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Congress wishes College Students a Happy New Year

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / January 15, 2006 11:57 PM PST
The cost of borrowing for college will climb; Federal support for loans to drop on July 1.
(Chronicle login: semods4@yahoo.com; pw = speakeasy)

>> Based on the latest budget cuts voted in Congress, federal spending to support college loans is scheduled to drop $12.7 billion in the five years beginning July 1, which is almost a third of the nearly $40 billion in deficit-reduction spending cuts. Lawmakers still must cast a final vote on the changes when Congress returns to work this month.

The cuts will come as college costs continue to rise. Average tuition and fees at four-year public schools next autumn are projected to rise more than 7 percent, to $5,491, according to the College Board, in Washington. Brace for an average 6 percent increase, to $21,235, at private schools. Costs already have risen 17 percent to 28 percent in the last five years at many schools. <<

Not only are we passing on the national debt to our kids and grandkids, but we're making it harder for them to get what it takes to pay the debt off. But hey -- taxes on capital gains and dividends ougth to be cut for the wealthy, right? Reverse Robin-Hood is alive and well and living in Washington!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

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Simple answer-
by dirtyrich / January 16, 2006 12:10 AM PST

Those who end up managing McDonald's don't need a degree in Philosophy or English.
College education is not a right. No one is guaranteed to go to college, whether they get A's or C's in high school. As such, the government should not bend over backwards and lose money to send thousands of future English majors/fry cooks to school.

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Not so simple problem
by grimgraphix / January 16, 2006 12:37 AM PST
In reply to: Simple answer-

College is not a right and, sad to say, is waisted on many people (myself included during my First freshman year).

Still, service and retail jobs supply more foreign made goods than domestic... Manufacturing of durable goods is not a booming industry and we live in an age where the average rent and utilities costs run more than a single worker earning minimum wage can pay (and still save money for retirement). Then there is the ever rising cost of health care. Many folks see higher education as the only way of having a semi successful future.

I worked my way through college but the grants kept me from taking out the massive loans that most kids take out today. I have to wonder if maintaining grant levels and reducing loan availability wouldn't be better in the long run in reducing student debt and encouraging greater responsibility in young people today.

BTW... I agree that we need people to do every day services DR... as a fry cook/chef while I was in college I found out how hard these fine folk work. I always look these men and women in the eye and thank them for their service. Whether an English major or born grease monkey, anyone who does a good job deserves your respect.


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No disrespect meant to any individuals
by dirtyrich / January 16, 2006 11:39 AM PST
In reply to: Not so simple problem

hence why i didn't insult anyone. I did question, though, the practicality of an English or Philosophy major, as there are few careers inherently tied to those majors.

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Further ponderances
by dirtyrich / January 16, 2006 12:58 PM PST
In reply to: Simple answer-

if thats a word :-P
Anyway, simple supply and demand. With the focus on "everyone" getting a college degree, the demand has risen faster than the supply. The best way to look at this is Freshman enrollment. I know of at least 5 established universities in NY who have had difficulty housing Freshman due to a sharp increase in numbers. Freshman are being lodged in lounges and nearby motels/hotels so the university can accept more tuition.
As demand increases, schools are able to charge more because people are willing to pay more to get in. Add to this the lovely federal aid system, which allows universities to hide the true cost of tuition in taxpayers' money and 20 years of payments and universities will increase tuition. If school A charges 5,000 a semester, then the feds offer 2,000 in loans to most students....guess what, school A will slowly increase tuition to 7,000.
The rapid increase in enrollment has been mirrored by a rapid increase in possible majors and classes. I can now study the effect of porn on post-modernist feminism or the parallels of Nietzche and Hanna-Barbara cartoons. These classes culminate in degrees that are worthless, as they indicate no skill other than discussing trivial pop culture.
Unfotunately, these degrees devalue those that are given in more practical fields - not only in science and math, but also political science and English. Schools have trouble justifying putting Bio majors through 4 years of high-stress work when Woman's Studies majors pay the same, get a similar degree, but with less effort. Hence, even "practical" degrees become devalued as the minimum-required curriculum becomes less challenging (unless a student willingly takes more challenging classes). This leads to more employers requiring graduate work, which has occured.
The solution? There is none unless the system crashes. Unfortunately, the system will expand and grow until something knocks out one of the majors factors - a cultural obsession of college or government handouts. When either of these is altered due to extreme circumstances, you'll find that demand and then prices drop. And then the system starts over...

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well dk
by Mark5019 / January 16, 2006 12:17 AM PST

if they want it so bad let them earn the money, join the service

or let the collages subsidize them, or cut salaries.

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Well, at least it is a start.
by Edward ODaniel / January 16, 2006 1:47 AM PST

I strongly disagree with it taking five years to achieve the cut--should have been immediate savings this year but like any BAD HABIT gradual reduction upsets the system less although it takes longer to get back to what should have been.

Can you show me ANYWHERE in the Constitution that the Federal Government is allowed to take ANY MONEY from any citizen to make life easier or better for any other citizen? I surely can not and neither could a few others:

''[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore...never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.'' --Thomas Jefferson

''I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents....'' --James Madison

''If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.'' --James Madison, Letter to Edmund Pendleton, January 21, 1792 (Madison 1865, I, page 546)

''The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives and liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.'' --James Madison, Federalist No. 45

''I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we...have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity.'' --Davy Crockett (D-TN)

''I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for public charity. [To approve such spending] would be contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.'' --President Franklin Pierce

''A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.'' --George Bernard Shaw

This last shows quite clearly why Democrats are so happy to tax and spend as it keeps their base dependant on them for the government hand outs.

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That last quote is interesting...
by grimgraphix / January 16, 2006 2:22 AM PST
''A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend upon the support of Paul.'' --George Bernard Shaw

This last shows quite clearly why Democrats are so happy to tax and spend as it keeps their base dependant on them for the government hand outs.

Very interesting stance to take Ed.

I live in WV... in the Parkersburg, WV IRS office the federal government keeps a file of IOU's in a filing cabinet... These IOUs are for the Social Security Surplus that the federal government "borrows" every year and spends on everything except Social Security or any plans to keep Social Security solvent in the future. Last time I checked it wasn't Democrats who were "borrowing" the SS Surplus to pay Paul for the past 5 years...

I have no quibbles with the libertarian agenda but I will say that there has been little difference in the spending habits of Republicans versus Democrats for the first half of this decade.

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I tend to agree
by Diana Forum moderator / January 16, 2006 3:00 AM PST

Both parties are the tax and spend parties now. They just differ on who they tax and what they spend it on.

When I was reading this, I wondered if student loans isn't what is driving up the cost of a college education. When I was in college, fees were low and tuition at state schools didn't exist.

I remember when interest on credit cards was tax-deductible and the credit card interest rates were 18-25%. Now 14.9 sounds high. Wonder if there is a cause and effect here.


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There is.
by Evie / January 16, 2006 3:11 AM PST
In reply to: I tend to agree

I can't find the article now, but the actual cost paid for an education vs. the advertised tuition is substantially different.

My alma mater now charges 3X what it did when I attended. Nobody could really afford that out of pocket (given that the top 1% cutoff is somewhere around a relatively low income of 300K), but with tuition aid ...

If there was no guaranteed aid, the colleges would again be in the position to have to compete for students in the free market. Where students would consider the value of their tuition dollar.

I also see that -- in general -- those on financial aid are far less serious than those paying out of pocket. I had one student that was a little over the top in that she actually calculated how much each class cost her, but that was important to her to not be missing classes.

I think dirtyrich's point about aid was that not all college degrees are equal. Many do not qualify one for a higher paying job. The availability of so much funding that is linked so loosely to scholarship, handed out on a "need" basis, with little analysis of the end benefit of the degree attained is a lose, lose situation.

Why is it that tuition is deductible in many circumstances, but giving one's child a share in the family business or money to start their own wouldn't be?

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good question Evie
by grimgraphix / January 16, 2006 3:45 AM PST
In reply to: There is.

for that matter, why does the tax system seem to penalize small business owners in general?

My freshman tuition per semester was $210.00 at my state university... now I believe it's around $2100.00 for instate residents. My what 26 years difference makes.

I am currently in school full time evenings and paying my own way... I am shocked how many students just quit coming to class without dropping the class this past semester. I am also amazed how many kids take the maximum loans out every year just to buy luxury items (big TVs, Stereos, Spring break trips, etc)... Thats why I tend to think the money is waisted on loans. You can control a kids attendance to class by suspension and thus control grants meant only to pay tuition... once the kid leaves the class room the school has no control of how a loan is spent.


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Education costs in general
by Evie / January 16, 2006 4:04 AM PST
In reply to: good question Evie

I grew up in a middle-middle class neighborhood. It has since become an upper middle class neighborhood (high up there at that) due to ''location location location''. The public school system I attended now spends TWICE per pupil on K-12 what I paid for private college tuition. My folks pay more than the cost of a state education in school taxes each year, even though they haven't had a kid in those schools in many, many years. If one added the portion of their income taxes that go to subsidize the SUNY system and their county's community college, the amount is probably staggering! (It's no wonder that the parents of most of my classmates no longer live in the area :(). They are both of retirement age. Wouldn't it make more sense to let them keep those tax dollars to fund their own retirement and prescription drugs?

One wonders if the social engineering were put aside, how much better the entire education system would be. And all of our lives in general. It doesn't matter what someone wants to say about tax cuts, etc., it is ALWAYS the middle class that is ultimately squeezed. They have to pay their way and subsidize the way of others. The truly rich will always prosper because they can afford it or find ways to hide the money from the taxman.

If I were a parent with today's financing scheme I wouldn't save for my child's college education. Why bother? The kid would be better off if I hadn't, go out on their own for a year or so, then get all the help they needed for whatever degree they wanted to pursue whether or not it would improve their skills for the job market.

The other problem is the colleges themselves. They compete to keep the tuition dollars in the seats. So guess who wins generally when grading time comes around? Sad There does not seem to be much accountability in terms of maintaining standards on what exactly the education entails.

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It's even worse, Grim...
by J. Vega / January 16, 2006 8:17 AM PST
In reply to: good question Evie

The cost there is even worse, Grim, Tuition & Fees
$4,164 (instate).

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Peter and Paul have nothing to do with SS...
by Edward ODaniel / January 16, 2006 3:12 AM PST

but everything to do with a progressive income tax and the welfare of EIC recipients and the "tax rebates" to those who paid no taxes.

Placing Social Security tax monies into the general fund was an idea of the Democrats though so if you do want to include it remember that FDR himself visualized a Social Security system in which within thirty years workers would be supplementing it with personal accounts--strangely enough just about EXACTLY what Bush wanted to do but Democrats didn't want done. Why not? Because doing so would enable future SS recipients to be better off and less dependent on their Democritic "benefactors".

I am happy to agree that the current Republicans including Bush have increased government spending to keep both constituents and Democrats happy to the detriment of smaller and less expensive/expansive government.

The Constitution specifically empowers government to tax for war but just as conspicuously doesn't make any such authorization for welfare, education, or even subsidizing loans or FEMA.

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Ever notice ...
by Evie / January 16, 2006 2:18 AM PST

... how rampant inflation in the cost of something always follows Federal funding? Healthcare, education, ...

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Tuition at public institutions
by Evie / January 16, 2006 3:15 AM PST

We already subsidize these with our tax dollars. Any student that can't afford a private institution should be attending a public one instead. And they can save even more if they attend a community college (even cheaper) for the first two years.

Watch the private college tuitions come back down to earth when students simply can't "afford" them!

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And more!
by Evie / January 16, 2006 3:44 AM PST

A 12 billion drop over several years out of a record 129 billion is a pittance.


The tuition at a 2-year school is quite affordable, even making minimum wage (go part time if needed, live at home, there are worse things!) and paying for it in full.

<$5K for an Associate's degree! Choose the degree field wisely (like LPN) and you're on your way!! Or transfer to a state school for the BA/BS and you're averaging <$20K for the whole degree. Spread out over 4 years living at home and working some and it's really not such a bad deal now is it?

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And more
by marinetbryant / January 16, 2006 10:32 AM PST
In reply to: And more!

In Ga. the lottery is supposed to help pay tuitions to in-state schools if the student has a B or better average but don't quote me on that.

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Money shifting :(
by Evie / January 16, 2006 11:06 AM PST
In reply to: And more

In many states, gambling, lotteries, etc. are touted to be for education. The "game" is that then the funds allocated from the general fund are reduced.

Every study/assessment I've ever seen demonstrates that the lottery is routinely played by lower income people, as smokers also tend to be. It's a pretty slick and sick taxation scheme IMO.

Evie Happy

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Money shifting
by marinetbryant / January 16, 2006 12:05 PM PST
In reply to: Money shifting :(


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Personal opinion - Personal experience
by Mac McMullen / January 16, 2006 12:05 PM PST

Not everyone ''needs'', or is capable of earning a college degree.

Four, from this not-rich household, completed four year schools, (2-U of Iowa; 1-USC; 1-private school-St Olaf-Minn). One went on to dental school (Northwestern) and then advanced dental (Harvard). All are now self employed professionals in the fields of their studies, including the private school graduate who also went on to further studies(now a Pastor). NO, repeat, NO federal or state money was involved in any of their school expenses. They all worked during the school year, and during summer breaks. Sure there were loans, and a couple of private grants. All completely paid off their loans or obligations within six years of last graduation.

They all understood, while in high school, there ''would be !'' school beyond high school. They were raised in a household that believed in and taught ''self reliance''. They entered college understanding that the next four years would be tough sledding, but to consider it only a minor stumbling block to the rest of their lives. When they graduated, they ''understood'' what having an ''invested interest'' in an undertaking meant.

Having lived through ''all those years of college'', including my own time in school, I am of a solid opinion that many students in those same years did not belong in school, and would never benefit from the experience.

College should not be a ''right'', but a sought and worked for priveledge toward achievement, starting in high school.

Our society needs a ''work force''. Not everyone needs a degree to be successful in life. With the cut-back in federal funds, hopefully the remaining funds will be made availlable to ''only'' those who will benefit and take something away when they graduate.

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