Random Observations and Various Rants

School just got a little more expensive.

Posted by Andrew on January 28, 2009

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Everybody knows that college is very expensive. Thats practically a law of nature along with “what goes up, must come down.” There used to be a sliver lining called financial aid which helps with the very painful process of viewing ones tuition bill. Now with the economy going belly up, financial aid is a little harder to come by.

From MSNBC.

Savings held in Section 529 plans — the state-sponsored investment funds for college that are popular for their tax breaks — have been depleted by the worst bear market in decades and home equity values have plummeted. That has sapped two sources most tapped by parents to fund their children’s higher education. Colleges’ endowments have been similarly walloped.

Private student loans are especially hard hit. Last year, 60 private lenders provided $19 billion to students. Now, 39 of those have stopped lending to students and the remaining firms have made it harder to borrow, according to Finaid.org, a Web site that tracks the industry.

“The stress level is high,” said Rod Bugarin, financial aid adviser for the New York-based college consulting firm IvyWise.

Numerous revenue-short states are likely to consider cutting aid in one way or another, and public colleges and universities are expected to raise tuition — in some cases by double digit percentages — as they set rates for next year.

Scholarships from civic groups and local companies across the country also are likely to decline, Bugarin said, although it’s too early to know the extent.

In another quote from the same story.

The federal government has authorized some $95 billion in grants, loans and work-study assistance to help almost 11 million students and their families pay for college this year, and its recent commitments mean that total will all but certainly be exceeded next year.

So this leaves us with less “free” money and more albatrosses hanging around our necks. As if finding a decent job and getting good grades wasn`t hard enough. Now I gotta worry about paying interest on classes, I didn`t need because some university thought I need to take a gym class to graduate. With the economy the way it is, colleges need to work with us so that we all can thrive. I understand the need to raise tuition, but I don`t understand why I am forced to take gym classes to graduate.

As an English major, a gym class isn`t gonna help me figure out a way to write a newspaper artical or how to write a novel. I can understand the need to know a little about the Social Sciences (Economics, History) or Natural Sciences (Mathematics, Psychology) but two gym credits. How is a class on dance or music going to help me out? (Thats a part of the Arts and Letters requirement)

This financial crisis is not fun but it can be a great force for change. We can use this opportunity to eliminate wasteful habits and create something more efficient. This would be a perfect time for colleges across the nation to trim the fat thus allowing students a chance to focus more on their chose subject instead of scheduling a gym class or having to figure out where in a jazz song the alto sax came in.

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