|By Mark Y on Friday, January 11, 2002 - 08:41 pm: Edit|
I accidently came across this article while surfing the web... http://www.ebsqart.com/zine_1201/tuitionhike.html
This article is about an art school in LA where students are going into extreme debt...and I mean extreme. Remember when I spoke about that Wellesley grad and her $80,000 debt? At this school, THAT is the norm. Just reading this article is bewildering and shocking. You see pictures of students with signs on their backs saying "I am xxxx in debt", and that xxxx is $40,000-$75,000 in all the cases. It even says that the average debt reported by the school is $45,775, and this is coming from the college itself, which I suspect tries to partially hide the real amounts. It mentions how a young woman is literally thrilled that she will get her baccalaureate with "only" $40,000 in student loans. And bear in mind, this is an ART school...this is not Merrill Lynch prep. These youngsters are going to go out into the world mostly in mid-five figure debt, with a diploma that would get them jobs in the ARTS. How they will survive after graduation is beyond me.
This article is good in several ways. First of all, it finally exposes the debt that today's students face. Even five or six years ago, these numbers would be so unrealistic. Finally someone is noticing them. Too bad this is not in US News or the New York Times, where people will actually read it. Second, it poses some excellent questions, like whether a "national crisis" is brewing with student loan debtors. And finally, at least some students are starting to get proactive...although it is frustrating to see that the administration once again won out, and the students yet again have to pony up more money.
It is interesting to note that the article states that HALF of the students graduate with the debts. I'd like to know if there is tension between the debtors and the non-debtors...I would be shocked if there wasn't, but nothing surprises me anymore in higher education. Nothing.
|By burningman on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 09:48 am: Edit|
This article describes a whole new kind of "starving artist"! While no doubt a few grads will become successful commercial artists, an average $45K debt load will surely sink many aspiring artists who might have been able to squeak through the first decade after graduation with odd jobs while waiting to be "discovered".
This brings to mind a similar field of endeavor: music. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that music grads are carrying similar debt loads, with equally low probability of earning enough from their profession to support a family, much less pay off mega-loans.
|By Mark Y on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 02:57 pm: Edit|
Yeah, actually, I read somewhere a while back that at least for undergraduates, the majors where students acquire the highest debt, is surprisingly, the arts, which pays the least. I guess it's not so surprising if you think about it, because the "rich kids" may be more influenced by their parents, and major in business or pre-med or pre-law. However, since debt loads in the last couple of years have been equalized between classes, this may not hold true anymore.
|By amd on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 03:04 pm: Edit|
Do you think that tuition should be based on major? Surely, it doesn't cost a college the same amount to teach an engineer and an artist?
|By Mark Y on Saturday, January 12, 2002 - 04:15 pm: Edit|
Some colleges do that, but the differences are generally small. For instance, a university may charge $22,000 for the majors like engineering that may cost more to teach, but charge $21,500 for the liberal arts. There is some difference, but it's virtually invisible.
|By burningman on Sunday, January 13, 2002 - 09:44 pm: Edit|
I think trying to base tuition on major would be a can of worms for most colleges. Trying to figure out the cost by major would be tricky - if a technical department has high expenses, but also generates research money, how do you calculate the "cost"? Does the art department get saddled with the cost of the campus Art Museum, or is that a general amenity? If the History department hires a star professor for big bucks, do History majors see a tuition hike? What if the department gets a big donation from an alum - does tuition go down? You can imagine all the haggling and infighting.
Fees like lab fees or course materials charges can help defray the cost of unusually expensive courses.
|By burningman on Friday, February 15, 2002 - 12:25 pm: Edit|
Here's an idea: use a "value pricing" approach and charge tuition based on the average salaries of grads from that program. Computer engineers would end up paying more than teachers, etc. Of course, the averages could be kind of tricky - some art history majors might go into law or investment banking, while others might teach or be unemployed.
|By Mark Y on Friday, February 15, 2002 - 10:02 pm: Edit|
Some colleges do have different tuition scales for different majors, but the only reason why is because the cost of teaching would vary. For instance, it would cost more to teach art than finance, so art students would pay more, even though it is not as lucrative a field. And the tuition differences are very minor...one program may cost $20,000 a year and another could cost $20,500...still an enormous sum.
Out of curiousity...it's that time of year again. Have you folks in the tuition trenches received the infamous Note from your kid's college president informing you of another huge increase and the pathetic reasoning behind it? I hate to say it, but this year, from what I see, there are many, many more high single to double digit increases than the recent past, although they seem to be confined mainly with the public schools...
|By Dadster on Saturday, February 16, 2002 - 07:41 am: Edit|
I think you are right about the state schools, Mark. It seems like many states, just like our federal government, are swinging from surplus mode into deficits. Unlike the feds, though, the states can't print money or sell savings bonds to make up the difference. Instead, they are faced with cutting expenses or increasing taxes and user fees (like tuition).
Of course, private colleges may feel the pinch, too, if their endowment has declined in value or if contributions have declined. Plus, if they see their publicly-funded competition raising prices dramatically, it may well embolden them to do the same.
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