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Thoughts on the Fox Special

August 28, 2006 By: richard.ginn Category: College, Uncategorized

I saw the special on Sunday night about college tuition and thought they did a good job for one full hour. In parts though it was fully lacking.

The first segment on the show was on the Patterson family. Both the father and the mother worked and made a combined 135,000 in salary. They showed them looking at two different colleges. One of them in Massachusetts and one of them in New York where they would pay an in state tuition rate. The school in New York is over 13 grand less per year in tuition.

The father took a second job on the weekends just to help pay for the daughters education.

They showed the family filling out the FAFSA forms, but the government would not pay a dime because the family made too much money.

She finally decided to go the New York College, but the family had to take out private loans to help pay for her college. The parents griped on the extra fees they had to pay for her to go to that college as well. It stinks that college tuition has to cost so much, but the Patterson family has another girl ready to go off to college in the next two years. I think the first kid is already killing the family debt wise though.

They had one more girl on the show named Sarah who went to the University of Scranton. While she was going to school her father got very sick and the wife had to quit her job just to take care of the husband. Sarah went to the college because they said it would be a great fit for her. She said that she racked up over 80 grand in debt. You figure if this one college loan at current interest rates she would pay around 900 bucks a month for ten straight years. She wanted to work in the special education field and her first job she gets paid only 30 grand. Unless she gets a big salary increase soon, she will be in debt for way more than a decade, YUCK!!!

They did a segment on the Geek Squad founder who wound up as a college dropout. He is going back though to finish his college degree. It is nice that he wants to finish his college degree, but I do not see where the college degree is going to help him at all.

The show had a short segment on how much money you could make if you did not go to college. They used one number. 160,000 at 5% over 30 years which in the end is around 700 grand. The main problem with this segment is not many people when they graduate high school are going to get 160,000 to either spend on college or in a financial investment.

The other two people on this show that got airtime were James Heckman and Richard Vedder.

Heckman wants people to pay more for college tuition. He said on the show for every dollar you spend on college education you would get 1.15 back. I found this guy to be a complete and total idiot even though he is a college professor.

Richard Vedder who is also a college professor wrote the book “Going Broke by Degree: Why College Costs Too Much”. He said that higher borrowing by students means a higher tuition for college students and that 1 dollar out of every three goes to tuition. The rest goes into overhead, salaries, and all those other non-essential college stuff to lure the students in. I wanted to believe him more in the end and it was nice to have both sides of the issue.

The end to the show was too short and rather weak. They talked out the commission looking into colleges that is going to produce a final report soon. The suggestions they listed did not go into details at all like alternatives to getting a college degree. They could easily spend one full hour on early college high schools to see if they are the cure to solving the college debt crisis. I love early college high schools. I have reported numerous reports on college debt at this place over the past year and something is certainly going to have to be done on it.

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