Are you planning on paying for your kid’s college? Good luck with that…

I have two sons, and I have no idea if they’ll be going to college.

Now don’t misunderstand: both of my boys are extremely bright (my admitted parental bias notwithstanding). My concerns are twofold: one is the Anti-American, Leftist agenda that I see being forced into the schools, and the other is cost.

We’ve previously addressed my first concern, with our school’s (Kindergarten through Graduate school) overarching goal apparently being the creation of one class of “Generation Cupcake” after another, so I’m going to skip that for today.

StudentDebtMy second concern (COST) is just as problematic, and just as unnecessary.

From Reuters.com:

NEW YORK, Feb 26 (Reuters) – With rising U.S. college costs and too many options, parents are saving less than they expected for their children’s higher education.

American families are failing to reach their educational goals as short-term budget needs and emergency savings take priority in the household budget, according to “How America Saves for College,” a closely watched study released Tuesday from the education lender Sallie Mae.

Families said they are relying on federal and private student loans to fund college costs, according to the study, which polled 1,600 households in August 2012.

Families currently saving for college expect to sock away an average $38,953 by the time their child is ready to enter school. But according to their savings behavior, families will probably only save an estimated $19,784, about half of their goal, according to Sallie Mae. (Sallie Mae estimates the cost of private four-year college to be $203,114 five years from now.)

The annual estimated cost of tuition, room and board for college jumped by 84 percent at four-year public institutions between 2000 and 2010, to $15,918. Costs for private institutions rose 49 percent to $32,617 during the same period, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

(…)

college_debt

Even so, personal savings have declined in the years following the recession, dropping to 3.7 percent in the third quarter of 2012 from 5.1 percent in 2010, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This means that the large number of families – 68 percent – who consider higher education to be a valuable investment for their kids are relying on reduced savings to put their children through school.

We’re digging ourselves into a Grand Canyon-sized hole. Individually and as a group, we’re saddling ourselves with more debt, every day, to the point that even some fairly basic degrees are resulting in kids leaving school with $50,000 to $100,000 in debt after graduation, …or more.

collegecostschart

Why? Is higher education so much better nowadays that it is worth the incredible cost? Hardly. No, the reason is far more insidious, and far more obvious.

Please give yourself just under 5 minutes and let the folks at Encounter Books explain the real reason college costs have exploded, and turned this aspect of the American Dream into a living, breathing American Nightmare.

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23 responses to “Are you planning on paying for your kid’s college? Good luck with that…

  1. We just got back from visiting Phoebe’s best friend from high school. She was down visiting her daughter and SIL. He is a Shaolin Monk from Bhutan, who has two Master’s degrees, one in Religion, and she has a degree from University of Hawaii as well as a Divinity degree from Harvard. I think she paid her debt off or else had a scholarship. But, be that as it may, neither one can find a good paying job. Both expect to teach World Religions. Good luck with that in the Bible Belt.

    • A glut of college degrees has diluted what a degree means. Plus, a degree in “World religions” is a fairly narrow niche: he’s probably qualified to teach at a college, as you stated is their expectation, but so is everyone ELSE who graduated with that degree. Doubt there are too many vacancies for that job on ‘CareerBuilder’…

      My personal guess is that roughly half of the kids in college today shouldn’t be there. Lord knows I’ve interviewed hundreds of kids who had a degree and I have no idea how they got it.

      We’re setting these kids up to fail.

  2. LivinRightinPGH

    All I can say to that young lady with the $100,000+ debt from NYU is that I’ve been studying religious and women’s studies since I was 16 years old, and got that education for free…

    Seriously, what kind of job opportunities are open to people with such a degree or some of the other “interesting” degrees I saw in a recent article:
    1. Folklore and Mythology (Harvard)
    2. Bowling Chasing Management (Vincennes University)
    3. Canadian Studies (SUNY Plattsburgh)

    $100,000+ dollars in debt, and their first job will be at Enterprise Car Rental…..

    • Bowling Management!??! Dude, why wasn’t that a degree when I was in school?
      🙂

      As for your comment about Enterprise Rent-a-car, yep…too true.
      Next time you rent a car, ask the kid writing your contract what their degree was in.
      I’ll bet $50 it wasn’t in Car Rental. Heck, it probably wasn’t even in Business Administration.

  3. As I was explaining to my Wife’s friend, kids today are so stupid about going to college. They lay out a couple of hundred grand in debt for a degree in Womyn’s studies or some other liberal arts degree and there is no demand for it. Then they wonder why they can’t find work in their field.

  4. All good points, but lets not overlook our opportunity to start a college!

  5. Did I miss the reason these costs have increased so much more than anything else?

    • It’s two parts, near the beginning:
      (1) the willingness for lenders (via Gov’t subsidies, aka “Easy credit”) to lend the necessary funds for college, regardless of a student’s current ability to pay, and
      (2) the belief by the borrowers that the education is still worth it.

      What the video doesn’t mention is the Obama Administration took over college loans a few years ago, and now directly subsidizes virtually ALL such loans. Thus, schools are free to ramp up their costs irrespective of market forces. This is similar to the intrusion into the housing market with Fannie and Freddie, prior to THAT market bubble bursting.

      But the payback isn’t there via jobs after graduation, so the result is a huge student debt with insufficient payback.
      And it’s going to burst, just like the Housing Market did.

      • LivinRightinPGH

        Ahh, yes! But please don’t forget that the President also mentioned that “those who go into public service” COULD have their debt erased by Big Daddy Gubmint! Translation: taxes go up among the FEW of us who still work to pay for it….

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  7. Should be “interesting” when this bubble bursts. Just another prime example of how when the government gets involved in something (Sallie Mae, guaranteed student loans) the price of that thing always skyrockets – just like in the housing bubble.

    • LivinRightinPGH

      And, CTX, let’s not forget about all of those folks in the private sector who lost their jobs when the Gubmint took over student loans…….my question is “who’s going to pay the salaries of all the public sector workers when there’s no private sector left?”

  8. Great article. I have two sons, too, and a daughter, and I don’t know how they’ll pay for their higher education, like I was able to do. Colleges are going to implode, just like the real-estate bubble.

    Here’s my idea: Instead of having students pay per credit, have them pay for a time period, such as six months or a year. Then they can get as many credits done as they like in that time. That would reward students who are quicker and incentivize everyone to work harder and be more productive. Why spend four years in college when you can finish in half that time and save a lot of money in the process?

    • A decent suggestion, Robert.
      That could certainly work for some students, but only the highly motivated ones. And those are the ones who are probably going to be successful anyway.
      However, you’re right that it would reduce their cost.

      However, it wouldn’t address the root cause for the inflation itself, e.g. the government artificially propping up the student’s loans, and the schools then simply jacking up their costs accordingly.

      I fear that the only way for this to correct is for a major market correction, much like the housing industry. That, and more kids need to be investigating other professions that do not require a college diploma.
      Too many kids are getting “degrees” which are almost worthless in the real world, …unless they become college professors.
      Instead, they end up w/ a crushing college loan bill, and settle for a profession that has ZERO to do with their major. I’ve hired several, and interviewed dozens more.
      Millions of kids often never use anything that they “learned” for four years, yet they spend the next 25 years unnecessarily digging out of debt.

      There’s going to be a lot of pain with this, when it crashes. But there’s going to be even MORE pain until it does.

  9. You know, students can take the core curriculum courses at the local Jr. College before finishing up their last two years at the four year university.

    • Exactly what i did, partner. And, I had a scholarship so my first two years were free. I only paid for my junior and senior year.

      But, even Community College costs are going crazy. Heck, with an average cost of $15,000/year for a 4-year state school, even $30,000 for two years is nuts. We were hardly rich, but back in the dark ages of the 1980s, I took out no loans, yet left college with no debt and two degrees…

      Good luck doing THAT nowadays.

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