“How to pay for college”

Found this morning on Facebook and by a gent named Robert Reich:


HOW TO PAY FOR COLLEGE. This week I start teaching the second semester here at Berkeley. Many of my students and students at other universities are drowning in debt – which is distorting their career moves (they can’t afford to become social workers, for example), causing huge anxiety (the job market is still bad for new graduates), and creating another potential debt bubble. Yet as states continue to withdraw support from public higher education (where 80 percent of American students get their university education), tuition and fees are rising to make up the shortfall. What’s the solution? Eliminate tuition and fees for public higher education, and require instead that students pay 12 percent of their earnings for the first 12 years of their full-time employment into a fund that finances public higher education. (According to my back-of-the-envelope calculation, this would yield enough revenue.) That way, graduates who choose to high-paying careers (investment bankers, corporate lawyers, business consultants, etc.) would subsidize those who choose low-paying ones (social workers, public defenders, and teachers), and no one would begin paying until they’re working full time. What do you think?

Berkeley is also a 4 year college that used to be a 2 year program for office admin training.

Berkeley should have stuck to what they knew.

So should a college like Devry College — nee DeVry Tech.

They used to be an 18 month or 2 year electronics program. Excellent training and excellent jobs!

Pay 12% of your earnings? For a job paying $20 an hour, I’m coming up with about 4300 a year. Not enough to cover the tuition and fees at even the most modest of colleges in this neck of the woods — they are all charging 30K a year and that is just for tuition.

I don’t think this gent’s got a feasible or workable idea. Tuition goes up and 50 grand is not enough for most of us to cover the tab for a 4 year undergrad degree.

2 thoughts on ““How to pay for college””

  1. There is a case to be made for shortening degree programs substantially and liberalizing the use of AP and CLEP credit to cut a four-year program down to a little over 2 years. The juris doctor degree used to be a bachelor of laws degree, and you finished in four or five years, not seven. That change went through about 40 years ago

    If you’re paying 12% percent of income for 12 years on a job that starts at $40K, you’ll probably be making $60K by the end of 12 years, so you’d be paying 12 times 0.12 times an average of $50K, or about $72K. Depending on interest rates, this might have a present value in the range of $50K.

    Relatively few students pay the “rack rate” of $30K/year, and the ones who can will probably opt out of such a plan because they would graduate debt-free. Students usually get some sort of financial aid as a grant. If one gets half of their tuition subsidized in some way, Reich’s plan comes close to working out. You would still need work-study and other programs to pay for room and board.

  2. Another bad trend is the shift of what used to be taught at vo-tech high schools for free to community colleges where tuition and fees are charged and books must be purchased, making an average year-long course of instruction (6-8 credits) cost a minimum of $600-800, along with the loss of trainee jobs for the skilled trade in the community. A vo-tech program covered the minimum graduation requirements for high school graduation, provided training in the trade, plus provided an opportunity for the student to work 20 hours a week in the senior year for pay.

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