Aaron Bady, a postdoctoral fellow at UT-Austin and cultural critic, has an editorial in Aljazeera America arguing why public universities should be free. Bady goes into the history of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, which was developed by the UC Regents and State Board of Education in the 1960s and noted that: “The two governing boards reaffirm[ed] the long established principle that state colleges and the University of California shall be tuition free to all residents of the state.” Then, there was a clear cost distinction between public colleges and private colleges, which has become muddied today.
Generation Progress (formerly Campus Progress) is putting together state-by-state factsheets about the student debt crisis. They’ve done six states so far, including California, where I went as an undergrad. State and local funding dropped by 25.4 percent in the U.C. system in the last decade, and in-state tuition has now skyrocketed by 114 percent, according to data from the College Board.
Now if this sounds a little too much like starting a Pinterest board for you wedding before you meet someone you want to spend your life with (not that I don’t support that), let me explain. Or try!
A 529 account, for the uninitiated, is kind of like an IRA but instead of investing money for retirement, you’re putting money in a mutual fund for college expenses. Like 401k’s and IRA’s, the earnings you make are tax-deferred. That shit can just grow and grow (or yes, shrink, but sssh, it’ll be in there for 20+ years and we aren’t going to think about that) and you don’t even have to report it on your taxes.
Colleges say they don’t really think too much about their U.S. News rankings, but of course that’s not true. Whether or not those rankings matter is a whole ‘nother discussion. Chicago Magazine examines the University of Chicago’s recent dip in rankings (from 4 to tied to 5, behind Princeton, Harvard, Yale, and Columbia) and what the university has been doing to maintain its prestige.
The Academe Blog has a servicey post about how to use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Act, which forgives federal direct loans for those who work full-time (at least 30 hours a week) in federal, state, or local government agencies or tax-exempt non-profit organizations after making 120 monthly on-time payments on your loans. You can read more generally about it at the Federal Student Aid site.
In the Washington Post, Joe Heim, a father of a six-year-old son and a four-year-old daughter discusses a thing a lot of parents go through: Wanting to save for his kids’ college educations, but not actually saving for his kids’ college educations.
I’ve heard lots of reasons for why a students choose to go to specific colleges, but this is the first time I’ve heard someone say they chose to go to a school because they were trusted with priceless works of art to decorate their dorm rooms with (Oberlin College’s Art Rental program began in 1940 and allows students to borrow art for $5; students line up more than 22 hours in advance for this privilege). There is also a student who says he decided to stay at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. instead of transferring to one of the Ivies because Lawrence hosts The Great Midwest Trivia Contest, a 50-hour Internet-broadcast trivia event held every January. At William and Mary, students love the Raft Debates, in which professors pretend they’re stranded on a deserted island and argue why their discipline will save humanity (see this episode of This American Life). I chose my school mostly because it was affordable and had a good reputation, but if money weren’t an issue, I suppose I would have taken these kinds of campus traditions and offerings into account.
According to this revelatory (to me) opinion piece by Peter Sterne in the Columbia Spectator, that college credit ain’t worth much. Just a way to let employers hire you for free, really:
“If you’re a Columbia student and you do an internship, Columbia will give you “college credit” for it. This credit, known as “R-credit,” has little in common with the credits you’ll get for passing classes. It appears on your transcript, but it doesn’t actually count toward your degree. It’s basically meaningless.
To receive this credit, all you need to is fill out a simple form, get your internship supervisor to sign it, and submit it to the Center for Student Advising. It would be easy to get this credit fraudulently, but who would want to?”
Like many universities, George Washington University in Washington D.C., has long-claimed to have “need blind” admissions, that is, the admissions process doesn’t take a student’s socioeconomic status into account when reviewing their applications. Per an article in their student newspaper yesterday, this turns out not to be the case at all!
“The University admitted publicly for the first time Friday that it puts hundreds of undergraduate applicants on its waitlist each year because they cannot pay GW’s tuition.”