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Student loan debt question

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Rusty Shackleford, Jun 15, 2012.

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    Rusty Shackleford Active Member

    I turn to the intelligencia of SJ to answer a question I have wondered, but not really bothered to research, for some time.

    These people racking up tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt - where does that money go? I find it difficult to believe that it cost anywhere near that much for a college to educate a single student for four years or so. Professors I had in college, just 10 years ago, made only between probably $40-100k a year. I know there are other costs - maintanance, books, room & board - but it still seems excessive.
  2. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Cheap credit and free money through Pell Grants has helped push costs up. Most building splurges on college campuses seem to go to new dorms and student unions these days in the name of student recruitment.

    What I don't get is online education was supposed to reduce the costs of going to college, but for-profits such as the University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon charge a lot more for tuition than a decent state university.
  3. Walter_Sobchak

    Walter_Sobchak Active Member

  4. J-School Blue

    J-School Blue Member

    This varies, quite substantially, state-by-state. And even if you get a proper median it's deceptive, since there's been an increase in the use of adjunct professors over the past years.

    I don't view for-profit universities as much better than pyramid schemes, but that's an industry about which I'm extremely cynical. They aren't the culprit of higher costs, but they've done their part to get a lot of people in unsustainable debt traps with little to show for it.
  5. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Increased recruitment costs are definitely in the mix. The dorm rooms at some schools are starting to look like Marriotts. Does anyone have to buy the little fridges anymore?
  6. JRoyal

    JRoyal Well-Known Member

    Where's it go? Hookers and coke. Gotta be.
  7. novelist_wannabe

    novelist_wannabe Well-Known Member

    Just got back from orientation for my youngest, and in terms of why it is as expensive as it is, I was struck by the sheer numbers of the support staff. This is a small private college, and it's fairly pricy because of an impressive array of non-instructional services available to the students. I assume all colleges make these things available to their students, and the point in relation to tuition is that the faculty probably makes up well under half of the college staff.

    In our state, which has a lottery-funded scholarship program, tuition has grown significantly since the program started. There were a number of factors. The goal of the program was to give more kids access to a college education. I haven't looked at the numbers, but my impression is that it has been successful in that regard. But more students means more professors, support staff and facilities are needed, and the colleges -- particularly the state schools -- have been very aggressive in the area of facility upgrades. The school I went to looks radically different from when I was there.
  8. Not to derail the topic, but some students just live well outside their means, which is a big part of the problem. I can't tell you how many friends I had get out of college with a ton of debt, a degree where a job certainly wasn't guaranteed and a "what do I do now?" situation.

    I don't know the financial strain of going to some of the more elite, smaller schools, but I went to a big public school and basically paid my way through and didn't find the cost to be too much to handle.

    Just seems like you have to have clear goals and know the end game before you get in. Don't do that, and you end up with a mound of debt and potentially no plan to pay it off.

    That said, I can't imagine paying as much as some of these schools cost. I thought the cost of attending the University of Florida was fairly high, and it's considered one of the best value schools in the country. I was out of state, but basically paid in-state tuition and still found it pricey.
  9. Turtle Wexler

    Turtle Wexler Member

    Even if they don't live "outside their means," there are students who will take the max loans allowed each year and live off it. Not just school expenses but rent, food, alcohol, clothes, entertainment, electronics, a car and gas, spring break, etc. They'll use loan money in lieu of having a job.
  10. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    With dorms costing $700/month (not including a meal plan) at my local state university, a student job won't get you very far.

    The most-expensive dorms are $1,000/month for a spot in the newest suites. With tuition, food, books, and modest expenses, that's at least $8,000 that a summer job probably won't cover. My figures are at a relatively inexpensive university. Those kids going to Penn State are getting soaked with bills.

    Either hit the books to get a scholarship and/or rack up student loan debt.
  11. In my opinion, that's where people are getting into trouble. That just seems stupid to me.
  12. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    When was the last time you were a student?
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