 16th, 2012, 03:17 AM
Hey KiwiNZ, I'm gonna have to side with VTPoet on this one.

Not to be rude, or mean, or anything else, but you don't live here in the U.S. and, frankly, you aren't seeing first-hand what's going on here.

Ever hear the expression "paper MCSE" ? Well, the U.S. is certainly producing its fair share of "paper college grads". I know for a fact that it's the case because I've had to deal with plenty of them in my time, as management, supervisors, co-workers, customers, and so forth.

Now, that's not to say every college graduate is undeserving of their degree. In fact, I don't know if I'd even go so far as to say "most", and maybe not even "half", but darn it, there have been days when it felt like "everyone".

I mean, for goodness' sake, see if you can tune into Jay Leno's Tonight Show sometime and watch how college students/college grads fare on his Jaywalking segments. That crap, sadly, just isn't made up.

Moreover, it's just getting worse. I mentioned earlier about our K-12 system having become largely obsessed with the "teach to the test" mentality. What that is surely going to do to us is twofold: A. Force colleges to dedicate ever-expanding resources to strictly remedial-level coursework; and B. Force colleges, however slightly and however slowly, to lower their standards in order not to "fail everybody". Now, I put that in quotes because it's a bit facetious, but it's not an absolutely inaccurate statement.

It's going to get worse because, as various states are in the process of embarrassing themselves, and for other reasons the CoC would prevent me from discussing, the Federal Government is right now in the process of trying to take over total control and oversight of our K-12 systems. And basically, Race To The Top is like No Child Left Behind on steroids. At least right now if one state is a screw-up, parents can choose to move to a different state that does a better job. If things continue on the path they're presently on, assuming we don't have another revolution between now and then, all states will be under a centralized, crappy system and then it won't matter WHERE you move, it'll be the same nonsense everywhere.

Right now, there's a Turkish gentleman named Fethullah Gülen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fethullah_G%C3%BClen#Education) is in the process of setting up tons of charter schools across the U.S. which, from at least early reports, will probably wipe the walls with all of our schools here (not that this would honestly take much). How sad is it that it takes someone not even FROM the U.S. to step up and help our children's education.

</rant>

Not only is it teach to the test it is a biased educational system that is western in nature and does not consider a cultural-centric balanced curriculum.

In the ethnic studies I have done and the degree I received in them I have yet to meet anybody from this cultural group say that the curriculum offered in k-12 or the college level at all related to them.

This is one of the variables that has not even been touched on once in the thread.

This specific group is 15% of the US population, count the losses now.

MisterGaribaldi
May 16th, 2012, 03:19 AM
Not only is it teach to the test it is a biased educational system that is western in nature and does not consider a cultural-centric balanced curriculum.

In the ethnic studies I have done and the degree I received in them I have yet to meet anybody from this cultural group say that the curriculum offered in k-12 or the college level at all related to them.

This is one of the variables that has not even been touched on once in the thread.

This specific group is 15% of the US population, count the losses now.

In what way or ways is this so, wilee-nilee?

wilee-nilee
May 16th, 2012, 03:23 AM
In what way or ways is this so, wilee-nilee?

Not sure I understand your question, can you be more specific.

Reading this mans books and publications would be a good start.

http://www.asante.net/articles/1/afrocentricity/

This group has lower test scores, and college GPA's when we are equals across the board, you have to wonder why this is the case, could it be the system that educates them is flawed. Is it the institutionalized racism that is so part of the norm we don't even realize it.

They are not less intelligent by any means.

MisterGaribaldi
May 16th, 2012, 03:34 AM
Not sure I understand your question, can you be more specific.

Hmm... I don't understand what you meant by the U.S. education system being "western in nature" and culture-centric, or that the people in question feel the curriculum doesn't relate to them.

I looked at the link, but I still don't see anything particularly meaningful.

I mean, how or why do you have to vary the curriculum to accomodate, for example, "black" people? Last time I checked, they were human beings just like me, and they were good, bad, or somewhere in between, just like everyone else.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 03:43 AM
Hey KiwiNZ, I'm gonna have to side with VTPoet on this one.

Not to be rude, or mean, or anything else, but you don't live here in the U.S. and, frankly, you aren't seeing first-hand what's going on here.

Ever hear the expression "paper MCSE" ? Well, the U.S. is certainly producing its fair share of "paper college grads". I know for a fact that it's the case because I've had to deal with plenty of them in my time, as management, supervisors, co-workers, customers, and so forth.

Now, that's not to say every college graduate is undeserving of their degree. In fact, I don't know if I'd even go so far as to say "most", and maybe not even "half", but darn it, there have been days when it felt like "everyone".

I mean, for goodness' sake, see if you can tune into Jay Leno's Tonight Show sometime and watch how college students/college grads fare on his Jaywalking segments. That crap, sadly, just isn't made up.

Moreover, it's just getting worse. I mentioned earlier about our K-12 system having become largely obsessed with the "teach to the test" mentality. What that is surely going to do to us is twofold: A. Force colleges to dedicate ever-expanding resources to strictly remedial-level coursework; and B. Force colleges, however slightly and however slowly, to lower their standards in order not to "fail everybody". Now, I put that in quotes because it's a bit facetious, but it's not an absolutely inaccurate statement.

It's going to get worse because, as various states are in the process of embarrassing themselves, and for other reasons the CoC would prevent me from discussing, the Federal Government is right now in the process of trying to take over total control and oversight of our K-12 systems. And basically, Race To The Top is like No Child Left Behind on steroids. At least right now if one state is a screw-up, parents can choose to move to a different state that does a better job. If things continue on the path they're presently on, assuming we don't have another revolution between now and then, all states will be under a centralized, crappy system and then it won't matter WHERE you move, it'll be the same nonsense everywhere.

Right now, there's a Turkish gentleman named Fethullah Gülen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fethullah_G%C3%BClen#Education) is in the process of setting up tons of charter schools across the U.S. which, from at least early reports, will probably wipe the walls with all of our schools here (not that this would honestly take much). How sad is it that it takes someone not even FROM the U.S. to step up and help our children's education.

</rant>

No offense taken at all. You are right I do not live in US, however I don't live on the Moon but I have fair idea what is happening there. Do you really regard MCSE as tertiary?

All teaching to some degree is taught with the curriculum measuring tool AKA examination in mind. Now, as with primary, High School and University Education it is the extra you do yourself that will ultimately guide your success. The institution provide the catalyst to learning the student does the rest.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 03:45 AM
...by not having a mortgage the loan is not being made and interest is not being generated thus having a fiscal negative to the economy.

Say what? Yeah... OK, maybe, indirectly and within strict limits (and with provisos). But student debt, in the US, has now exceeded credit card debt. It's in the trillions. That's not defended by saying that a lack of "debt interest " would be a "fiscal negative to the economy". The current excess threatens to be a serious drain on the economy.

You know, there's a great question being asked in Europe right now: Who's the economy for, the baker or the banker? I think this question equally applies to the question: How much debt in a society is healthy?

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 03:49 AM
Say what? Yeah... OK, maybe, indirectly and within strict limits (and with provisos). But student debt, in the US, has now exceeded credit card debt. It's in the trillions. That's not defended by saying that a lack of "debt interest " would be a "fiscal negative to the economy". The current excess threatens to be a serious drain on the economy.

You know, there's a great question being asked in Europe right now: Who's the economy for, the baker or the banker. I think this question equally applies to the question: How much debt in a society is healthy?

It is not the level of indebtedness that is a problem it serviceability of said indebtedness.

The economy is for all.Now that said please do not let this drift into general politics. This thread has done well so far, it would be a shame to have it close.

MisterGaribaldi
May 16th, 2012, 03:50 AM
No offense taken at all. You are right I do not live in US, however I don't live on the Moon but I have fair idea what is happening there. Do you really regard MCSE as tertiary?

All teaching to some degree is taught with the curriculum measuring tool AKA examination in mind. Now, as with primary, High School and University Education it is the extra you do yourself that will ultimately guide your success. The institution provide the catalyst to learning the student does thet.

What do you mean by tertiary? I understand the dictionary definition of the word, but I do not understand your usage.

As regards our "teach to the test" situation here, this isn't curriculum designed with evaluation in mind, but rather to teach kids to pass a test instead of teaching with a focus on students actually learning anything.

My college has students in remedial classes for math and language for YEARS, just trying to bring them up to where they should have been. That doesn't even get into things like history, or science, or social studies, or geography, or God-knows-what-all else that they also weren't really taught all that much.

wilee-nilee
May 16th, 2012, 03:53 AM
Hmm... I don't understand what you meant by the U.S. education system being "western in nature" and culture-centric, or that the people in question feel the curriculum doesn't relate to them.

I looked at the link, but I still don't see anything particularly meaningful.

I mean, how or why do you have to vary the curriculum to accomodate, for example, "black" people? Last time I checked, they were human beings just like me, and they were good, bad, or somewhere in between, just like everyone else.

Right I would agree we are all human. It is not a matter of accommodation it is including the missing history of this cultural group, not to emphasize theirs or anyone elses, but to have a accurate true history.

If we forget it took till 1964 to pass the civil right act, this is a bit of a time after the original 13th amendment was passed in fully in 1865, 199 years. Now if things were all equal in the public sphere why would this have ever had to happen in 1964

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteenth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitu tion

Take a look at the wiki on jim crow.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_crow

Just with this little bit of information, might you ask yourself, if any of us not within that hugely diverse cultural have an understanding of what life is like standing in their shoes.

There were many other laws and court cases as well, tis one is rather telling.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_v._Board_of_Education

Anyway these are just snippets, my point being with all my remarks in this thread; is that there are to many variables that are not even being touched on in economics, education, social norm systems, and the recognition not of only this group in the arguments, but the other groups oppressed, like women, other ethnic groups, and sexual orientation. All these groups in straight up research and peer reviewed statistical studies have limitations in being hired, and wage scale against the dominate group, lower test scores in educational system, housing and health and human services, just to name a few.

Women alone of any cultural group make seventy five cents for every dollar every man in the same position makes countrywide, statistically.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 03:55 AM
What do you mean by tertiary? I understand the dictionary definition of the word, but I do not understand your usage.

As regards our "teach to the test" situation here, this isn't curriculum designed with evaluation in mind, but rather to teach kids to pass a test instead of teaching with a focus on students actually learning anything.

My college has students in remedial classes for math and language for YEARS, just trying to bring them up to where they should have been. That doesn't even get into things like history, or science, or social studies, or geography, or God-knows-what-all else that they also weren't really taught all that much.

My apologies I shall explain, in New Zealand Tertiary Education providers are the Universities, the providers of training for such things as MCSE are Private Training Establishments.

This link may help....... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_New_Zealand

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 04:01 AM
The economy is for all.Now that said please do not let this drift into general politics. This thread has done well so far, it would be a shame to have it close.

KiwiNZ, there was nothing political in that last post. Asking whether an economy is for the Banker or the Baker is another way of asking where we should be investing in our economy. Should over a trillion dollars of future earnings be garnered by financial institutions, or would that money be better (economically) spent in consumption?


It is not the level of indebtedness that is a problem it serviceability of said indebtedness.

No. When you're reaching this level of debt, the fear is that these future earnings are effectively being diverted from the general economy. The fear is that this is going to be a drain on economic growth (hence, my question above). This has nothing to do with serviceability.

KiwiNZ
May 16th, 2012, 04:03 AM
KiwiNZ, there was nothing political in that last post. Asking whether an economy is for the Banker or the Baker is another way of asking where we should be investing in our economy. Should over a trillion dollars of future earnings be garnered by financial institutions, or would that money be better (economically) spent in consumption?



No. When you're reaching this level of debt, the fear is that all these future earnings are effectively being diverted from the general economy. The fear is that this is going to be a drain on economic growth (hence, my question above). This has nothing to do with serviceability.

You references to Europe are drifting to general politics.

Now, if a debt is being serviced then the fiscal circle is doing it's thing.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 04:22 AM
Now, if a debt is being serviced then the fiscal circle is doing it's thing.

Yeah.. well... that's where we disagree. A quick look at the distribution of wealth in the United States quickly dispatches any such notion of a "fiscal circle". But this too gets into politics... so I leave it at that. We disagree. Good night.:popcorn:

Edit: From here (http://www.wpri.com/dpp/rhode_show/money_matters/rs_channel_70/the-ripple-effect-of-student-debt):


"In basic economic terms, whenever you are taking significant amounts of money out of the economy, whenever consumers are spending down some kind of debt instead of spending on consumer goods in a way that helps sustain the overall economy, you have a problem. "Now... I'm going to sleep.

chugtairizwan
May 16th, 2012, 06:37 AM
If anybody want student loan then he or she need to make a good repute in that organization where he/she study, regularly attend class, punctuality, good marks and good attitude as well then i don't think so that anybody can reject the loan application.:KS

mips
May 16th, 2012, 10:42 AM
What do you mean by tertiary? I understand the dictionary definition of the word, but I do not understand your usage.

Over here it works like this,
Pre-Primary - Esentiall pre-school, kindergarden or play school type stuff
Primary - School grades 1-7
Secondary - School grades 8-12
Tertiary - University BA-Ph.D etc

Certifications like MCSE, CCNA etc etc are simply private courses and don't count in the national qualifications framework. Keep in mind that they also expire after 2-3 years. I see in the US these certs are sometimes incorporated into degree programs, you won't find that happening here. A cert from 10yrs ago is pretty much obsolete & no longer relevant now, everything you studied 20yrs ago in a engineering degree is still relevant today although there is probably new stuff you can add.

As you said certs are basically just paper certs these days,easy to pass and you don't really have to understand the content. I've come across some CCNPs that can barely switch a router on.

Over here having a degree means you have the will power to stick it out and get the job done. In order to get the degree you needed the aptitude & mindset to think for your self (you don't get spoon fed over here, your prof. will tell you in no uncertain terms to take a hike), do research, work in a team and make sure you pass the test which is not given to you beforehand. This counts for a lot more on a CV than someone that just finished high school or got a couple of paper certs. Experience also counts for a lot over here, probably more so than anything else. You will also find that studying engineering or science will make you employable in a wide range of fields from banking to whatever else you can imagine due to the analytical nature of the people who study in these fields and they can apply themselves almost every where in the work place.

All our tertiary institutions must be registered as such with the gov dept of education and adhere to certain standards and stuff.

Maybe things work differently over here compared to the US besides things being cheaper (relatively speaking).

eriktheblu
May 16th, 2012, 02:39 PM
I don't believe anyone here thinks we should stop taxpayer-subsidized student loans.
Yes, some of us do.

As for the employability aspect, here is my experience with the military (may not be entirely applicable in the private sector):

The education standard for enlistment in the Army is 8th grade. They prioritize applicants based on staffing needs, and always select the best qualified.

This means if they can meet their needs using only high school graduates, they will only accept high school graduates. If they can do so with college graduates (unlikely) they will do so with college graduates.

In recent years standards have fluctuated in education, health, morality (legal trouble and such), tattoos, and age.

It's not about hiring everyone who is qualified, it's about meeting your staffing needs with the best possible candidates while spending the least possible resources.

The Army requires a 4 year degree for a certain grade of officer. The quantity of graduate applicants does not change the need for those officers. All it means is that we have more graduates who are paid the same as non-graduates who enlisted earlier. Not everybody can be in management; somebody still needs to flip the burgers.

What we have is not simply education inflation, it is a nuclear arms race.

An education is supposed to be used for gaining skills, not simply as a badge of tenacity. Obviously the tenacity badge is a selling feature, but a very expensive one.

Encouraging college beyond market demands only seems to result in increased debt, and delayed entry into the workforce.

MisterGaribaldi
May 16th, 2012, 04:43 PM
Hey KiwiNZ and mips:

Sorry, I passed out last night right after I read the link you posted, Kiwi.

So, the answer to the question you asked me would be: no, MCSE is not tertiary. It's just a private, proprietary product certification which has nothing to do with formal education. It's no different than CCNA, ACSP, or Novel's CLE.

VTPoet
May 16th, 2012, 10:25 PM
What we have is not simply education inflation, it is a nuclear arms race. (....) An education is supposed to be used for gaining skills, not simply as a badge of tenacity. Obviously the tenacity badge is a selling feature, but a very expensive one. (....) Encouraging college beyond market demands only seems to result in increased debt, and delayed entry into the workforce.

To your whole post: +1. To what I've quoted... Can't write it any better.


http://www.realonlinedegrees.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/ROD-EDUCATIONAL-ATTAINMENT.png

From here (http://www.realonlinedegrees.com/us-education-attainment-from-1940-2008/).

chili555
May 17th, 2012, 02:00 PM
Encouraging college beyond market demands only seems to result in increased debt, and delayed entry into the workforce.Whatever market demand is today is not what it will be in 5-10 years from now. Certainly not the same as in 25 years. The college education I urge every young person to strongly consider is good for a lifetime long career; perhaps 40-50 years of work.

Now I'm not suggesting the BASIC I learned in Programming 101 in 1967 is still in use and valid today; I'm suggesting that the foundation was laid to learn a new subject, read and understand the books, take and pass a proficiency test and is still useful today.

Although a college degree is quite expensive today, it will probably never be cheaper.

ratcheer
May 17th, 2012, 02:35 PM
I am responding to the OP of this thread.

I got my degree in 1976 and had a very small student loan debt. I paid it off within a year.

However, I am very sympathetic to the plight of today's students and graduates. I see at least two major problems with the way things are currently being done.

First, one reason the price of an education is so high is that so many student loans are available. Without the loans, demand and therefore prices would necessarily be lower. The schools rake in the money while the students are saddled with massive loans. Everyone is preached to that the only way to succeed is to have a college education, so in order to be able to go to college, they sign on the dotted line.

The second reason is that the interest rates charged are far too high and the financial institutions are trying their damnedest to get them doubled. In an economy where real interest rates are very near zero, charging anything more than about 2-3% on loans is exorbitant. Of course, with compounding the debt grows even as the former students are trying to pay it off.

The unsympathetic say, well, they signed a contract, they should fulfill their obligation. While I agree with this point, due to the reasons above and others, the obligations are much larger than most anyone realizes when they sign up. They can crush a former student's ability to "make a living".

I am done.

Tim

ratcheer
May 17th, 2012, 02:58 PM
I said I was done, then I immediately came across this article:

http://blogmaverick.com/2012/05/13/the-coming-meltdown-in-college-education-why-the-economy-wont-get-better-any-time-soon/

"You know who knows that the money is easy better than anyone ? The schools that are taking that student loan money in tuition. Which is exactly why they have no problems raising costs for tuition each and every year.

"Why wouldn’t they act in the same manner as real estate agents acted during the housing bubble? Raise prices and easy money will be there to pay your price. Good business, right ? Until its not."


Tim

MisterGaribaldi
May 17th, 2012, 07:19 PM
"Why wouldn’t they act in the same manner as real estate agents acted during the housing bubble? Raise prices and easy money will be there to pay your price. Good business, right ? Until its not."

It's a very interesting analogy you make between the real estate bubble and the potential for an "education bubble". I think what could trigger the collapse is a failed (not failing) economy where we can't get significantly-meaningful jobs, and therefore people largely give up on bothering. The offsetting factor here, of course, is the degree to which people remain optimistic that there's going to be opportunities for advancement.

I, personally, am not so optimistic, even though I'm still going to college (does that make me a hypocrite or an idiot?) and plan on at least obtaining a general AA.

wilee-nilee
May 17th, 2012, 07:42 PM
It's a very interesting analogy you make between the real estate bubble and the potential for an "education bubble". I think what could trigger the collapse is a failed (not failing) economy where we can't get significantly-meaningful jobs, and therefore people largely give up on bothering. The offsetting factor here, of course, is the degree to which people remain optimistic that there's going to be opportunities for advancement.

I, personally, am not so optimistic, even though I'm still going to college (does that make me a hypocrite or an idiot?) and plan on at least obtaining a general AA.

I suspect you will do fine, from all our shared time on the forums and earlier communications in other threads I have found you to be rather astute, :)

eriktheblu
May 17th, 2012, 08:04 PM
Whatever market demand is today is not what it will be in 5-10 years from now.
The market demand of today does not meet the production of graduates that began 5-10 years ago.

It would seem the model we used to fund the most recent crop of grads has resulted in superfluous degrees, and lots of debt.

wilee-nilee
May 17th, 2012, 08:13 PM
The market demand of today does not meet the production of graduates that began 5-10 years ago.

It would seem the model we used to fund the most recent crop of grads has resulted in superfluous degrees, and lots of debt.

Which also does not include many other factors such as social status and the ability to have ease of travel in education and the possibilities of jobs associated with the degree.

As I have tried to point out here most of the arguments here are from a eurocentric anglo male point of view that do not consider the oppressed groups in the same spheres, and how this affects the data in general.

eriktheblu
May 17th, 2012, 09:51 PM
I'm not following how social status and oppression factor into market demands for educated employees. Please elaborate.

NadirPoint
May 17th, 2012, 10:24 PM
So there is ****** 80k you can subtract from that 200k.
Corrected that for you. Characterizing 4 years of active military service as "easy" in any way, shape or form would be mis-leading at best.

NadirPoint
May 17th, 2012, 10:43 PM
Moreover, it's just getting worse. I mentioned earlier about our K-12 system having become largely obsessed with the "teach to the test" mentality.
And it gets worse. We have here in my local community even as I type, a middle school administrator under investigation for cheating on the standardized test scores by altering answer sheets - to the tune of monetary bonuses paid directly to him for "outstanding performance" accolades.

That is TRULY offensive. There's an economic angle we hadn't considered yet - dishonesty?

wilee-nilee
May 18th, 2012, 12:04 AM
I'm not following how social status and oppression factor into market demands for educated employees. Please elaborate.

I somewhat partially covered this earlier in the thread. These are factors that are missed at times as it is not part of our educational systems generaly eurocentric curriculums.

So if you have a group of people as large as the main group I have mentioned and including all the rest of say immigrant groups, gender, and sexual orientation, that do not have the resources even when meeting the same requirements as the dominate group to make an equal wage or equality in work consideration along with an institutionalized system of oppression this effects the whole market. Whether it be labor available, or jobs offered, and the money paid out to those that actually get the jobs, and money spent...etc this list is way longer.

You cannot isolate the argument of market demands to a small area, this market demand is part of a larger system that is affected by many areas. Really this is a super complex system, in that I would have no problem stating that nobody on this forum and very few can really explain all the factors of clearly. To be honest I have found this thread to be only a wag your ego rather then anything of substance.

But that is okay because, including myself, none of us has the expertise to really hit the nail on the head with any arguement we are just not fully informed, you have to be a scholar in many areas to even come close.

The area of oppression and cultural studies is one I have spent a long time on and I am not a scholar there either, but, it is always part of the analysis in my observations on social constructs and norms discussions, which is to some extent where this thread started at. You have to have a little abstract thought to realize this if you don't have the information through actual studies in this area.

The shame here I feel is that nobody on this thread has even begun to understand my arguments, this is a representation of what faulty educational systems we have not only in the US, but world wide. We hardly get anything but a reference to anything outside of the eurocentric system of thinking. This is a system that devalues any culture below itself and at best allows them in if they assimilate, rather then seeing them as equals to begin with. These other cultural landscapes may represent pre-Descartes based system in practice and cultural landscapes. Which if looked at closely may be more functional overall then the ones we are used to in economic and social systems.

I will say here that this information is not just something I think I discovered, this is from the scholars I know or have worked with in well respected organizations and educational systems.

The disregard of the link of a man with over 70 books, and called one of the top 100 minds by the utne reader and a well respected black studies professor by his peers and many world organization is well, a look the other way when the evidence is there you just have to want to know this stuff and be willing to change your thoughts, adaptation is how a species survives.

Anyway I would not call this a rant but more of a rhetoric, do yourself a favor and get educated beyond the standard norms offered to just slip through and be part of the herd. The world will not improve until enough people do this. We are living in circular social patterns in that we are just repeating what cultures have done before and did not survive while doing so and destroyed others in their actions.

They don't call it colonialism for nothing lol. :)

NadirPoint
May 18th, 2012, 12:11 AM
Of all the comprehensively unknowable factors in this complex system, I would weight economic much more heavily then social. In fact, I would weigh simple economics as more than all rest combined.

eriktheblu
May 18th, 2012, 12:46 AM
wilee-nilee, unless your implication is that we have high unemployment or underemployment among graduates due to discrimination rather than lack of demand for those skill sets, I believe it is outside the scope of my initial comments.

If that is your implication, then my position is still that we are educating beyond market demands, even if those demands are skewed by oppression.

MisterGaribaldi
May 18th, 2012, 12:51 AM
And it gets worse. We have here in my local community even as I type, a middle school administrator under investigation for cheating on the standardized test scores by altering answer sheets - to the tune of monetary bonuses paid directly to him for "outstanding performance" accolades.

That is TRULY offensive. There's an economic angle we hadn't considered yet - dishonesty?

Didn't they already pull that kind of crap in Atlanta?

To the point that wilee-nilee is evidently making about discrimination/oppression here in the U.S., I would simply suggest the people being oppressed / discriminated against should either take the bull by the horns and do something about the situation, or leave for somewhere else that doesn't engage in that sort of nonsense. There's plenty of places in the north, the south, along the east coast, or out west where it's not practiced and not tolerated, either.

wilee-nilee
May 18th, 2012, 02:28 AM
Didn't they already pull that kind of crap in Atlanta?

To the point that wilee-nilee is evidently making about discrimination/oppression here in the U.S., I would simply suggest the people being oppressed / discriminated against should either take the bull by the horns and do something about the situation, or leave for somewhere else that doesn't engage in that sort of nonsense. There's plenty of places in the north, the south, along the east coast, or out west where it's not practiced and not tolerated, either.

Actually not true as far as when, where and how this is practiced. There are good statistics that show countrywide in the US that no specific place is worse then another.

I would agree though in that the people who are directly effected by this have no choice but to move on from this or sue when proof can be made. The rest of us that are not purposefully part of the problem though but part of it by not addressing it when it is apparent are culpable. Once we get a glimpse of this from the oppressed points of view and realize what is going on we should act to change this.

I have a acquaintance who in the west was only offered a specific apt and told the one advertised was not available. They had to take the management to court and prove this discrimination, they did and now live in that original apt. This is an African American citizen.

The city I live in is considered to be a very liberal place, this apt was right downtown.

DZ*
May 18th, 2012, 02:44 AM
Some people suggested that the higher the level of the US education you get, the more you pay for it. That is often not true. In many fields, research/teaching assistantships at master/PhD levels pay for everything, including out-of-state tuition, insurance and cover all other living expenses.

That's not even a job. When it's done right, a research assistantship is a way to get paid for writing your own thesis. In other words, you get paid for getting your education.

VTPoet
May 19th, 2012, 02:34 PM
Robert Reich just wrote an article on the subject:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/student-loans-graduation_b_1528320.html?ref=homepage

My favorite passage:


"But this can't go on. If unemployment stays high for many years, if the wages of young college grads continue to fall, if the costs of college continue to rise and state and local spending per college student continues to drop, and if the college debt burden therefore continues to explode -- well, you do the math. At some point in the not-too-distant future these lines cross. College is no longer a good investment."


And this is precisely the problem I have with every pundit and glib college administrator who trots out the same tired statistic - that college students will earn X-percentage more than their high school counterparts. It's all based on price points that no longer exist, on jobs that no longer exist, and on an economy that no longer exists. The issue isn't nearly as clearcut as proponents would like to think.

CharlesA
May 19th, 2012, 02:53 PM
At every college I have attended - there is always the disclaimer about even with a degree, you are not guaranteed a certain wage/salary.

I'm a college graduate and the job I have now could be done by someone out of high school, if they can think on their feet and know how to troubleshoot. I get paid peanuts for it too, but at least it does pay the bills and shows that I at least can hold a job for multiple years. :p

Now a days, it is all about who will work for less money. It doesn't matter if you have super awesomesauce skills, if you want more money than someone with similar skills, they will go with the one who will cost less.

VTPoet
June 2nd, 2012, 12:56 PM
Just found a new article on the subject (to be a series):

For-Profit Education: Milking Students and the Taxpayers for Corporate Profits (http://truth-out.org/news/item/9485-for-profit-education-milking-students-and-the-taxpayers-for-corporate-profits)