I don’t do this very often, but I’m feeling a rant coming on. A good old fashioned stomp-my-feet-hold-my-breath-shake-my-fists kind of rant. And I’ll tell you now, it has nothing to do with writing or publishing. It’s about colleges and their overinflated, insanely expensive tuition bills. Seriously, I just need to spew. Feel free to run now, ‘cuz it’s only gonna get ugly from here on out.

I really don’t know how kids are supposed to get a college education these days without selling their souls. Or their parents going to the poorhouse. IT’S CRAZY!! And frustrating!

Okay, I know I should have been putting money into college funds for my children, but I was a little more concerned about feeding and clothing them. Ya know, actually paying my bills as I went along. It’s not like we didn’t have anything, but I sure as heck wasn’t the first to buy the newest gaming station or crazy toy. And can you say used cars? Thank goodness we live in a state where duct tape is considered an acceptable automobile accessory. Seriously. It’s not like we went without, but I never had a surplus. Ever. I became very good at financial juggling.

And now my third child is in college and things are getting crazy. Between the tanking economy and enough stupid people in my generation who didn’t pay back their student loans (oh, you know who you are) there’s nothing left in the pot for interest deferred loans for my children and their friends. It’s an INSANE system where everyone looses except the financial institutions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t expect professors to teach for free or college administrators to work for pittance (like the rest of us), but I’m just not sure why 15,000 kids need to pay $112 for a recreation fee and $45 dollars for an activity fee when probably no more than a third of them take advantage of the facilities “supported” by those funds. And please don’t even get me started on the $917 unified fee … whatever the heck that is!

And this is the bill from a state college where my child pays to live … because his field of study isn’t available at the campus within driving distance. It’s not like I’m asking for the moon here. Just a reasonably priced education for my child.

A lot of the problem is our income. We don’t make enough to pay the bill outright, but we make too much for my children to get financial aid. It hardly seems fair. And now you can’t even have your child be independent from you. (We tried that and STILL they wanted us to pay for her school.)

I love my children with all my heart. I want them to go on to college so they can get good jobs and support themselves. But this system is starting kids on the road to a debt load that will take them years to recover from. I don’t know what the answer is. I just know that this whole thing is discouraging. For me and my kids. I don’t know how other people do it.

All I can say is whoever thought money couldn’t buy you happiness never had three kids in college.

0 Responses to Today it’s Personal

  • I’m right there with you, Nina. We had tuition to pay for our two young adults the week before Christmas. What a hardship, especially before the holiday! With three semesters to go, sometimes I wonder how we’ll pull it all together, even with our kids working part-time to pay their fair share and student loans.


    • Adele – I admire you for paying their tuition bills. I paid my wzy through college and expected my kids to do the same. It’s just so hard these days for them to do it.

  • Rant away! We’ve had three kids in college at the same time! That’s why I’ve worked so damn much overtime! No college money set aside.

    • Julia – UGH! I can’t wait until this is all said and done and just a bad nightmare. And on a side note, I’m not sure how you could possible have three children already through college … did you have them when you were twelve?

  • It is horrible how much school costs. How are you even able to afford it when you don’t make enough money. Or don’t have a job. With the cost of living going up people can barely afford to live. It is sad that school gets so expensive. It does not shock me that people don’t end up going to college or university since they can’t afford it. Getting a loan is even worse now.

    • Savannah – A lot of kids are dropping out of college because of the costs. It’s just sad. Short of going into the military to pay for school, I’m not sure how anyone does it these days.

  • Sadly, Nina, things haven’t changed too much for the middle class over the past thirty years or so. Back in my day (I’m 53), I had the same problem as my kids do today. Parental income looks good on paper so is too much to qualify for help but not enough to pay tuition and still cover utilities, mortgage, food, car insurance, clothes, GAS, taxes, health co-pays and co-insurances.

    And forget savings. Anything extra is kept ‘in the pocket’ for the next emergency. Which could well be a tuition bill :o)


    • Jeanine – We’re around the same age and yes, my parents and I had the same problem. BUT given the differences in inflation and all that econmonic gooblddeegook, we didn’t pay as much as my children are expected to pay for college. I took out reasonable loans to attend an OUT-OF-STATE school. Had I gone instate I have no doubt I could have paid for it without loans. And there’s the difference. Families just can’t do that today with everything they have to pay for costing a crazy amount of money.

      Sorry, I know you were agreeing with me … I had a moment there and the rant just spewed out again. 😉

  • I’m in this one on the personal side… it’s my husband who’s gone back to school. He’s getting a diploma in medical assisting, and wants to go on to a nursing degree after he’s been working for awhile. We couldn’t afford a loan when we were both working – our income vs debt wasn’t the right ratio. But we made too much money for financial aid. About two years ago, hubby lost his job due to his company relocating. He qualified for a state tuition grant due to the job situation, but we didn’t qualify for other aid. In 2010, we finally qualified, and we got a Pell grant, which helps with living expenses. Believe me, there is not a cent left over, and I know exactly what you are talking about. For us, school is a chance for a new future. Hubby worked in manufacturing for years, in all sorts of capacities, but the jobs are gone. So are the companies. Many moved overseas. After some research, hubby decided to go into health care, which is growing. And, he reasoned, no one would be shipping patients overseas by the boatload. ;o Well, let’s hope not!

    • Kayelle – How exciting for you and your husband. But it’s just insane that you had to find yourself in the poor house before something kicked in to help you both. I’m sitting here shaking my head. My daughter wants to go on and get her Master’s degree in a similiar but more employable field than her BS and I’m afraid she may be bumping up against another wall before she’s actually able to get a degree where she’s employable. It’s a crazy system.

      Good luck to your husband!

  • Only rich people say money can’t buy you happiness. Turn me into a rich person and I’ll show them how it’s done. I’m in the same boat as you. My son graduates from high school this year and we have started looking at colleges. I almost fainted at the cost.

    • Shawn – My daily prayer “Lord, please let me prove to you I wouldn’t become a bad person just because I won the lottery.”

      Good luck finding a great fit for you son. Both exciting and scary!

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