Broke Generation

An article in the December 2006 issue of Sky, the Delta Airlines in-flight magazine caught my attention as I awaited my departure from CVG.

The story, entitled A Broke Generation, details the plight of many of our recent college graduates.  “The average student borrows almost $20,000, and low income students and students of color take on even higher debt levels.”  Even with scholarships, ever rising tuitions and college costs force students to work almost full-time during their college years.

As the parent of two teens, one a high school senior, this concerns me.  Both of mine are high achievers academically and want to go to good schools.  And they most certainly will, to the tune of more than $42,000 a year in tuition and expenses.  We all hope and expect they will receive some type of financial aid and scholarships.  Although our family does decently financially, having two children in college at that level will drain all our reserves and retirement.

Tuition and expenses of more than $40,000!  That’s more than my wife and I paid for our first house, albeit  25 years ago.  And to think that I went to graduate school at West Virginia University for the paltry tuition of $200 per semester.

I envy my children for their gifts and the bright future ahead of them.  But not for the debt they might incur getting a college degree that is almost mandatory to have any kind of job in this future of ours.

“According to an analysis of US Department of Education survey data, today three quarters of full-time college students are holding down jobs.”  The article goes on further to state that most are working at least 25 hours per week, often a more than one job.  I worked in college, and don’t see anything wrong with that, but 25 hours seems like a lot when my kids should be attending to the demands of their academics.

For my son, the story will begin to unfold over the next few months as he receives his acceptance and prepares to leave our home to launch the rest of his life.

A final editorial opinion.  Perhaps our country could do more to educate their children, the future of this nation.  I suppose if our government were not its future on bombs and guns in Iraq, we could afford to make that investment.

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3 responses to “Broke Generation

  1. This is a subject on which I am expert (unlike meteorology and whether or not it’s going to rain on FL’s panhandle on NYE;). I have one graudated (double major in Communication Studies and Writing from UNC-Wilmington) and one junior (Writing, most likely with a philosophy minor – pre-law) at Loyola University New Orleans. The Youngest is a senior in HS. The whole thing feels a bit like pushing an elephant up the stairs.

    I will say that Loyola has been incredibly generous to us with Middle Son’s aid package. I am assuming this is because he is a very good student. Both of my boys have worked while in college, although Middle son works considerably more hours than his brother did.

  2. It makes me ill just thinking about it. We put my inheritance away when my grandmother died for the kids’ education, but the stock market hasn’t been booming.

  3. It can be quite scary, but as we move closer, we’re beginning to see some light in this thing called “paying for college.”

    All you can do is save as best you can, work with your children on making good decisions and make sure not to bankrupt your family.

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