• WhompingWindows 207 days ago

    UChicago 2011 graduate here. When I attended, I paid about $20k/year in tuition, given that I had various merit scholarships, worked for the university, and that my siblings also attended school. My parents were in for a RUDE awakening in my fourth year, however, when my brother graduated his undergraduate program...UChicago found out via a survey, that I was now the sole college attendee, and without warning they jacked the tuition from $20k to $32k for my final year. My parents were absolutely livid and it left a terrible taste in our mouths.

    I must say, it was not a pleasant undergraduate experience. On top of being expensive and working very long hours daily, it was immensely competitive and the social life was very poor for me. I have always had numerous friends in life, but I constantly felt lonely at that school, not to mention receiving MUCH worse marks due to grade deflation, which made medical school applications a nightmare.

    In hindsight, I absolutely should have gone to my state school, and I'd be a Tesla and a Steinway piano richer for it if I had. I think these ridiculously expensive, 4 year educational vacations need to end...let's encourage our young, bright minds to stay local, to save money, and to use their brightness and talents to lead very productive and EFFICIENT lives.

    • z2 207 days ago

      UChicago 2011 here as well, except actually class of 2010 because I couldn't afford to keep paying the tuition as my parents were both unemployed due to the financial crisis. I remember the financial aid office saying they could use the last two or three years of prior income rather than consider unemployment as a current and urgent condition. They literally said something along the lines of, "Your parents are smart, they will find a job soon, statistically speaking." They also capped my work at 20 hours a week as an employee of the University, which made it really fun for various departments to pay me via bonuses instead.

      I feel you, and had a very similar experience academically and socially. It's not easy to get by minimal GPA filters when math professors declared that a C would be a great grade worthy of a good recommendation to a PhD in math. There's no easy way to tell that to an HR screener! I also found to great sadness by the end of my first year that I had more online friends than classmate friends. Looking back, it seems this was the time when the university just started to realize that it needed to prepare students for practical work. And that sort of experience can be gained at a lot of different universities.

    • Glyptodon 207 days ago

      I got in to University of Chicago, but the finances were rough. They expected my parents to pay around 30% of their (combined) income in tuition after scholarships and loans. Presumably this would have dropped when my brother entered college a year after me, but given that I got into other schools that cost less than half as much it wasn't really a question.

      My parents didn't really know what to tell me because on one hand they felt like they were being punished for not making profligate decisions like going into debt for a fancy car or buying a bigger house, but on they other hand they didn't really want to outright tell me not to go somewhere like U of Chicago.

      Made me feel like college admissions spiels saying not to worry about finances were a lip-service scam designed to make college look accessible while mostly benefiting the rich and very poor and screwing those in-between.

      Went to a state university instead, but never really fit in there. Too much alcohol, greek life, and sports.

      In any case, I don't mean to imply that my parents didn't have a decent income, just that the way things worked made them feel like they were being punished for trying to be financially responsible, and being asked to pay the equivalent of a 2nd mortgage for your kid's college only for them to be in debt on top of it anyway, and not knowing how things would work once they had a 2nd kid in college wasn't a strong sell. Even though they didn't say not to go there, I would have felt super super guilty about saying yes.

      Fun fact: the scholarship U of Chicago offered would have covered the cost of attendance at each other college I got into and then some, but still didn't cover even half of the cost of attendance there.

      • e40 207 days ago

        just that the way things worked made them feel like they were being punished for trying to be financially responsible

        100% feel you, as I my son just started UCSD. He was looking at a bunch of private colleges and I did the financial aid (for early decision) and it was really shitty. I felt that because I had so much equity in my house and no debt, I was screwed. And, when the numbers came back, it was true. Very little help.

        I have a work friend who has a very close friend. They're both Dr's pulling down > $500k/yr, but with huge debt. Their kid got into Princeton and they paid $15k/yr. I was more than double that for some equivalent schools, but I make far, far less than $500k/yr.

        Very glad he decided on UCSD.

        • ariwilson 207 days ago

          So is the life advice to go massively in debt (and jack up your income) before your kids apply to colleges? How far in advance do you have to go massively in debt?

          EDIT: Looking at Princeton's financial needs calculator, assuming a constant income, to maximize your financial aid you should: - Reduce your assets: Buy a really expensive house, have nothing in savings/investments/other equity - Reduce your income: Pay a ton for private school tuition, medical expenses, or child support.

          EDIT 2: Looking around some more, apparently FAFSA doesn't consider: Your primary residence Your car A boat you may own or furniture in your home Untaxed Social Security as income

          Here comes my big house / Bugatti / yacht!

        • ineedasername 207 days ago

          >mostly benefiting the rich and very poor

          Not quite just the very poor: U Chicago gives free full tuition to students from families making under $125k.

          But as for the very poor at nearly every other private college, the picture is more bleak: The average private is in the ballpark of $35k. Maximum grants from the feds and state of Illinois total about $16k. That's not enough. However, it is generally plenty for attending any public state school.

          The most squeezed bracket financially are families making around $65k a year. They earn too much and so lose a large portion of need based grant eligibility, and have and "estimated family contribution" (EFC) 3 or 4 times higher than families making not too much less. Even state schools are difficult here. My recommendation to such families is to begin by getting an associate's degree for 1/3 the cost for those 2 years, then only pay the higher rate to finish the bachelor's degree in the last 2 years.

          It's true families making > $100k a year are expected to contribute the lion's share, absent merit scholarships, but they also tend to be families with assets, including houses with equity they can leverage, to help pay. Yes, it sucks to have to do that, but many thousands of families in the $65k bracket are much worse off without even that option.

          To be clear, I'm not really disputing what you said on that topic: I just wanted to add more detail and nuance.

          Source: I work in Higher Ed analytics.

          • Glyptodon 207 days ago

            When I was accepted that ($125k) policy didn't exist or we'd have been included, though in the upper half. I'd likely have chosen to go there if it had existed then.

            That said it sounds like the general situation I described is somewhat true overall.

            • ineedasername 206 days ago

              Yep, your comments were largely correct. I just wanted to add a bit more context and detail. I didn't intend it to come across as a disagreement.

              • Glyptodon 205 days ago

                I didn't take it as disagreement!

        • holografix 207 days ago

          No, you guys need to quit the platitudes.

          You need to do something about your “fixed” meritocratic society where your future is largely determined by your parents’ wealth.

          You need tax reform, healthcare, cheaper education. I had a discussion with an American friend recently, he offered that the American society has produced marvels such as Google and Facebook and Tesla and countless others, fair point.

          Can you imagine a new social media today competing with Facebook? A new search engine? Wanna open a retail online store? AWS will eat you alive.

          I grew up thinking America was the greatest country on earth, truly. You know who also had some absolutely amazing achievements? The Egyptian pharaohs.

          • xupybd 207 days ago

            Non American here. They seem to be the greatest country on earth. They have a big problem with the gap between the rich and the poor but have huge upward mobility.

            The education system is too expensive and a bit of a scam but does that cause the problems people think it does. Can you make it in the US without a degree?

            • throwaway936482 207 days ago

              Social mobility in the USA is actually much lower than in other developed countries.

              • barry-cotter 207 days ago

                Social mobility is basically invariant across societies, with a heritability of about 0.7 according to Gregory Clark’s research (A Farewell to Alms, The Son Also Rises, the upcoming For Whom the Bell Curve Tolls). The difference is explained by the number of generations covered.

                • xupybd 207 days ago

                  It's not the best in the USA but I understand it's not terrible. https://www.oecd.org/centrodemexico/medios/44582910.pdf

                  It's also incredibly complex so perhaps it was a silly thing for me to comment on as I don't think it's that easy to define or measure.

                  • redorb 207 days ago

                    upward mobility doesn't scale well. USA is doing epic for the scale on the upward mobility. If you were born here or get to become a citizen you've won a lottery compared to the bottom 50% of the world. To claim much worse and to be a US citizen is to say you've 'earned winning the lottery' .. Not to build up the US or put down any other country just the way it is imo

                    • thundergolfer 205 days ago

                      They do measure it though, and the best measurements show that the USA does not compare favourably to other developed nations at all.

                      I think the line commentators tend to use is “the American Dream is alive and well, in Denmark”

                  • paulddraper 206 days ago

                    > Can you make it in the US without a degree?


                    * This being HN, I should point you can make it in IT/software without a degree though you must start at the low-end and climb from there.

                    * Skilled blue collar work has its limits but provides an accessible career more than capable of supporting a family.

                    * Military service has its drawbacks but has quite cushy benefits.

                    * For the ambitious, service-based small businesses are easier than ever.

                    While it's possible to make it in the US without a degree, I'd recommend more of a middle ground of a 2 or 4-year degree from a local college or state school.

                  • popularwarfare 207 days ago

                    Americais and always has been fantastic place if you're part of the upper 20% and dog shit for everyone else. We just have great propaganda.

                    • barry-cotter 207 days ago

                      The Thirteen Colonies were the richest group of states under the British and as the US grew it continued to be land rich and labour poor. Americans were noticeably taller than Europeans until week after WWII. The rest of the world has caught up some but the US is without a doubt in the top ten by GDP per capita though competing with city states and what would be individual states there. Measured by average individual consumption it’s probably number 1. The US may not be a good place to be in the bottom 10%, possibly even the bottom 20% but by standards of living for normal people nowhere else compares.

                      • blaser-waffle 206 days ago

                        > The US may not be a good place to be in the bottom 10%, possibly even the bottom 20% but by standards of living for normal people nowhere else compares.

                        Arguably, not even the bottom 50%. Even a minor medical issue can tank middle-class families.

                        OTOH, you're in the top 30% of the bell curve there is nowhere else better than the US.

                      • RickJWagner 207 days ago

                        I totally disagree. I was raised in a family of 8 kids, we didn't have any money. All my siblings and friends have had a good shot at the American dream, most of us have done quite well.

                        I've also lived in several different states. Haven't seen anything even close to 80% dog crap. Not even close.

                        • Reedx 207 days ago

                          I mean, imagine telling that to people living in poor countries.

                          Please travel or read about the world to get some perspective.

                          Seriously, if you were born in a country like the U.S. in modern times, you won the birth lottery.

                          • awestroke 207 days ago

                            Nah. Winning the lottery is being born in a country with free health care and education. Being born in the US is OK at best.

                          • drewmol 207 days ago

                            >Seriously, if you were born in a country like the U.S. in modern times, you won the birth lottery.

                            Agreed. The lottery won is for starting position in a game where participation is not choosen and objective you choose determines position ranking.

                        • jumpman500 207 days ago

                          > No, you guys need to quit the platitudes.


                          > You need to do something about your “fixed” meritocratic society where your future is largely determined by your parents’ wealth.

                          > You need tax reform, healthcare, cheaper education.

                          Please continue your nuanced argument with a straw-man.

                        • eindiran 207 days ago

                          I'm a graduate of Uchicago (from shortly after you), and to offer a different perspective, I'm still paying off my loans (and will be for another 6 years), but I'm incredibly glad I went. I thought the undergraduate experience was perfect, and about half of my friends from around the world are people I met while I was there. I did get much worse marks that I had ever gotten before, but the University being very difficult is part of the package.

                          One question: I think a large part of the social experience for me was based around the house system. Even though I moved out of my house when I was a second-year, the house and dorm I was in provided a big chunk of my social network. Did you not have a good experience with your house? And if so, were you placed in the house you wanted to be in?

                          • angry_octet 207 days ago

                            So how does having more realistic grades (i.e. not everyone gets B or above) feel when it comes to graduate admissions?

                            I went to the university with the hardest admissions score for EE, some of the brightest people I've met, graded on a curve, and yet for graduate admissions I'm competing with people who took much easier classes and ALL have much better marks. The GPA system is just insane really.

                            • eindiran 206 days ago

                              It helps a lot if the university you're coming from had a reputation for difficulty and grade deflation. Academia is incestuous enough that people will usually be clued into that.

                              Barring that, having excellent rec letters and GRE scores, having been published or done research in a lab, having written an undergraduate thesis etc can all help provide signal that you'll make a good candidate for the department you're applying to. I don't know much about EE departments, but generally grad school admissions will be more holistic and thoughtful than undergrad admissions.

                              • angry_octet 206 days ago

                                Well, I found UdeM pretty awful, difficult to talke to anyone, took a long time and really screwed me around. In retrospect I would say hard avoid based on the incompetence of the admin (DIRO specifically). It seems like if you're coming from overseas they really don't know what to do, and its impossible to get past the admin. In retrospect, talk to professors first, do admin process second, and allow at least 12 months for the process.

                              • Gibbon1 206 days ago

                                I don't know what's happened in the last 25 years since I last went. But my college started testing the snot out of incoming freshmen. Basically they didn't trust the students GPA or the classes they took in high school to tell whether they were ready for college level classes.

                                • sjg007 206 days ago

                                  Ace the GRE and get letters of recommendation and it doesn't matter.

                              • gnicholas 207 days ago

                                Different schools do the sibling calculation differently. I had the same experience you describe in my third year at Swarthmore, which jacked up the "parental contribution" after my brother graduated from Carleton College. But Carleton does things differently, with the same parental contribution each year. They know going in how many siblings you have and just come up with a flat rate that you pay each year.

                                Each method has its pros and cons: the flat-rate method gives certainty, and the adjustable method is more appropriate if you don't know whether siblings will actually go to college. It seems the most important thing is for each institution to communicate which method they are using, so nobody gets a rude awakening.

                                caveat: my data points are 15 yrs old

                                • mortivore 207 days ago

                                  I'm curious what you think could have convinced you to attend a state school as opposed to where you went? Did you know the state school was a viable option at the time? Did your parents push you toward a state school, were they upfront with you about the cost difference?

                                  I agree with your last line, but am unsure how we would best implement that as a practicality. Young people tend not to always think in the most efficient ways, and parents aren't always knowledgeable nor around to help.

                                  • asdff 207 days ago

                                    One thing I remember from my college admission process years ago was how overhyped it all was, especially the soap opera aspect. Everything was about numbers, and where you would get in, and where you would 'fit,' which was far more ambiguous, sinister, and completely unrooted in any logic or reasoning because you just aren't going to ever understand what your personal experience will be like until you get there.

                                    Fretting about 'fit' keeps schools like u chicago alive. A radically unwise decision in pursuit of some romantic youthful ideal. Otherwise, everyone would just go to a state school, have largely the same college experience, end up with largely the same career outcomes, but with far less debt.

                                  • ChicagoBoy11 207 days ago

                                    Sorry to hear that. I graduated the same year as you but had an incredibly positive experience, and one I look on more and more fondly over time. Having said that, I immediately recognize that IT IS NOT for everybody. There are a few peculiarities about the school that can really make it or break it for you, even beyond simply the matter of fit. To me the house system was the epicenter of my social life, and I know full well that had I simply been assigned to a different random group of people my experience could have been significantly different and possible way worse.

                                    • ginko 207 days ago

                                      What’s the reasoning behind the discount for siblings? Seems strange to me that this would affect the cost of tuition.

                                      • viburnum 207 days ago

                                        They squeeze everybody for as much as they’ve got.

                                        • mac01021 207 days ago

                                          More kids in school translates to greater financial need per kid.

                                          • ginko 207 days ago

                                            Ah, any school. I thought this was about siblings attending the same school.

                                        • Varriount 207 days ago

                                          What do you mean by grade deflation? I've heard of grade inflation (mostly in the context of college admissions), but not deflation.

                                          • L_Rahman 207 days ago

                                            Grades are determined by curves. There's no absolute scoring in most university classes, especially in engineering and science programs.

                                            Professors usually draw something similar to a bell curve along the grade distribution and set the average to be a particular grade. Grade inflation would be setting the average to something high (as practiced at Harvard this is usually an A-).

                                            Grade deflation which both U Chicago and my alma mater Johns Hopkins are notorious for has professors set the average grade to a B-/C+. In classrooms full of students who have excelled their entire life, where the average represents a pretty high standard of work and achievement, setting the average to a B- is grade deflation.

                                          • lonelappde 207 days ago

                                            Did your parents not know that your sibling would graduate college before you did. Strange thing to be livid about.

                                          • sorenn111 207 days ago

                                            One thing I find crazy is the very same institutions that are generally very left leaning, decry income inequality, and espouse generally liberal views then turn around and having tuition costs that having been rising at rates so far above inflation.

                                            Student debt is a major issue in the US and the ever increasing costs of tuition are a MAJOR culprit in pushing this crisis. Where are these costs coming from? How can you politically espouse free college while ratcheting up tuition costs?

                                            • Finnucane 207 days ago

                                              I work at one local university, and my wife works at another. One thing we've definitely noticed (and this is a widespread problem) is that the administration is becoming more top-heavy. There are cutbacks in faculty, support, and teaching staff, more reliance on adjuncts (academic temps, basically), and so on, while central administration grows. Expensive new buildings contribute, but less than people suppose. But that is a tangential problem, in that wealthy donors want to give big gifts for vanity projects rather than to, say, scholarship funds.

                                              • o09rdk 207 days ago

                                                Former tenured professor.

                                                I think your impression is generally spot-on although there's nuances and it's more complicated than that.

                                                In general, universities are suffering from many of the same pressures as other fields. Nonprofits are being run as profit-generating centers, and the implicit promotion track goes from faculty to senior faculty to administration, if you're even on tenure track. The administration salaries are increasing, as are the number of administrative positions (deans, associate deans, vice associate deans, assistant deans, etc.), and the structures are becoming increasingly hierarchical. Things are very top-heavy and expensive to run because the salary budget is so disproportionately distributed.

                                                I don't think that's all of it, though. The rest of it is harder to quantify, but is the flip side of the educational bubble coin. Students are rushing to go to college in record numbers, which then puts pressure on colleges to stand out to attract more students and more high-paying students who become high-donating alumni. Institutions that should be getting public funding are not, which then trickles down to students; other private institutions then benefit from the increased tuition norms etc.

                                                It's a complicated problem that involves HR and administrative practices and norms, economic incentives within university funding structures, incentives coming from a broken employment system in the US, problematic incentives coming from federal grant structures, etc. etc. etc. etc.

                                                • Ancalagon 207 days ago

                                                  Can you expand on the broken employment system in the US? Honestly just curious.

                                                  • DuskStar 207 days ago

                                                    If I had to complain about things, it would be these:

                                                    1. Lack of workplace training - very few employers will pay for you to train/gain experience, partly because there's nothing preventing someone from jumping ship for better pay once the training is complete

                                                    2. Credentialism - the things that actually matter in hiring are either difficult or illegal to test for (conscientiousness, knowledge, intelligence), and so degrees are used as proxies instead

                                                    • paulddraper 207 days ago

                                                      > very few employers will pay for you to train/gain experience

                                                      Yes and no.

                                                      Most HVAC shops will pay for technician's training.

                                                      Most dev shops pay for technical conferences.

                                                      Most managers have access to management seminars and training.

                                                      Expecting an employers to pay tens of thousands of dollars seems weird, but many employers do pay on a smaller scale for skills training.

                                                      > degrees are used as proxies instead

                                                      Though conventional wisdom is that a degree doesn't matter 5 years after graduation.

                                                      Nor does it seem that prestigious positions are even that picky in practice. Yes, there are a number of Harvard, Stanford, Yale alumni in Congress, but other seven of the top 10 colleges for Congress members are public state schools. [1]

                                                      [1] https://www.usnews.com/news/slideshows/the-top-10-colleges-f...

                                                      • crowbahr 202 days ago

                                                        Dev shops pay for technical conferences but few tech places want to hire fresh, green devs and train them up. They all would prefer experience.

                                                        It's why you see so many forums talking about sending out applications to hundreds of places for months when searching for their first job, then never having a problem again after.

                                                        • angry_octet 207 days ago

                                                          The degree you get certainly matters for graduate admissions though. For example, at both MacGill and U of Montreal they don't take any account of industry experience when you are applying for grad school. And they assume grade inflation, so unless you scored A average you can give up.

                                                          • blaser-waffle 206 days ago

                                                            Schools in QC are a different breed, though. The cost for QC residents is very low, and the cost for non-QC residents is still pretty tolerable. This means there are lot of applicants -- like why not, it's cheap -- and they can be picky.

                                                            I've also noticed that Canada and Australia place far more emphasis on formal credentials than US colleges. US Uni's will take you if you can demonstrate competency and can pay; Uni Melbourne won't talk to you unless you have the exact, specific kind of degree. Ditto for UBC, U Sydney, etc.

                                                            • paulddraper 206 days ago

                                                              That's true. It's a relatively small set of jobs that require a medical, law, or phd degree.

                                                          • mikekchar 207 days ago

                                                            I'll just throw this out here: for IT you almost don't want your in-house trained people to stay very long because it's pretty important less experienced people to get a variety of different experiences. I would say that people who stick to their first job for a decade or so tend to become under performers and I don't think it's generally because they can't find another job. Breadth of experience is really valuable in this field.

                                                            I've often thought it would be amazing if you could do the equivalent of professional football (soccer) lending of players. Lend a developer to another company for a few years with the expectation that they will come back. If they decide to stay then the borrowing company give some compensation. But it would mean having very strict contracts that limit the freedom of workers, so it's almost certainly a no go. I wish there was a way to make it work, though...

                                                          • o09rdk 206 days ago

                                                            I think in general I mean that people are seen as cogs in a machine, rather than individuals to be trained, and there's no safety net from the government, either in terms of real retraining or advanced education or life benefits or anything.

                                                            HR gets a million applications, people are evaluated on what boxes can be checked off rather than their skillset, etc.

                                                            With regard to the educational system, the problem is that degrees are seen as signals or credentials (to use the language of the article) rather than as a background. That's admittedly a fuzzy distinction, but it really reduces the degree to the degree per se rather than the host of courses and experiences the person during college. So, we talk about "useless degrees" without recognizing that someone might have had equivalent coursework and experience without majoring in something else per se. In the end it doesn't matter.

                                                        • moduspol 207 days ago

                                                          I worked for five years at a private university a few years ago, and my experience is similar, although to add a little:

                                                          It never felt like a plan or conspiracy to make administration costs bigger. It's just very easy to do when you have more money coming in, year after year. In another economic environment, you'd get a "hard no" because the money isn't there. But when there is, expenditures become just another bargaining chip. Maybe you get your seventh librarian this year, and I get my fifth network guy next year.

                                                          New buildings (as you stated) aren't as big of a contributor as expected due to the convoluted role of donations, grants, etc. But another big factor for those buildings is that we were getting loans for them, too, and those were based on (big surprise) long term forecasts presuming this gravy train is going to keep on chugging for the next 30+ years. And even then we were getting projections of our "debt capacity" and always riding that line, so it's debt on top of debt all the way down.

                                                          I don't know about big schools, but for a smaller one like ours, there was no visible bad faith. These kind of things just happen when you can keep bringing in more and more money and so can your competitors.

                                                          • ahi 207 days ago

                                                            I work in academic IT. My job is mission critical to the existence of 3 other project manager jobs. The bureaucracy grows to meet the needs of the growing bureaucracy is not a joke.

                                                            • Finnucane 207 days ago

                                                              >But another big factor for those buildings is that we were getting loans for them, too, and those were based on (big surprise) long term forecasts presuming this gravy train is going to keep on chugging for the next 30+ years.

                                                              Harvard got spectacularly burned by the genius planning of Larry Summers in that regard.

                                                              • supahfly_remix 207 days ago

                                                                Are the people who actually teach the classes (professors who teach and TAs) getting raises matching the tuition raises in your school? Or, is all of the money diverted to administration?

                                                                • moduspol 207 days ago

                                                                  I wasn't in a position to be explicitly told, although I did at one point see an anonymized list of faculty salaries and they did not seem unreasonable (only one in six figures). This school is about 40 minutes away from a city with an international airport.

                                                                  I think "diverted" is perhaps a strong word here. The way administrators see it, the administration is necessary to even reach the point where faculty can teach classes, and provides a significant role in empowering them to do so.

                                                                  And there's some validity to it. Besides, students' expectations with regards to faculty haven't changed nearly as much over the last ~20 years when compared to administrative departments. Students absolutely expect good WiFi, good Internet speeds, Google Apps-quality e-mail, and that's just tech stuff. Colleges are implicitly competing with other colleges with things like on-campus events, residence halls, modern cafeterias, online course registration, athletics... all kinds of stuff. There's a lot of money involved in these expectations that has outpaced the faculty side.

                                                                  But it's cyclical. We pump money into those things to keep retention up because we need to because the other schools are doing it.

                                                                  • klipt 207 days ago

                                                                    > Students absolutely expect good WiFi, good Internet speeds, Google Apps-quality e-mail, and that's just tech stuff.

                                                                    My personal internet with Comcast is ~$60/month, so assuming universities have greater bargaining power due to scale that shouldn't make much of a dent in tuition. And my college email interface was clunky but I just set it up to forward everything to Gmail, which is free.

                                                                    • moduspol 207 days ago

                                                                      It's not really reasonable to compare a residential ISP to one for a college campus. It probably is cheaper if you count only the Internet service itself, but everything between that ISP and each end user's device has significant fixed and maintenance / upgrade costs attached. Your residential ISP can give you an all-in-one modem / WiFI router and you're good to go.

                                                                    • pirocks 207 days ago

                                                                      On the case of California all the salaries of public employees aka. University of California employees are public, Googleable information.

                                                                  • paulddraper 207 days ago

                                                                    > These kind of things just happen when you can keep bringing in more and more money and so can your competitors.

                                                                    Yep. If appetite and available funding grow year after year, even the most honest of colleges will have a hard time not expanding costs.

                                                                    Fortunately, it's still pretty easy to get a 4-year degree from a solid school for < $40,000 tuition not including scholarships.

                                                                    Pricy, but still far less than the $1m extra lifetime earnings.

                                                                    • diablerouge 207 days ago

                                                                      Hmmm, I'd beg to differ.

                                                                      I lived at home, with my parents, and went to a state school and paid in-state tuition. Found online PDFs of all my textbooks, and I'm still just barely scraping in at under 40,000. This is from 2016 to 2020 (finishing up my last few courses over the next 6 months.) And the administration is still considering (aka going to pass) an 11% tuition increase, after a 9% increase just 2 years ago.

                                                                      It's even worse for people who don't live near a university and need to live on campus, pay for meal plans, etc.

                                                                • wtvanhest 207 days ago

                                                                  Yes, admin is a problem, but its not just admin. If you are a professor making 150k+, you have to ask yourself how much of your salary is being funded by rampant, unsustainable borrowing.

                                                                  Colleges need dramatic, across the board cost cutting including professors, admins etc.

                                                                  Colleges are in for a world of pain in the next 50 years.

                                                                  • Bjartr 207 days ago

                                                                    Why shouldn't a professor make 150k? I mean, from a societal point of view.

                                                                    • ahi 207 days ago

                                                                      How much of that is skimming off what the grad students do? ...who get a poverty wage adjunct position

                                                                      • wtvanhest 207 days ago

                                                                        If that is what they are earning without burdening thousands of students with unsustainable debt over their careers than I'd argue nothing is wrong with it.

                                                                        For example if the salary is 100% from NIH grants and the prof makes 500k, more power to them.

                                                                        If the prof makes 100k and all their salary is funded by student loans, then they should decide whether their livelihood is worth the externalities they are creating.

                                                                        Its a moral choice

                                                                        • lazypenguin 207 days ago

                                                                          150k/year. Let’s assume the professor teaches 4 units per semester and maybe 2 in the summer (or research or some equivalent). Comes out to 15k/unit. Let’s say 15 students per unit just to represent smaller classes comes to $1k/unit/student/year. Each unit is like 3hrs/week for 12 weeks on average. So comes out to something like $28/hr. Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

                                                                          Average course load for a student is like 6 units a semester so using the back-of-the napkin math above it should cost roughly $6k/per semester for students to have a full course load of $150k professors. $12k/year + other expenses is a far cry away from $100k that is being charged.

                                                                          • wtvanhest 207 days ago

                                                                            $12k a year is completely unacceptable.

                                                                            Other costs are also unacceptable. Colleges charge $500+/month for shared rooms. And require freshman to stay in them.

                                                                            Nevermind the fact that your math misses several major cost categories like building maintenance, fringe benefits for professors (+30% of salaries at least).

                                                                            In your hypothetical example, students are paying $20k/year before getting ripped off on the cost of the dorm and meal plan.

                                                                            If a prof is making 150k, class sizes need to be 300+ and they need to teach 1,000 kids a semester

                                                                      • Finnucane 207 days ago

                                                                        >If you are a professor making 150k+, you have to ask yourself how much of your salary is being funded by rampant, unsustainable borrowing.

                                                                        Also, how much of your funding comes from unsavory sources like Jeffrey Epstein and the Saudi government.

                                                                      • haberman 207 days ago

                                                                        Do colleges make their budgets public? When a program is taking too long to run the first step is to profile. What does the data say on college costs?

                                                                        > But that is a tangential problem, in that wealthy donors want to give big gifts for vanity projects rather than to, say, scholarship funds.

                                                                        In the past I've felt quite motivated to give to scholarship funds. It resonates a lot if you yourself relied on scholarships to go to college. But I feel somewhat more cynical about this since I've seen costs spiraling out of control. The actual price of college can have anything bundled in there. I want to support students, but I feel less good about supporting ballooning costs that are twice inflation when I haven't heard a good reason for this.

                                                                        • paulddraper 206 days ago

                                                                          Certainly public colleges have public budgets.

                                                                        • big_chungus 207 days ago

                                                                          Ahh, the iron law of bureaucracy at work. https://www.jerrypournelle.com/reports/jerryp/iron.html

                                                                          • gnicholas 207 days ago

                                                                            An AEI report on 'administrative bloat' in higher education: https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/diversity-and-other-administr...

                                                                            • setpatchaddress 207 days ago

                                                                              AEI is a hard-rightish conservative think tank. I’d be wary of trusting anything they publish about money and schools.

                                                                              • gnicholas 207 days ago

                                                                                You're right that they're libertarian/conservative in this regard. But they've published a number of articles with relevant facts about the growth of administrative roles in higher ed, and the associated costs. I haven't seen those facts questioned anywhere — have you?

                                                                            • bryanlarsen 207 days ago
                                                                              • Finnucane 207 days ago

                                                                                That data is only for public universities.

                                                                                • blaser-waffle 206 days ago

                                                                                  Arguably those are the only ones we should care about -- they're getting our state tax funds.

                                                                                  Private Uni's are, well, private. They can charge what they want, and if the average Pell Grant or other DoE loans aren't enough that's not the Uni's problem.

                                                                              • cmpolis 207 days ago

                                                                                This comment is sadly familiar to me - it sounds exactly how my friends in healthcare describe the state of their industry (more admin, fancy buildings, less focus or spending on patient care).

                                                                              • slg 207 days ago

                                                                                The tuition price being talked about is the top sticker price. If you care about inequality, that isn't the metric to care about. You should instead focus on something like median tuition paid since financial aid can mean that any individual student is paying anything from zero up to the full tuition costs. The concept of the richest students paying a six figure sticker price in order to help compensate for the students on the other end of the socioeconomic spectrum who can't afford it is the exact type of thing you would expect from a "left leaning" institution.

                                                                                • asdfman123 207 days ago

                                                                                  But as the article says, low income students are scared away by high tuition. My fiancee was raised poor and I kind of understand the mentality -- when the tuition is a multiple of what both your parents make in a year, you say "this place isn't for me" and move on. You've been told in various ways throughout your life which places aren't for you (there are a lot of them), and a $100k sticker price is a pretty damn good signal.

                                                                                  And besides, no one wants to rely on the generosity of paternalistic college administrators. That's not safe. You don't want to wake up and suddenly find due to some technicality you again owe more money than both of your parents make in a year. And you don't want to feel like a charity case.

                                                                                  (If you think that's a remote possibility, think of the people who went into teaching with the promise of debt forgiveness, and found it revoked. They don't have any choice in the matter -- they're totally screwed.)

                                                                                  Better to go to the local city college. Your cousin went there and a few other people from your school go there, too. It's a safe choice, and there are people like you there.

                                                                                • wdr1 207 days ago

                                                                                  > One thing I find crazy is the very same institutions that are generally very left leaning, decry income inequality, and espouse generally liberal views then turn around and having tuition costs that having been rising at rates so far above inflation.

                                                                                  It's weird you chose to make this comment on an article about the University of Chicago, the home of Milton Friedman, Supply-side economics, "no safe spaces"[1] and so on.

                                                                                  [1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2016/08/...

                                                                                  • wardnath 207 days ago

                                                                                    Tuition rates seem to be rising across the board however. University of Chicago is just the tip of the spear.

                                                                                  • JDiculous 207 days ago

                                                                                    Has the University of Chicago ever advocated for free college? Their economics department, home of the late Milton Friedman and the Chicago Boys, is among the most right-leaning in the country.

                                                                                    • eindiran 207 days ago

                                                                                      This really isn't true anymore, but people keep regurgitating it. Chicago has a lot of behavioral economists like Thaler/List/Levitt, a lot of people who work on econometrics or mathematical economics like Harberger/Uhlig/Stokey/Tesler. There are still some Chicago school of economics folks at the university, but increasingly "the Chicago school" is an independent beast. There are a few emeritus professors in the old guard, but claiming that the department is one of the most "right-leaning" in the country is wrong.

                                                                                      • paulddraper 206 days ago

                                                                                        That was then.

                                                                                      • eindiran 207 days ago

                                                                                        Given that most (yes, most) students at the University of Chicago receive financial aid, what you're seeing is a sticker price. The school is using the high sticker price + financial aid to perform very efficient price discrimination[0], so they can get a lot of money from people who can pay.

                                                                                        It is effectively a sliding scale fee [1].

                                                                                        [0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_discrimination

                                                                                        [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sliding_scale_fees

                                                                                        • jjeaff 207 days ago

                                                                                          That is part of it, but the term "financial aid" is usually trotted around to make people think that the less wealthy are getting "aid" but in reality, the majority of that "aid" is in the form of non-dischargeable student loans.

                                                                                          I don't consider a loan "aid". Especially since that loan has interest.

                                                                                          • secabeen 207 days ago

                                                                                            Yes, this. The nameplate tuition is paid by a vanishingly small percentage of students. What I think each school should do is publish data showing what the median tuition paid is, and the quartiles. That would help a lot to fight this perception that "tuition is going up every year!"

                                                                                          • popularwarfare 207 days ago

                                                                                            In theory. Do you have evidence that is what is actually happening?

                                                                                            • eindiran 207 days ago

                                                                                              If your request for evidence is about the claim that most Uchicago students receive aid: https://news.uchicago.edu/story/financial-aid-budget-forecas...

                                                                                              If its about the claim that this is an example of price discrimination: that is an opinion I formed while I was at the University and spoke with some folks in the economics department about it. There is a class offered in econ about the economics of education, and that certainly hit the point home that financial aid is a type of price discrimination. I couldn't have paid for the tuition in full, so I myself received significant financial aid and supplemented with some student loans, so I got to see a bit of it first hand.

                                                                                              • skinnymuch 206 days ago

                                                                                                They are mixing financial support/debt and grants it seems in the writing. Getting loans isn’t the same as getting money you don’t have to pay back.

                                                                                          • big_chungus 207 days ago

                                                                                            Interestingly enough, many elite schools have need-blind admissions and excellent aid if you are poor. If you are rich, it's affordable. As usual, it's the middle class that gets screwed.

                                                                                          • akhilcacharya 207 days ago

                                                                                            > One thing I find crazy is the very same institutions that are generally very left leaning, decry income inequality, and espouse generally liberal views then turn around and having tuition costs that having been rising at rates so far above inflation.

                                                                                            Eh...the UChicago economics department and the people of Chile would like a word with you on that.

                                                                                            • pastor_elm 207 days ago

                                                                                              It's pretty clear how these schools operate. They charge high tuition for people with a lot of money and cover the costs for people that can't afford it.

                                                                                              >With over $159 million in financial aid distributed this year, UChicago is committed to ensuring that its students graduate debt-free and prepared for lifelong success, no matter their chosen major or background prior to enrolling in The College. UChicago is a need-blind institution, which means we make admissions decisions independent of a family’s financial circumstances[0]

                                                                                              That seems like a hallmark move of progressivism, no?


                                                                                              • war1025 207 days ago

                                                                                                That's basically how healthcare works as well, and I don't think anyone would argue that healthcare is in a good place in the US.

                                                                                                • garmaine 207 days ago

                                                                                                  Financial aid is code for student loans. If they meant a scholarship they would have said so.

                                                                                                  • dragonwriter 207 days ago

                                                                                                    > Financial aid is code for student loans.

                                                                                                    No, especially at well-funded not-for-profit private universities, “financial aid” often includes generous need-based grants (not scholarships, which are merit-based) that reduce the amount that must be met from student/family resources (including loans) substantially for non-wealthy students (not unheard of for it to be down to $0 for the poorest who manage to get admitted, and that's not just tuition but sometimes housing, books, etc.).

                                                                                                    • garmaine 207 days ago

                                                                                                      Not at the Jesuit college I went to, which I’m still pretty bitter about. I got cheated out of grants because I qualified for “financial aid”—loans which I am still paying off.

                                                                                                      I guess it depends on the school.

                                                                                                    • pastor_elm 207 days ago

                                                                                                      > Guaranteed Free Tuition Families earning less than $125,000 per year (with typical assets) will receive a financial aid award that covers the full cost of tuition. Families earning less than $60,000 per year will have tuition, fees, and room and board covered by financial aid. UChicago’s need-based financial aid involves no loans and is awarded as grants, which do not need to be repaid.


                                                                                                      • garmaine 207 days ago

                                                                                                        That's the need-based financial aid program specifically. Are the numbers quoted by the grandparent post for that program specifically?

                                                                                                      • csa 207 days ago

                                                                                                        > Financial aid is code for student loans. If they meant a scholarship they would have said so.

                                                                                                        At many of the high-stocker-price elite schools, grants are also a very real part of financial aid.

                                                                                                        Grants effectively look like a scholarship but are typically need-based rather than merit-based.

                                                                                                        Looked at another way, grants can be used as a discount on the tuition sticker price.

                                                                                                    • oconnor663 207 days ago

                                                                                                      Looking at the sticker price can be confusing, when the majority of students are receiving some financial aid. You'd need to look at the average tuition paid by students at different family income levels. But is that data even publicly available?

                                                                                                      • lancesells 207 days ago

                                                                                                        That is definitely the way to look at it although there is a middle class where family income is more than what qualifies for financial aid but far lower than tuition being "affordable".

                                                                                                      • Dirlewanger 207 days ago

                                                                                                        - Rampant cronyism in the administrative bureaucracy. Too many inflated titles with ~$200k yearly compensations.

                                                                                                        - Building architecturally impressive (but questionably prudent) faculty buildings/dorms/libraries/etc. in hopes of luring prospective students, many funded by alumni looking to stroke their ego via their name on the structure (reminds me of that scene from House of Cards when Kevin Spacey's character does this very thing)

                                                                                                        - Federal government showing no signs of abating the giving out free money to attend college, which enables the entire cycle to continue

                                                                                                        • jefftk 207 days ago

                                                                                                          > the very same institutions that are generally very left leaning, decry income inequality, ...

                                                                                                          These schools are price discriminating, which means only the richest families are paying the full price. This kind of heavily graduated pricing where the wealthy pay for most of the cost of the school is very much in line with their principles.

                                                                                                          • viburnum 207 days ago

                                                                                                            Yeah they’re not left leaning at all, they’re completely corporate and plutocratic. The highest paid state employees are university presidents and college sports coaches.

                                                                                                            • BurningFrog 207 days ago

                                                                                                              When there is a difference between what people say and what they do, always believe what they do.

                                                                                                              • asveikau 207 days ago

                                                                                                                Has it occurred to you that maybe the state can handle the cost? Compare to how much we spend buying fancy equipment to kill people. (Military spending if that is too indirect a description.)

                                                                                                                Consider also that a large amount of student loans are already from the government, so in a default...

                                                                                                                • buboard 207 days ago

                                                                                                                  You might see people rallying for forgiving debt, but not for increasing enrollment, which is what caused high debts in the first place. It s impossible not to call this hypocritical

                                                                                                                  • L_Rahman 207 days ago

                                                                                                                    While this is true of its peers, no one has ever accused the University of Chicago of being left leaning. The unrestrained neoliberalism (deregulation of consumer protections, unwinding of antitrust policy) that characterizes our time is literally called the "Chicago School" of economics.

                                                                                                                    • tehlike 207 days ago

                                                                                                                      The same goes for housing, in same states.

                                                                                                                      • 1-more 207 days ago

                                                                                                                        U. Chicago is left leaning? It produced the Chicago boys, the authors of neoliberalism in Chile.

                                                                                                                        • mdasen 207 days ago

                                                                                                                          I think most people would say you're correct about the Econ department, but that isn't the whole university. Plus, it's not like U Chicago is that far off from other universities when it comes to tuition and fees. They cost $58k, but Columbia University is already above $59k, Dartmouth is $55k, Penn is $56k, Duke is $56k, Brown is $55k, Tufts is $56k,

                                                                                                                          There are plenty of liberal schools whose sticker price is going sky high.

                                                                                                                          • freeAgent 207 days ago

                                                                                                                            It depends on what area of the University of Chicago you're talking about.

                                                                                                                          • gaze 207 days ago

                                                                                                                            You may want to look into the difference between liberalism and leftism.

                                                                                                                            • tenpies 207 days ago

                                                                                                                              > One thing I find crazy is the very same institutions that are generally very left leaning

                                                                                                                              Why? Being Left leaning is easiest when it's not your money. Yes! Raise our tuition! More levies! Mommy and daddy will pick up the tab. If not the government-backed loans will take care of it and I just won't pay for it. After all, those capitalist boomer tax payers should subsidize my virtuous leftist existence.

                                                                                                                              It's just like left leaning policies everywhere in the world.

                                                                                                                              • cycrutchfield 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                Good lord, the level of discourse on this site has absolutely plummeted. We're in /r/conservative territory now.

                                                                                                                              • GaryNumanVevo 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                Assume that inherent skill is evenly distributed, Assume that the environment to foster that skill is not. Why would we not make college affordable if we can produce high quality college graduates. The US isn't a closed system, we make a lot of money in the knowledge economy, a fight we're slowly losing to China and India.

                                                                                                                                • spodek 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                  Do you prefer they lean to the right, increase deficits, and promote a military budget larger than the military asks for?

                                                                                                                              • rubidium 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                More people need to talk about what Purdue is doing. They’ve held tuition constant for 8 years since Mitch Daniels took over.


                                                                                                                                • misiti3780 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                  As a US citizen, I see the US debt bomb ending it two different ways

                                                                                                                                  1. Sanders/Warren get elected and somehow forgive 1.5 trillion in student loans and make education free going forward.

                                                                                                                                  2. 2008 level crisis

                                                                                                                                  with (2) is the more probable

                                                                                                                                  I think universities tuition is way too expensive in our country, but I'm against (1) currently because I don't think retroactively forgiving debt is a good policy. The students took those loans out, signed the docs, and knew (or should have known) what they were getting themselves into. I think forgiving all of the debt would be obviously ridiculously expensive (1.5 trillion is a lot of money) but also possibly creates moral hazard.

                                                                                                                                  I would be more supportive of (1) if the government took more of a "Canadian pharma industry" approach and just said "this is how much we will pay for this citizen to go to Harvard, take it or leave it". I have no faith that any of the current presidential candidates will be able to negotiate and pass that type of law, so I currently cant support (1).

                                                                                                                                  Is my line of thinking wrong here? I think education should be more affordable but have no faith we have leaders that can get us there.

                                                                                                                                  • fortran77 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                    I'm completely against forgiving student loans. I want to solve the problem, which means no more Government backed student loans. (I'm all for the Government building more low-cost public Universities, though.)

                                                                                                                                    But if they are going to forgive them, certainly the students who prided themselves on being the best and the brightest should have known better! Therefore, anyone in the top 10% of SAT scores or at the top 100 schools should not be eligible for discharge. If you're smart enough to get into Chicago or Harvard, you're smart enough to know how loans work.

                                                                                                                                    • asdfman123 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                      I would be angry because I lived in the cheapest apartment I could and biked as much as I could until I paid everything off. Had I been less responsible, I would get more money under debt forgiveness. The incentives are inverted. I'm all for wealth redistribution but messing with incentives is shown over and over again to be a bad idea.

                                                                                                                                      Also, my perspective as the kind of frugal guy that everyone else calls cheap is that we live in the most rampantly consumerist society that has ever existed on the planet earth and we think we need all kinds of things that we really don't.

                                                                                                                                      I just can't stomach the idea of throwing money to people who knew what they signed up for but then decided paying back what they owed was too hard.

                                                                                                                                      • triceratops 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                        I agree with what you're saying in general. But hypothetically, if the forgiveness was made retroactive to say 10 years (or however long ago you paid your loans back) and you got all your money back, would your opinion change?

                                                                                                                                        • jetpks 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                          Because you suffered, everyone in perpetuity must also suffer?

                                                                                                                                          • asdfman123 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                            Why do people think this is a good argument whenever I bring that up? Because I signed an agreement that I must pay back my loans, I paid back my loans.

                                                                                                                                            For the record, I didn't suffer. I felt fine and did plenty of fun things. I think the biggest mistake Americans make as a society is confusing convenience with happiness.

                                                                                                                                            I would in fact be in favor of free college for everyone, but I hate this victim mindset floating around, and I think the largest benefits should go to the most prudent and responsible, instead of taxing people who withheld in their younger years to pay for people who didn't.

                                                                                                                                            • fortran77 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                              I'm against loan forgiveness. I went to an inexpensive local college, took the public bus to class, lived with my parents (I realize I was "privileged" enough to be able to do this), worked 25 hours/week while going to school, and took as many classes as possible at a low-cost community college that could be applied for credit to my 4-year degree.

                                                                                                                                              I graduated with no debt.

                                                                                                                                              I don't think others should also suffer. That's why, I want the government to stop backing student loans, and make new non-government loans like any other loan, including bk discharge.

                                                                                                                                              Tuitions would drop rapidly, and nobody "in perpetuity" will have to suffer.

                                                                                                                                              Most people who are against forgiveness are also against continuing to write new loans!

                                                                                                                                              • buboard 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                If this argument is made in public, people will never support debt forgiveness. not only it breaks the social contract with severe entitlement, it's also very hard to accept that people who can afford harvard or stanford "suffer"

                                                                                                                                                populist emotional arguments are good when there is the populus to empathize with it. the vast majority of people won't care for such "plight".

                                                                                                                                                • asdfman123 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                  You have to realize a lot of kids who went to Harvard and Stanford were just smart kids from normal suburban families and middle class homes. And many of them have middle class jobs, just like people with similar SAT scores who went to state schools instead.

                                                                                                                                                  Be wary of populist urges to tear down people you perceive to be "better" than you because maybe they're really not, or they're not the cause of the problem. Do things that will improve society, not just satiate your urge for blood.

                                                                                                                                                  • erikpukinskis 200 days ago

                                                                                                                                                    What’s the endgame though? You have the federal government pay UChigago $100k a year times however many kids? And then when UChicago raises the price to $120k, the federal government pays that?

                                                                                                                                                    Where does it end?

                                                                                                                                                    I’m not against free college, or debt forgiveness, but sometimes even if you have a goal there’s no regulatory framework that can meet it.

                                                                                                                                                    If I wanted to prohibit abortions, while discouraging birth control, and ensuring victims of abuse get to control their bodies... well, sorry. There’s just no regulatory framework that can achieve that. Doesn’t matter what I think is “right”.

                                                                                                                                                    • buboard 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                      yeah no, i m not from the US and didn't study there so i don't perceive anyone as better or worse. But if the smartest, non-poor people can't keep their promises and are looking for shortcuts that would really make society worse. Painting what's normal (paying off debts) as "bloody" revenge is pure hyperbole

                                                                                                                                                  • paulddraper 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                    > in perpetuity

                                                                                                                                                    How is "debt forgiveness" solving the problem in perpetuity?

                                                                                                                                                    Debt forgiveness applies only to past debt, not future debt, unless I am misunderstanding the words.

                                                                                                                                                    • Gunax 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                      Someone is suffering. It's either the taxpayer or the receiver of the education.

                                                                                                                                                  • war1025 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                    I think I'd be in favor of discounting them / forcing the interest rate down to ~0% so that they get eaten by inflation over time.

                                                                                                                                                    I don't think it's right to let people who sacrificed go high and dry while the people who abused the system get a break, though that is often how it plays out.

                                                                                                                                                    But it seems like there would be ways to lessen the burden for people who did take big loans without it being a complete handout.

                                                                                                                                                    • fzeroracer 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                      What you're asking for is a solution in 10-15 years for a problem that's rearing it's head now. If you were to remove government backed loans, you would be locking a significant amount of the US population out of higher education. Without a higher educated workforce, where do you think workers for various jobs are going to come from if we decide to go full protectionist and reduce immigration potential?

                                                                                                                                                      Low cost universities don't just pop out of thin air and neither do the professors that staff them.

                                                                                                                                                      • mc3 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                        In addition, forgiving loans is probably not practical - where is all the money going to come from? More tax or less spending on some other service.

                                                                                                                                                      • rhino369 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                        Student debt isn't likely to cause a 2008 crisis since the vast majority of it is held by (or backed by) the government.

                                                                                                                                                        • jackcosgrove 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                          Also student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so there will not be a dramatic crisis triggering writedowns. The digestion of bad loans will take decades.

                                                                                                                                                          • dragonwriter 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                            > Also student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy

                                                                                                                                                            Yes, they can, though it's harder than other unsecured debt.

                                                                                                                                                            • jackcosgrove 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                              It's such a rare event that it wouldn't happen at the scale to trigger a financial crisis.

                                                                                                                                                          • xzel 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                            So I actually have a question wrt to the fact the government backs most tuition loans: what is really the difference if the US starts a forgiveness program or everyone defaults and the government pays back the lenders? Aren't the tax payers paying something similar both ways?

                                                                                                                                                            • skinnymuch 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                              Isn’t defaulting on student loans and not having the money garnished incredibly hard? If so, it wouldn’t be possible for more than a small fraction to do it.

                                                                                                                                                          • warmind99 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                            Hi, quant here (in Uni). I have some obligation to respond to (2), because I know something about it and you've mischaracterized it alot.

                                                                                                                                                            We have around $1.5T in student debt currently, at its peak in 2008, there was around $12.7T in housing debt (there's more now, interestingly). Like 2008 era mortgages, student debt is securitized and sold in the form of SLABS (Student Loan Backed AssetS; [1]). However, to my knowledge, there are no derivative securities trades on these SLABS, whereas in 2008, nth derivative securities were trades on mortgage-backed securities (MBSs; when I say nth, I mean derivatives were traded on derivative were traded on derivatives, increasing leverage). In Q2 '08, around 4.5% of mortgages were "seriously deliquent" (i.e. were over 90 days past due). This figure jumped to over 21.0% in July '08 [3]. In contrast, serious delinquency for SLABS is around 0.254% [4]. This is different by a full two orders of magnitude (a little less) from the crisis levels.

                                                                                                                                                            While I get why you might be led to believe that (2) is possible, the data doesn't back it up at all. Remember that almost everyone takes out a mortgage, but only around 50% of relatively young people take out student loans.

                                                                                                                                                            [1]: https://www.salliemae.com/investors/asset-backed-securities/ [2]: https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2008/200859/200859p... (pages 2 and 3, use ctrl+F and "delinquent") [3]: https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2008/200859/200859p... (page 5) [4]: https://www.salliemae.com/assets/investors/asset-backed-secu... (page 4; I'm taking this security to be representative, sue me)

                                                                                                                                                            • akhilcacharya 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                              Harvard is a weird example to use.

                                                                                                                                                              I think we should stop offering government backed loans to all institutions that aren’t in-state public. Then, tie them to a graduation period. The moral hazard of taking out hundreds of thousands of debt that may never be paid back is (Ideally) gone.

                                                                                                                                                              Is there an issue to doing this?

                                                                                                                                                              • ip26 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                There's a few other options, such as it levels off. But something must change, whether social or governmental or economic. At the current rate of growth, by the time my kids are of age, four years at many colleges is going to cost a good deal more than my house- each. Which is not to say that can't happen- but if it did, it would go hand-in-hand with a cultural return to the days of college as a finishing school for the aristocrats, and not something normal people do anymore.

                                                                                                                                                                • threeisoneis 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                  Do you believe the same thing about medical debt? Why or why not?

                                                                                                                                                                  • misiti3780 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, and no

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, because I dont want to live in a world or a country where someone can go bankrupt and/or end up in poverty because of medical problem - this is still possible in the US unfortunately (though I suspect vastly over stated), Regardless, I would never support forgiving of debts for elected/vanity surgeries.

                                                                                                                                                                    No because I would not want to just forgive all medical debt without fixing the system, which currently seems impossible in the US, politically. Because of lobbying, big pharma, etc. , free heath care would just be too expensive to implement. Obama changed some things, Trump repealed some things. It's a political hot potato.

                                                                                                                                                                    Fixing our system is like trying to turn the titanic at this point, and any changes we make alienate a large portion of the population.

                                                                                                                                                                    • sjg007 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                      The majority of bankruptcies are because of medical debt.

                                                                                                                                                                  • paulddraper 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                    > somehow forgive 1.5 trillion in student loans

                                                                                                                                                                    A more plausible outcome is that the law changes to allows student to end after bankruptcy.

                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe lenders are made whole by the government; maybe not.

                                                                                                                                                                    That provides relief to extreme cases, while not shifting an entire $1T+ of debt.

                                                                                                                                                                    • buboard 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                      if (2) is possible, what's the difference if (1) happens? Someone will have to pay that debt eventually (the taxpayer).

                                                                                                                                                                      • to11mtm 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                        Scenario (2) more likely indicates that before (1) happens, a number of colleges would have to go bust in rapid succession.

                                                                                                                                                                        TBF my biggest problem with scenario 1 happening would be if scenario 2 DIDN'T happen first. Colleges have too long been promoting degrees that they knew students would never be able to pay off reasonably.

                                                                                                                                                                    • skywhopper 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                      The data is this article are pretty misleadingly framed. The only time they quote the current cost, they use the base tuition number of $57,642. In the next sentence they say that in six years the cost is projected to be over $100,000. But the latter number includes all additional costs: tuition, room and board, books, fees, supplies, transportation, and living expenses. The former number is just tuition. UChicago is crazy expensive, but it's not doubling in cost in the next six years.

                                                                                                                                                                      • chrischattin 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                        How to fix student loans...

                                                                                                                                                                        The .gov backs student loans. And, they are non-dischargeable. So, it is zero risk for the lender to give loan to the 2.7 GPA moron getting a worthless basket weaving degree from the local private lib arts school for $100k. So, they give as many loans as possible, since they can't lose (taxpayer on the hook). Colleges are incentivized to drive up costs of tuition b/c tons of free money.

                                                                                                                                                                        It's a classic moral hazard created by .gov guaranteeing the loans. Same thing we saw in the housing crisis.

                                                                                                                                                                        Make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy or take away the .gov guarantee and watch the market for student loans for worthless degrees dry up and tuition costs plummet.

                                                                                                                                                                        • seiferteric 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                          This is my thought as well. These universities have had very little incentive to cut costs for a long time and have padded out administrators and built opulent and unnecessary facilities driving costs ever upward. Universities used to be little more than professors and classrooms with very few administrators.

                                                                                                                                                                          • 1shooner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                            >Universities used to be little more than professors and classrooms with very few administrators.

                                                                                                                                                                            Correct. There was also no IT, counseling, healthcare, Title IX, and secondary public education was functional. Things are different now.

                                                                                                                                                                            • nitwit005 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                              I wish it was getting spent on IT, counseling, healthcare and other practical services. Somehow I doubt the tiny staff at my university clinic, or the four IT people, were soaking all that money up.

                                                                                                                                                                              • seiferteric 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                Why do those things have to be a part of a university?

                                                                                                                                                                                • Ididntdothis 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                  Counseling healthcare and secondary public education should be addressed somewhere else. University is the wrong place for that.

                                                                                                                                                                              • ptconroy 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                Option 3: Make the schools co-obligors on the debt. In a default, the school pays. I suggested that to a congressman once; he nearly spit out his drink.

                                                                                                                                                                                • mc32 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                  I was thinking the same thing except maybe place it at 50% or something. So they still want to give out loans but are more judicious about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also there might be scale correlated to market demand. So if doctors are in high demand the gov backs it more, if it’s something with little market demand, back it less.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • helpPeople 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                    Everyone passes all of their classes?

                                                                                                                                                                                    • maxerickson 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                      Easy classes and grading aren't going to help people not default.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The school can really only improve the education they provide or make their admissions more stringent. If they are going to do the latter, we might as well go back to direct government support, no need to have a loans process and all that noise.

                                                                                                                                                                                  • ChicagoBoy11 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                    It is incredible to me how straightforward and undoubtedly true the point you are making is, yet I've had 0% success in bringing it up in conversation without immediately being called all sorts of names or accused of hating poor people.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • dragonwriter 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                      > It is incredible to me how straightforward and undoubtedly true the point you are making is

                                                                                                                                                                                      Even the part when it relies on private lending behavior being driven by security provided to lenders by federal loan guarantees that haven't been available to private lenders since July 1, 2010?

                                                                                                                                                                                      • scrumbledober 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                        that may be true but the non-dischargeable by bankruptcy part still holds true. A student loan is still one of the lowest risk investments a bank can make.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • jmpman 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                      Or, track the loan payback percentage for each degree, let’s say 5 years after graduation. Publish those results, and stop making loans for programs where the repayment is less than X%. Then, basket weaving degrees won’t get loans, the cost for basket weaving programs will go down, as only those with parent’s stupid money will pay for basket weaving degrees. Students will be directed by market forces to degrees that actually pay, and repayment percentages will go up.

                                                                                                                                                                                      • jmpman 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                        This will of course cause universities to encourage student loans for students with wealthy parents who could have paid up front, as they’re more likely to pay, even if employed as a barista. For every rule, it will be gamed in some way.

                                                                                                                                                                                        • julienb_sea 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                          More likely, the basket weaving program would entirely go away. Wealthy parents generally aren't idiots and don't encourage their children to waste away in pointless degrees. Well, the ultra-wealthy might not care, but there aren't too many of those.

                                                                                                                                                                                          In any event, congrats, you just made a whole set of degrees inaccessible to anyone except the wealthy. The progressives are really going to love you for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                          • big_chungus 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                            It's wise to view a degree of such cost which is unlikely to re-pay itself as a luxury good. We call most other quarter-million dollar products that have little investment potential, such as yachts, luxuries. The whole point of free college is to give everyone a shot at the middle class. Personally I think we'll just get degree inflation; college has been used as a distinguishing factor because there are a limited number of such jobs. That aside, basket-weaving degrees don't move people into the middle class. Would anyone, progressives included, contend that everyone ought to get a free yacht (or other luxury good of your choice)? A free stem degree is at least much more likely to lead to long-term, multi-generational success.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Markets provided some balance here, but were taken out of the picture. No thoughtful lender provides equal capital at equal interest rates to a poetry and a business major. This is reasonable, as the business major has a significantly higher lifetime earning potential. Making more capital available at lower rates to higher-earning majors is a good strategy because it helps to push people into higher-earning jobs. The invisible hand seems better-equipped to do this than a central planner.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't seen ISAs (income-share agreements) mentioned much here, which is a pity. The obvious solution is to modify the incentive structure such that colleges have a strong financial interest in the success of their students, which ISAs accomplish. If you want to read more, I recommend this article: https://reason.org/commentary/a-better-path-to-dealing-with-...

                                                                                                                                                                                            Purdue is currently offering them, so we'll hopefully get some real-world data on how they work, but they seem very promising on paprer.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • learc83 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                              The federal government directly issues loans now, and they won't give you $250k in student loans. The private lenders who will don't have government backing.

                                                                                                                                                                                              So if they give someone $250k for a basketweaving degree, they are unlikely to ever see that money fully repaid.

                                                                                                                                                                                              No one serious thinks private universities that cost $60k+ a year should be free btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Also most STEM degrees are about as economically viable as liberal arts degrees if you don't go to grad school. Computer Science and any degree that can get you into CS are outliers.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • jmpman 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                              I’d consider that a good thing. How many basket weavers are really needed in the world? My biggest concern is that politicians will make basket weaving degrees free, forcing me to pay (through taxation) for these over supplied degrees, and then being forced to support unpaid basket weavers on UBI.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • belltaco 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                              That will automatically happen because lending banks will do it, just like car, home and health insurance.

                                                                                                                                                                                              • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                There are no lending banks. The money comes directly from the Department of Education.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • dredmorbius 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                  There are both US-government, and nongoverment private bank, student loans, in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Which are not guaranteed by the government. When speaking of government-backed student loans, which this discussion is, there are no banks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • dredmorbius 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                      OK. That's confusing, and some brief DDGing finds a bit of a mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Got any recommended references?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The relevant Wikipedia article to start: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student_loans_in_the_United_St...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The relevant paragraph:

                                                                                                                                                                                                        > Prior to 2010, Federal loans included both direct loans—originated and funded directly by the United States Department of Education—and guaranteed loans—originated and funded by private investors, but guaranteed by the federal government. Guaranteed loans were eliminated in 2010 through the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act and replaced with direct loans because of a belief that guaranteed loans benefited private student loan companies at taxpayers expense, but did not reduce costs for students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • colejohnson66 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Even a student loan from Wells Fargo?

                                                                                                                                                                                                • chrischattin 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That already happens. Lenders just don't care because they can't lose money on those loans b/c reasons stated above.

                                                                                                                                                                                                • rayiner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The government doesn’t just back student loans, it makes the student loans. The government is the lender. More than 90% of all student debt is carried on the government’s books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  • mountainofdeath 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not only that, I remember reading that something like 1/3 of the US federal government's receivables are student loans. A mass default or forgiveness program would dramatically lower the governments ability to pay other obligations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • onlyrealcuzzo 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The other 10% is still $156Bn... That's more than the GDP of Hungary. It's still worth considering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                        That 10% is also dischargeable in bankruptcy. Only the loans made by the US Government are non-dischargeable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • angry_octet 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I feel the need to remind people that going bankrupt is the worst thing you can do to yourself financially. It will set up back a long way in very basic things.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • julienb_sea 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good luck with that. You just made college out of reach for everyone that isn't already wealthy, exacerbating inequality and further entrenching class boundaries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      To be clear, I agree with you, rip out the loan guarantees and let the private market deal. But progressives would never allow this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • smileysteve 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                        > You just made college out of reach for everyone that isn't already wealthy

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Immediately yes, fortunately, there is a supply and demand curve, so if you cut the demand for a bunch of colleges that already exist; then the price should find a new equilibrium. Of course, as is the science of economics, time and outside influences matter.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • marrone12 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                          So what do you say to all the people for who college will be out of reach while the market "equalizes"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • smileysteve 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                            The same thing we're telling financially concerned people now; public colleges, community colleges, trade schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Fortunately, in a low unemployment world, also means that hiring should be very elastic to this change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • whyenot 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                          You can get a very good education at a pubic university, for example in California's State University system, for about $6,000 a year. It wouldn't put college out of reach, it would put going to an expensive liberal arts school out of reach. I think that's OK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          • aikah 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                            > Good luck with that. You just made college out of reach for everyone that isn't already wealthy, exacerbating inequality and further entrenching class boundaries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You could apply that argument to anything. "Good luck with that, now people can't afford mansions, Good luck with that now people can't afford private jets".

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Should everybody be able to afford mansions or private jets? No.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            College should either be free, thus directly paid for by the government, or not everybody should go to college, you can't have it both ways, or that's how you'll get your big next financial crisis. The government should not back private loans, period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Cost of education has skyrocketed BECAUSE banks started to loan crazy amounts of money to every students. This is free money for the banks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                              > The government should not back private loans, period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a good thing they don't, then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            • chrischattin 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wouldn't they be in roughly the same position, just without a ton of debt?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              People have a different emotional response to predatory lending like payday loans, but not those same practices in student loans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • mountainofdeath 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You say that like it's a bad thing and not the real intent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • bluedevil2k 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Make the college take a 10% stake in each loan. Suddenly they’ll start being more discerning about who they accept and what their majors are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                • pkaye 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Suddenly costs go up 10%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • paulcole 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If someone told me they'd give me $1 if I throw away a dime, why wouldn't I just keep taking their dollars all day long?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • bluedevil2k 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You don’t get a dollar (in your metaphor)...a student still requires variable costs so you’d be left with maybe a dime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • paulcole 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No. If the school assumes 10% of the risk of the loan, they still get the other 90% guaranteed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • dredmorbius 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Future risk-affected dollars != current risk-free dollars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You have a cost of production.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The risks can be managed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Vaslo 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What a great idea!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • trgn 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The 100k basket weaving liberal arts student barely exists and is a meme to generate rage clicks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • jhallenworld 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The modern versions are usually gender studies, communications, or English.. As an engineer, it's difficult to accept any non-engineering degree as legitimate :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          So my nephew is getting his degree in "expeditionary studies":


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm jealous..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • jefflinwood 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I haven't got any idea if that degree will lead to a worthwhile career for your nephew, but that looks like a lot more fun than the four years I spent getting an engineering degree I don't use :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • sbmthakur 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There is a Career Opportunities section on the same page.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • yowlingcat 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The 100k in debt grad student becoming an adjunct and needing food stamps not to die of starvation in poverty is a pretty stark reality. One would have to be tone-deaf to pretend it does not exist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • trgn 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sure. But I said the basket weaving liberal art student. The 100k grad student can be everything from a CS major to a soon-to-be-tenured ivy league history professor. These are not the same people, and it's not what I said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • sodosopa 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Pick a major which ensures your financial survival. Spending 100k on a degree which cannot ensure survival is a hell of a way to learn that lesson.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • yowlingcat 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't disagree with you, but when that cost is underwritten and inflated by nondischargeable, government-guaranteed debt that's the product of a decision made by folks scarcely old enough to vote or serve in the military -- it just feels wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • sodosopa 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are other options, not all require college. The world needs tradesmen/women. Some of their pay is on par with my data scientists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also have a few on staff who do not have a degree but perform solid work and manage the same tasks as my degreed team members. There are options with college or military.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • yowlingcat 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think that's exactly why this kind of a loan product existing is wrong in the first place. Why is it okay to directly profit off of the debt interest of selling hopes and dreams of class mobility to impressionable youth who will be in an even worse position after taking that loan? If we abet it, are we intrinsically taking a dim Darwinian view and saying that they deserve to be exploited?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Reedx 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's probably some of it, but the underwater basket weaving meme predates the internet and has embedded wisdom.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Essentially a cautionary tale about taking on debt for something unlikely to be able to pay off that debt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • mtbcoder 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agreed, attacking degree programs is a red herring. Also, what kind of society would we be if the only subjects available to pursue were a select list of STEM programs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • sodosopa 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    > Also, what kind of society would we be if the only subjects available to pursue were a select list of STEM programs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's a sacrifice. I love art and music and spent many years pursuing both. I'm an old man now and many friends spent years seeking that out and unable to ensure their own survival years later.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • paulddraper 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "Basket weaving" may be a meme.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But English, psychology, history, music, etc. are in fact very real.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consultant32452 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'd go one step further. Make the universities guarantee the loans. If a student earns a degree and isn't able to earn a living sufficient to pay back the loans then the University has failed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • theflyinghorse 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What you are effectively saying is that university education exists solely for providing job training. That's not something most universities will agree with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • AnimalMuppet 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        For the non-wealthy, the university education is in fact about job training. The non-wealthy can't afford to pay that kind of money for something that doesn't pay them back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The wealthy can pay for a degree that doesn't pay them back. That's fine. They can study whatever they want with no regard for practicality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Consultant32452 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rank and file students are there to get a job, and the University marketing is commensurate with that. I don't care what they agree with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • slg 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is fundamentally incompatible with the idea that everyone should be able to afford to go to college and private institutions need to foot the bill for the costs. We as a society prioritized availability of college education over costs. In order to get both you would likely have to change to some income percentage based repayment system instead of traditional loan repayments and that probably wouldn't be possible unless the government is heavily involved.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • tallon 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Half of all college students don't finish their 4-year degree in 5 years, and it's not due to cost. Even countries like France, Netherlands, etc which have lower costs for college, place you in a track when you're in your freshman year of high school. This track determines if you're going to college, a trade, or somewhere in between, and it's hard to switch from lower to higher tracks. College should not be a goal for 100% of the population like we have now, there should be a greater push for trades like chefs, electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers, woodworking, metal working, glass blowing. You're an apprentice, you get paid a livable wage, and you have 0 student loans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • henryfjordan 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You're describing a caste system, except instead of having your life determined by your lineage it's determined by some standardized tests given when you are 14 years old. It might work for some societies but that flies so directly against the "American Dream" that it will never work here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • t0mas88 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In reality it isn't as limiting as you think in the Netherlands. You get different levels of education based on previous school results, but after finishing "mid level" highschool you can continue and take the last two years of "upper level" highschool if it turns out you developed more and are now a better learner at 17 than you were at 14. In total that takes only 1 year extra, because "upper level" is a year longer by default.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Same in college vs university, you can continue from the lower level program into a masters degree as long as you pass the acceptance test or have the required grades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • SkyBelow 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              > Even countries like France, Netherlands, etc which have lower costs for college, place you in a track when you're in your freshman year of high school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Imagine trying to do this in the US. I wonder to what extent colleges are free in places where there is stricter criteria to get into college.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • blat001 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We also need to consider modernizing our "trade" skill list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Based on the success of bootcamps etc.... I do wonder if software engineering would be better as a trade skill rather than university

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • dsfyu404ed 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  >Based on the success of bootcamps etc.... I do wonder if software engineering would be better as a trade skill rather than university

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There's plenty of data plumbers (myself included) who are writing a check a month to pay for skills they don't use but a lot of them don't have degrees in the first place. That blurry line between corporate IT and software development is where people would probably benefit most from trade programs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Edit: Apparently a lot of people took offense at this comment and I'm not sure why. Please explain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • chrischattin 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                College was dirt cheap before student loans became non-dischargeable and the government started backing them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • tzs 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I looked for tuition costs over time, but didn't find much online. I did find Stanford tuition data going back about 100 years. Here's a graph of the log of Stanford tuition over time [1]. The log of tuition has grown pretty much linearly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There doesn't seem to be much difference between how it grew before government backed loans and after them. Somewhere I've got a spreadsheet where I compared the growth rate to the inflation rate. I can't find that right now, but if I remember correctly the tuition growth rate was about twice the inflation rate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It would be interesting to get this kind of data for a variety of schools, but I couldn't find it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  [1] https://imgur.com/fXnjDNn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • fzeroracer 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    College was also dirt cheap in an entirely different era where people could earn a living even with menial labour and where the average purchasing power was higher.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Trying to correlate the two and say it's because of government loans is just plain ignorant. Or are government loans also to explain why people can't save money, or afford rent, or survive off of a single 40h job etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • rayiner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The government is already heavily involved and we already have that system: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/in...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • chimi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Debt as an investment is fine. If you are investing in your future with your education, okay, but that requires the education be practical. It must have a value greater than its cost. That is not true for most education and thus we are not investing in our future as a society with this debt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'd rather the debt we incur as a society be spent on infrastructure and engineers than wicker baskets. Wicker baskets don't last very long. Roads and bridges do. Engineers do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • slg 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sure, but once you bring financial value into the equation it starts limiting access. Not everyone can be an engineering major. Not everyone even belongs at college in the first place. But we as a society want everyone who wants to go to college to be able to afford it (at least initially). That is not compatible with a profit minded view of that education being a sound financial investment for each individual student.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • chimi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This doesn't mesh with my perspective of education. Universities are non-profits for a reason. yes, there are profit minded University of Phoenix's but that is not the historical norm and they are the worst offenders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not everyone should go to college. We shouldn't enable everyone to go to college. If you shouldn't go to college, going to college won't change that. You'll struggle and fail out or get a worthless degree because it's the only one you can pass enough classes to get.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We have trade schools. We have apprenticeships and on the job training. Lots of folks for home those paths are better, are turned off to them by social pressure, not logic. I've taken welding classes and vehicle maintenance classes and they have shown themselves to be valuable assets to me. I can connect steel at the atomic level. I can keep my vehicles safe for me and my family and friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There's no one-size-fits all approach to human evolution and we need all of us. Maybe I'm idealistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We need to stop doing stuff that only makes sense to the banks. They are entirely self-interested and provide negative value back to society. We are squandering our futures to the fat cats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • hedvig 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Okay - can anyone actually cite me even a class, let alone a degree, that has the word wicker baskets in them? If not, stop using this straw-man term.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ummonk 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dude it is a satirical term to symbolize low value programs. It isn’t supposed to be taken literally.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • fzeroracer 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Teachers generate less value (see:income, GDP) than engineers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              We should abolish teaching degrees and just teach software engineering at college.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • aianus 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We probably should. I bet it's easier to teach a STEM grad how to teach (in a professional training program after college) than to teach a professional 'teacher' how to do math.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • jklein11 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What are you basing that on?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My sister is a 3rd-grade teacher and I'm not sure I would be equipped to handle 30 children without lots of training. Teaching someone how to teach 3rd-grade math is not that difficult. Teaching someone to start building positive learning habits with 8-9-year-olds sounds incredibly complicated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I might be reading into your post too much but it seems like you think STEM grads are superior to non-stem grads. I don't buy that. STEM grads have a specialty that is in demand in the labor market. It doesn't make STEM grads better then non-STEM grads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • aianus 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You may be right about elementary school teachers, I'm thinking more about high school STEM teachers specifically. Although the grade school teachers in my city seem to struggle even with fractions [0].

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Only one of my high school math teachers seemed to have any idea what math was about (not just regurgitating formulas, but deriving them and proving them from a set of axioms and only then using those formulas to solve free-form real-world problems).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My High School CS teacher was a geography teacher who just read one chapter ahead in the CS textbook and had no idea what he was talking about.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Being good at teaching seems kind of useless when you don't know anything to teach.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    [0] https://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2016/05/13/for...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • ummonk 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, the real question is marginal value - if we taught more software engineers, they might not bring in much income or create much GDP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  If you're asserting that teachers are as valuable as software engineers to society, then the question becomes: why doesn't society compensate them accordingly?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • virmundi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Given the hard core attempt to subvert eduction going on in the public schools, maybe. At least with software you’ll have logic, math, and history. https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/dqd6ca/activist...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You should take a moment and read that individuals post. It is well researched. Just because it’s from r/conspiracy doesn’t mean you should skip it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • virmundi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It’s a metaphor for a degree that does not generate an income. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underwater_basket_weaving

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • usefulcat 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Regarding income-based repayment, I think Purdue was experimenting with this, and may still be. I haven't heard of any significant government involvement in that program.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • slg 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I didn't know that, thanks for passing it along. The reason I think the government needs to be involved is because this isn't going to be financially viable for every student at every college and therefore private banks won't want to participate. Purdue seems to have found a way around that by funding the program themselves but I wonder if that self funding is scalable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • qaq 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                U of Chicago is ranked #6 in US 2.7 GPA morons are nor likely to be accepted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • crusty 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The ad hominem hyperbole turned me against your much simpler - add moral hazard - argument. Do tell, which universities provide this degree in basket weaving that you denigrate? Sure, you may have drawn on this often invoked mythical degree as a standin for courses of study that you see as useless and valueless but implicitly know would quickly and easily get called out for revealing your bias about obviously subjective determinations of worth. Maybe basket weaving is really art or history or the study of native cultures. And there are plenty of smart people who have been 2.6 GPA students at some point, as GPA is not a measure of intelligence but an abstraction that simply measures one's ability to adhere to and excel at a fairly arbitrary framework.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Moral hazard may or may not be a simple, good solution but your argument for it, as presented, disincentivizes me from even considering it, since so much seemed to be missed in the argument, the same was probably true for consideration of the solution.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • akhilcacharya 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Those colleges exist, but they exist in the form of for-profits like Strayer and University of Phoenix. They prey on veterans and marginalized folks, many of whom don’t get jobs that can a pay off the debt afterward. It’s not “basket weaving”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • pastor_elm 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    >So, it is zero risk for the lender to give loan to the 2.7 GPA moron getting a worthless basket weaving degree from the local private lib arts school for $100k.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't see how any degree LAC, Computer Science, Math etc is worth risking a dischargeable loan for from a bank's perspective. There's no reason to single out LAC degrees, which by the way can be pretty useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The smartest thing for any student to do is declare bankruptcy right away after college when they have nothing and risk losing nothing. That makes no loan worth giving, which is the problem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • dragonwriter 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > The .gov backs student loans. And, they are non-dischargeable. So, it is zero risk for the lender to give loan to the 2.7 GPA moron getting a worthless basket weaving degree from the local private lib arts school for $100k. So, they give as many loans as possible, since they can't lose (taxpayer on the hook).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The only lender who is allowed to issue government-backed student loans for many years is the federal government, and their policy on what loans they’ll issue and on what terms are set in law, not a response to market incentives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • mountainofdeath 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This. To the lender, it's a virtually risk-free loan and a very high yielding one at that (10%+ interest). I don't think there is even a way of discharging it, even death.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • ChrisLomont 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          >Make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And watch default rates rise, and interest rates on these unsecured loans skyrocket, so that very few can go to college, and even more people get screwed by them due to higher rates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Or people will simply not get loans, since they'd become too risky, and less people will get college skills, likely hurting the entire economy over time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Educating people is a good national goal. Balancing the various pieces is much harder than simplistic changes to the current system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • wolco 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Or keep them private but set a max cost per year. You can't give student loans and have no control over the price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • AcerbicZero 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I mean, you're not wrong. I'd say 9/10. Its pretty easy to see the parallels to gov involvement in many other areas, where they create a special type of problem, by only being partially involved. Then everyone can stake out their positions, and just work on fighting over the middle of the issue, never letting gov be involved enough to be effective, nor entirely removed enough to let the market fix it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Its the worst kind of half assed capitalism, that only benefits the political class. Kinda like our healthcare system, among others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The government isn't guaranteeing the loans, it's making the loans. It is the lender.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • tqi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Loans for education are different from loans for a house or car since your lender cant repossess your degree/the connections you made while in school, which is the original reason these loans were made to be non dischargeable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • fortran77 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Government should stop backing student loans. Tuitions will drop like a rock.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • snarf21 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The government giving anyone and everyone money and guaranteeing it is the problem. I don't think the bankruptcy plan works. A lot of people would just not pay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • chrischattin 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That's exactly the point. Lenders would stop lending to people who couldn't/wouldn't pay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • oneplane 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In all countries? Here, we don't have that, the cost is fixed and so are the loans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • bobloblaw45 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I totally agree but unfortunately a lot of people can take the same situation and twist it up to fit their own views.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Where I live we just passed a minimum wage increase. A fairly substantial one that keeps up with the rest of the country by increasing every year until we hit 15 an hour in a few years. It's been a couple of years into it and someone asked why local restaurants are ending services, closing some locations, increasing prices, shrinking their menus, and basically cutting costs. I saw a lot of answers that boiled down to "greed" and my favorite was "labor costs are increasing" because of "late stage capitalism".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of answers you see in the wild involves doing exactly what we've been doing but on a larger scale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • mortivore 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kind of off topic, but I'm very much a fan of the "shrinking their menus" effect. Restaurants have way too many things on their menus. This usually means that they aren't very good at those things leading to lower quality food. Smaller menus generally mean a restaurant is going to be more focused, and able to produce quality food. I'm all for quality food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • bobloblaw45 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah from what I understand it's actually a good thing. I also love the small menu restaurants, especially the smaller hole in the wall places since you know it's probably going to be great stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • kpU8efre7r 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Loans should not be guaranteed by the government. Banks should be able to tell shitheads no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • harwoodjp 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "2.7 GPA moron getting a worthless basket weaving degree"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You sound like a STEM-lord, anti-intellectual dork.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't like that line, either, but it's not an excuse to get personal and nasty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • maxerickson 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's a nasty line.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Really, I think this site underestimates the value of "Go fuck yourself" when someone says stuff like that. Being polite isn't going to help them pull their head out of their ass.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • AnimalMuppet 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That approach is against site guidelines, and for good reason. If one nasty comment is grounds to engage in a flamewar, this place is going to lose any ability to have a reasoned conversation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • maxerickson 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I mean, if you reply "Go fuck yourself" you are probably done with the thread, not planning engaging further with the asshole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Really, my point is that there is too much effort to engage assholerly as if it is actually reasoned conversation, when it is just assholery. Maybe we could go with the milder "This is ridiculous" as a reply or something.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • AnimalMuppet 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just downvote and flag. If it's genuinely negative behavior, the mods will usually deal with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you're going to reply, it's better to give the uninformed reader some idea why it's ridiculous, rather than just the bare claim that it is. But hey, I just told someone that their post was "paranoid drivel", so I'm maybe not the best one to talk...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • AlexTWithBeard 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, but blah-blah-blah poor people blah-blah-blah underprivileged minorities blah-blah-blah vicious cycle?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • whafro 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                One big problem here is that they'll be rewarded in the rankings. A bit part of the various rankings models (US News, etc) is how much money is spent on each student. So squandering $10k more on students next year is, in certain respects, a good investment for a university with decent cash flow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And the question of how much money is spent on a student can be disconnected from the question of tuition, at least at top-tier schools:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At my alma mater, Bowdoin, the college spends just shy of $100k per student each year. The comprehensive fee (incl. room & board) is around $72k per year, and for students qualifying for financial aid (abour half), the college provides grants that bring it down to about $24k per year, which almost resembles something sensible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But if you're a donor, and you give an unrestricted gift to a top-tier college or university, there should be absolutely no expectation that your donation will be spent frugally. In fact, for rankings purposes (which help all the cash flow stuff above), it just matters that it gets raised and spent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think this is one of the biggest problems in American higher ed, and I'm hoping there are a few institutions with the fortitude of character to stand against it and work toward, rather than against, a cost-effective education model in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • ttcbj 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For those interested in background on this, Paul Tough's 'The Years that Matter Most'[1] has a lot of really interesting, surprising facts about college admissions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Many of the ideas touched on in the comments here so far are covered in much more detail in that book. One interesting fact is that although there is a lot of publicity from colleges about reaching out to lower income students, there are massive incentives (often necessities) for admissions offices to take less qualified kids who can pay full price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Overall, I found the book a nuanced and surprising view of the realities of trying to manage college admissions, and of trying to deal with inequality in access to higher education.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  [1] https://www.amazon.com/Years-That-Matter-Most-College/dp/054...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • lonelappde 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    People who pay "full price" are paying extra for the poor students. Schools need both.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • nothrabannosir 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Honest question from an outsider: how realistic would it be for the government to stop guaranteeing student loans over a "public university" (community college?) level threshold? What are the unintended secondary effects? Would it help curb wild-growth of tuition fees?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • mumblemumble 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It probably depends, more than anything else, on how much lobbying money is available to help convince our friends at Capitol Hill to keep the gravy train rolling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • LanceH 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The very first step should be to make student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • bluedevil2k 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This would be a mistake I think. The nature of a loan is that the lender can reclaim the asset when a default occurs. This works well for assets like cars and houses but obviously fails for knowledge. Combine that with the age and overall assets of graduates (22 and near-zero) and a bankruptcy becomes a less risky proposition to the student. As more and more default on the loans, interest rates will start to skyrocket, to the point that no one will be able to afford one at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • garmaine 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And then universities will stop assuming their students will be able to get them to afford insane tuition prices. That’s the point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • sodafountan 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You can't do that because it would be far more beneficial at this point to just declare bankruptcy out of college and get the loans dismissed than it would be to pay them back. Also there's nothing of value to repossess if you were to declare bankruptcy, banks can't repossess and then re-sell a college degree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • LanceH 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why are these loans special? Other loans without collateral exist. Maybe private lenders shouldn't have the full force of the government behind them. Maybe they shouldn't be offering some of these loans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • sodafountan 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are loans you can get without collateral, they're typically pretty small loans with higher interest and are only issued to people with good credit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The problem with student loans is students typically don't have any credit, don't have any collateral and what they're seeking can't be repossessed if they default - banks know that issuing loans to these people without the backing of the government is financial suicide, in other words the free market says these loans shouldn't exist at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The student loan crisis was caused by government intervention, guaranteeing loans for people who otherwise wouldn't have even been eligible to receive that type of money allows institutions to jack the price of school up infinitely and banks to keep allowing it because neither can fail - in the long run it's only the student who has to bear the cost long term.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We need to allow institutions and banks to fail again, that's the only way you correct this problem. As soon as you stop guaranteeing loans banks stop issuing them and college's are forced to bring prices down. That would hurt some students in the short term who wouldn't be able to afford college but eventually the free market would do it's work and make college more reasonably priced again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They don't, and they aren't. The non-dischargeable loans are all issued directly by the US Government.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • nothrabannosir 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah, I always assumed that was the same thing. Thanks. What I mean is: treating student loans (at least above community college tuition levels) like any other loan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • wtvanhest 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the easy solution is to make loans over 20k dischargable. That would allow for some borrowing, but pretty soon that would be the max cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • oconnor663 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  One secondary effect might be to reduce the percentage of minority students at 4-year universities, if those students are more likely than average to rely on loans to attend. Opponents of the policy change would ask some very loaded questions about that in any public debate, and they wouldn't be wrong to ask.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • chimi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Throughout history, every time loans are invented to pay for something, the price skyrockets. House, Cars, Education... except credit cards. What credit cards did is flatten the salary curve, filling the gap between where salaries should be if they increased as much or more than inflation and the cost of living, with debt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Debt is a powerful tool when used correctly, but most people are unskilled in tool use, financial equations and themselves thus, debt is a Market for Lemons.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Consumers do not know what they are buying. They are buying cash and paying for it with future income.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  People are generally more optimistic about their futures and irrationally excited about what they consume.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The banks have been allowed to sell cash with impunity. We have to stop that. We're just cooking the books as an entire society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • jeffdavis 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "People are generally more optimistic about their futures and irrationally excited about what they consume."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't think that's quite it. People get comfort from following a plan. Go to college, take a bunch of loans, and it will all work out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They think if it doesn't, someone will bail them out because they followed the plan. Everyone else is in the same boat anyway, and maybe one of them will find a solution, or they can band together and demand something from someone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That doesn't line up with reality though. A lot of people do get left behind. The people with the "plan" are nowhere to be found, and were just repeating what worked for them without looking at the new numbers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • apta 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > Throughout history, every time loans are invented to pay for something, the price skyrockets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Which is why interest-bearing loans are prohibited in the three major religions. Puts things into perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • thundergolfer 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Having just read ‘Debt: The First 5000 years’ I don’t think the author contends that price skyrocketing was the reason interest-bearing debt was banned, but I could be wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Do you have a source?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • apta 204 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a natural consequence of such. The main reason is that it is a predatory practice that feeds off of other people in need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • thundergolfer 204 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            > It's a natural...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It is though? Again, do you have a source?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            > The main reason is that it is a predatory practice that feeds off of other people in need.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Before it was said that the reason was skyrocketing prices?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • apta 203 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              > Before it was said that the reason was skyrocketing prices?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There are several reasons, which may be tightly correlated. You can't deny that interest bearing loans are predatory due to the fact that they feed off the needs of others, some of which are beyond their control. Secondly, because now interest bearing loans are a means of making income (particularly for those with a lot of money), we end up with the cycle where loans are advertised to people, such that people who don't need them are heavily incentivized to get them (e.g. mortgages, credit cards, etc.). We end up in the cycle we see today.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • glerk 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which major religion other than Islam forbids it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • wholepointofcc 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        > Debt is a powerful tool when used correctly,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Could you expand on that? It's a very interesting perspective

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • FrozenTuna 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Companies (and people) take on debt to invest in themselves, knowing the growth can (hopefully) pay off the debt and generate more income in the long run. Here's a fun list of companies with debt: https://wolfstreet.com/2019/07/26/the-most-indebted-companie...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the case of students, the idea is to take some debt now and pay it off with increased earnings. The problem is, those increased earnings aren't guaranteed and students are way worse at determining the return on their debt than companies with dedicated teams.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • wholepointofcc 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you FrozenTuna for your input but I was specifically thinking of physical people, as opposed to companies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I also meant a more specific application rather than a general iteration on the (perfectly valid) idea that if one can make more money with a value now, rather than later, and this opportunity cost is larger than the interest rate minus inflation, then the deal is good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Student loans would be a good example of that in a well-functioning market. Are there many others?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • chimi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Companies are people, legally speaking, but I see your point. See ours: Imagine yourself as a company and the same debt equation applies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Companies, like you, need tools to produce goods and maintain their operations. You, if you're a programmer, need a computer. You don't have $1000 to buy one, but you have a credit card. You know, you can bill your hours out at say, $100/hr writing code. You need to write code for 10 hours to pay for the machine, but you don't have $1000 to buy the machine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              So you put $1000 on a credit card at 20% interest, buy the computer and then bill 100 hours on it @ $100 / hr = $10,000 in just one month.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You incurred a little bit of debt, bought something worth a lot, but worth a lot more to you because you can leverage that tool to make more money than it cost to buy the tool.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Think of debt as leverage. It's a little bit of money pressing down on a lever to lift more money into your pocket.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If you only use that leverage to buy assets that help you make money (fairly easy) or increase in value at a rate greater than the interest rate (difficult, risky, speculative), then your net worth will continue to grow.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That college degree in a practical field like engineering is an asset because you will leverage it to earn more money over your lifetime than you would without that degree. Compare this to a degree in the proverbial "basket weaving." You, in your lifetime, will never weave $400,000 worth of baskets you'd need to pay for that University of Chicago degree. That degree is a liability that will follow you, perhaps your entire life and might make your life worse than it would be had you never gotten it at all. You'll resent that degree so much you refuse to work because every penny goes to some bank that sold you a worthless piece of paper for $400,000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • jlawson 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies aren't people, legally speaking. This is a bizarre myth that just gets repeated as a sort of mindless anti-corporate shibboleth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies are legal entities which can sign contracts, hold debt, open bank accounts, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So are government agencies, unions, churches, mosques, guilds, charities. Does that means these are all people, legally speaking? For some reason nobody says 'the IRS is a person, legally speaking'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Companies cannot marry, vote, file taxes as a human, get a passport or driver's license etc, because they are not human, legally speaking. They're just legal entities, as people also are, but of different types.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Don't get confused about the words used in the legal world around 'natural persons' etc; legal usages of words don't carry their common meaning and there are lots of examples of this you know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • dragonwriter 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > Companies aren't people, legally speaking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, they are.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > So are government agencies, unions, churches, mosques, guilds, charities. Does that means these are all people, legally speaking?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, all those things have legal personhood.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > Companies cannot marry, vote, file taxes as a human, get a passport or driver's license etc, because they are not human, legally speaking

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Being human, legally speaking, is different than being a person, legally speaking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > Don't get confused about the words used in the legal world around 'natural persons' etc; legal usages of words don't carry their common meaning and there are lots of examples of this you know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But since you are literally discussing what things are legally, your plea to ignore legal usages is...bizarre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • jlawson 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, sometimes companies are 'legal persons' when discussed in a legal context as I mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    We are not in a legal context, so to use such language in a normal context without elaboration will obviously mislead most listeners. It is a false statement since it leads the listener to false conclusions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    >Being human, legally speaking, is different than being a person, legally speaking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is incumbent to explain this to normal listeners, otherwise you're misleading them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • julienb_sea 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mortgages are, typically, a functional debt market which is good for all parties involved. Well qualified buyers generally lack the capital needed to purchase a home outright. However, a bank can come in and provide long term financing at reasonable rates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The buyer is pleased, because despite the interest payments, over time the buyer is building equity in a fairly stable or appreciating asset. This is a great example of "worthwhile" debt, and the private market for mortgages is thriving.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, when guardrails are thrown out and mortgages are handed out haphazardly, things can get a bit messy, as we know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • chimi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've been doubting a mortgage is worthwhile debt for society for a while now. For the individual, it's not worthwhile, it's just pretty much the only way you can get a house anymore -- unless you are very adventurous. Even the amortization schedule is weighted to benefit the banks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The reality is if you get a typical 30-year mortgage, your house costs you 3x the list price you thought you were buying it for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  >In 1940, the median home value in the U.S. was just $2,938. In 1980, it was $47,200, and by 2000, it had risen to $119,600. Even adjusted for inflation, the median home price in 1940 would only have been $30,600 in 2000 dollars, according to data from the U.S. Census.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why 1940? Because Fannie Mae was created in 1938 after a housing crisis in the 1930's. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fannie_Mae

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The majority of a person's labor throughout their life is now given to banks. It doesn't take 30% of your productivity for 30 years to build a house. It doesn't take 10 years for a person to build a house. You can build a 1,000 sqft house in a year with $50,000 worth of materials (even less) and a piece of land.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where has the rest of the typical $200/sqft home cost gone? To the banks! That's $150,000 cash, and $450,000 total outlay of capital, if you buy that cash with a mortgage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I propose, the loans themselves are the reason we now dedicate a decade of our life to our shelter. I do not believe this is a good thing. I do not believe this is worthwhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You will save money and have a better, more free life -- debt free life, if you save up enough money to buy land, plus $50,000 of materials and build your house yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Loans enable every single level of the housing industry vertical to extract more money from you. Architects costs more. Utility services cost more. Building codes get more onerous. Builders charge more. Insurance companies charge more (since the houses cost more). Taxable values go up, costing you more. All of these increased costs are enabled and exacerbated by mortgage "innovation."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Everyone wants this except the first time buyer, but the first time buyer takes all the risk with a new purchase.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It is completely unbalanced. The younger generation is suffering the most and I think it's unfair and detrimental to the future of society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • mhb 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    > Even the amortization schedule is weighted to benefit the banks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Can you explain this or say what the alternative amortization schedule might be? In a normal mortgage, the initial payments are more interest because you're paying interest on more principal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • chimi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You got it already! Imagine if most of that first payment went to the buyer's equity instead of interest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • DuskStar 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Then the first payment would have to be much larger, because the amount going to interest is determined solely by the interest rate and principal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • nradov 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          You're always free to make additional equity payments. Modern mortgages don't have prepayment penalties.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • dredmorbius 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    What debt does is allow money that won't be available until some time in the future to be used for present purchases. It's a bit like the idea of a chemical catalyst, in that the effort required to trigger a transaction is lowered, though this is a catalyst that requires being paid back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For the general public, instances of use include:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Small but seasonal businesses. Farming is the classic case, but any sector in which receipts are seasonal (though relatively predictable) apply: hostelry, tourism, landscaping businesses, construction, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Small nonseasonal business. Writing or other contract work in which production and income can be disconnected by months, sometimes years. The risk is higher here, but can still be bridged.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Large-ticket purchases. Automobiles, appliances, and electronics are typical. Numerous present credit banks got their start as the lending arms of large manufacturers, who could rely on a constant stream of incoming payments to advance loans to new customers, increasing net sales. GMAC (General Motors Acceptance Corporation, now Ally Financial, is the classic case).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Revolving credit lines. These generally started as credit accounts specific to a given store, often a department store. They eventually became much of the current credit card industry, by way of Bank of America. Here again, the general principle is to advance credit, easing purchases.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Credit can be (and very often is) misused. But having a flexible payment mechanism on demand without requiring layaway or specific authorisation, and serving as a general check on other factors (credit cards have effectively been a social credit scoring system for decades) benefits ... at least some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Interestingly, much of the actual financial risk gets pushed off onto merchants. Though costs of managing credit do land on the individual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And no, I'm not much of a fan of the system. It exists, and has its uses, however.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • narrator 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The boom and bust cycle is a feature not a bug. Here's money, go make stuff. You think it's yours, but we'll eventually take it all back in the bust. The money we lost we created out of thin air.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • romwell 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    >They are buying cash and paying for it with future income.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, that's what interest is, and it often makes sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's a lot of value of having something (that you buy with money) available to you now rather than in a couple of years - especially if the means to make money depends that item (be it a car, education, a tractor, a musical instrument, set of tools, or what not).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, there was a lot of value for me to travel when I was a grad student and had a much more flexible schedule - and, frankly, was younger. I wish I took out loans for that, paying them off now that I'm working full time would not be a burden.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But while you rob your future self by taking a loan, you can't donate anything to your former self no matter how much you have.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    TL;DR: there's value for people in having the right things at the right time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • codedokode 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The prices in USA look exorbitant. If a worker works full year for minimum wage, they earn $7.25 * 8 * 253 = $14674. Such worker will have to work for 6 years and 9 months to pay tuition costs for 1 year, if we assume that they don't have to pay taxes, buy food, visit a doctor and pay the rent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A house may cost several hundred thousands dollars or higher. If that worker has paid for a university, no way they will be able to buy a house in their remaining lifespan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who is going to study in this university? Billionaires' kids?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • war1025 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Private school tuition is the same as healthcare in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Everything has an enormous sticker price for anyone who asks, but no one is expected to actually pay that amount. And if you do pay that amount, it's just because you're a sucker who didn't get in on the fact that it's just a made up number.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Rich kids may pay that amount, but it probably gets flipped around into some tax-advantaged "donation" that also helps people feel good about themselves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Poor people get "scholarships", which are really just the university cutting the sticker price down to what they actually need from the person, with some creative shuffling of funds to make it look like they are paying "sticker price".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Healthcare works exactly the same. The key is to have enough layers of bureaucracy that no one can quite figure it all out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • trophycase 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Case in point, my original tuition value of ~16k/year was reduced so much by scholarships that I was actually making money going to school. This is an unusual case, but it wasn't unusual for other people at this school to be getting thousands in scholarships per year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • lonelappde 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's not exactly the same. Tuition had a standard process for showing the school your financials so they can set a price. It sounds like open-ended pickpocketing but it's a competitive market with a clear coordinated timeline for the offer process, so you can choose the school with the best price for offering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • shsjxjbsbs 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don’t believe it’s true that rich people are getting to write off college costs as a donation. They might be paying them out of a tax advantaged 529 account. The magnitude of this advantage is such that middle-class people probably care the most about it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • war1025 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              there are very few people who don't consider themselves middle-class, so that's not really a useful category I'd think.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • PragmaticPulp 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            > The prices in USA look exorbitant. If a worker works full year for minimum wage, they earn $7.25 * 8 * 253 = $14674. Such worker will have to work for 6 years and 9 months to pay tuition costs for 1 year,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Someone earning minimum wage does not pay the full cost of tuition. In fact, few people ever pay full tuition due to scholarships, grants, aid, and various discounts. Only very affluent families pay the full tuition costs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Families with low incomes pay well under $10K per year, all included, for even the top colleges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Reference: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/05/opinion/colum...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Of course, it's all still more expensive than it should be. I don't pretend this system is good, but it's absolutely not true that minimum wage earners are paying $60K+ per year to get college degrees in the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rebelgecko 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Minimum wage in Chicago is $12, not that it makes a huge difference in the math.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think you can make the argument that if someone is going to be making minimum wage after getting their degree, they should go to a cheaper school like a community college or a trade school. Or just start working right out of high school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • saagarjha 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Or those with scholarships.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • ilamont 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's not stated, so I assume that the current "all in" cost is about $75-80k. Some private universities in the Boston area are not far behind, including Brandeis, BU, BC, Tufts, and I believe MIT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a high school senior and have been visiting many schools across the U.S. and Canada since last summer. The schools with sky-high all-in costs are not even consideration. If they lop off $10k-$15k per year, we will still be paying a quarter of a million dollars for a four-year education. There are no guarantees of this, either, considering grades and our middle class AGI.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The schools we have looked at are mostly public. Our in-state dream option, UMass Amherst, is "only" ~$30k/year all in, but is now super-competitive, likely because of outrageous private college costs driving families to the affordable options. The only comparable values are the schools we have seen in Canada - University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Concordia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Out-of-state public universities for out of state students in New England (URI, UConn, UVM) plus Pitt and Temple are generally high 40s/low 50s. CU Boulder was mid-upper 50s. I can't remember UCSD but it in that range, plus travel considerations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • tzs 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                > I have a high school senior and have been visiting many schools across the U.S. and Canada since last summer. The schools with sky-high all-in costs are not even consideration. If they lop off $10k-$15k per year, we will still be paying a quarter of a million dollars for a four-year education. There are no guarantees of this, either, considering grades and our middle class AGI.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You might want to reconsider those "schools with sky-high all-in costs". Many of them have very generous non-loan aid packages, which for many people can actually bring the effective cost below those of state schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For example, take Harvard, which totals about $74k/year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A family of 3 (2 parents, 1 child) with $160k/year gross income only ends up having to cover $25k/year. A similar family with $120k/year pays $13k/year. They have a net price calculator here [1] if you want to see what it would cost you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                [1] https://college.harvard.edu/financial-aid/net-price-calculat...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • ilamont 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've seen private schools promoting such aid, but for most there is no clarity on A) whether your student will qualify and B) what the amount will be over the 4-year period.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've heard from friends with students already in college that there are often ad hoc negotiations between parents and financial aid offices about the size of the discount, which is frustrating, unfair, and open to abuse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • closeparen 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Financial aid offices typically offer a lightweight calculator you can run when shopping, and a more intense application you can run in parallel with your application for admission. You get a formal aid offer with your acceptance before you have to commit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • lonelappde 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Formal 1 yr offer, not 4 yr offer, so be careful. It's a bit of a trick, that part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • stefano 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What I find funny in these discussions on HN is how most people seem to be completely oblivious to the obvious solution, proven to work in many developed countries around the world: have the state directly fund universities and don't charge tuition to students (or charge them a small amount). Why is the assumption "universities are private endeavours that should make a profit" something that goes unchallenged on HN?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • kansface 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Most colleges/universities are nonprofits and they still charge tens of thousands per semester. I will also point out that the European model is not free, universal college degrees for all - access is restricted behind rigorous entrance exams. Such a system would be politically untenable in the US wherein a growing movement wants to do away with all entry tests. What would actually happen in practice is that we would get a different flavor of the worst of both worlds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • mam2 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    > I will also point out that the European model is not free, universal college degrees for all - access is restricted behind rigorous entrance exams

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    WHAT ?? Not. at. all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm french and university is almost FREE (never more than 1000 euros a year and mostly around 300) for anyone with the A-level, at any age. Yeah of course there are exams like for any diploma in the entire world but there are not "super rigorous" especially at uni. There's only a "hard" exam in medecine, and normal "exams" every year (like in every program in the world) that are basically a joke for anyone qualified in these disciplines. If you want you can enroll in elite tracks, which are very hard, but they are almost free too (i paid 0 for the education, 200 a year for housing + around 60 euro per month of food).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Granted you have amphitheater with hundreds of people, but if you are motivated you'll get the education.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The most expensive school in frances are the high end economic school and some engineering school (not the best ones actually) and it's under 10k a year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You have no idea of how much you get screwed in the US

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • fifityyp 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Standard Univ courses (at least in science and economics) are way subpar compared the same degree pursued in schools or high-end universities with a competitive exam in France. Source: I did an engineering school and did one master in university.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, I liked more the atmosphere in University.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Also, most private eng schools are crap though they're quite expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So it doesn't seem that tuition have an incidence on quality, at least in France.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • privateSFacct 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        French universities are MUCH more competitive then programs in the US to get into (you can get into bachelors programs in the US at community college level / for-profit schools etc with almost no reading / writing or math skills or even English language skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Seriously - if you want to be a vet in the EU it is CRAZY competitive. You simply have no chance to get in unless you have top Abitur scores.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Everyone saying you just need a high school degree to get into a vet school or anything else is dreaming. Many of the high schools themselves are tiered schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Aeolun 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          > Many of the high schools are tiered

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Indeed, so people don’t spend a ton of time teaching that which won’t stick no matter what.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It’s absolutely possible to tier-up if you are so inclined, but generally that involves a lot of work on your part.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • hansthehorse 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My wife grew up in Montreal and paid a laughably small amount at McGill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • arcticbull 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes I paid $2500/semester (CAD) for my engineering degree in Canada. Living in the Bay Area has made me appreciate my people all the more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • xienze 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              > Living in the Bay Area has made me appreciate my people all the more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not enough to still live there, apparently. Sounds like Canada is good in some respects but worse in others, like making good money in your chosen career. Every country has trade-offs, and the US’s is that a lot of safety nets aren’t there but the sky’s the limit for high achievers. Some people like it that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • cambalache 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, the high achievers and connected. Fuck the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • fouc 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                20 years ago right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • arcticbull 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nah, graduated in 2010. My brother paid the same amount, graduated last year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Current-year tuition fees at Carleton range from $3500CAD/semester to $5800CAD/semester [1] for domestic students. The province foots the bill for over half, probably closer to three quarters based on the international student fees. It's gone up a little but it's hardly un-manageable. Both my brother and I graduated without debt by working during the summers, and both scholarships and bursaries are available to help cover the costs -- and loans via OSAP [2].

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  FWIW I did mean to type $3500 in my original post, which is probably now closer to $5000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  [1] https://admissions.carleton.ca/scholarships/domestic-costs/

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  [2] https://www.ontario.ca/page/osap-ontario-student-assistance-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • wolco 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The cost he mentions is the A average you have. If you had a C or D average you would not have made it in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • stan_rogers 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Language problem: A-level isn't an A average. The post you are replying to was written in British-compatible English and you read it in an American-compatible dialect. Think of it as a "full high school" education, as opposed to the early-leaving program for immediate employment or trade school (which in England would be a GCSE, or O-level in former times). Here in Ontario, Canada, we used to have a Grade 13 for university educattion qualification; in Quebec, one attends CEGEP between an abbreviated high school and university.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • jorblumesea 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                > You have no idea of how much you get screwed in the US

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is true of many issues the US faces that Europe has solved. Healthcare, education, income inequality, housing, transportation, gun violence...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Just go down down the list and it's easy to find "unsolvable American problems" that have solutions, and that we Americans are totally ignorant about or refuse to acknowledge, saying it "won't work for us".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • briandear 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Has Europe solved these things? I lived in France for a number of years and unemployment, especially outside of Paris is very high, the economy is in the doldrums (especially in smaller cities like Avignon,) the Maghreb continue to be treated like second class citizens, and terrorism is a very real and continual threat. Health insurance is good, but the system is running huge deficits. And gun violence? Spend a few minutes with the Marseille police and you’ll see the gangland violence is dramatic. As far as income inequality— that’s debatable. The upper classes are kept from getting too “upper,” but the lower classes still live in decaying concrete block housing. Americans also have about $14,000 more per year in disposable income compared to the French — that’s after accounting for insurance, education, etc. The very poor do better in France, but should we be optimizing society around the ultra-poor? Doing that means that everyone else is worse off and the ultra poor are still pretty poor. As far as transportation, spend some time in smaller French towns. You better hope you have a car or you aren’t going anywhere. There is also the high cost and oppressive regulation around starting a business. Entrepreneurship in France is very difficult despite the word itself being invented there. France rewards mediocrity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Aeolun 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The US might well be better than the EU for the top 20% of people or so, which often happen to be the ones making laws, so I can see how that would happen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • LMYahooTFY 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  >not free, universal college degrees for all - access is restricted behind rigorous entrance exams.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As another user pointed out, US universities are also restricted in the same manner. Perhaps you're attempting to describe a difference in how they would be perceived and thus perhaps politically digestable, but college admissions is extremely competitive in the United States as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The bar for entry has certainly lowered/widened, likely related to financial incentives being discussed in this post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • xeromal 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not for community colleges and regular universities. If you want to go to a top-tier university, sure, but there is tons of room for everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • JBorrow 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Your point about entrance exams is, in general, not true. University applications in Europe are very similar to those in the USA.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • afarrell 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What is the European version of SAT/ACT scores and AP tests?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • kaffeemitsahne 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can only speak for the Netherlands, we have a tiered high school system, and you can enter most university programs with just a high school diploma of the highest tier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • treis 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That's known as "tracking" in the States and has a history of racial discrimination. There's little chance it will be implemented in the states.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • joe5150 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            are you talking about diploma pathways: "advanced"/"standard" diplomas and things of that nature? because that's the norm in several states.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • treis 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              More along the lines of everyone takes a test and the top X% are in the college prep track, the next Y% are in the 2 year community college track, and the rest are on the industrial/shop class track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • joe5150 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                oh, interesting. I hadn't heard of that. racial disparities appear in the distribution of different degree "tiers" in states that use those systems, too, and in some the degree you get in high school determines your eligibility for some types of college funding, so it sounds like it's a similar problem potentially.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Aaronstotle 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's interesting, it seems that this shifts the entrance exam of college to earlier in a student's life (making high school entrance exams much more valuable compared to the United States.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • kaffeemitsahne 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, fwiw your high school level is determined at the end of primary school based on your teachers' recommendations and a standardized test. But there is quite some mobility possible between high school levels.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • mlthoughts2018 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Then the high school exams just become the de facto college entry exams. It still adds all kind of wealth privilege gates to who gets free tuition at the best schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • morsch 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If that's the case, it's a privilege afforded to about 50% of each year's students (Germany, presumably it's not much different for our neighbours). For people who don't qualify due to their high school education, there are opportunities to gain access later in life, and people who did that make up about 30% of each year's university students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Obviously, nothing is perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Source: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiturientenquote_und_Studiena...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Gwypaas 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sweden here, we have different quotas. They need to be balanced but for specialty more art based programs like architecture they might involve auditions or similar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              All programs have requirements, to take a STEM program you need to have calculus, physics and similar from high school. If you don't have it there's generally a system to study for a year to pass those courses, allowing you to change track.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The entrance is then essentially. (Checked my program)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. 66% based on high school grades

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. 34% on a SAT/ACT like test.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The test is different though, no essays or other subjective stuff. It essentially has two parts both multiple choice, one testing language and one testing logic. Score is assigned by bell curve of all takers. Generally not as good predictor of student suitability as grades but allows people who just barely passed high school due to lack of motivation, issues at home and similar to still have a chance getting into their dream career if they are smart enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              You can generally with really high motivation study for the test and raise your score a bit, not hugely though, and having that motivation is another predictor for success studying so works itself out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • privateSFacct 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                People saying you just need a high school diploma and their are no standardized tests are misleading the issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are STRICT entrance requirement - basically tied to your Abitur or similar. This means big waitlists if you are not a top scoring (on Abitur). European systems DO have exams and they can be pretty high stakes for classes. There are lots of quotas - as should be obvious given the education is free.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "The remaining places not reserved for the aforementioned advanced quota groups are filled following the Abiturbestenquote, i.e. applicants with the best higher education entrance qualification grades, and Wartezeitquote, applicants with the highest amount of accumulated wait semesters. The admission criteria within the selection process of institutions of higher education (Auswahlverfahren der Hochschulen, AdH) are set by the universities and institutions themselves according to the respective state law and their own requirements. Therefore, the AdH is not an additional application and admission procedure, but only one of several quotas."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • fifityyp 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In France there are two systems. Competitive and non competitive. Competitive is for med school and high end schools of engineering or economics / management. The entry tests are nation-wide and standardized. The non-competitive may have an entry test but non standardized. Both further tests are up to the discretion of the teachers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There used to be public graduation rankings, but they are no more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • maccard 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ireland has a leaving certificate - 6 subjects graded and points awarded, those points are used as a gatekeeper for universities. UK has A-levels, 3 AP level subjects which gate University access.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • kome 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i speak for italy, germany and france: there is no standardized testing. and thank god for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      standardized testing is mostly a scam.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • claudeganon 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think Americans need to be a little more discriminating about tossing around “non-profit” without qualification. Many public and private universities are essentially hedge funds with schools attached to them. This money is used to do everything from real estate speculation to handing out patronage jobs to well-connected elites (and often not to running the schools well or humanely, e.g. all the labor issues around perpetual adjuncting).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That a given university is a non-profit tells you almost nothing about whether it functions like a state-funded school in a social democracy. Many are actually quite predatory in terms of saddling students with tuition, fees, unnecessary courses, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • closeparen 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It’s a non-profit because the investments, the real estate, the patronage jobs, and the shortchanging of staff all serve the institution itself. Surplus enables it to expand or execute better on its mission. A rich dude can’t invest in the university hedge fund and then redeem for a suitcase full of cash. Only the university itself can do that, and instead of a yacht it’s going to buy a research vessel, and instead of hosting kickass parties it’s going to study fish. And if hiring the customs inspector’s son gets it out of port faster, then so be it. But overpaying for custodial services isn’t going to get the fish studied any better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Economic inequality is an important problem but it’s not the only problem. It’s okay to sometimes accumulate and deploy funds to other ends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Universities don’t act like specific cost centers of governments, they act like governments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • riffraff 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It depends, most university courses in Italy don't have a strict access exam for example, or they only do in some some universities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think there is a European standardisation on hard entrance exams and limited numbers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • bilbo0s 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        >restricted behind rigorous entrance exams

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't know which nations you're talking about, but I'm not certain that I'd call entrance exams in France "rigorous". But the entire system is different than in the US, so I guess maybe it's not comparable?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In any case, trying to get a perfect score on an SAT is way harder. Probably the whole reason an industry has popped up around increasing your score on the SAT/ACT/GRE/GMAT/MCAT etc etc etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • user5994461 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's similar. Pupils are evaluated on their last 2 years of high school. The bacalaureat (equivalent of the A level) doesn't factor in because it comes too late (July-August, after it's already decided where you will be going).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This can be very selective or not at all depending on where you're going, there are totally different tracks so it really can't be discussed in general (Law, Medicine, Engineering, Business, Art, trades, etc...). All are basically free, except business schools that are always private and super expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think that's the main difference between the US, US always have gigantic college of 30000 students that cover everything, whereas France is rather fragmented.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • tverbeure 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In Belgium, there are only entrance exams for the highest level engineering program, and some medical degrees. No entrance exams at all for anything else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Ididntdothis 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Don’t confuse “nonprofit” with “no profits”. There are plenty of people making a lot of money in nonprofits.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • kome 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              > universal college degrees for all - access is restricted behind rigorous entrance exams.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that's just not quite true in all major European countries I have a direct experience with.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • privateSFacct 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It is true, you cannot get in without your Hochschulzugangsberechtigung (University Entrance Qualification).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Can you name a SINGLE well known major university that does not have this and allows anyone a free education? I will post the requirements here. It is not open to all by any means - their are STRICT quotas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Aeolun 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You are saying you cannot get into university without a high school diploma?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That seems fairly common everywhere. It seems pointless to me to give a university education to someone that’s illiterate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • privateSFacct 204 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You are not understanding the way free university works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Your acceptance depends very very significantly on your performance in high school - there are strict cutoffs based on how you did on your abitur, which in turn relates to a series of high stakes exams and earlier tracking in high school (europe has tracking already in high school where entire high schools are different track).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's not get a high school diploma and go to university for free. To be a vet, a doctor, a lawyer etc - you basically need to track into these positions VERY early. The good news, they limit the number of graduates through these screenings so the jobs on the other end tend to pay pretty well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A lot of the posters are claiming you get to go to top universities for free to study subjects that lead to good paying jobs without even taking standardized exams etc. This is totally false.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's actually much easier for joe blow to become a lawyer in the US then in Europe - including going to law school - including the non ABA schools EVEN if they didn't do well in high school. It does cost money though and for many the jobs don't pay what they would expect or hope for.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Seriously, I wish people would name the top universities without cutoffs - they don't exist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • elverado 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In the US simply pronouncing that word would get you into some schools.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • kitten_mittens_ 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      English word clusters like “Weapons of Mass Destruction” are similar to German. The way they’re written is different though. It is ‘mashed together.’

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Once you get used to picking out German morphemes, it’s not hard to make things out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • eeZah7Ux 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > access is restricted behind rigorous entrance exams

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  In some countries there is no exam at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • kome 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    in most of the countries, i would say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • hintymad 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Very true. And what works in Europe will not work for the US because 1. No kids should be left behind, so let's dumb down the test. 2. Kids should have stress-free life and academia is for boring people, so let's dumb dow the curriculum. 3. Math is racism. STEM for sure is racism. As Seattle educator put it, why don't we teach kids aboriginal math, and tests are surely racism. So, let's get rid of entrance exam and possibly reduce course work on model civilization.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    With all the progress in civil rights, charging hefty intuition is the only way to go

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Kalium 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's worth remembering that the US does not lack for excellent, public, shockingly expensive universities - California, Illinois, Michigan, Virginia, Minnesota, and North Carolina all readily spring to mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We're not accepting uncritically that universities are private endeavors. We're accepting that some are and they should be allowed to continue to exist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • kissickas 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Did you mean shockingly inexpensive?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    UNC Chapel Hill (what I assume you mean by North Carolina) costs students from the state $8,834 USD. Out-of-state tuition is $33,916. I would not call either number "shockingly expensive."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Michigan is $14,402 and $45,410. UVA is similar. Quite a bit more but still not anything shocking. Minnesota is similar but out-of-state tuition is just $23k.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • ilikehurdles 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's only not shocking because we've normalized the absurd in this country. In what world can someone earning around median US yearly income (about $32k) pay $8,834 a year in tuition + housing costs + normal costs of daily life? Now account for the reality where being successful at both a full-time job and in a full-time student role is effectively impossible, where that $32k/year disappears.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Let's assume that the average high school graduate is an outlier, some financial wizard or an uneducated but driven high-earner with the wisdom and ability to save an entire years' base income for a college fund before they're out the high school's door, giving them just around enough to pay for four years of tuition at a cheaper public university.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So let's assume they have some kind of neat free housing deal where they work the dorm cafeteria and get their meals free as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They would then also have to be one of the 33% of undergrads who actually complete a degree in 4 years in public universities to wrap this miracle up without debt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This person doesn't exist. And yet, achieving a debt-free college education at a reasonable age has been possible in previous decades and continues to be possible in other nations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Aeolun 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just $23k/year. Thank god I’m not living there. It’s actually been normalized...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No wonder university is a privilege of the wealthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • trophycase 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          70% of high school graduates enroll in some college. It's not exactly a privilege of the wealthy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • AnimalMuppet 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In what world is $34K/year not "shockingly expensive"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          [Edited to add: Some people have more than one child. Some of them have more than one child in college at the same time.]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • kissickas 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree it's high, but these are all state schools. You're picking the out-of-state tuition number that's not supposed to be subsidized by local taxes. It's far easier to raise tuition on out-of-state kids so that has happened in recent years as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I still don't consider it shockingly expensive - it's been the top value public university in the country for 18 years in a row.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • jazzyk 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Add ~$15K for room and board, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • vonmoltke 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          > Why is the assumption "universities are private endeavours that should make a profit" something that goes unchallenged on HN?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Because that assumption doesn't exist, nor does this describe how universities work in the US.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • ekianjo 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            > have the state directly fund universities and don't charge tuition to students

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That's how you end up with "Education" being the first cost element of the French budget (about 72 billions EUR per year) despite pretty poor academic results (that can be easily observed in the ever-decreasing level of the national exams). When government manages everything in one field, that field becomes mismanaged (trains: SNCF always in the red, the post office: ever increasing costs for users year after year, etc...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • thundergolfer 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Education has been a big public endeavour in France for over a century and until 1980ish they had excellent results.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              According to E. D Hirsch in Why Knowledge Matters, the decline in French academic results is attributable to them adopting the individualistic USA model.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Where are you getting the information that the supposedly poor results are because schooling is publicly funded?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • nickserv 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see your point and it can be true, in particular when the state is officially controlled by a single party, and/or in societies with systematic corruption.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And while your examples are also true, I would argue that it's actually normal for rail and post to be in the red. This is because their primary purpose is not to generate revenue for the state, but to provide a service to taxpayers. For example, unprofitable train routes have to be kept because they link remote areas to cities.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In fact, when private industry handles these type of public services, users tend to have poorer service and higher costs, because there is a natural monopoly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                For train service, take a look at the UK, where different companies "compete": service is worse than France at a higher cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                La Poste has been a publicly traded company for about 10 years if memory serves. Service has been getting worse ever since.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • ekianjo 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  For train service the counter example is easy to find. Japan where all trains and metros are private and service is infinitely better than in France. The shinkansen makes the TGV look absolutely ridiculous.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • rayiner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Americans aren't "completely oblivious to the obvious solution." 80% of first-year college students are enrolled in an in-state, public college.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • AnimalMuppet 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good point, although stefano also said "don't charge tuition to students (or charge them a small amount)". In-state tuition is probably still considerably higher than what stefano had in mind (see comments in this thread about costs of attending McGill University in Canada).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • SpicyLemonZest 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The US has state funded universities that charge an order of magnitude less than 100k. In fact there are 3 of them in Chicago. Generally, anyone with acceptable high school grades can find a spot in a state university if they want. Students attending U of Chicago would have specifically decided not to attend a state university, typically because their local state university is less prestigious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • wolco 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    U of Chicago doesn't have the prestigious rep that other schools who are charging less do. Is this a way of increasing their prestige?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • selimthegrim 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I’m not sure Chicago State is going to be around much longer...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • SpicyLemonZest 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I buy it. I'm just going off the Wikipedia list, I don't actually know anything about Chicago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • mc3 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They used to do this in the UK probably until the 90s but then they'd start charging "tuition fees" although to be fair I think they were standardised, so the same fees for any university, and fairly small, with support for poorer families. I think having so many people go to university is a big burden to pay for. Part of the solution is not so many people going to university.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • t0mas88 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But that's a very short term solution. Because with low cost labor globalizing and moving out of the EU and US, you will either need more highly educated knowledge workers to be competitive or accept a bigger group in society get very low wages or unemployment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • merpnderp 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If the workers were getting educations that were worthwhile, they wouldn't need the state to pay for them. No one cries for a doctor leaving school with $150k in loans, since their starting salary will likely be $150k.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          But yeah, the grandparent is right - the US's problem is non-dischargable loans which removed back pressure on schools to control cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • icebraining 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            > worthwhile

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, worthwhile for whom? Just because the student won't capture an extra $150k from his university education, doesn't mean he won't produce that or more to the rest of society.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • rayiner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The U.S. has competitive rates of college attainment compared to European countries, especially among older workers: https://www.oecd.org/education/France-EAG2014-Country-Note.p... (see page 2).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • wolco 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He did say UK so those low cost labour issues will not be a concern post them leaving the EU.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • inferiorhuman 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              California did this as part of their master plan back in the 60s. Tuition has been around for decades but up until recently tuition was not legally allowed to be named as such. Instead there were "fees".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • applecrazy 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We’ve strayed far from that, unfortunately. UC schools have some pretty high cost of attendance for in-state students (whose parents have been paying years worth of taxes to support that school system).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • joefife 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Must point out that we have no tuition fees in Scotland, which is unfortunately part of the UK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • nothal 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think the entire solution is increasing the tax burden on the upper class in the US but that's just me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • samstave 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  >Why is the assumption "universities are private endeavours that should make a profit" something that goes unchallenged...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  >Robert J. ZimmerUniversity of Chicago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  >Total Compensation: $1,625,136Base Pay: $1,090,844Bonus Pay: $100,000Other Pay: $286,484





                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • xienze 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    > proven to work in many developed countries around the world: have the state directly fund universities and don't charge tuition to students (or charge them a small amount).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That would probably work if the system was designed that way decades ago. But we’re already in a situation where “free money” is driving tuition costs sky-high. Taking the next step and just having the government cut a blank check for “operating expenses” to every university will just kick the whole thing into overdrive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If universities in the US were responsible and could a) keep expenses under control and b) not cry like little children when whenever the state demands some belt-tightening, it could work. But that’s not the world we live in. Universities just keep spending more and more and keep hiring more and more administrators.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    My favorite experience with this was when I was in school many years ago at a state university. The state government said that their share of the funding was decreasing by 2% the next year (FYI, state universities are funded by state governments to some degree, it’s not all tuition). Two freaking percent! Basically asking the school to cut back to where they were two or three years ago. Sounds like a relatively reasonable ask, don’t you think?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, you should have seen the wailing and gnashing of teeth that generated. The school was claiming that there wasn’t any fat in their budget (ha), and immediately proposed cutting like 10% of all class sections in math, science, art, etc. Then they riled up the students enough to have them march to the capitol and demand the cuts be rolled back (to be fair though, doesn’t take much to get students to get interested in joining a protest).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, my point is that US universities only know grow, grow, grow and to top it off they all have a fetish for turning campuses into lavish, over-the-top affairs. Getting them to cut back on anything is next to impossible, and giving them a blank check to be paid for by taxpayers in perpetuity would be a disaster.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • turc1656 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Why is the assumption "universities are private endeavours that should make a profit" something that goes unchallenged on HN?"


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1) that's a true statement - private institutions are free to be for or not for profit and charge whatever they like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2) public universities are already funded (in part) by the government and the problem exists there as well, just not to the same extent

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree entirely with the OP that the source of the problem is in what I will refer to as the "financialization" of college. As OP mentioned, we saw the same thing with the housing bubble. We see it anywhere this type of "easy" money is offered because most people are not long term thinkers or don't fully grasp the details of the terms of the contract or the impact. Put simply, if you offer people money (even with interest attached) as a loan - especially when they are young and broke and want to pay for something expensive - they are going to take it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The same thing happened with housing. People's incomes didn't magically do up. Rates went down and so the banks said "hey, we'll loan you more money now" and people did exactly what people do - most of them took out the most that the banks would offer them to buy the biggest houses they could afford. This drove up prices across the board.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The same thing has happened here. The actual cost of educating a person hasn't gone up dramatically. Faculty to student ratios are largely the same as well. Yes, the colleges added a bunch of non-teaching staff that increased cost, but they didn't actually need that money to function (in the beginning). They were just suddenly able to charge a lot more because the government guaranteed a bunch of loans to people who otherwise couldn't get them or at least could get them at reasonable rates. So now there was more money chasing after the same amount of services. Unsurprisingly prices went up (a lot). The colleges then spent money on building new dorms and offering all types of new programs and things. And they hired a lot of administrative staff. Now they need that money to function because they got bloated with all that easy money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's just the same process we see over and over. With the federal, state, and local budgets - it's not a tax problem, it's a spending problem. Similar story here. There is far too much bloat and debt within these universities. But it all started with the same shitty easy money crap that we've seen before. Same scam, different industry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • zip1234 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Schools in the US didn't always cost so much. Tuition costs keep going up year after year at higher than inflation rates though. That is at schools that are subsidized by State or local governments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • TallGuyShort 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm all for that. My only concern is that it starts covering up one of the fundamental problems: a lot people are graduating high school, becoming eligible to vote, to be drafted, and in all other ways be adults, and they can't seem to do the cost/benefit analysis on college, or research a career that they're about to spend 4 years educating themselves for. They're surprised by how much debt costs, when they should have learnt the match behind compound interest years earlier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We gotta fix that too...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • jimktrains2 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We also need to move away from the idea that nearly every non-trade position requires a degree and as a society need to stop looking down on trades works. College is expensive because everyone wants to go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • mytailorisrich 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My understanding is that the US system is dual: On the one hand there are private universities that charge freely, but on the other hand there are also public universities that charge reasonable fees (at least for state residents).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's not unreasonable to charge tuition fees that are significant enough to make sure student will choose seriously and study diligently. I say that because it is certainly not always the case in countries where university is free...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It also makes sense to provide scholarship for deserving student who could not otherwise afford it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • brundolf 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                "Reasonable" is relative. Tuition at U.S. "public" universities is still around $10k per year, even if you're in-state:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • kome 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  that's indeed not reasonable. who can spend 10k in a year???

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • brundolf 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who said anything about affording it? You can just pay interest on it for the rest of your life. /s

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • mytailorisrich 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The "real median household income" in the US is $76k [1]. This means that $10k a year for university is far from being unreasonable considering that a family has 18+ years to save for it if they decide to do so. That's $185 a month (3% of income), ignoring inflation and interest rates, to get $40k in the bank on the day your child turns 18.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It is therefore not a question of affordability but a question of priority for most families. If they cannot set aside that much money it is, bluntly, because they chose to spend their money differently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Edit: Apparently the average price paid for a new car in the US is $37k [2]... So basically the same as the average price of a 4 year degree in-state. People make their choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    [1] https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-average-income-in-usa-fam...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    [2] https://www.boston.com/cars/car-news/2019/06/09/average-new-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • brundolf 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Seeing as 40% of Americans can't cover a $400 emergency, I highly doubt the average American family has a surplus $185 each month just sitting around.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Aeolun 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Plus, what do you do if you have 4 kids? $200ish might be ok, but you don’t want to give only your eldest a university degree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The $76k figure is median across all US households, I’d be more interested in the median amongst those aged 25-45, which is basically the ages you’d be saving for university (and even then you have to take into account that your income at the start of that range is not going to be what it is at the end).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • mytailorisrich 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The majority of those people don't have that money because of their spending habits, not because they cannot afford it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • least 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are a variety of systems that 'work' around the world. The United States' model clearly works to some extent as its universities are still able to attract talented professors from around the world and produce a lot of great research.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There are a few reasons why people would resist the idea of making all universities publicly funded. One of them is that Academic pursuit is now beholden to the state and its interests. In the current system, you can find funding for research in universities from both private and public investment. Also, when all funding is from the government, its bureaucratic nature tends to increase costs. Anyone that has worked with a government contract in the US probably understands how lucrative it can be because the government is not incentivized to reduce costs in a way a private entity would. Anyone that has worked in a department of the government when they have to spend the rest of their budget so it doesn't get reduced also understands this. Interaction with private entities that are incentivized to increase profits with what is basically an infinite money pit is dangerous (who then use said money to push for regulatory capture in congress), and you can see the effects of this in almost every aspect of the U.S. government.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It also further cements the idea that you must go to University in order to be eligible for any sort of job in the U.S. Jobs that traditionally only required a high school education or less now require a 4 year degree. This already is happening to an extent because it's an easy way to eliminate candidates, despite the fact that their profession may or may not require any sort of post-secondary education.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It also is a program that benefits and subsidizes people that either don't need it (wealthy upper class) or are already relatively advantaged in life (middle class). It would unlikely benefit the poor as much as you'd think, as there are still a lot of barriers to getting into higher education that the poor face that the middle and upper class simply don't. From the bottom up they have worse schooling and less opportunities. They may be under pressure to find a job immediately out of school (or drop out of high school) to support their family. The exceptions that can benefit from some program like this likely already can benefit from the current system of scholarships and grants to underprivileged students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would like to see a shift to something more similar to Canada where the distinction between college and university is clear. Academic and Vocational (but still professional) schooling being separate can be valuable and serve students with different learning styles better than the largely liberal arts education that universities in the U.S. provide. I'd also like to see some of this theoretical money that is funding tuition-free university towards improving educational opportunities from the bottom up in places that desperately need it. It doesn't matter if your postsecondary education is tuition-free if you can't make it to college.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • viburnum 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      America needs elite colleges to reproduce its ruling class. At least the ruling class thinks so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • baddox 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That system is completely compatible with the parent commenter's proposal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • gtirloni 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The US is traditionally against socialist ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • brycesbeard 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why does it become socialist at age 18? Taxes support up to 12th grade currently.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • eeZah7Ux 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Shusshh, don't wake HN.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consultant32452 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Our system produces the best universities and most sought after students on the planet. Why would we adopt a model that gets worse results?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If states want to find community college or something I wouldn't gripe too much, but universities are for advancing human knowledge. Don't hold them back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • mountainofdeath 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The "best" here is really in the eye of the beholder. At the undergraduate level, the most important value of a degree is the signaling value.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Consultant32452 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Look up basically any list of top universities in the world. The United States is wildly over-represented.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Undergraduate degree as a social signal is a different problem to solve.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • eeZah7Ux 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "wildly overrated"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Consultant32452 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, you can't have it both ways. If it's not worth it because the universities are overrated then people won't go. The problem will solve itself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • wolco 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Will it? Those who make it through will continue the narrative because lettings others know will reduce the value of their degree.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Consultant32452 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why do you care what the narrative is? If you produce something of value the market will reward you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • wolco 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Because I'm the next person about to decided where to go/what to do. The narrative informs my choice. If the narrative is false then the market is basing decisions on incorrect information producing unrelated results but will never be aware to self-correct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Consultant32452 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This thread is working off the assertion that our top universities are overrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What you're talking about is just introduction to the concept of pricing. Each person has to determine for themselves what it's worth. It will be worth more to some than to others. Everything of economic value gets priced, even if it's socialized.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You can't escape the market. If you think you can get a better value at a cheaper school, or in a different country with socialized schools, go there. Some will let you attend their universities for free even if you're not a citizen. Meanwhile people from all over the world will continue to scramble to get into our top universities. Maybe you know something they don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • eeZah7Ux 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                > best universities and most sought after students on the planet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                All available data shows otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • in3d 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Show us the data.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • briandear 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                > have the state directly fund universities and don't charge tuition to students (or charge them a small amount)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                See how well this works out in France. Overcrowding, declining facilities, students that have no business in college continuing to go since they have nothing at stake. The top tier schools are still pretty good, but normal schools are a crowded mess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • quaquaqua1 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And to think that the benefit of the education has not changed since when I attended a similar school for a total cost of $25,000 per year just 10 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • mac01021 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Surely UofChicago did not cost so little 10 years ago? A factor of 4 in ten years does not seem realistic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • SolaceQuantum 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    From here: https://news.uchicago.edu/story/university-announces-increas...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "The total cost of undergraduate education for the 2010-11 school year will be $53,244; of that amount, tuition is $40,188, and the remaining $13,056 is for room, board and fees. For about 60 percent of students, that cost is significantly reduced through need- or merit-based aid. And for the 49 percent of undergraduate students receiving need-based aid, the average amount of grant assistance from all sources, though not yet final, will be more than $35,000 per student in the coming year."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    So you are correct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • quaquaqua1 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which had a "total cost of attendance" for out of state students at $40,000 in 2010.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      For in state students it was only $15,000 per year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I came from a "middle class" family and received "grants" from the school, such that my cost of attendance per year averaged to $25,000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ever since I graduated, not a single person has ever asked me anything regarding my education, and I currently make $93,000 per year as a front end dev.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Strange times!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • barneygumble742 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Same here. I paid roughly $5k/year for undergrad and about $10k/year for grad. After graduation, only reason people ask me where I went to school was to see where it ranked in college sports. Since my school barely registered, it's easily dismissed. Even better for me since I don't follow sports.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What I did find more interesting is that it all depends on your work ethic and how you carry yourself at the workplace. My lack of interest in sports has hindered me at work slightly because I'm not part of certain groups at work. I've come to find out that they all participate in fantasy sports and meet on Saturdays to talk sports and a little bit of work gets involved. Usually I wouldn't care but some important work-related decisions have come out of that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • quaquaqua1 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh my god this. It's cancer. I had to learn all thse obscure facts about things I care about just to have a baseline credibility with those types of people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's a hazing ritual similar to data structures and algorithms, but one is certainly more useful than the other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • leotaku 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            > It's a hazing ritual similar to data structures and algorithms

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What do you mean by that? Genuinely curious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • quaquaqua1 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many of the problems that the median software developer is working on can be acceptably solved with o(n^2) ideas which are the types of implementations that the median developer can reasonably think of "on the spot" with little prior training. Or the job is HTML CSS and basic js.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              However many interviews demand many rounds of demonstrating o(logn) ideas quickly, which I would argue takes x months of preparation, not x weeks or x days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think its still very important to learn these structures, but the way they are applied in brain teaser format is not effective at finding the best all around candidate in terms of salary, general skills, sociability, iterative ability, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              And that's just taking the process at face value. Some interviewers will take this exercise to its extreme as a reason to deny you and make themselves feel good by giving you genuinely obscure and difficult problems that even Linus Torvalds and Guido admit they can't solve today in a reasonable time frame.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • adatavizguy 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I earn six figures specializing in Javascript and data visualizations with d3.js -- no college education at all. It's my third career. The formula is quite simple, learn a skill that is in demand and demonstrate I can do that skill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • kmano8 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It looks like the parent went to a different school than UofC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • jackcarter 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was $39,381 in 2009, $58,230 in 2019 [1]. These are tuition-only, exclusive of room & board, books, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The $100k figure is a projection for 2025.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            [1] https://www.collegetuitioncompare.com/trends/university-of-c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • nixass 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On the other hand, TUM (technical university in Munich) costs only 220 euro per semester, and you're still enrolled into top25 university in the world. The land of free..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • rayiner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            TUM has a $1.1 billion budget and 41,000 students. Chicago has a $2.6 billion budget and 16,000 students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • jdsully 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Could you elaborate a little on why that's relevant? Is the extra money providing materially better education? Is it somehow impossible for Chicago to lower their costs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • rayiner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's a reference to the "land of the free" dig. The U.S. already spends similar amounts of public money on higher education as Germany, etc. (As a %-age of GDP). We don't have free universities, however, because our universities spend vastly more money. That has benefits for students. In my own experience, going to an expensive private law school was a much nicer experience than going to a rigorous, but more spartan, public engineering school for undergrad. There was much more academic support, hand-holding, mental health services, beautiful facilities, etc. Even American community colleges are really nice. (My mother in law works at a community college in rural Oregon. It's got a fantastic, brand-new fitness facility with sweeping views, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We can debate about whether that's a good use of money, or what spending priorities should be. Maybe the right thing to do is cut costs, preserving an equivalent education experience while cutting frills. Or, maybe Americans are so rich it's reasonable for us to splurge on all of that stuff. But Americans aren't irrational. It's not like Americans are just sitting here refusing to adopt an approach that would get them the same college experience for vastly less money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • AnimalMuppet 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > We can debate about whether that's a good use of money...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's not. I can get a gym membership for $10/month. And I'm not going to college to get a degree in physical fitness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And, your argument doesn't hold numerically. Say 440 euros/year = $500/year. That's 1/200 the cost to the student of the University of Chicago. So Chicago spends 5 times as much per student; it still looks insane from the cost/benefit perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Scoundreller 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How am I supposed to buy my way in there if I have to compete with the entirety of society for admissions??!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • nixass 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Be good student perhaps? You'd rather have a bunch of money loaded people than people who earned their spot?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Scoundreller 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It’s a joke, but there’s no doubt people that have benefitted from the barrier to entry being cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • haditab 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's impressive. As someone who works in Robotics, I rate them very highly. Does it cost the same for international students?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • DominikPeters 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep, there are no additional fees. https://www.tum.de/en/studies/fees-and-financial-aid/ Compared to the U.S. situation, it's funny to see universities talking about financial aid for those that cannot afford the yearly fee of €258.80. Note that many other things are also vastly cheaper at German universities; for example textbook prices are reasonable, on-campus dining is dirt cheap, etc.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • jimbob45 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I see a lot of people telling everyone to just go to another university if the one you want is too expensive or isn't up your standard in the degree you're chasing. Remember that out-of-state tuition effectively bars students from attending any university outside of their state and, if you're in a smallish state like Oregon, your options can be pretty limited, particularly if you'd like to stay in one geographical region.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • catalogia 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Which state schools have out-of-state tuition rates north of 100k a year? Not all of them, that's for sure. U of Chicago is notable for how expensive it is, meaning that virtually any other option is a cheaper option, almost certainly including out of state tuition in another state.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    > "particularly if you'd like to stay in one geographical region."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A luxury I can scarcely comprehend...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • triceratops 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Go to community college for a year in the state that you want to go to college to, become a resident, and also complete some pre-reqs for cheap in the meanwhile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Vysero 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not really, out of state tuition per term at Montana state university Bozeman (go cats!) is only 6k/term.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • panzagl 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Don't know when you went, but Montana State is more than that now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • andutu 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm a student attending UT Dallas. Not only am I in the honors programs there, but I also have an AES scholarship which grants me a stipend of $3,000 per semester.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I know several people who've gotten into prestigious institutions such as John Hopkins who are going to UTD instead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's not like options don't exist. Yeah UTD isn't some brand name, but it's a good starting point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I blame universities to some degree for this problem, but I also blame consumers. I was once a starry-eyed high school student who applied to the likes of CMU and got rejected from all save UTD and A&M, with A&M basically giving me nothing. People realize that these schools open doors through elite social connections, more so than say UTD, but you can still network outside these elite institutions, it'll just be a little harder.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • gok 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The key is in the subtitle:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          > But fewer students are paying the full tuition

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Any seller who can legally charge different prices based on means is under impossibly strong pressure to exercise that power. Universities do this by having "full" tuition rates that almost no one pays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • bluetidepro 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Is University of Chicago even that good? Genuinely curious, as I know nothing about it. I live here in Chicago, and feel like I never hear about it, compared to say Northwestern or like UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago). Why would anyone ever pay that much for college yearly, if it wasn't like the #1 school, by a landslide, in the US?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            EDIT: I guess it is good? haha The more you know. Just surprising that I've been here in Chicago for almost 10 years now, and feel like I never hear about it compared to other colleges in the city. Maybe it's cause they aren't downtown or something? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • sorenn111 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              From US News, its #6 in national rankings so its pretty good. But the way the economy is structured around knowledge work and with the effect of credential signalling, our society is convinced of the need to get into the best school possible. This belief could be utter bullshit, have some truth (top rated schools teach better), or be somewhere in between.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What is probably very true is that getting into a top school is a signal that you did very well in the competition of getting into a good school. And employers absolutely pay attention to where you went.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              so getting into a good school becomes a societal self fulfilling prophecy in terms of importance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Merrill 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                According to US News, University of Chicago is "Unranked in Best Engineering Schools". https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-engineering...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The high school student needs to ask the question, "where is the best place to get a undergraduate degree in a specific field"? Generic rankings, especially ones that are heavily influenced by the university's research record, are pretty useless for undergraduate education quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • OrangeMango 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The University of Chicago doesn't have an engineering school, per say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They recently started a "School of Molecular Engineering" with a large donation from the governor of Illinois. But that is certainly not a general engineering school and isn't going to be, so it will never show up in these kind of ratings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > Our program was established as the Institute for Molecular Engineering in 2011 by the University in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory. In 2019, in recognition of our success, impact and expansion, and the support of the Pritzker Foundation, the institute was elevated to the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering—the first school in the nation dedicated to this emerging field.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  > At PME, our educational outreach initiatives begin with K-12 students. We offer youth-focused events, internships, and workshops throughout the year, from teaching molecular engineering fundamentals to extracting DNA from bananas. We also have a partnership with City Colleges of Chicago. The multi-year program connects city college students interested in STEM fields with our faculty and labs, with the goal of helping more students transfer into four-year STEM degree programs.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Merrill 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They do seem to have a decent CS grad school program. They are tied for 30th with 6 other universities in US News. https://www.usnews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-science-sch...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But Urbana-Champaign is 5th and should be somewhat less expensive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • OldHand2018 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      UChicago is respectable, sure. But they also host the Toyota Technical Institute:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > TTIC offers a graduate program leading to a doctorate in computer science, and is currently focusing primarily on theoretical computer science (algorithms and complexity), applications of machine learning (computational biology, computer vision, natural language processing, robotics, and speech), and scientific computing (including numerical analysis, numerical optimization, and signal processing).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > Both regular and research faculty receive endowment-provided research funding sufficient for equipment and normal academic travel. Research faculty are not expected to raise external funding. However, regular faculty are expected to eventually raise their summer salary and to support their students with external funding.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > Research faculty are in non-tenure track positions with no teaching requirements. This is similar to a postdoctoral fellowship, but comes with endowment-provided independent research funding. Regular faculty are expected to teach only one quarter per year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > TTIC is located in Hyde Park on the University of Chicago campus and has a close affiliation with the University of Chicago Computer Science Department. An agreement between the University of Chicago and TTIC allows cross-listing of computer science course offerings between the two institutions, providing students from each institution the opportunity to register in the others courses. Faculty and students enjoy full privileges of the University library system, athletic facilities and other services.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • iskander 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I grew up on the North side of Chicago and also didn't feel like UChicago had a very large presence. Now that I work in the research world (both in CS and biomedicine), it's very obviously the dominant institution in Chicago. Northwestern comes in at a distant second and UIC isn't really in the race. I'm not sure about their undergrad education but if a student wants to have access to teachers who are also leading voices in their fields, UChicago would be a better bet than other local options. Nationally you would have to look to places like Harvard or Stanford to do better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • bluetidepro 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, that makes sense. I think it's a mix of not being in that field, and probably just cause UIC/Northwestern/Columbia all have a campus/extensions here downtown (I see them every day on my way to work), I think of them more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • mdasen 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, it is a top school in the country, equivalent to an Ivy League school.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In terms of the price, a few things come into play. First, most other schools have similar pricing. Northwestern is $54.6k and U Chicago is $58.2k. Yep, it's $3,600 per year, but is a 6% difference that meaningful? Maybe not given that university education has lots of other expenses. Room and board might end up eating a grand or two at another school out of that $3,600.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Plus, as a student, often you don't get full choice. It's not like going to the store and being allowed to buy whatever phone you can afford. The university has to pick you first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Beyond that, the sticker price isn't what most people pay. For students coming from families earning over $110k/year, the net price is $40.8k. Northwestern's sticker is $3,600 cheaper, but the net for rich kids is $40.3k or only $500 cheaper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Not only that, for lower-income students, U Chicago is cheaper. In the $0-30k bracket, $3.2k vs $13.4k; $30k-48k, $6.3k vs $7.4k; $48k-75k, $7.9k vs $10.7k.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, is U Chicago more expensive? If your family is making half a million a year, maybe you're paying sticker everywhere and your family has to pay more for U Chicago. However, the sticker price isn't that meaningful given the parental income based sliding scale that universities use.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • notfromhere 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They don't have the same kind of PR as other major universities (Stanford, Harvard), even though they compete on that level.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  UIUC has a similar problem that its a top school but isn't well-know outside the immediate region

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • rayiner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As a Northwestern grad--this is hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • jfb 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I also find this hilarious -- as a Chicago grad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • viklove 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        > Maybe it's cause they aren't downtown or something?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I nearly spit out my drink when I read this. This guy doesn't seem to be aware of the existence of half the city, and he's lived here for 10 years!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • patentatt 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes. It’s a top tier university.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • viklove 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You live in Chicago and you don't know UChicago is more prestigious than even NW? Damn son, you haven't been here very long have you?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ARENT DOWNTOWN??? UChicago is in the heart of Chicago! You know Chicago doesn't end at Roosevelt, right?? Let me guess, you grew up in the suburbs and moved to Lincoln Park 10 years ago?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • nkrisc 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was also the home of the first nuclear reactor:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • kingbirdy 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It's ranked #6 in the nation by US News & World Report

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • big_chungus 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              University of Chicago has amazing economics, and is know for its unique approach. The Chicago school is descended more from the right-leaning Austrian than the left-leaning Keynesian that essentially every other school has. One of the best places you could hope to study for economics.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • freeAgent 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                The UChicago Economics department has not been super friendly with "Austrian" economics. Hayek, for example, was not a faculty member in the Economics department.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • agent008t 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              How can these universities be so expensive, if you can instead go to a just-as-good university in the UK for a fraction of the cost, even as a foreign student? Why does anyone agree to pay such fees?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • adrr 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You can attend a public university in the US for a fraction of the cost. UCLA is $12,000 a year for tuition. You can also do two years at a community college which costs almost nothing like $50 a credit and transfer to a 4 year university for the the remaining two years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • DominikPeters 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oxford (UK) tuition for overseas students is $35-45k/year (and people generally pay sticker price), so not radically cheaper, though you get the B.A. in 3 years not 4. Other EU countries are much cheaper, but with a language barrier (except maybe NL).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • agent008t 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Room and board + all living expenses is around extra $20k/year. And you get B.A. in 3 / Masters in 4 years. And there are no 'legacy admissions'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still not clear how, if the US had a 'free market' for education, places like U of Chicago are able to compete with such steep prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • matz1 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The title is kind a click bait. The content is actually about very few actually pay for the sticker price. In essence the sticker price is becoming kind a meaningless.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • ChaosDegenerate 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Graduating in Europe with Master's that cost me nothing, I always feel so bad thinking about the debt my coworkers who studied in the US have to repay.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's just so wrong and stupid. On top of that I can always go back "home" to get free healthcare too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  US is (at times) so much better when you are an immigrant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And then so many (who actually have student loans to repay and expensive healthcare to pay for) feel sorry for me because of discrimination (perceived only by them!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • fooker 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Same here, got free education in my home country, upto a Masters. Came to the US for a PhD, also free (+ a small stipend and internships). I just don't see undergrad education here being a good deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • alkonaut 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can’t imagine paying $100k even for a 4- or 5 year degree. My student loans (zero tuition, only food/rent/books) was $35k for 5 years I think. I have paid over $200/month for 15 years and I’ll be done paying it back this year. I just can’t even imagine my calculation if the loan had been 10x. My US paycheck would certainly be bigger, but I still fail to see how it could be a good investment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Kalium 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chicago is one of the private schools where the sticker price is essentially fictional. There may be a small number of students each year from wealthy families who pay that, but I'm reasonably sure it's nowhere near what the average student actually pays.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • svanwaa 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The liberal arts college my wife teaches at recently introduced a more "transparent" tuition pricing scheme. Advertised price $18,600 down from $38,600! https://news.central.edu/2019/09/central-announces-new-tuiti...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • mister_hn 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I still fail to understand why in US the university is so expensive, compared to 99% of universities in Europe. Not even private universities in Europe are so expensive like there, plus there are countries where university is free (e.g. Germany).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is the American Dream just the one who wants their kids don't go to university because it's so much expensive?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The boomer generation has really broken it. Imagine now that millennials could not send their kids to colleges because of the high tuition fee, connected to low salaries. It's a system that has its destiny doomed and that a day will collapse badly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • j_m_b 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Are we ready to admit that government-backed, non-defaultable student loans are a bad idea?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Communitivity 206 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not Harvard, not Yale, not MIT, not Cornell...but U of Chicago? Why would they be able to charge so much more than the other big name schools? It may very well be they have a specialty they are the best in that I'm not aware of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also, if you are in Maryland take advantage of the MD program that lets you pay your kids college while they're in high school and lock in the college price as of when you enroll in the program. At the average 8% rate of college price increases you could save around %57 of the money you'd pay otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • prirun 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This comment stood out:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "It also manages a staff that receives more than $1 billion in salary, $230 million of which is for its roughly 1,350 instructional staff and faculty, according to federal data for 2017-18. Producing and employing Nobel laureates does not come cheap."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In other words, only 25% of expense is for instructional staff and faculty, while 75% is not. I'd love to know how much of the $750M salary goes to administrative execs who don't actual do anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Carioca 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                At what point doesn't it just become feasible to hire a full-time tutor?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Someone1234 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The point of college is a name and certificate. If it was about actual education and learning, we'd see online classes with in-person exams in the forefront.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So, never? A tutor cannot give you a magic piece of "job qualification" paper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • AcerbicZero 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The vast majority of jobs/careers/professions do not require sitting in a classroom for 4 years to learn enough to do them. Even less require sitting in an extremely expensive classroom for 4 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At the same time learning has never been more accessible. I can study Python, mechanical engineering, calculus, aviation ground school, etc all without leaving the house if I wanted. So how does a commodity like education, which is basically free for the people who want to learn, increase in price?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • munificent 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You're assuming the entire point of college is to make you a worker. But a lberal arts education has always been about making you a complete human. If nothing else, it's important for citizens to be well-rounded enough to be informed voters.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • comicjk 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If some more education is needed to make people informed voters, maybe we should add a couple more years to the end of high school. Effectively, community college for all. After all, we expect everyone to be a voter, not just those who go to college.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • phkahler 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Let's assume a full time student taking 4 courses at a time. A professor might (should) be able to teach 4 classes. I'm not sure how much profs make, but let's assume between 1 and 3 students could pay them. Now where does the money from all the other students in the classes go? Sure, there's admin overhead, room costs, etc, but that stuff is hopefully less than the prof costs. So 6 students max to cover costs for a class. Where does the money go from all the others?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • ohazi 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      > Sure, there's admin overhead, room costs, etc, but that stuff is hopefully less than the prof costs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not by a long shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • AtlasBarfed 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      They don't even have big time athletics and facilites, do they?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And probably a huge endowment that if properly applied would remove any need of tuition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • duxup 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        >But fewer students are paying the full tuition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Is anyone paying the sticker price and if so what is their financial state / considerations?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • interlocutor 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          If you work for FAANG your kids have to pay full tuition because scholarships vanish when you have $250K or more in annual income.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • contingencies 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A few years ago an American friend told me the cost of his masters at Colombia was about USD$180K for 1 year, taking all expenses in to consideration. Journalism.... insane... no way that money is coming back without a pivot to public policy!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • every 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No degree, no matter how gold-plated, is worth $400K. Go to a community college, get a degree in accounting or whatever and spend the rest of your life laughing at the idiots still paying off their tuition debt...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • bluedino 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Is there any data on what % of student loans are spent on things other than tuition? You have things that could be school-related like laptops but then you have kids paying credit cards with student loan money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • adipandas 205 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Education should not be this expensive. If at all, it can be competitive. But it should be available and affordable to all. U of Chicago is not a best place to be in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • IronWolve 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  How does a 400k degree compare to a state ran online degree for 24k? http://www.wgu.edu as an example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • kingkawn 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    High tuition costs and loan burdens were and are an integral part of the de-radicalization of American college students.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • geogra4 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It's one thing for private universities to cost so much, but there needs to be a tuition free public option.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • oliwarner 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But why? Why does it cost as much as a full time teacher to get extremely part time access to university faculty?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This stinks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • tanilama 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How come it can be this expensive? Can't see how a degree would worth 400k seriously

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • alpineidyll3 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ouch! The ole Alma mater ain't what she used to be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • gigatexal 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A year?! Sheesh. Things are getting out of control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • pojntfx 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Why not just do it like any other developed country on earth, make the universities public and drop tuition altogether. Works very well here in Germany.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • sgregnt 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Compared to USA Germany is a relatively poor, so it doesn't work, you see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • asdfman123 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Conservatives in America literally liken such proposals to the socialist takeover of America, with the actual belief that authoritarianism and basic social programs are inescapably intertwined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So half the country is resisting those sorts of programs with all of their might.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • fortran77 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Why not!? If our next president will just wipe out student debt--without ending government backed loans--why not charge $1MM/year?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • asdfman123 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I guess you're being downvoted for your sarcasm but I do think a giant uneven payoff is a bad idea and cheap populism. Part of the reason the price keeps going up is the ready availability of money via student loans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • randyrand 207 days ago

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    higher stocker price and more discounts + aid. It’s the clothing store pricing model.