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Old 05-20-2019, 02:31 PM
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Morehouse College Class of 2019 - Student debt to be paid off by billionaire


Searched and didn't see a thread re: this topic.

If you hadn't heard, Robert Smith, Chairman & CEO of Vista Partners, a private equity firm, while conducting the commencement speech at Morehouse College, a predominantly African American all male private college located in Atlanta, promised to pay off the student loan debt of the 2019 graduating class.

A very noble and honorable gesture that is estimated to be somewhere between $10 million and $40 million. The College is working on getting an exact figure and determining how the process for eligibility, payoff, etc. will take place.

But what about the kids in that graduating class, who may have worked two jobs, taken extra years to pay their tuition without taking loans or whose parents took out second mortgages, and/or worked extra jobs so their children could go to college without being in debt? What about them?

It seems that Mr. Smith was jumping on the recent wave of student loan criticisms and making a splash against it. Sure it's his money and he is able to spend it in any fashion he so pleases. I do hope that those receiving his very generous gift will pay it forward. I also hope that those incurring student loans in other classes and colleges aren't resting their hopes and dreams on inviting Mr. Smith to their commencement address in future years!
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Old 05-20-2019, 02:36 PM
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But what about the kids in that graduating class, who may have worked two jobs, taken extra years to pay their tuition without taking loans or whose parents took out second mortgages, and/or worked extra jobs so their children could go to college without being in debt? What about them?
What about them? I don't think they'll be hurt by this at all. I assume they won't be offended that someone is getting a benefit that they don't get.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:02 PM
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What about them? I don't think they'll be hurt by this at all. I assume they won't be offended that someone is getting a benefit that they don't get.
I agree, they won't be hurt, but they might feel it's unfair that they didn't receive the same free tuition, that someone else is getting by being less responsible.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:11 PM
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That is nice for him to do but I would rather society have a structure to allow people to afford an education if they want one than be reliant on the whims of billionaires.
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:17 PM
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That is nice for him to do but I would rather society have a structure to allow people to afford an education if they want one than be reliant on the whims of billionaires.
+1
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:17 PM
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Assuming that the graduates have not just been racking up bills, but rather like pretty much all other college attendees they have been paying bills so far... I don't see where anyone is being less than responsible. Sure, some have been paying as they go. Others had pledged to spend years paying off that debt, they just got lucky/won the lottery but they aren't getting refunds for what they already paid.

Really, characterizing some graduates as more or less "responsible" than others is pretty crass in my opinion. I seriously doubt any of these people are freeloaders in any meaningful sense of the term.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:20 PM
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I agree, they won't be hurt, but they might feel it's unfair that they didn't receive the same free tuition, that someone else is getting by being less responsible.
Then they learn a vital lesson: Life is unfair.

But, fairness isn't really the issue. Some people get grants, some get scholarships, some get loans, some have family resources, and some pay their own way. Most, I assume, utilize a combination of these to get through school. I doubt any students relied exclusively on loans to pay their way and thus none truly got "free tuition."

At every college there are those who get subsidized education and those who pay full price. Should my daughter feel there is something unfair about a student from a poorer family getting a nice need-based scholarship while we pay full tuition? I hope not. And I hope that students who graduated with no debt don't feel victimized by their classmates who are getting their tuition debt paid off by a generous alumnus.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:53 AM
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I agree, they won't be hurt, but they might feel it's unfair that they didn't receive the same free tuition, that someone else is getting by being less responsible.
Taking out loans does not necessarily mean one is less responsible. Two of the engineers in my office graduated with 6-figure student debt. Both continue to live at home while throwing as much of their earnings as they can against the loans. I'd say that's being responsible.

People make choices for reasons. We may disagree with what someone else chooses, and they my disagree with us. So what?
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:10 AM
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Taking out loans does not necessarily mean one is less responsible. Two of the engineers in my office graduated with 6-figure student debt. Both continue to live at home while throwing as much of their earnings as they can against the loans. I'd say that's being responsible.

People make choices for reasons. We may disagree with what someone else chooses, and they my disagree with us. So what?
In comparing the two, person A who works while going to school, saving, etc. and paying their own way, vs. person B who just signs up for student loans to get through school quickly and finishes with 6 figure debt, I would say person A is more economically responsible.

Yet under Mr. Smith's grant of paying off student loan debt, the less economically responsible person is being rewarded.

That is all.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:21 AM
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In comparing the two, person A who works while going to school, saving, etc. and paying their own way, vs. person B who just signs up for student loans to get through school quickly and finishes with 6 figure debt, I would say person A is more economically responsible.

Yet under Mr. Smith's grant of paying off student loan debt, the less economically responsible person is being rewarded.

That is all.
Some people could not reasonably expect to ever "pay their own way" to a private college. Giving a break to people in economically challenging situations isn't "rewarding irresponsibility." It's not a solution to the college debt problem, but to a few dozen (or more) graduates of Morehouse this year, this gesture could easily be life changing in a way that reverberates for several generations. Because they will not be shouldered with debt, they can save and invest and perhaps pay for their children's education one day.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:26 AM
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In comparing the two, person A who works while going to school, saving, etc. and paying their own way, vs. person B who just signs up for student loans to get through school quickly and finishes with 6 figure debt, I would say person A is more economically responsible.

Yet under Mr. Smith's grant of paying off student loan debt, the less economically responsible person is being rewarded.

That is all.
Someone being your version of "more economically responsible" is probably a lot more likely to flunk out or take forever to get their degree. You seem to be making more of a moral judgement than some cost/risk assessment
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Omar Little View Post
In comparing the two, person A who works while going to school, saving, etc. and paying their own way, vs. person B who just signs up for student loans to get through school quickly and finishes with 6 figure debt, I would say person A is more economically responsible.

Yet under Mr. Smith's grant of paying off student loan debt, the less economically responsible person is being rewarded.

That is all.
First, this is a false dichotomy. It's not that students take out loans OR work their way through college. As iamthewalrus(:3= pointed out, student loans are typically part of a financial aid package that also includes working.

Second, it is not necessarily irresponsible, at all, to take out loans to enable you to avoid working, or avoid working as much as you otherwise would have had to, if that enables you to devote more time to your studies and increases the chance that you will graduate on time (or otherwise be academically successful). You're much better off having debt and a degree than having debt and no degree.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:52 AM
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In comparing the two, person A who works while going to school, saving, etc. and paying their own way, vs. person B who just signs up for student loans to get through school quickly and finishes with 6 figure debt, I would say person A is more economically responsible.

Yet under Mr. Smith's grant of paying off student loan debt, the less economically responsible person is being rewarded.

That is all.
This is simplistic. Without a college degree, it could take years to work and save the money to pay for school because, get this, college is expensive and the wages for people without a college degree are low. Most such jobs don't pay a living wage so the average person working in a sub-living wage job can't expect to ever save enough to pay out-of-pocket for a college degree. That is, you won't make enough to save for a college degree unless you already have one.

Oh, but you suggest that the person should earn all that money while going to school. This is, for all practical purposes, nearly impossible. If the student worked a job at a pretty typical high-school graduate wage of $12 per hour, they would need to work more than full time to afford tuition and living expenses without borrowing. Every dollar you earn in college counts very heavily against financial aid determinations. When the student contribution increases due to the student's higher earnings, the first money that falls out of the financial aid package are the grants, which get replaced by loans. To replace all those loans that you think the kids shouldn't take, the student would need a more than full time job. It must also be a job with the flexibility to attend classes. Jobs with lots of overtime that schedule around classes aren't easy to find. Working more also reduces students' grades and increases dropout rates. If working more than full time deprives students of the ability to succeed in college, all the work and tuition have gone completely to waste. Is that your suggestion?

The most responsible thing to do might be to borrow all the money you need (but no more) to attend college. Then, when you graduate and get the college earnings premium, you can pay those loans back. This plan is not without any risk but it was, for many years, a viable path for strivers to solidify their position in the middle class. It's harder now because, as noted above, college is just way more expensive than it used to be.

People who graduate from college today without debt are pretty privileged, one way or another. Some of them got massive academic scholarships but this is often a reflection of good education opportunities (read - privilege) when they were young. Some of them got athletic scholarships, which means they were privileged with a talent that is irrelevant to academic success and the privileged ability to explore that talent. Golf and tennis lessons, for example, are expensive. Overwhelmingly, kids who graduate without college debt had college paid for by their parents. They aren't responsible - they are just members of the lucky sperm club.
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:12 PM
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Searched and didn't see a thread re: this topic.
This one sort of is: Don't do nice things for people because it will cause resentment in others?
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:13 PM
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I heard a clip of him promising this. He said it was a challenge to the other alumni present - is he going to pay it all himself, or do matching grants, or what?

I assume he is going to donate the money to the college, and the college will set up retroactive scholarships, or something like that.
Quote:
The College is working on getting an exact figure and determining how the process for eligibility, payoff, etc. will take place.
From what he said, everyone is eligible if they graduated.

It's certainly very generous of him.
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But what about the kids in that graduating class, who may have worked two jobs, taken extra years to pay their tuition without taking loans or whose parents took out second mortgages, and/or worked extra jobs so their children could go to college without being in debt? What about them?
I have no idea what I would say to them. What do you say to the ant when things pay off for the grasshopper? "Life isn't fair"?

I feel much as I do when they read Matthew 20:1-16 on Sundays.

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Old 05-20-2019, 03:17 PM
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Not to mention, what about the NEXT class of students who may or may not get the same deal.

DAMN, if only I had graduated one year earlier!
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:19 PM
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I feel much as I do when they read Matthew 20:1-16 on Sundays.
And that's exactly what I thought of when I first saw monstro's thread on this (the one I linked to).
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:26 PM
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Since it's his own money, it's just tough luck for those who didn't get it. He could have said, "I will pay off the student debts of everyone seated in rows 1-25" and then it would be tough luck for those in row 26, but that's life.

But if it were something governmental like the Warren debt-forgiveness program, that would be more problematic.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:31 PM
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But if it were something governmental like the Warren debt-forgiveness program, that would be more problematic.
Would it? There are many government programs that aren't fair to all participants. Much of the corporate welfare that is doled out through subsidies, etc. is the government picking the winners and losers.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:28 AM
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Would it? There are many government programs that aren't fair to all participants. Much of the corporate welfare that is doled out through subsidies, etc. is the government picking the winners and losers.
And this is not problematic how?
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:07 AM
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And this is not problematic how?
It is very problematic. The government should get out of the corporate subsidy business. It should let the free market dictate who the winners and losers are, not let lobbyist and political opportunist use the taxpayers money arbitrarily determine which industries or companies deserve hand outs and not others.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:34 PM
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If it sucks for those who were attending school while simultaneously working off their loans, that is only a matter of perspective. In other words, this is why we can't have nice things. If they could find it in their hearts, if there are those who feel this way, to understand that their outstanding balances, too, will be taken care of, comma, then they should be grateful. If any student is bitter, or feels cheated of all things, a good look in the mirror is in order.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:26 PM
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Seems great. What a nice gesture.

Why focus on the members of the class of 2019 who don't have debt? What about the class of 2018 that didn't get their debt paid off. Or the class of 2019 of all the other colleges. Or the people who didn't go to college. Or any other class of people.

Just think of what a great natural economics experiment this will make!
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:01 PM
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I posted about this yesterday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omar Little
But what about the kids in that graduating class, who may have worked two jobs, taken extra years to pay their tuition without taking loans or whose parents took out second mortgages, and/or worked extra jobs so their children could go to college without being in debt? What about them?
Amongst friends and family, they are joking good-naturedly about being Frank Grimes. But in quiet, pensive moments, I'm sure they have some regrets and resentments.

But what can be done about this? Let's say this billionaire guy promised to pay everyone's tuition--even cutting a check to those students who have already paid their bill. That wouldn't stop the "what about?" game. What about the kid who graduated last year? What about the kid who took four years to graduate versus the kid who took six years to graduate? And why should some rich kid get his tuition bill paid for the same as some poor kid? Truth is, no matter what you do, SOMEONE is going to be unhappy. Is that enough to not do anything?
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:02 AM
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I don't quibble with how a generous billionaire spends his money. But somew of the comments are wrong-headed IMO.
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Then they learn a vital lesson: Life is unfair.

But, fairness isn't really the issue. Some people get grants, some get scholarships, some get loans, some have family resources, and some pay their own way. Most, I assume, utilize a combination of these to get through school. I doubt any students relied exclusively on loans to pay their way and thus none truly got "free tuition."

At every college there are those who get subsidized education and those who pay full price. Should my daughter feel there is something unfair about a student from a poorer family getting a nice need-based scholarship while we pay full tuition? ...
"That student paid less than I because he got a basketball scholarship. I may not agree with athletic scholarships but I can understand the concept."

"That student paid less because he got 700 on an SAT and got a scholastic scholarship. I scored 699, sigh. Still I can understand the concept of thresholds."

"That student paid less because he comes from a poor family. I can understand the concept."

But this isn't any of that:

"That student spent his weekends partying on a lender's dime while I was working to make ends meet. He gets a cash reward now and, because I worked instead of partying, I don't get it."

One of these things is not like the others.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:18 AM
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But this isn't any of that:

"That student spent his weekends partying on a lender's dime while I was working to make ends meet. He gets a cash reward now and, because I worked instead of partying, I don't get it."

One of these things is not like the others.
Well, if someone is capable of finishing his studies while doing nothing but party, more power to them I guess (1), but why is it relevant who is paying for those studies? Or are you equating all students who have loans with those who do nothing but party?



1: it sure wasn't the case in my school; those who got a Master's In Bar during their first year didn't even pass to second, those who worked on their MIB later would take longer to graduate than those of us who got no MIB.
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Old 05-21-2019, 11:54 AM
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"That student spent his weekends partying on a lender's dime while I was working to make ends meet. He gets a cash reward now and, because I worked instead of partying, I don't get it."
This framing of the issue is largely incorrect.

A while ago there was a thread on whether it was possible to pay your way through college. And the answer is: it's really not for the vast majority of students. You can't make enough money as unskilled labor to pay for college.

Furthermore, although I don't know the specifics of this university, most students who take on loans to go to school do so as part of a "package" of financial aid that includes working. Because unless you're a very frugal partier or you manage to hide some assets, the people at the financial aid office know how much money it takes to make it through college, and they won't loan you enough money to sit around and loaf.

It's certainly true that some college students are going to work more to end up with not as much debt, but the kids who end up with no debt didn't do so because they worked weekends. They did so because their families had money.

The difference between a student who's getting their loans paid off and one who doesn't in this case is largely (though not entirely) the same as your last example, of people who come from poor families not having to pay as much. The ones who don't have debt don't have it because their rich families paid for their college.

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Old 05-21-2019, 01:00 PM
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Yeah, a quick Google shows that average tuition at Morehouse college is about $27k, add in lving expenses and it is basically impossible to cover costs by stocking shelves in between classes and studying.
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Old 05-21-2019, 01:58 PM
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Yeah, a quick Google shows that average tuition at Morehouse college is about $27k, add in lving expenses and it is basically impossible to cover costs by stocking shelves in between classes and studying.
You're ignoring the amount of financial aid these kids get. The average freshman student receives approx. $24k of financial aid of which about 2/3 is grants and scholarships with about 1/3 being student loans.

https://www.collegefactual.com/colle...financial-aid/
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Old 05-21-2019, 03:15 PM
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You're ignoring the amount of financial aid these kids get. The average freshman student receives approx. $24k of financial aid of which about 2/3 is grants and scholarships with about 1/3 being student loans.
This is important. For colleges like Morehouse, the tuition seems daunting given the target student pool, but a lot of students receive a lot of student aid. There's enough well-off parents who like sending their kids to such places to partly offset this. E.g., Ennis Cosby is a graduate and his dad Bill could afford to foot the whole bill.

Note that by setting a high official tuition amount, this can increase the amount of grant money and such a school gets that are on a per student basis. But you have to be careful about it.
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Old 05-22-2019, 07:42 AM
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You're ignoring the amount of financial aid these kids get. The average freshman student receives approx. $24k of financial aid of which about 2/3 is grants and scholarships with about 1/3 being student loans.

https://www.collegefactual.com/colle...financial-aid/
So a kid out of high school is only on the hook for $11k for his first year? Easy peasy. And then I assume somewhere between 11k and 27k for the next couple. When you were working fresh out of high school, do you remember having that much left in your bank account at the end of the year?
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Old 05-21-2019, 02:16 PM
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But what about the kids in that graduating class, who may have worked two jobs, taken extra years to pay their tuition without taking loans or whose parents took out second mortgages, and/or worked extra jobs so their children could go to college without being in debt? What about them?
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Not to mention, what about the NEXT class of students who may or may not get the same deal.

DAMN, if only I had graduated one year earlier!
I get all that and there are some caveats (as towards motive and execution) but all in all I think its a nice gesture. I have benefited from some grants (and in the end this is a type of grant) of sorts and while arguments can be made for and against them I believe they do help and improve the colleges and universities while also helping chunks of students at the same time.
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Old 05-21-2019, 02:20 PM
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Have you ever benefited from a grant after the fact? And the only thing you did different from your friend that didn't get the grant, was to make a foolish economic decision. So your friend that did the exact same thing you did, but more responsibly, didn't get the grant.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:37 PM
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Have you ever benefited from a grant after the fact? And the only thing you did different from your friend that didn't get the grant, was to make a foolish economic decision. So your friend that did the exact same thing you did, but more responsibly, didn't get the grant.
Yes.

I made the foolish and irresponsible economic decision to be born to not-wealthy parents, and well after the fact received grants (and loans) to pay for college. Many of my friends who chose their parents more wisely and responsibly didn't get the grants (or take out the loans) that I did to go to college. I feel ok about it. I bet they do too.
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:07 AM
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A lot of parents leave it up to their kids to pay for college.

I think this reasonable when there are lots of options out there. I paid for school with mutiple scholarships--a couple which I didn't even apply for. I also think this is reasonable when the parents can't afford to cover the costs themselves. No one should bankrupt themselves to send a kid to college. I also think it is reasonable when the kid seems more interested in having fun than developing marketable skills.

I do think there is some value in encouraging a kid to take some financial ownership of their education.

But there are ways to do this without forcing them to take out loans. How about only paying for their tuition if they maintain at least a B average? How about covering their tuition and leaving living expenses up to them? How about taking out a loan on their behalf and have them pay you back the principle as soon as they land their first good job? There are lots of ways to teach responsibility that don't cripple.

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Old 05-22-2019, 01:16 PM
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FairyChatMom, your daughter is a example of nearly every source of privilege I mention in my post. But somehow, your implication is that your daughter did it all herself. Okay. you keep on believing that. I'm sure you're proud of her but a little more self-reflection might be in order. I hope to see her at the next Lucky Sperm Club meeting. I'm a member too.

Comparisons to 1972 are inapt given how much more expensive college costs are now and how little wages for high school graduates have risen since then.
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