Monday, April 10, 2006

Mom to Kid: You're On Your Own for College

An amazing story climbing the NYT most-emailed list: the laissez-faire economic order has finally reached the family, with parents leaving kids on their own more and more to pay for ginormous college costs. Don't take my word for it:

"What I've really seen in the last 10 years is a generational shifting of the responsibility" to pay for college, said Ellen Frishberg, director of student financial services at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. "Our parents helped us pay for school. These parents are not as willing to help their children pay for school."

"It's such a new phenomenon that there's not a lot to compare it to," said Christine W. McGuire, director of financial assistance at Boston University. She said changing attitudes about debt were behind the trend. "We're so comfortable with debt burden now as a society, and the parents already have a significant debt burden of their own, they may not see it as a big deal if students are also taking on large amounts of debt," she said.

Maggie Walsh, a senior at McIntosh High School in Peachtree City, Ga., said that although her top choice for college this fall was New York University, she was worried about the cost, which could come to more than $30,000 a year for tuition alone, according to N.Y.U.'s Web site. As a Georgia resident, she said, she could take advantage of a state scholarship program that offers full tuition at any public state university to any high school student with a B average.
"I've been thinking about it," Ms. Walsh said. "If I don't get any financial aid from such-and-such a college, is it worth going into years and years of debt? It's starting to look like more and more of a bad idea."


Anonymous said...

But Anya -- Do you really trust New York Times antecdotes, or do you just like them because they are written by rich liberals who try to be insightful?

I would tend to believe that the burden shift in higher education has shifted not from parents to children, but from public to private. Wouldn't you? This article was obviously written for Glater's like-minded, New York Time's reading soccer mom friends who can't believe how much they need to pay to send their Charlie or Susie to an expansive liberal arts college in New England.

And why are all these kids complaining about not being able to go to NYU anyways? The University of Georgia and UF are exceptional universities that come with the added bonus of not being completely filled with rich students who have daddies that are able to shell out $50k a year for their education and spring break trips to South America.

avolokitisvara said...

What about the brain dran that has affected places like Upstate NY, Pennsylvania, and several other midwest states that have great public/private higher education systems(Michigan, Ohio, etc.). These places create people smart enough to fulfill a place in the economy if they could find it. But they move to FLorida where education isnt a featured mandate so the higher paying jobs are there neither. And I dont think UF is an 'exceptional' university.

Anonymous said...

UF ranks second among public institutions in the U.S. for the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled and ranks fifth among all colleges and universities in the U.S. for the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled.

UF ranked first among public institutions in attracting National Achievement Scholars during 2002.

UF admitted 941 international baccalaureate students for the 2002-03 academic year, more than any other university in the world.

UF had the fourth-largest student enrollment of all U.S. universities in 2002 with more than 48,000 students from all 50 states and 100 foreign countries.

UF ranked in the top 10 among AAU public universities for the number of Fulbright Awards in 2001.

UF ranked third in degrees awarded to African American students in 2000-01 and fifth among AAU public universities in the number of Ph.D.s awarded to Latino students.

UF's 2002 Incoming Class has an average 3.92 GPA and 1300 SAT score.

* * *

Is the University of Floridia Anya's Yale? No. But pretty damn good. Especially for undergraduate education attending a rich private school is akin to purchasing a Lincoln when everybody knows it is just a Ford in disguise.

At any rate, the Times article failed to get at the real story: that public support for higher education has been waning over the last 25 years. This is as much true in the rust belt states as it is in the sunbelt states.

Also, the sunbelt states will not be 'high growth' for long -- once they have to start dealing with the cost of the infrastructure that their population will require, the cities around the Great Lakes are going to start looking cheap.