Ruth Hayden on paying for college

The Daily Circuit live chat for March 2, 2012

  • I am a high school Senior and my parents were very clear from the start that I would be on my own as far as paying for college.

    Consequently, I worked hard to get good grades because I knew the only way I would be able to attend a good/expensive school would be to get tons of scholarships.

    By telling me from the beginning that the cost of college would be on me, my parents gave me a concrete reason to work hard and get good grades, and take Advanced Placement and College classes during high school to bring the cost down as far as possible.
    by Kaija edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 4:50:16 PM
  • What do you make of the increasing need to graduate from the highest-ranked or most prestigious school, particularly in expensive professional degrees? For example, if you go to a cheap law school, you get what you pay for in terms of future earning capacity.
  • Wow- the brainwashing by the post-secondary education complex continues: enslave yourselves to un-dischargeable debt, but you'll have a great time partying and studying useless subjects. There is a way out, though: move to another country and default beyond the reach of the US court systems.
  • Why are private parties allowed to influence college classrooms? I have seen more corporate influence than ever before. College has become
    a new platform for companies to influence government!
  • Enough with depressing talk about debt and jobs. You need to do a show about kittens!
  • My wife is currently getting her Masters degree in nursing. We also have a 7 year old, so we started saving for her education two years ago. My wife qualified for a William Ford Unsubsidizied Federal Loan for her 2 year program. We will be paying at least the interest on the loan as we go, so we do not suffer the compounding effect of interest on interest.
  • its all about employment to justify the debt. The job market is so depressed that borrowing anything at all is risky
  • If people cannot afford $500 to $700 per month, how can they afford to purchase a car? What kind of salaries are they making? What else are they spending their money for?
  • Why has no one mentioned military service?

    I took out a mountain of loans to earn my degree from St. Thomas, joined the army and got them paid off! I wish I would have known that I could have joined the National Guard during my junior year of high school, recieved 100% tuition assistance for a part time job, and been done with my contract by the time I graduated from college.
    by Dan edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 4:55:41 PM
  • Ruth, do students have a better chance of qualifying for FAFSA loans if the parents are divorced?

    From Ruth: They can take one parents income, whichever is the lowest. So, yes.
    by Kathy edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 4:56:24 PM
  • Apart from the need to make good choices about financing one's education, isn't there a hidden issue that tuition at state colleges and universities has gone up partly because parts of the public and certain politicians have blocked keeping taxes that support the schools in step with increasing costs. Twenty-five years ago certain grad school credit hours at the U of M cost about $120.

    Today they are two or three times that.

    Today I couldn't even consider the grad study I did relatively easily back then. Which is better: paying slightly higher taxes now or having the economy of the future stunted because today's debt-burdened new college grads can afford a fraction of what their parents did?

    From Ruth: Public schools are going up faster than private schools. Private: 4 1/2%. Public: 8%. Full inflation: 3.6%
    by John edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 4:58:04 PM
  • Get your undergraduate degree by attending Junior College and transferring to a 4 year State school. You'll save tons of cash and then you can go to the graduate school of your dreams.

    Ruth adds: And they have made the transferring of credits easier. The U really wants well-qualified juniors and seniors. It is a smooth process now.
    by Jim edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 4:58:13 PM
  • My parents paid for my tuition but I paid for my living expenses for college, then both for law school (1 yr at nite while working days).

    My father was a contractor and when things were tight we (older brother & I) worked the jobs he could get and weren't paid, as we got an allowance, housing food etc. I slept in the room next to my parents office so I was pulled in to check on his work. By the time I got out of high school I knew not only how to do bids with planning for all materials, but also how double entry book keeping systems worked and the need to track materials and save for future loses.
  • Re: the large amount of college debt in MN. As the supervisor of the tech lab of the largest shelter in the five state area, I became aware of the incessant phone calls from private college to our homeless clients.

    These calls promised as much as an $80,000 award to the client who saw this as a chance for a home, a car and a safety net.

    When examined the private colleges calling had a high default rate, low graduation rate and high costs. Many of these clients were not prepared for the rigor of college and defraulted leaving the taxpayers to pay their debt. It was predatory and abusive recruitment.
    by Dee Ann Christensen edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:03:21 PM
  • Kids and parents need to understand that colleges are businesses just like any other.

    Just like the housing industry, cheap loans made college accessible to everyone and everyone bit without giving notice to interest rates or long term debt. This is one reason that tuition has ballooned. Colleges charge what they think they can get away with and loans were easy to come by.
    by Izzy from Stillwater edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:03:29 PM
  • Many of our MN private liberal arts colleges promote themselves as encouraging "global citizenship." Many majors are focused on service professions. As a Macalester graduate and retired social worker, I'm in favor of this, but I'm wondering how schools like Macalester balance high tuition with potentially low-paying professions. I would love to hear a future show with a panel of local college presidents addressing this. Do students have to be economics majors with an eye toward an MBA in order to pay for their education?
  • Between scholarships, fellowships, assistantships and other work I was always in the black and never had any loans from my BA to MA and PhD studies.

    If people don't like the costs, they shouldn't pay them.

    Students' willingness to take loans just made the colleges raise their prices, and they will continue to do this. As for the employers responding to the glut of educated workers in some fields by offering terribly low compensation, it's the same thing: refuse to take it.

    This would make a much more worthy movement than the "99%" The educated 70-80% middle class needs to quit taking ripoffs from colleges, corporations and government. Working for free, volunteering, internships etc. ARE NOT SOLUTIONS to unemployment or poorly compensated employment. I'm fed up with hearing that. Professional labor needs to fight back for itself.
    by Dan edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:04:10 PM
  • I graduated with 25 thousand in debt last June, and now work as a full-time volunteer for a $100 a month stipend.

    The thing that's saving me is the income-based-repayment plan on my federal loans; this program only makes you pay a percentage of your 'disposable income' and since the government knows I don't make any money at all, I don't have to pay a thing until I get a job that pays.

    If I continue working for non-profits or other public service jobs for the next 10 years, they'll cancel all of my debt!

    I'm so grateful that the government recognizes my situation: because of my liberal arts education, I learned that what I WANT to do is service-oriented work that doesn't pay. Because of income-based-repayment, I'm able to keep giving back, even with a pretty hefty debt.
    by Bethany Ringdal edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:05:06 PM
  • I received lots of student loan counseling throughout my several degrees, and each time signed all the documents and understood fully how much debt I was getting into.

    I can only blame my own rose-colored outlook.

    Regardless of the fact that I was a music major and knew intellectually how little I would likely be making, I still pictured myself living a rather comfortable lifestyle, which I would almost certainly NOT be living if I had not changed career paths.

    I just don't know that 18-year-olds entering college (or even those in their mid-20s entering graduate school) who have never supported fully themselves and don't have real-world financial experience can truly understand what they're getting themselves into.
    by Singer edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:05:51 PM
  • I am 23 years old, went to a technical college and got two degrees. Then went straight to Metro state to get my 4 year degree.

    I hold 20,000 in student debt and am in a position to pay it all off in 18 months. I would be doing this if it was not more important to me to save up an emergency fund.

    The young people in the country who want to party in college and study what interests them without any regard for how marketable they are to employers deserve to reap from the poor planning they engaged in.

    I worked through college in related fields in order to prove my dedication and earn the job I currently have. Its time to grow up and plan for yourself kids...
    by Ariel edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:06:56 PM
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