Friday, October 17, 2008

Poverty Party Goes To College

When we went to college, back in the days of dinosaurs, it was pretty inexpensive. My tuition was $750 a year, my books were about $200 a year and my biggest expense, as a science major, was lab fees. Mr Sunshine State had a small student loan that we repaid at the rate of $86 a month.
After we graduated we bought a brand new Ford Mustang for about $3500.

Our first child chose not to go to college, for many practical reasons. Our second child is now in college. We always planned to get her through without taking out any loans. She's in her third year and up until this fall, that was working pretty well.

She goes to University of Tropical Paradise for the whopping sum of $4078 a year for in-state tuition and fees. She shares an off-campus townhouse with 3 other students and her rent, utilities,cable and internet total about $515 a month. If we had stayed in MA, typical tuition and fees at a state school would have been $7441.

She will most likely go to Grad school and need to buy a car after next year. I would rather have less money in the bank now than saddle her with student loans and a car loan before she even starts her career.

I can't imagine sending more than one child to college at the same time. The ParentPlus loans would force us to work until we were 85. Or dead. I'm proud that she has chosen a field she thinks she will love and make more money per year than I ever dreamed of.

I try to help her out with grocery shopping when I can. Her Sorority Sisters have helped with letting her borrow their textbooks and every now then we have to make a small withdrawal from Bank Of Grandma. Her part-time job is her Entertainment Fund, because Mom and Dad can barely afford their own entertainment!

I have an immense amount of respect for many of my co-workers who are either working full-time with me and also going to college full-time, or work another full-time job and need to supplement their income with a part-time job. I'm talking especially about all the elementary school teachers I work with.

There has to be a better system than forcing families to go deeply into debt to pay for a good education. I hope it's coming soon.


thebookladi said...

Thank you for stopping by brand new (still has new blog smell and I don't know how to drive it yet) blog. Added you to my bookmarks. And shudder to think about how I'm going to get Wonder Girl through college. I'm still trying to save money for her class ring. Sheesh.

BOSSY said...

Yeah, Bossy's college was relatively cheap the first time around, too. That's the biggest advertisement for, "Try to finish the first time around, kids!"

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I graduated debt free by the skin of my teeth--grad school waited until I had a full time job and could afford to pay for it. It's a huge sacrifice, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I put myself through college and grad school and it was hard. My last year of undergrad, I carried a full load of classes and worked four jobs AND still made Dean's List, thank you very much. Luckily, UVA was pretty cheap back in the late 80s and early 90s, so I ended up with less than $10,000 in debt.

My Name is Cat said...

Gotta love that Bank of Grandma. Hope it doesn't fail in this current banking crisis.

Amy A. said...

Our state has a cool program that lets juniors and seniors attend community college for high school and college credit. That way they can transfer to a four year college when they are 18 and be done by 20. And it's free.

That's they way we are encouraging our kids to go. I don't even want to think about how we are going to pay for college.