Ruth Hayden on paying for college

The Daily Circuit live chat for March 2, 2012

  • I agree with the caller that our public schools, starting at the latest in middle school, need to teach kids about financial literacy. Whether they go to college or not!

    This should be required at the State level, and maybe even be required to graduate with a diploma. Financial math; filling out tax forms; what does a car really cost; what does a college financial package really mean; etc, etc.
    by KSGinger edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:03:41 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 did a BA, MA and PHD in the black by working getting financial aid, awards, fellowships, assistantships... My wife did the same thing.

    If students take bad loan deals, colleges exploit this. If graduates take bad job deals, employers exploit this. You have to learn to say no!

    A disciplined labor pool that is thrifty and choosy will build its own advantages and force colleges and employers to act in a less predatory fashion. If you make it easy for them to rip you off, they always will.
    by Dan edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:04:35 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
  • This problem is the result of the mania of "getting the government out of the education business."

    When government provided some support for public education at the State and Federal level, the burden is shared across society, and the benefits are also shared across the society in greater economic productivity and social stability. When individuals are solely responsible for the cost of education, they are burdened with huge debt, and the only part of society that benefits are the institutions that lend the money.
    by John S. edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:06:28 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
  • We have a daughter that is lucky enough to be in the 7% of kids offered a merit scholarship to a regular public college (full ride).

    She would like to go to Notre Dame though.

    We will be paying about 8 grand a year there. She's worked so hard all these years to get to thus point.

    My question is, is the prestige of the college worth the cost?
    by marie edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:07:20 PM
  • Is there a push to get kids planning a career choice when they start college.
  • I think this would help up making decisions about what college our kids should be looking at...
  • I think made it pretty clear that the prestige of the school is NOT worth it. She can work hard and go the Notre Dame for grad school : )
  • @ mike: it's just you and me buddy.

    I really don't know why no one but us has even mentioned the military. People who are struggling with finances for education should seriously look at the National Guard.


    Finish college debt free with leadership skills and discipline. Why would you not want that for your kids?
    by Dan edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:15:47 PM
  • @marie I want to add something to my previous content. The difference that your daughter will find in going to a "prestigious" college is not so much, I think, in the school, but in the students she encounters. Students in such schools on average will be higher achievers. But you can get a good education at any college if you want to.
  • @marie I went to college in California at all levels, from junior college, to state college, to university, going from a trade degree, to PhD.

    The quality of teaching decreased going from junior college through the university system, until I got to the PhD program.

    Perhaps it matters in some fields where you went to a four year college, but my experience is that it doesn't matter nearly as much as the schools would want us to believe.
    by Bill edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:16:07 PM
  • @KerriMPR Pile on the debt! 2 of us paying $400/mo after extending terms. We got lucky & R both employed & grad'd in 4 yrs from cheap school
  • @kerrimpr cost of healthcare huge part of increase in tuition. college is a people-centered institution so high benefit costs
  • I've heard that at the Ivy League schools, you will meet 25 rich kids to one middle class kid. That's probably a reason for my son to avoid the Ivy League.
  • @ Dan - it is odd that military service is consistently excluded from these frequent MPR pieces. No, it's not for everybody, but it is a viable option that can even get you medical school.

    Semper Fi!
    by Mike edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:29:17 PM
  • I'm not sure all college aged students have all the information and help they need to be making such big financial decisions that could continue to affect them for 10 to 25 years.

    Especially if they are the first in their family to go to college and are figuring out how to afford it on their own.
    by regret edited by Stephanie Curtis, MPR News 3/2/2012 5:51:18 PM
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