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Debt and Catholic college

Recently, I found this opinion on one of my Yahoo groups and it made me sit down and just wonder what planet the author was coming from:






But, I don't agree with the theory that just because college costs have risensignificantly we should dismiss the idea of going to college altogether. Thereare ways to pay for it. Yes, it usually involves incurring some debt but debt isa tool to help us achieve what we otherwise wouldn't be able to achieve.
Successful businessmen know that they need to use debt to build theirbusinesses.

So even if a kid bypasses college and decides to be an entrepreneur,chances are pretty good that he/she will need to use debt at some point.
I think its very sad when a talented kid is dissuaded from college because ofthe cost.

A good friend of my daughter was planning on going to Benedictine withher this fall (and had a good academic scholarship), but because she was toldthat debt is bad, she and her family have decided she should live at home and goto the community college instead. (I don't care how good the courses are at aCC--and in this case they're not that great, they in no way compare to a goodCatholic college.) .


I guess I could agree with her if we were talking a couple of hundreds of dollars of debt that could easily be paid off a couple of years after college - but we're not.  Kids are coming away with tens of thousands of dollars of debt - and that's enough to change their lifestyles and decisions for decades to come.

Maybe the course at the local community colleges aren't as great as the ones at a "good Catholic college" but college math, is college math is college math.  The difference may be $100 or $200/ credit but they all look just the same when printed out on a fancy transcript sheet!

I'm wondering how many Catholic college graduates are coming out of college and then being forced to postpone marriage and children because they have to service these big debts!  A friend of mine has a child who has a debt near $100,000.  When I asked my friend about it she said it was worth it because the child was "following a dream."  Was the dream to be in debt for 20 years?

I also think this author was misleading in her business analogy.  Yes businesses do take out loans and take on debt to grow their businesses - and usually the banks will look to see if they are a good loan risk and then loan accordingly - but that's not the case with college students who can get a tremendous amount of loan money without any visible means of being able to pay any of it back. A good businessman also doesn't take a loan without a long hard look a the risk/benefit ratio and a careful cost analysis.  

If college graduates can generate more income during their lifetimes, does it really matter where they went to college?  Or is it more important that they get the degree, and come out as close to debt free as possible so that they can move on with the next part of their lives?  I would argue for the latter.




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Comments

Janette said…
SOME children leave college with huge debt- some do not. Scholarships are most often given to Freshmen. They are not held for a few years until the student gains credits from other places. Renee- from the Catholic board- has two on full rides to expensive colleges after homeschooling. A fiend, Marie, has five of her nine through Catholic Universities with very little debt (less than $10,000).
Almost all of Marie's are engaged/married to Catholics and working. She has four more at home- planning on attending good Catholic Universities as well.
I think it is a shame that because the parent is SO fearful that their child will be in debt- they discourage going to University. Homeschooling College is a nice thing---but the reality is that most students are ready to grow up and leave to try out what they have learned. They have to leave in order to find their own way. You did. Your mother did. Even your ancestor did.
Benedictine is an excellent college. It gives excellent scholarships to four year students. I have not heard the same about Stubenville (good college- not great scholarships). I think there has to be someplace where our Catholic children can go- to meet other practicing Catholics- to network for a career- to work a profession.
You and I differ on what a University is for. I do not see it for a JOB but an education.
OTOH- there is always the military, union work or trades. Those are all great ways of going. I do not think everyone is cut out for college. My sil never went to college- learned a trade in the military - and now makes more money than we ever did. That his ideas of the world are stuck in high school....that part is a bit sad. I still hope that he will find a way to attend classes with ideas. The problem is I don't want him to go where he now lives because the "Catholic" Universities in his area are not really Catholic....
Actually I attended college while still living at home. I took care of my grandmother and continued to help around the house. When I got married I left home but I was only 10 minutes away. I'm not a big believer in the "college experience." But I have experienced crushing debt and I don't endorse it.

Now when my mother went away to school, she was able to pay for her education by working in the food service. During her last year, she had to forgo private piano lessons so that she could make ends meet. My grandfather planted a crop of soy beans and the money for that completely paid off her last year of college. Couldn't do that today.

Many of my immediate ancestors didn't attend college. Looks like many of the great-grandmothers had many children and died young! But I'm still researching them.

Calvin will probably continue to pursue paramedics or law enforcement - neither with a college degree. Sam will continue to work and pursue College Plus! or drop CollegePlus! and just work - we'll see. Gabe is pretty clear that he does not want to go to college so I will give him the best education I can before he graduates. I think he just needs to get somewhere to play and perform as much as possible. Noah wants to go to seminary so he will go the college route, although I'm hoping we can save some $$ going the CollegePlus! route. I don't know about Izzy yet. She struggles with academics, but is very creative. and with Rosie, it's too soon to tell. She pleaded self-defense today so perhaps she will be a lawyer!
Janette said…
Your headline advertiser today...Liberty University. Ironic.
CollegePlus! and Liberty have a partnership http://www.collegeplus.org/liberty
RAnn said…
I'm with you on the debt thing. I have one looking at college now, and luckily in LA we have TOPS--kids with a 2.5 on a college prep curriculum and a 23 ACT get almost free tuition to a state university. Luckily too, she has good grades and will get at least a small scholarship to help with room and board.

I am a college graduate who got the full four year live-away experience. I know there are some kids who spend a lot of that time playing, drinking etc., but I'm one who made the best of it--I read, I got involved in a variety of activities and I studied. They were four of the best years of my life and four years like that are a gift I'd love to give my kids. My son isn't interested, and so be it. My daughter is ready for it. She has the brains to be admitted to a selective private college, but I just can't see it being worth the expense--as you say, at least on the lower levels, college algebra is college algebra, and in the end, except for a very few fields, a college degree in field x is a college degree in field x and I see private colleges as an expense I can't afford and that doesn't make sense for a kid just starting out.

Janette, Renee's kids aren't in expensive schools, they are in Mississippi state-supported universities. They do both have great scholarships though.
My husband is an adjunct at several colleges and universities in the area. We call it "free-range instruction" as, for the right fee, he will teach, instruct or facilitate Philosophy, Ethics, Religion, and various classes thrown into the category of Humanities. His skills are in demand. He's the only person I know who makes a decent living as a professional adjunct, not succumbing to being hired by one school as a tenured professor. He started this as a midlife career, and prior to that worked as an instructor and senior tech for a major utility company.

I mention this because he has various client schools. Those are currently a Catholic university, two community colleges, a for-profit tech school, a college of design, and a major for-profit university. He teaches Ethics at all of them.

Where possible, he uses the exact same textbook, the exact same reference materials, and the exact same syllabus tailored to the school in question. Students at all schools get the exact same guy, his same style of classroom patter, even his same grading scale.

The students at the community colleges are paying about $100-$125 per semester hour. The Catholic university students are paying $600 if they are full time students, $760 if they take 11 semester hours or less. The for-profit schools fit in between, anywhere from $350-$550 per semester hour.

A student or parent with this piece of information would do well to check the catalogs and do some comparison shopping. If still unsure, a call to the department head to ask who is instructing which course could save a lot of money. More than a few students at my husband's client Catholic university have figured it out. They take classes at the community college and transfer those to the Catholic university.