Whether your parents told you needed to go or not, it's out there and, let's be honest, it's terrible in some pretty big ways.
Let's tackle the big one first. It's pretty god damn expensive to go to college, even for just an undergrad degree like a BA or a BS. Just a quick glance
shows the following:
- Public four-year colleges charge, on average, $7,605 per year in tuition and fees for in-state students. The average surcharge for full-time out-of-state students at these institutions is $11,990.
- Private nonprofit four-year colleges charge, on average, $27,293 per year in tuition and fees.
- Public two-year colleges charge, on average, $2,713 per year in tuition and fees.
and that doesn't even account for food, living expenses, books, etc. If your parents aren't paying your way, or you didn't get a free ride scholarship, you'll likely have a choice between getting a job and working your way through school, taking out student loans at exorbitant rates that you may be paying off for years, or, most likely, both.
As if that wasn't enough, Cantor (aka the silliest goose in the goose kingdom) wants students who are taking out loans to have to start paying on their interest right now
, instead of after they graduate:
As Monday’s White House budget talks got down to the nitty-gritty, Eric Cantor proposed a series of spending cuts, one of them aimed squarely at college students. The House majority leader, who did most of the talking for the Republican side, said those taking out student loans should start paying interest right away, rather than being able to defer payments until after graduation. It is a big-ticket item that would save $40 billion over 10 years.
So send him a turd in the mail*.
Books! Why does a textbook cost $Texas?
Welcome to the world of textbook pricing, where, it would seem, the usual market forces don't apply. The textbook market in no way resembles the trade book market, in which the same person - the consumer - desires the book (the new War and Peace, the latest diet guide or whatever), acquires it, and pays for it, so that price points and competition are crucial. What the textbook market resembles most is the market for health care, in which one entity (the physician/the professor) desires - that is, assigns or prescribes - the product, a second entity (the patient/the student) consumes it, and a third set of entities (insurance companies/parents) foot the bill. Spiraling prices for textbooks, like spiraling medical costs, seem to be the inevitable result. A General Accounting Office report in 2005 noted that textbook prices rose 186 percent in the U.S. from 1986 to 2004, compared to only a 3 percent rise in other prices over the same period and a 7 percent rise in average college tuition and fees. The seemingly out-of-control price increases have prompted laws in six states and pending bills in at least four others - plus a measure passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 7 - that aim to regulate the way in which textbooks are marketed so as to lower costs to students.
In other words, the invisible hand of the Free Market is busy sticking its fingers in the urethras of people who need to spend money (for school) to make money (to get a degree for a job).
I consider myself very lucky to have found a boss who pays for literally everything. He gives me a paycheck to attend a private school, my books/tuition/fees are covered, and the only thing he wants from me is an invite to my graduation party + a 6-pack of beer. But I am also extremely saddened that I am one of very few people who can actually do something like this. In my opinion, education should be open to all who want it. I don't think that means it has to be free, but it has to be affordable. And right now, it clearly isn't unless you want to put yourself in some crippling debt.
This thread is for any aspect of higher education that may need reform or examination, or if you just want to talk about your college experience, go right ahead.
*Don't actually literally do this