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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Schilling says RI played role in company’s trouble

Curt Schilling is blaming Rhode Island economic development officials and the governor for much of the financial troubles facing his video game company.
[...]
Schilling, 45, tells the newspaper he stands to lose all the money he saved while playing baseball, and rejects criticism that he is seeking a public handout.

‘‘I have done whatever I can do to create jobs and create a successful business, with my own income,’’ he said. ‘‘Fifty million dollars, everything I’ve ever saved, has been put back into the economy. The $49 million from Rhode Island has been put back in the economy. I’ve never taken a penny and I’ve done nothing but create jobs and create economy. And so how does that translate into welfare baby? I’ve tried to do right by people.’’

I’m pretty sure that people on welfare put the money back into the economy, too, Curt. They don’t just roll around in a big pile of welfare checks on their living room floor.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 29, 2012 at 01:03 PM | 311 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, curt schilling, red sox, special topics

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   101. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:14 AM (#4142844)
weekly

his fascination is medical research. real passion for it

   102. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:30 AM (#4142848)
MD/PhD is a good way to get your MD without taking out huge loans. (And it's good credentialing for medical research.)

Agreed -- in fact, when I used to work for biotech companies, the senior leadership team always had a couple of MD/PhD folks on board, often at the CEO level.
   103. Flynn Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4142850)
Even private schools have really jacked up their tuition. My mom went to BU in the 70s, and I think tuition was about $4000, which is around $17,000. It's $42,000 this year, which is a 250% increase.

And in this case, the critics of the Baby Boomers have a point, since the Baby Boomers themselves were the ones who were the chief beneficiaries of a far more enlightened policy that was a legacy handed down from previous generations. It's sad to see so many of these former students turn into latterday Ronald Reagans now that their own college days are well behind them.


Yeah, that's my real beef. The Boomers were handed a very nice ladder to climb up, and then yanked it up once they climbed it. In Britain, the Baby Boomers were also the last generation to be handed a defined-benefit pension (I think early boomers in America may have been able to get those, but certainly not later ones). It's unheard of to find those outside of the civil service now (hooray me!).
   104. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4142852)
I didn't know that about Drew. Sounds like a good niche for them.
   105. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4142853)
Does society have a legitimate interest in seeing that costs become a non-factor, or at least a relatively trivial factor, in deciding who gets to go to college? Scholarships and grants can help applicants whose families are below a certain cutoff point, but they do little or nothing for those from middle income families who aren't prodigies in either sports or other specialized fields.

That's the debate, but we're not having it-- instead we've just shifted the burden to families without having any sort of public conversation about it. Our public college system in this country is amazing, but it didn't build itself, and it won't last without funding. I've been at my current job for 3 years, and in that time our support from the state has dropped from around 12% to 8%.


And when you've got one group of people whining about taxes and another group that sees a college education as a sign of being a "snob", it's going to be very tough to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Of course one more factor in those rising college costs is the proliferation of "amenities", which is yet another piece in the auction model puzzle, where schools feel that they have to keep up with the Joneses in providing living quarters and recreational facilities that would have seemed virtually palatial to previous generations. That's not a knock against those amenities per se, but they certainly contribute to the overhead that's also driving up the cost of an education, and they often have little or nothing to do with the core mission of a university.
   106. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:36 AM (#4142856)

Of course one more factor in those rising college costs is the proliferation of "amenities",


Yes, and this speaks to Flynn's BU comment above. You're not going to have $4,000 tuition when you do things like build the students multi million dollar state of the art fitness facilities, gourmet dining halls, and house students in fully furnished luxury high rises with Charles River views.

College has become a customer service business, but amusingly enough all these private universities, which are already publicly subsidized through tax breaks, are competing for uncle sam's dollars through student tuition payments. If there were no public loans, tuition costs would crater because nobody would be able to afford them. The fastest way for a mediocre college to become competitive in admissions is to build some shiny student life crap.
   107. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4142860)
I mean, just look at this freaking place....

http://www.boston.com/realestate/gallery/09_01_09_BU_dorms_open?pg=3

   108. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4142865)
And in this case, the critics of the Baby Boomers have a point, since the Baby Boomers themselves were the ones who were the chief beneficiaries of a far more enlightened policy that was a legacy handed down from previous generations. It's sad to see so many of these former students turn into latterday Ronald Reagans now that their own college days are well behind them.

Yeah, that's my real beef. The Boomers were handed a very nice ladder to climb up, and then yanked it up once they climbed it. In Britain, the Baby Boomers were also the last generation to be handed a defined-benefit pension (I think early boomers in America may have been able to get those, but certainly not later ones). It's unheard of to find those outside of the civil service now (hooray me!).


The critical point in the gradual dissolution of the previous free (or minimal) tuition model was the California governorship of Ronald Reagan, who ran two successful campaigns in 1966 and 1970, using the Berkeley student body as a big fat pinata. Of course when you had a campus that was continually erupting in one angry demonstration or riot after another, it was easy to see why he succeeded, but the bottom line is that the mindset that Reagan jumpstarted in his campaign** has severely affected students in every successive generation after that. And as I mention above, it's largely the Baby Boomer generation that's now responsible for putting the squeeze on the same university system that they themselves so greatly benefited from.

**Which succeeded in ending free tuition in California by 1970. And when CCNY ended its own free tuition policy under pressure from President Ford in 1975, that was the last standing domino to fall.
   109. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:47 AM (#4142867)
This is a really depressing thread.
   110. jmurph Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4142870)
I mean, just look at this freaking place....

http://www.boston.com/realestate/gallery/09_01_09_BU_dorms_open?pg=3


I lived in the first building of that complex my senior year. I had roughly the view in slide 9, though from a lower floor. One and a half walls of floor to ceiling windows in our living room overlooking the Charles and downtown. My dad helped me move in and said "well, this is the nicest place you're ever going to live in." He's been pretty clearly right so far.

I got a lot of free money, though, so I was blissfully able to pay off my loans in less than 10 years.
   111. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:55 AM (#4142872)
I mean, just look at this freaking place....

http://www.boston.com/realestate/gallery/09_01_09_BU_dorms_open?pg=3


I know this sounds like one of those "we walked through ten miles in the snow" sort of comments, but Duke University (current tuition now around $50,000) didn't even get its first air conditioned dorm until 1967. OTOH we could walk right into a Duke-Carolina basketball game a few minutes before tipoff time without having to camp out for a ####### week or more, so campus life wasn't exactly an unending hardship.
   112. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 30, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4142874)
My kids are going to a big state University. Problem solved.
   113. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4142877)
Yeah, it's hard not to see how random any state U is not a better option than any private school short of an top 20 school right now.
   114. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4142879)
Well not any random state university, Flagship Universities. Land Grant preferred.
   115. formerly dp Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4142881)
And when you've got one group of people whining about taxes and another group that sees a college education as a sign of being a "snob", it's going to be very tough to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

I didn't say I'm expecting it to happen...

Of course one more factor in those rising college costs is the proliferation of "amenities", which is yet another piece in the auction model puzzle, where schools feel that they have to keep up with the Joneses in providing living quarters and recreational facilities that would have seemed virtually palatial to previous generations. That's not a knock against those amenities per se, but they certainly contribute to the overhead that's also driving up the cost of an education, and they often have little or nothing to do with the core mission of a university.

This is covered in the NYT article-- really, colleges are selling an experience rather than an education. And we feel that in the classroom, where students treat coming to class and doing their homework as just one more activity, rather than the central, dominant, overriding concern of their day. (people working full-time and/or raising families while they're going school-- "non-traditionals" are another story)

The paradox in all of this is that students are living better in undergrad than they are when they get out and start working a professional job and paying back their loans-- they effectively subsidized a really nice lifestyle for their 18-23 years by taking a hit during their post-college years. Teaching at a state school, my students eat better than I do, and live in prime housing downtown I can't afford. This isn't a complaint as much as it as observation-- when I was in school, it was the opposite-- endure crappy food, no heat, no technology, ect for 4 years and that's the price you pay for a shot at being middle-class.
   116. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4142884)
Well not any random state university, Flagship Universities. Land Grant preferred.

Well, sure. Most states have at least two public schools worth attending. Even Idaho.
   117. formerly dp Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:11 AM (#4142885)
Yeah, it's hard not to see how random any state U is not a better option than any private school short of an top 20 school right now.

If you send them in-state. State schools tend to soak people who come from out-of-state, with tuition around $10K/year more. For a lot of kids, there's an irrational shame in going to college to close to home, so they'll run off to another state and get a worse education than they could have gotten close to home.
   118. Guapo Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4142887)
I think about suicide at least once a week because of my student loans. I'm not kidding. Not, like, actionable thoughts, but definitely thoughts.


Don't do it, man.
   119. The Good Face Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4142893)
Even private schools have really jacked up their tuition. My mom went to BU in the 70s, and I think tuition was about $4000, which is around $17,000. It's $42,000 this year, which is a 250% increase.


Yes, blaming tuition increases on mean conservatives slashing state funding is a red herring. Sure, some state schools have been squeezed, but what's really driving tuition prices is the same thing that drove real estate prices during the bubble; a surfeit of easy money created through bad policy, and like real estate it's an unstable bubble. By making student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, we've created an overwhelming incentive to loan money to students. Any amount, to any student. There's no risk and no downside to the lender, and the universities get to charge whatever they want because there will always be somebody out there to loan the money to the suckers... I mean students. Meanwhile, the universities piss away the money on administrative bloat and construction projects (the professors sure aren't seeing it).

You want university prices to come down? Start with making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy. Yes, that means there will be less people going to university, but too many people are going now anyway. Educational standards have fallen as dumber and dumber people are attending, and the increasingly expensive degrees are becoming increasingly less valuable. Turn off the easy money faucet and force lenders to actually do some due dilligence before giving $150k in loans to some 18 year old. A handful of borderline students who can't afford school on their own and aren't attractive to lenders will wind up getting screwed, but for the vast majority of people who actually belong in college, it'll be a real improvement.
   120. formerly dp Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:19 AM (#4142894)
Don't do it, man.

It's a testament to the general heartlessness of BTF that it took until the page flip for someone to say this.
   121. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4142897)


You want university prices to come down? Start with making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.


Please god yes.
   122. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4142904)

If you send them in-state. State schools tend to soak people who come from out-of-state, with tuition around $10K/year more. For a lot of kids, there's an irrational shame in going to college to close to home, so they'll run off to another state and get a worse education than they could have gotten close to home.


Move to a town with an internationally renowned state university and have the kids live at home while attending.
   123. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4142905)

Move to a town with an internationally renowned state university and have the kids live at home while attending.


most small states in the Northeast, the flagship is driving distance from the vast majority of the state. Rutgers, Delaware, UConn, URI...UMass unfortunately is pretty far from the population center in eastern MA, but one could always go to UMass Boston I guess.

I'm sure it gets a big tougher in those giant midwest and mountain states....I gather Columbus is pretty far from most places in Ohio. But then there's also unheralded University of Ohio. Is Cincy public or private?
   124. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4142906)
Student debt is going to have to be treated radically differently from other kinds of debt, though, or hardly anyone from this generation is going to be able to get substantial lines of credit.


It is treated differently- you can't discharge it in bankruptcy...

Of course one more factor in those rising college costs is the proliferation of "amenities", which is yet another piece in the auction model puzzle, where schools feel that they have to keep up with the Joneses in providing living quarters and recreational facilities that would have seemed virtually palatial to previous generations. That's not a knock against those amenities per se, but they certainly contribute to the overhead that's also driving up the cost of an education, and they often have little or nothing to do with the core mission of a university.


I went to a state school, since I've left the state government has cut its support several times (in real dollars, before even adjusting for inflation), and yet the school is apparently flush with cash, they built several new facilities, luxury condos for grad students (only a slight exaggeration) a 45,000 seat football stadium (team has never gone to a bowl game, has never won its conference and shows no signs of cracking .500 anytime soon) a 20k seat arena, a few other buildings (dedicated to teaching remarkably enough...

how?

1: Every time the state cut funding it raised tuition, every time the state did not cut funding it raised tuition any way
2: Room and board- keep raising prices- faster than inflation rate too
3: hand out less grants/tuition breaks

Literally every 18 year old borrows because to a moronic 18 year old (not casting aspersions on today's 18 year olds, the majority of 18 year olds- in every culture and generation are functional idiots...) a loan is seemingly free money

why do banks lend? Because the government guarantees student loan debt, the banks can't lose so they lend more and more and more- and because more money is available tuition rises - there is a rather common term for this- it is a bubble- just like the housing bubble...

someone above said that tuition will not/ can not go back down- that is not quite true- if the Government stopped guaranteeing student loans you'd see a lot of money dry up real fast- if the Government stopped guaranteeing loans AND changed the Bankruptcy laws so you could discharge them- student loan lending would likely disappear overnight- schools would either have to cut tuition (either cut them or give every non-rich student a "grant") or have a hell of a lot of empty seats- based upon some areas where the housing market has collapsed I think we'd see a combination of all 3- tuition would go down (but not enough)- schools would start issuing more student grants (but not enough), and you'd have empty seats (not as many empty seats if there were no tuition cuts...)

I wouldn't recommend such a radical shock to the system NOW, but perhaps it should be done if we even get a real strong recovery- NOW I think 2 things need to be done
1: a [lower] cap on how much student loan $ per student the Govt. will guarantee
2: student loan debt to be treated like any other unsecured debt in bankruptcy
   125. Greg K Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4142907)
For a lot of kids, there's an irrational shame in going to college to close to home, so they'll run off to another state and get a worse education than they could have gotten close to home.

Morons. My choice of university was entirely based on the where the girl I happened to be seeing lived. (She just happened to live 1000 miles away from my parents)
   126. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4142909)
Are community colleges still a good deal? I bounced back and forth taking classes and working after graduating high school in 1996 and when I made the decision to transfer to a 4 year private school, a lot of my credits were transferable, thus softening my student loans considerably. I'm telling my 19 year-old nephew to milk community college for all it is worth, but I'm not sure if it's the steal it was 15 years ago.
   127. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4142910)
This really pains me, but I agree with GF in 119...

I feel ill now.
   128. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4142911)
most small states in the Northeast, the flagship is driving distance from the vast majority of the state. Rutgers, Delaware, UConn, URI...UMass unfortunately is pretty far from the population center in eastern MA, but one could always go to UMass Boston I guess.

I'm sure it gets a big tougher in those giant midwest and mountain states....I gather Columbus is pretty far from most places in Ohio. But then there's also unheralded University of Ohio. Is Cincy public or private?


Ohio University.

Cincy is public.

And I no longer live in Ohio.
   129. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4142912)
Community colleges are AN EXCELLENT IDEA, at least financially. Almost every state has guaranteed transfer for AA and AS students into the state U system.
   130. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4142913)
Sorry Bernal. I see you and I think Indians fan and assume Ohio.
   131. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4142915)
Oh, you can move to a town that has both a premier public University and a very large and well regarded Community college. Even better.
   132. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4142916)
I moved about 2 years ago. Easy mistake to make.
   133. The Good Face Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:35 AM (#4142921)
This really pains me, but I agree with GF in 119...

I feel ill now.


The first time is the hardest. It'll feel better next time...
   134. zonk Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4142933)
You want university prices to come down? Start with making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Please god yes.


How would this bring tuition down? Beyond direct school loans, the majority of loans are held elsewhere -- the schools still get their money.

FWIW, I attended a highly regard private school for my bachelors -- and the generous aid package, which was heads and shoulders above other packages, was the single largest factor in my decision. Of course, aid is recalculated each year - and despite my family income dropping in year 2, so did aid... and within the aid package, what was a 3/4 to 1/4 grant-to-loan ratio became 50/50. The trend continued through graduation.

Higher education is an absolute racket -- my suggestion to HS students would be to stay in-state, stay public, and consider juco. Build up your credits, make sure they're transferable, and then finish out at a branded school if that's what you want.

I enjoyed my college experience immensely, but financially -- it was an awful, awful #### over that I'm still paying for 15 years later.
   135. smileyy Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4142934)
[123] presupposes that there are places in Ohio.
   136. smileyy Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4142935)
[134] I think the argument is that dischargeable loans would dry up the lending market, removing money from the system, and bringing prices down.
   137. PreservedFish Posted: May 30, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4142937)
My choice of university was entirely based on the where the girl I happened to be seeing lived. (She just happened to live 1000 miles away from my parents)


How did you get together in the first place?
   138. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4142942)
Yes, blaming tuition increases on mean conservatives slashing state funding is a red herring. Sure, some state schools have been squeezed, but what's really driving tuition prices is the same thing that drove real estate prices during the bubble; a surfeit of easy money created through bad policy, and like real estate it's an unstable bubble. By making student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, we've created an overwhelming incentive to loan money to students. Any amount, to any student. There's no risk and no downside to the lender, and the universities get to charge whatever they want because there will always be somebody out there to loan the money to the suckers... I mean students. Meanwhile, the universities piss away the money on administrative bloat and construction projects (the professors sure aren't seeing it).

The problem is that it's not just any single factor that's driving up tuition, it's many factors, including the ones already mentioned and the one you're now raising. It's also true that many students simply aren't cut out for college (the overall six year BA gradulation rate is hovering around 50%**, which speaks to that point rather elegantly), but it's also true that many employers are so hung up on paper credentials that a college degree is now seen as a minimal job requirement even for jobs that would be far better off being filled by use of an apprenticeship model. The bottom line is that there's no magic bullet to solving this mess, if indeed it can even be "solved", given all the cultural factors, vested interests and political forces that benefit from the status quo.

** a percentage that fluctuates wildly depending on what you're measuring, but this seems to be the one that best takes in all new college students, not just ones who entered traditional 4-year programs
   139. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4142943)

How did you get together in the first place?


Dragonlance IRC chat club.
   140. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:02 AM (#4142944)
I know this sounds like one of those "we walked through ten miles in the snow" sort of comments, but Duke University (current tuition now around $50,000) didn't even get its first air conditioned dorm until 1967.


I went there from '97-'01, and my freshman dorm didn't have AC. Some of my friends spent sophomore year living in Trent, and not only didn't that dorm have AC, its wiring was old enough that people routinely blew the breaker by doing things like plugging in a fan and a computer at the same time.

Of course, when my mom went to Penn State, they overbooked their admissions and she spent her freshman year living in the attic above the campus weather station, so I really can't complain all that much.
   141. The Good Face Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4142945)
[134] I think the argument is that dischargeable loans would dry up the lending market, removing money from the system, and bringing prices down.


Essentially. See #124 for a more detailed take, but student loans from private lenders cannot be discharged in bankruptcy by law. As such, there is no risk or downside to private lenders loaning any amount of money to any student. Under such a loan system, a student's ability to pay tuition (via loans) is effectively unlimited, so a university's ability to raise their tuition is also effectively unlimited. Since we've fetishized a college degree as something absolutely necessary to have a successful career, and because 18 year olds are dumb as hell, people are willing to take on massive amounts of debt to finance said degree and there is ALWAYS a lender on hand willing to provide it.

But, if the loans could be discharged via bankruptcy, there is no way lenders would offer so much money to virtually every student who wants it. They'd become much more careful about who they lend to and how much they lend. The number of people going to college would drop, and the amount those people would be capable of paying would drop. Colleges would be forced to lower their prices if they wanted to retain any kind of student body.
   142. PreservedFish Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4142955)
Dragonlance IRC chat club.

That's my fear.
   143. Greg K Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4142961)
Dragonlance IRC chat club.

Sadly close to the truth.

I actually know an American here who moved to the UK and married a woman he got to know through playing an XBOX game. They now have two kids. Such is modern life!

Unfortunately my long distance matching didn't work out quite so well...though as it turns out I thoroughly loved the place she lived so I count it as one of my better life decisions in retrospect.
   144. bjhanke Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4142969)
Bookie - Thanks. I got it now, between you and Greg. You weren't just talking about tuition. You know people whose grants exceed their entire cost of living, tuition included. Hey, I don't know anybody like that except for post-doctorates who basically make their living writing and performing grant studies instead of or along with being professors who teach classes. What I know are people who get Pell grants to go to get their bachelor's degrees and military veterans trying to do the same. Grad school grants procedures, or so I've been told, are very quirky and vary by field of study. My field is English. Grants, hard to come by. My friend the microbiologist, though lives on them. Didn't want to cause trouble or be a troll, but I just misread your original post and thought you were saying that all the costs involved in an education are the tuition costs. My mistake. - Brock
   145. zonk Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4142970)

Essentially. See #124 for a more detailed take, but student loans from private lenders cannot be discharged in bankruptcy by law. As such, there is no risk or downside to private lenders loaning any amount of money to any student. Under such a loan system, a student's ability to pay tuition (via loans) is effectively unlimited, so a university's ability to raise their tuition is also effectively unlimited. Since we've fetishized a college degree as something absolutely necessary to have a successful career, and because 18 year olds are dumb as hell, people are willing to take on massive amounts of debt to finance said degree and there is ALWAYS a lender on hand willing to provide it.

But, if the loans could be discharged via bankruptcy, there is no way lenders would offer so much money to virtually every student who wants it. They'd become much more careful about who they lend to and how much they lend. The number of people going to college would drop, and the amount those people would be capable of paying would drop. Colleges would be forced to lower their prices if they wanted to retain any kind of student body.


But here's the thing -

What students -- what 18 yo, just out of HS, probably without any credit whatsoever -- is going to qualify for a loan? There wouldn't be any more "student loans", there would be only "parent loans maybe with a student cosigner".

I'm all for making loans dischargeagle under bankruptcy, I just think it would take years for tuition to come down and I have my doubts that it would happen to the extent you think. Even if it did, we'd be looking at essentially a 'gap generation' -- unable to attend college, but also unable to compete in a world where most professions will circular file your resume without at least a bachelors (we do, for better or worse).

What I'd rather see would be:

1) Forcing universities to lock in tuition rates for incoming students. Under the current schema - you're at the mercy of what seem to be capricious tuition increases. If you separate enrollment, fine - reset the rates - but it's impossible to plan a degree when the costs rise so out of whack with inflation.

2) Lock in aid over the course of enrollment. You shouldn't need a financial planner every spring when new aid applications are due.

3) Downsize loan programs, increase grant programs -- but tie grants to institution tuition rates. You could look at setting ratios of grant/tuition or any other methods to keep costs under control. If universities want to forego say, Pell participation - so be it - but if they do participate, I see nothing wrong with enforcing some ratio of tuition hikes.

4) Increase funding for various programs like medicine, teaching, et al where loans are forgiven in exchange for X amount of public clinic practice, teaching, etc.
   146. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4142971)
He was VerminaardUK and she was Si1vara16
   147. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4142972)
Maybe, but how would 18-year-old kids get any loans at all? They literally have no credit. Most have no jobs (or terrible part-time jobs), no credit history...I mean, to a lender that seems risky as hell. Also, if they did issue a loan, wouldn't the interest rate be worse than crappy credit cards?

EDIT: Coke to zonk.
   148. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:22 AM (#4142976)
There should ONLY be federal, subsidized student loans. No Private student loans except those that are dischargable.
   149. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4142981)
I know this sounds like one of those "we walked through ten miles in the snow" sort of comments, but Duke University (current tuition now around $50,000) didn't even get its first air conditioned dorm until 1967.

I went there from '97-'01, and my freshman dorm didn't have AC. Some of my friends spent sophomore year living in Trent, and not only didn't that dorm have AC, its wiring was old enough that people routinely blew the breaker by doing things like plugging in a fan and a computer at the same time.


That is ####### amazing. I'd been back to Duke several times in the 90's and even then it looked like everything was as up-to-date as it could be. Since they seem to have re-named the dorms, what about the freshman dorms in what was at least then known as Kilgo quad? That was the last group of dorms on the right walking up the main quad towards Cameron, just before you go up the first staircase. They used to be named by letters only, as in House L, House M, etc, and were total steam baths. The first AC'd dorms were the ones behind fraternity row and down the embankment on the other side of the parking lots. They were simply called "the new dorms".
   150. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4142984)
If anyone wants to know what it was like at Rutgers in 1998, just listen to this amazing This American Life episode.

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/453/nemeses?act=2
   151. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4142985)
4) Increase funding for various programs like medicine, teaching, et al where loans are forgiven in exchange for X amount of public clinic practice, teaching, etc.

Bingo.
   152. BFFB Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:29 AM (#4142989)
Yes, and this speaks to Flynn's BU comment above. You're not going to have $4,000 tuition when you do things like build the students multi million dollar state of the art fitness facilities, gourmet dining halls, and house students in fully furnished luxury high rises with Charles River views.


Ten years ago in the UK my dorm was a shitty ass building built in the 1960's, furnished with second hand furniture and had a bed that looked like it had been liberated from a 1950's prison. But it did a job and we all still had a good time. The catered dining hall was also terrible and served such world class cuisine as fish fingers with tinned peeled tomatos poured on top, "roast" potatoes which looked like gold balls and Turkeu Twizzlers made from reconstituted turkey bits. The food was so bad it became a running joke and just added to the whole experience.

And if the rooms had been better we may not have spent so many evenings in the bar drinking watered down pints of bitter!

There were "high rent" dorm rooms available in other halls of residence, but you had to pay through the nose for them and were mostly only used by the foreign students with big stipends. I think the hall of residence I was in worked in at about $5000 a year while the better ones would have cost $15-20K.
   153. formerly dp Posted: May 30, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4143007)
Yes, blaming tuition increases on mean conservatives slashing state funding is a red herring.

When our funding gets cut, we either have to make cuts or pass the costs along to students. Faculty salaries at a lot of schools have essentially been flat since the financial crisis, but tuition has risen because it has had to in order for us to maintain the quality of our product. And that 13%-15% before the crash wasn't a very high number to begin with-- it had been steadily eroded during the prior decade already. I'm not blaming conservatives solely for those cuts, but the fact that students are borrowing more to absorb them means that the consequences of those cuts haven't been felt, so we haven't really had a conversation about the value of funding the state school system; instead we've just shifted costs from the state to individual borrowers. And you can't treat the rising costs of state schools independently from the rising costs of the privates.

Educational standards have fallen as dumber and dumber people are attending,

There's more competition now among students for spots. Colleges are getting pickier, and students are getting better. A lot of schools are operating at capacity, and to increase enrollment, they're depending on a significant percentage of the student body studying abroad every semester. I agree with the general point that we require degrees for jobs that don't need them, but, at least in my experience, it seems like students are getting smarter rather than dumber, and because there was more competition for the seat they're occupying, we get to expect more out of them. This is especially true since the crash. I'm not saying there aren't dumbasses who expect you to cater to them-- this generation certainly has a lot of those-- but in terms of the abilities they're coming into college with, they're in good shape. And the expectation that they'll hit the job market with several (usually unpaid) internships is highly problematic, as there's more competing with their education for their time.

18 year-olds don't borrow money in a vacuum-- most of them do it at the school's urging or at the parents', or some combination of the two. More transparency in the process would help, but that's not going to happen without better disclosure regulations-- letting students know what their financial burden will be and what their expected salary range after graduation will be. Right now the schools across the board have strong incentives to doctor both numbers.

my suggestion to HS students would be to stay in-state, stay public, and consider juco. Build up your credits, make sure they're transferable, and then finish out at a branded school if that's what you want.

This is exactly how I advise my extended family, not that they listen...marketing's a powerful thing, and schools spend a ton of money on it...
   154. The Good Face Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4143018)
What students -- what 18 yo, just out of HS, probably without any credit whatsoever -- is going to qualify for a loan? There wouldn't be any more "student loans", there would be only "parent loans maybe with a student cosigner".


Many wouldn't, but that's a feature, not a bug. Too many people are going to college right now who don't belong. Pricing them out of the market is doing them a favor. Sticking them with $50-100k in non-dischargeable debt only for them to flunk out after two years isn't helping anybody. Lenders would make themselves available for truly talented students who found themselves priced out, and with lower tuition, higher interest rates wouldn't be the end of the world. Reduced pricing would also allow scholarships and foundations to do much more good with their existing funds and help ensure that worthy students aren't priced out.

I'm all for making loans dischargeagle under bankruptcy, I just think it would take years for tuition to come down and I have my doubts that it would happen to the extent you think. Even if it did, we'd be looking at essentially a 'gap generation' -- unable to attend college, but also unable to compete in a world where most professions will circular file your resume without at least a bachelors (we do, for better or worse).


No idea why you think it'd take years. If students can't get the money, the schools can't get the students at current pricing. No students means no money for the schools. Sure, there would be short term pain, and no doubt thousands of useless administrators would lose their jobs, but again, feature, not bug.

The obsession with a bachelors degree among employers is a different, more complex issue.
   155. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4143020)
Since they seem to have re-named the dorms, what about the freshman dorms in what was at least then known as Kilgo quad?


Kilgo quad's on West campus, which is only for upperclassmen (or at least it was when I was there). I'm not sure about it, since I lived in a dorm in Edens (the ones down the hill from the roundabout, set back a little from the campus itself) for my other three years. The Edens dorms were new and very modern, and they had AC.

My freshman dorm was Gilbert-Addoms on East. Three-story brick residence hall, looked like '50s construction, set right up against the wall facing the railroad tracks.

Trent was a big old Soviet-looking building in Central, usually the port of last call for sophomores who got a really crappy draw in the housing lottery. I'm not sure whether or not it's still there and/or used as a dorm - I know they were talking about phasing it out.
   156. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4143021)
Educational standards have fallen as dumber and dumber people are attending,


There's more competition now among students for spots. Colleges are getting pickier, and students are getting better.

I can only speak about Duke from first hand experience, but two observations:

--- I got into Duke solely on the basis of my SATs and a letter from my high school baseball coach to Duke's baseball coach Ace Parker, which got me off the waiting list. I was barely in the top third of my class in my public high school, and with those credentials today I'd have about as much chance of being admitted to Duke as I'd have of becoming the next Yankees' cleanup hitter.

--- I get the Duke alumni magazine, and yeah, I know that they puff up the place like a little Potemkin Village. But the sort of students I see routinely described there are so far beyond even the best students in "my" time that it's almost embarrassing to think about. Christ, I majored in civil rights, women and nine ball, and still got out in the top half of my graduating class, God knows how. With the time I spent (not) studying back then I wouldn't have lasted a semester down there today. Duke may be an exception to the general rule, but the idea that students today are "dumber" seems so wildly unlikely that I can't even get a handle on it. It's like thinking that the American League of 1962 was better than the American League of today.
   157. zenbitz Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM (#4143022)
This is soooo last page, but me along with every other hard science (and most soft science) phds got a free ride. If you call $15K/an in NYC for essentially infinite high skilled labor for 7 years a "free ride". Many programs have a 5 year limit on a PhD to prevent exploitation. I wasnt exploited, just bad at finishing projects and writing them up. What did i get out it? Knowledge about my academic short comings., and eventually a pretty cushy scientific programmer job at Stanford.

Which i am now locked into, because Stanford will pay 1/2 of Stanford's tuition for my son to any university (used to be employees kid got a scholarship to Stanford... But i guess they got pickier). He turns 8 next month so i figure this bennie will be worth a cool $2M over 4 years in 2022.
   158. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4143029)
When our funding gets cut, we either have to make cuts or pass the costs along to students.
This is true, but my understanding is that tuition has increased at a rate way beyond the amount needed to sustain the school after budget cutbacks. Most schools are also paying through the nose for a cascading increase in "deanlets" - new subdivided adminstrative positions - as well as all the facility improvements discussed on the last page. The problems in higher education aren't unrelated to budget cutbacks at the state level, but they go well beyond that issue.
   159. smileyy Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4143031)
[157] leaving you/him on the hook for the other half? :)

Kind of sounds like a coupon for half off a Ferrari...sounds nice, but I still can't afford the other half of it...
   160. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4143033)
Kilgo quad's on West campus, which is only for upperclassmen (or at least it was when I was there). I'm not sure about it, since I lived in a dorm in Edens (the ones down the hill from the roundabout, set back a little from the campus itself) for my other three years. The Edens dorms were new and very modern, and they had AC.

My head spins. Back then West campus was for male undergrads, East campus for female undergrads, and grad students lived somewhere in the middle of nowhere, mostly off-campus but a few in something called (IIRC) the "Graduate Living Center", or something like that.

My freshman dorm was Gilbert-Addoms on East. Three-story brick residence hall, looked like '50s construction, set right up against the wall facing the railroad tracks.

An ex-GF I had who lived in G-A went on to marry a madman who was one of the instigators of that unfortunate (and quite deadly) "Death to the Klan" march in 1979, which you may or may not have heard of. I don't think that we were really cut out for each other.

Trent was a big old Soviet-looking building in Central, usually the port of last call for sophomores who got a really crappy draw in the housing lottery. I'm not sure whether or not it's still there and/or used as a dorm - I know they were talking about phasing it out.

I don't remember any place known as "Central". Where was that in relation to East and West? Was it off Campus Drive going up the hill towards West Durham or down the hill going towards the swanky residential district?

Durham used to be my favorite city, what with a dozen legitimate pool rooms and an unending number of cheap beer and barbecue joints, with not a single chain restaurant south of the Roxboro Road (15-501 North). If it hadn't been for the city, I never could have possibly survived my time at Duke, whose Judi Board would kick you out if you were ever caught with a woman in your room, and which otherwise was about as thrilling as the latest George Will column on the Chicago Cubs.
   161. zonk Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4143037)

Many wouldn't, but that's a feature, not a bug. Too many people are going to college right now who don't belong. Pricing them out of the market is doing them a favor. Sticking them with $50-100k in non-dischargeable debt only for them to flunk out after two years isn't helping anybody. Lenders would make themselves available for truly talented students who found themselves priced out, and with lower tuition, higher interest rates wouldn't be the end of the world. Reduced pricing would also allow scholarships and foundations to do much more good with their existing funds and help ensure that worthy students aren't priced out.


I assume you have some data to justify this supposed correlation between "can't afford to go to college" and "don't belong in college"?

During my college career and indeed, 15 years of professional life including hiring responsibilities, I saw no such correlation... Indeed, my experience has been that the "don't belong in college" inversely correlates with "can't afford" -- unless "belongs in college" has some relationship to tracing back generations of alums, knowing which fork to use with which course at a formal dinner, and referring to university trustees as "Uncle".
   162. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4143041)
Many wouldn't, but that's a feature, not a bug. Too many people are going to college right now who don't belong. Pricing them out of the market is doing them a favor.
That "feature" doesn't filter out people who don't belong in college, it only filters out people who can't afford to go to college.

EDIT: Coke to Zonk.
   163. puck Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4143042)
How common is it for in-state tuition to be over $10,000/yr now? That sort of shocked me to learn that (college was 20 years ago for me). A friend's son is in engineering at CU Boulder and the in-state tuition for the year is $12 - $13,000.
   164. eddieot Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4143046)
Since someone asked about 100 posts ago ... A guy with 10+ years of MLB service is getting about $180,000 a year in pension, plus the best medical insurance available for the rest of his life. It's not 1% money but Curt won't be homeless anytime soon.
   165. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4143047)
my suggestion to HS students would be to stay in-state, stay public, and consider juco. Build up your credits, make sure they're transferable, and then finish out at a branded school if that's what you want.

Good advice. Two years at a JC, two years at big state U should be financially manageable for most and perfectly acceptable to potential employers.

I have a bunch of nieces currently trying to navigate the Cal State system. All the Cal State schools are so crazy competitive that some of them can't get in to any, even after CC or JC, and have to look at Arizona, Arizona State or Colorado to get accepted.

It's amazing how things have changed so quickly. I graduated 15 years ago from USC, today I could never get accepted there out of high school and if I somehow did I could never afford to attend.
   166. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 30, 2012 at 12:57 PM (#4143051)
I have a bunch of nieces currently trying to navigate the Cal State system. All the Cal State schools are so crazy competitive that some of them can't get in to any, even after CC or JC, and have to look at Arizona, Arizona State or Colorado to get accepted.
Yeah, the UC and CSU systems used to be the crown jewel of California's economy, cranking out thousands of young, smart, employable people every year at a price that most residents could afford.

The local community colleges have experienced a crazy boom of enrollment because of this mess. Both Long Beach and Cerritos College, CCs less than 20 minutes from each other, have both expanded dramatically the last few years and now look like small 4-year colleges both in size and facilities. Of course, they're also now more expensive and harder to get into, but they're still far better options for kids on a budget.
   167. tshipman Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4143058)
There isn't a ton of evidence for loan availability increasing tuition costs. Education is like healthcare: people have decided they need it, and it has cost growth much higher than the overall inflation rate.

One interesting idea I've seen is modifying the Pell Grant program to make more money available at schools with lower tuition.
   168. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:06 PM (#4143060)
Toward the end of my & my first wife's grad school stint at Arizona State ('81-'84), we got a student loan that we used to buy a car. Which turned out to be an '81 (or so) Renault LeCar. That, after we split up a year or so later, she wound up giving to a co-worker whom she must not've particularly liked.

Served us right. I'm pretty sure the car was her idea, though.

Now I'm starting to wonder which of us ended up paying the student loan ...
   169. The Good Face Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4143069)
I assume you have some data to justify this supposed correlation between "can't afford to go to college" and "don't belong in college"?


Since we're discussing a hypothetical future, I'd have to be some sort of TIME WIZARD to have such data. Sadly, I am not. But let's work through this using the power of mental thinking.

Right now, virtually any live body can get as much money in student loans as they like (eventually they'll stop lending to you, but the limits are quite high), so all schools are "affordable" to all people. In our hypothetical future where student loans are dischargeable via bankruptcy, school prices will be significantly lower, but private student loans will only be available to students considered to be good risks. People will always make money available to smart, talented students because they'll expect a reasonable return. Keep in mind risk will be lower since tuitions will also be significantly lower. Conversely, the guy who graduated high school with Cs and came in below average on the SATs is going to be out of luck when it comes to private loans. I don't see that as a problem. Also keep in mind that with lower tuition rates, existing scholarship funds and grants will be able to do much more with the same amount of money on hand.

Like I said in #119, there will probably be a handful of students who will wind up on the borderline and unable to find the money to attend college... promising enough that they shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, but not quite impressive enough that private lenders want a piece of that action. Not a perfect solution, but better than the status quo. And yes, there will always be the idiot children of rich people. They're a constant and shouldn't be factored in, since they're relatively low in number and will be with us regardless of how we structure our society.
   170. OCF Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4143070)
But the community colleges have taken the funding hit even worse than the CSU. The problem with the community colleges is that you may not be able to get into the classes you need. The CSU has partly replaced the lost state funding by raising tuition; since the tuition at the CC's is trivial compared to the cost of instruction, that avenue is mostly not open to them. Santa Monica College toyed with the idea of putting the courses really needed for transfer into a higher-cost category. After a near-riot, I'm not sure what's up with that plan.

Of course, they're also now more expensive and harder to get into

That's not really true. The tuition, as I've said, is still very low, and anyone can get in. What's hard to get into is the particular class you need.

10 years or so ago, I saw something that suggested that states (like California) with high rates of community college attendance had lower four-year completion rates that states with less emphasis on the two year colleges. The students who do transfer to four year colleges have reasonable success rates; what you don't see is the wastage that happens before that point, with many students falling by the wayside.

As for the CSU's being crazy competitive: yes, especially mine. But our admissions system is a formula-driven blunt instrument with no nuance and very little human intervention.

Edit: this was in reply to El Hombre's #166.
   171. depletion Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4143081)
It's a testament to the general heartlessness of BTF that it took until the page flip for someone to say this.

Sorry, it took a while to get this in, but I disagree with this. BBTF people are not generally heartless. Instead, explain why you didn't say anything in WeeklyJ's behalf in the previous page.
Hang in there, Weekly. Any time you want to chat, you can get me by email.
   172. Tripon Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4143083)
I have a bunch of nieces currently trying to navigate the Cal State system. All the Cal State schools are so crazy competitive that some of them can't get in to any, even after CC or JC, and have to look at Arizona, Arizona State or Colorado to get accepted.
Yeah, the UC and CSU systems used to be the crown jewel of California's economy, cranking out thousands of young, smart, employable people every year at a price that most residents could afford.


I gradurated in 2003 with not so great grades, and only got accepted to Cal State San Diego, a school that can cheerifully described as a 'party school'. Went to the local CC, transfered to UCI, gradurated, and currently looking for a teaching job. (If you think public funds for higher ed is bad, its even worse for for hiring teachers).

Of course, if I gradurated now with the grades I had back in high school, I could forget about even attending San Diego State now, where its now ranked in the top 150 schools in the country. Heck, even former punching bags like UC Riverside (I didn't even apply to UCR and I got calls from them about coming in for the fall semester) and UC Santa Cruz have waiting lists, and turn down scores of students.

College in general is just a lot more cutthroat even from ten years ago.
   173. zonk Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4143084)
Right now, virtually any live body can get as much money in student loans as they like (eventually they'll stop lending to you, but the limits are quite high), so all schools are "affordable" to all people. In our hypothetical future where student loans are dischargeable via bankruptcy, school prices will be significantly lower, but private student loans will only be available to students considered to be good risks. People will always make money available to smart, talented students because they'll expect a reasonable return. Keep in mind risk will be lower since tuitions will also be significantly lower. Conversely, the guy who graduated high school with Cs and came in below average on the SATs is going to be out of luck when it comes to private loans. I don't see that as a problem. Also keep in mind that with lower tuition rates, existing scholarship funds and grants will be able to do much more with the same amount of money on hand.


I eagerly await the first loan officer who wants to consider my SAT score in determining my credit worthiness... Also, since I decided against a masters -- I'd also like for Experian to include my GMAT numbers.
   174. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:26 PM (#4143090)
That's not really true. The tuition, as I've said, is still very low, and anyone can get in. What's hard to get into is the particular class you need.
It's still very low relative to the CSUs and UCs — it's VERY low in comparison — but it's nowhere near as low as they used to be. During the five years I was working from home (and not very much at that) I took some design classes at Cerritos, and the jump from my first semester there to my last went from the low $20s per unit to the mid-$30s, and a scheduled increase to the mid-$40s this fall — nearly a doubling of tuition costs in just six years for fewer classes. The impact on me was minimal, but for kids who needed classes to get into 4-year colleges, the frustration/desperation was pretty profound.

As for the CSU's being crazy competitive: yes, especially mine. But our admissions system is a formula-driven blunt instrument with no nuance and very little human intervention.
As an alum of said university, yep.
   175. zonk Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4143092)
On the plus side -- perhaps this finance-based college world would see some immediate cost savings... Under such a scenario, why would the university needs admissions?

We could just let the banks handle college admissions. They could bring the same wise decision making to higher education that they brought to real estate, the credit markets, and 'exotic financial instruments'. They performed so well when there WAS collateral to back lending, I'm sure they'd be even more dynamite if they didn't have collateral to bog them down with ignoring.
   176. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4143095)
Last night I was so tired I forgot that government funding for state schools has dropped so much. What a mess.

There's no reason to be taking out loans of any real size to go to graduate school, though, is there (maybe a couple thousand here and there for something or other)? If you apply to enough places, you'll get an assistantship or fellowship or something someplace if you belong in that field at all. The loans thing is an undergraduate issue. But maybe I'm being a ludicrous optimist about that.

As for me, I actually did get caught having to pay the candidacy tuition one year, but that was because I'd had my four years of assistantship already. The next year I got another one, and am still slogging along, slowed by depression, illness, and dissolution.

But man, if you're going to take loans, don't take them to get a degree in the humanities (I know someone who is borrowing to fill out her living expenses even though she has an assistantship, but that's not necessary--it's her choice). I only went into my field because I knew I wouldn't have to borrow to get my bachelor's degree and that I would get free rides through graduate school. If I'd had to borrow my way through undergrad, I'd have studied computer science or something like that (I'm actually considering borrowing my way through a marketable four-year degree after I finish my dissertation . . . ). They still have scholarships and stuff for the really promising students, though, don't they? So someone really bright but not rich can still study the humanities. I wasn't an undergraduate that long ago!
   177. zonk Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:36 PM (#4143102)
They still have scholarships and stuff for the really promising students, though, don't they? So someone really bright but not rich can still study the humanities. I wasn't an undergraduate that long ago!


My experience - now nearly 20 years ago - is that "scholarships" are not even to the level of 'coupons'. I applied to anything and everything the year before my first college year. Church scholarships, community groups, heck -- I even read Ayn Rand to submit an application for a scholarship to some weird objectivism society. I won more than my share -- but it added up to less than $2000, which certainly did cover my books freshman year and also living expenses together with a part-time job.

Sophomore year, however, I found virtually nothing to apply for -- all of the original 'scholarships' save for one were just one-time grants. None of them had anything for college sophomores. I did do lots of research - found a few things here and there - but my haul sophomore year was less than $500 - which basically covered fall quarter's books and a chunk of winter quarter.
   178. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4143105)
Just saw this note from Furtado on the Ricketts thread:

The "discussion" at this point has devolved into nothing more than name calling. I am closing the thread.

FYI, in the redesign I will restrict off-topic political discussions to a new politics off-topic blog that I am setting up for the purpose. By default, members will not see these discussions in their Hot Topics until they opt-in to see them. In the interim I will restrict off-topic political discussions to a dedicated monthly thread (similar to the football, basketball, and soccer threads) which will be tagged as "politics", marked as "OT:Politics" in the title and which will include a disclaimer about the nature and tone of the discussion. I will also begin closing the discussion of off-topic political discussions in other threads.

When the redesign goes live, I will move all these off-topic political threads to their new home.

If anyone wishes to take responsibility for posting these threads, please contact me and submit the first thread. I will create a Lab Notes thread about this topic.


Nice to know that Dean Wormer is back on the job.
   179. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4143107)
Vaux:

As someone whose dissertation is stuck in stall, I just want to say I sympathize. Good luck!
   180. The Good Face Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4143112)
On the plus side -- perhaps this finance-based college world would see some immediate cost savings... Under such a scenario, why would the university needs admissions?

We could just let the banks handle college admissions. They could bring the same wise decision making to higher education that they brought to real estate, the credit markets, and 'exotic financial instruments'. They performed so well when there WAS collateral to back lending, I'm sure they'd be even more dynamite if they didn't have collateral to bog them down with ignoring.


You ah... you do realize that by defending the status quo, you're defending entrenched banking institutions? Also, it's only natural that banks act like idiots when insulated from the consequences of their idiocy by government policy.
   181. AROM Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4143113)
When I went to college in 1989 my freshman dorm was a concrete structure that should last a few millenia*. I had about an 8x10 room with a small closet, a foldout couch/bed, and a desk. The bathrooms and showers were communal. I had better living spaces than 90% of my fellow freshmen, because I had a single room. I had a tiny fridge which I had to by myself. The cafeteria was something that made me happy I had a car and could get my meals at McDonalds or Burger King.

That's the way it was and we liked it. We loved it.

*I once theorized that the world of Dungeons and Dragons was not something in the past, but instead in the distant future after the fall of our civilization. This dorm was the only thing left standing from the college campus. I took the floor plan and turned it into a dungeon filled with goblins and trolls.
   182. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4143124)
Yes, blaming tuition increases on mean conservatives slashing state funding is a red herring. Sure, some state schools have been squeezed, but what's really driving tuition prices is the same thing that drove real estate prices during the bubble; a surfeit of easy money created through bad policy, and like real estate it's an unstable bubble. By making student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, we've created an overwhelming incentive to loan money to students. Any amount, to any student. There's no risk and no downside to the lender, and the universities get to charge whatever they want because there will always be somebody out there to loan the money to the suckers... I mean students.
This isn't quite right. The non-dischargeability is something of a red herring. The risk/downside to lenders is that you can't pay the loan back; if you can't, the fact that you also can't discharge it doesn't get the lender its money. They still only have an incentive to loan to people who can pay back. Unless, of course, the government guarantees the loans. Or unless the government is the lender, since the government doesn't care whether you pay back the loan.

You want university prices to come down? Start with making student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy. [...] Turn off the easy money faucet and force lenders to actually do some due dilligence before giving $150k in loans to some 18 year old. A handful of borderline students who can't afford school on their own and aren't attractive to lenders will wind up getting screwed, but for the vast majority of people who actually belong in college, it'll be a real improvement.
The only student who would be attractive to lenders if student loans were freely dischargeable in bankruptcy would be the student who didn't need loans in the first place. If you can discharge your loan, it's economically rational to take out big loans, go to school, and file for bankruptcy upon graduation. At that point, you have few assets to lose in bankruptcy, and the lender has nothing to show for the loan. It's not like they can repossess a diploma.
   183. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4143126)
If Furtado's goal is to ruin this site, he is well on his way.
   184. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4143128)
At that point, you have few assets to lose in bankruptcy, and the lender has nothing to show for the loan. It's not like they can repossess a diploma.

Man, I think you are seriously underestimating the shittiness of bankruptcy.
   185. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:10 PM (#4143132)
This is true, but my understanding is that tuition has increased at a rate way beyond the amount needed to sustain the school after budget cutbacks. Most schools are also paying through the nose for a cascading increase in "deanlets" - new subdivided adminstrative positions
Quoting Heather McDonald, which I know is like a red flag for some:
California’s budget crisis has reduced the University of California to near-penury, claim its spokesmen. “Our campuses and the UC Office of the President already have cut to the bone,” the university system’s vice president for budget and capital resources warned earlier this month, in advance of this week’s meeting of the university’s regents. Well, not exactly to the bone. Even as UC campuses jettison entire degree programs and lose faculty to competing universities, one fiefdom has remained virtually sacrosanct: the diversity machine.

Not only have diversity sinecures been protected from budget cuts, their numbers are actually growing. The University of California at San Diego, for example, is creating a new full-time “vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.” This position would augment UC San Diego’s already massive diversity apparatus, which includes the Chancellor’s Diversity Office, the associate vice chancellor for faculty equity, the assistant vice chancellor for diversity, the faculty equity advisors, the graduate diversity coordinators, the staff diversity liaison, the undergraduate student diversity liaison, the graduate student diversity liaison, the chief diversity officer, the director of development for diversity initiatives, the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity, the Committee on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues, the Committee on the Status of Women, the Campus Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion, the Diversity Council, and the directors of the Cross-Cultural Center, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center, and the Women’s Center.
   186. depletion Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4143134)
If you can discharge your loan, it's economically rational to take out big loans, go to school, and file for bankruptcy upon graduation. At that point, you have few assets to lose in bankruptcy, and the lender has nothing to show for the loan. It's not like they can repossess a diploma.

This was the case in the late '70's, I believe. A large portion (25% ?) of Columbia U student loans went unpaid because of bankruptcy. Of course, Little Junior was still living off Mom and Dad off the books. Gaming the system since 1754!
   187. Dr. Vaux Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4143137)
Thanks, Weekly. Good luck to you too!

If you can discharge your loan, it's economically rational to take out big loans, go to school, and file for bankruptcy upon graduation. At that point, you have few assets to lose in bankruptcy, and the lender has nothing to show for the loan. It's not like they can repossess a diploma.


That would put the students in about the same situation they're in now, wouldn't it? After a bankruptcy, your credit's so bad that you can't get a loan to buy a house or car or anything like that, and with huge student loan debt you also can't. Bankruptcy would be marginally better, I suppose, since there's also the whole having to pay it back thing, but the broader economic issue is that the whole group of 20-somethings who are out there now are going to be unable to make large purchases. I guess that means there won't be a housing bubble anytime soon. Or maybe student loans are considered a separate category in determining credit ratings; I don't know whether they are or not.
   188. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4143139)
YES YES, The Problem are women's centers and LGBT student life offices...not absurd costs for Marketing Departments, Human Resources Departments, consulting fees, and other baggage from the corporate business model that have infected Academia.

#### Heather McDonald with a chainsaw.
   189. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4143141)
I once theorized that the world of Dungeons and Dragons was not something in the past, but instead in the distant future after the fall of our civilization. This dorm was the only thing left standing from the college campus. I took the floor plan and turned it into a dungeon filled with goblins and trolls.


Most of D&D's conceptual framework is built off of the bones of Jack Vance's "The Dying Earth" stories, which is exactly that sort of thing. Magic is the memorization of "spells" which invoke technology that the dying world no longer comprehends.
   190. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4143143)
Man, I think you are seriously underestimating the shittiness of bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy sucks if you're established in your life, have acquired property, and have then run up debts, run through all your savings, been hounded by creditors for months, eventually been evicted/foreclosed from your home, etc. As a new grad with no assets, wiping out $100K+ of debt at the start of your life is a good idea. Yeah, it hurts your credit score for a while, but that's a pretty good tradeoff for starting your life debt-free.
   191. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4143145)

But man, if you're going to take loans, don't take them to get a degree in the humanities (I know someone who is borrowing to fill out her living expenses even though she has an assistantship, but that's not necessary--it's her choice). I only went into my field because I knew I wouldn't have to borrow to get my bachelor's degree and that I would get free rides through graduate school. If I'd had to borrow my way through undergrad, I'd have studied computer science or something like that (I'm actually considering borrowing my way through a marketable four-year degree after I finish my dissertation . . . ). They still have scholarships and stuff for the really promising students, though, don't they? So someone really bright but not rich can still study the humanities. I wasn't an undergraduate that long ago!


I went to college about 20 years ago, mid 90s, to Boston University. Came from a poor family; all of my siblings went to college, but apart from one semester at Berkeley that fell through, all graduated from the state college system (Nebraska).

Even back then BU was expensive -- near the top tuition in the nation -- around $25,000 per year. My mother was deceased, my father lived on disability and a pension. So there was very little money coming from them.

I wanted to go to BU for archaeology, and my grades and SAT scores were very good. BU gave me a full ride on tuition, but that didn't cover school fees, room and board, nor books and living expenses. I was eligible for work study, but that didn't pay very much. I got a Pell Grant and a National Merit scholarship, and BU reduced its financial support an equal amount, so that was no net benefit. So I got a little help from Dad and took out Stafford Loans for the rest. Also had to take out a loan to pay for my mandatory field school in Greece. My student loans are much more modest than many of my peers, and haven't really been a burden, although I am still paying them off.

Went to graduate school at University of Missouri for MA and PhD. Got an assistantship plus a four-year stipend that helped a lot, but getting both degrees took more than four years of course, so I worked my way the rest of the time. That worked out fine, but when I returned from my year abroad doing doctoral research, I found that MU had changed its policies and limited the amount of hours a student could work on campus to no more than 16.6 hours per week. As a TA we were already getting paid less than every other department on campus, and an additional 6 hours wasn't covering living expenses. It was difficult to find a job in the "real world" with only academic job experience. I eventually got a position at the public library but it took a semester to work my way up from 8 hours a month to a half-time job, and in the interim I lived by tapping my credit cards (they were showering students with offers back then; I accepted, and found my credit limits increased every year, so I had a lot of credit to draw upon). During and after my graduate career I also drew upon them for trips to conferences, which were mandatory if I were to get any interviews for jobs, and which ran easily $1000-1500 per year. I am still paying on those cards. Have spent the last eight years as an academic drone in various capacities, and finally scored a tenure-track job which will allow me to pay off all my debts. I shudder to think of what those who have come after me are going to do.
   192. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4143146)
If Furtado's goal is to ruin this site, he is well on his way.
If posters are to be believed, he's well into his second decade of ruining the site. So far, so good.
   193. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4143147)
If Furtado's goal is to ruin this site, he is well on his way.

I still can't see why giving each of us the ability to block ANY Hot Topics threads we don't want to see---either poliical or non-political---wouldn't solve the problem for everyone, including Joey and the Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim. I've never seen a logical answer to that simple question.
   194. Randy Jones Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4143148)
After a bankruptcy, your credit's so bad that you can't get a loan to buy a house or car or anything like that, and with huge student loan debt you also can't.


Bankruptcy is only on your credit score for up to 10 years, I believe, and there are ways to raise your score during that time. I will be paying off my student loans for a total of 20 years. Were the option available to me, I absolutely would have declared bankruptcy as soon as I graduated and I would be much better off for it now.
   195. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4143149)
YES YES, The Problem are women's centers and LGBT student life offices...not absurd costs for Marketing Departments, Human Resources Departments, consulting fees, and other baggage from the corporate business model that have infected Academia.
She goes on to point out:
UC Berkeley’s own vice chancellor for equity and inclusion shows how voracious a diversity apparatchik’s appetite for power can be. Gibor Basri has 17 people working for him in his immediate office, including a “chief of staff,” two “project/policy analysts,” and a “director of special projects.” The funding propping up Basri’s vast office could support many an English or history professor. According to state databases, Basri’s base pay in 2009 was $194,000, which does not include a variety of possible add-ons, including summer salary and administrative stipends. By comparison, the official salary for assistant professors at UC starts at around $53,000. Add to Basri’s salary those of his minions, and you’re looking at more than $1 million a year.
   196. CraigK Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4143150)
"Major in what you enjoy, Craig; you'll find a good job in it."

6 years later, I have a BA in political science, $35,000 in debt, and last I checked, Lowe's decided I wasn't good enough to stock shelves for them.
   197. The Good Face Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4143156)
Bankruptcy is only on your credit score for up to 10 years, I believe, and there are ways to raise your score during that time. I will be paying off my student loans for a total of 20 years. Were the option available to me, I absolutely would have declared bankruptcy as soon as I graduated and I would be much better off for it now.


But what if your student loans were significantly lower than they are now? Sure, bankruptcy would make sense when talking about the absurd loans of recent history where many students have no feasible way to get out from under them, but bankruptcy still sucks and I'm inclined to think people would be less willing to go though it if their loans were actually managable in the first place.
   198. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:39 PM (#4143168)
But man, if you're going to take loans, don't take them to get a degree in the humanities


I doubt the numbers would support the thesis suggested here, that humanities majors have a harder time finding jobs than non-humanities majors. I'd need to see some proof of that concept personally.
   199. Randy Jones Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:45 PM (#4143173)
But what if your student loans were significantly lower than they are now? Sure, bankruptcy would make sense when talking about the absurd loans of recent history where many students have no feasible way to get out from under them, but bankruptcy still sucks and I'm inclined to think people would be less willing to go though it if their loans were actually managable in the first place.


I graduated 11 years ago. You would have to go back to the (inflation adjusted) cost level of the 50's/60's before bankruptcy wasn't a better option for me. While you are at it, could you roll back housing costs to that time too? and healthcare?
   200. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: May 30, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4143182)
Flip.
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