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College costs
Old 04-25-2013, 05:05 PM   #1
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College costs

I was watching the national news last night (think it was NBC), and they had a story on the costs of college...

It seems that a good number of people are now going to Canada to get a college education... they were showing that the tuition was 1/4th of a top US college... as they said, 4 years for the price of 1....


Now, I have never understood why it costs $40K or more per year to educate someone here.... there has to be a lot more costs than just a building and a prof.... think about it... class sizes are 50 to 100... the $40K is probably 5 classes, or $8K per class.... so, $400K to $800K for each class a prof teaches... I think they are supposed to teach a minimum of 4 classes... so, revenue per prof is between $1.2 mill and $2.4 mill.... that seems like way more money than needed...



Just wonder if Canada is the way to go...
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:19 PM   #2
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For one thing, colleges went on a building and expansion spree in the 90s, and paying for all that new infrastructure is not as easy as forecasted.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:33 PM   #3
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It is, in my view, supply and demand, with loans to pay for the costs by students for which the college has zero risk. Many spending high salaries to get professors of note in various fields as the names also tend to bring in additional grant money. Some of the largest colleges have huge endowments that are continuing to grow.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
For one thing, colleges went on a building and expansion spree in the 90s, and paying for all that new infrastructure is not as easy as forecasted.
+1
It's the gift that keeps on giving. Not just the cost of building, but the long term operational costs. Especially the non-educational structures... Theaters, Fieldhouses, Auditoriums, Social Centers, Libraries and Museums.

Yes... of course all of these can be "justified" as "education connected", but in the rush to attract students, much of this is just "eye candy", and often placed in the college community to satisfy the appetites of millions of graduates who have moved to college/university towns to continue the appealing lifestyle.

I was turned off when my school spent 3 million in architect fees and $15 million to convert a building that cost $100,00 to build in the 1930's, into a music theater that seats about 150 people.

My total annual room/board/tuition of $1200 in 1957, should cost about $10,000 inflation adjusted for 2013.
The actual current comparative actual cost is $53,000.00.

Those are real numbers.
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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For one thing, colleges went on a building and expansion spree in the 90s, and paying for all that new infrastructure is not as easy as forecasted.
+2
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:35 PM   #6
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No need to go to Canada unless you really want to (I can see where some people might, it's a beautiful country). We've had quite a few threads on ways to save on college costs in the U.S., and reasons why big-name colleges aren't worth the giant tuition and fee bills and the burdensome student loans they engender.

In addition, it must not be that hard to get a scholarship. I hear parents at the local gym bragging about their kids getting them all the time.

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Old 04-25-2013, 06:54 PM   #7
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+1
It's the gift that keeps on giving. Not just the cost of building, but the long term operational costs. Especially the non-educational structures... Theaters, Fieldhouses, Auditoriums, Social Centers, Libraries and Museums.

Yes... of course all of these can be "justified" as "education connected", but in the rush to attract students, much of this is just "eye candy", and often placed in the college community to satisfy the appetites of millions of graduates who have moved to college/university towns to continue the appealing lifestyle.

I was turned off when my school spent 3 million in architect fees and $15 million to convert a building that cost $100,00 to build in the 1930's, into a music theater that seats about 150 people.

My total annual room/board/tuition of $1200 in 1957, should cost about $10,000 inflation adjusted for 2013.
The actual current comparative actual cost is $53,000.00.

Those are real numbers.
Sounds like my alma mater. I rarely donate to the alumni fund because all the building frustrates me.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:07 PM   #8
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Here are some numbers I found for average average household income and average cost for university education over the last 55 years (using imoldernu's university cost):

Year Univ Cost Household Inc
1957 $1200 $3642
1980 $3500 $12513
2011 $22092 $42980

So relative to US income, a year's university education has gone up from roughly 1/3 of average household income to roughly 1/2. That's certainly an increase, but not as extreme as it can be made to look.

That said, all-in college costs were about $16k/yr for DD1 who graduated in 2009 from a state school, $32k/yr for DD2 who will graduate next month from another state school, and I will be paying $54k/yr (-$20k merit scholarship) to a small private liberal arts college for DS beginning in August this year.

National Average Wage Index
Fast FactsFast Facts
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:47 PM   #9
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Yes.. interesting numbers and comparisons.
Poking around the internet, I found this fun analysis... If you have time, ya might wanna read through and try to figure out the logic.
Frankly, I got lost.
Why College Should Cost You Less Today Than In 1957 | CollegePete.com
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:18 PM   #10
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No better example than Coopers Union. Peter Cooper must be turning over in his grave.

College education costs so much because debt is unlimited, neither lender nor University have any skin in the game, and the prospective student is basing his or her choice on a dream. Make the University liable for 1/2 the debt, the lender for the other half, limit total borrowing to a % of average starting salaries, and interest rates no higher than mortgage rates.
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Old 04-25-2013, 09:42 PM   #11
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There was a point in another college cost thread that I thought was important...not everyone pays the "rack rate". The colleges dicovered it's better for them to leave rates high and "discount" through financial aid. So the cost is shifted from people who make money and have savings to those that don't have much of either.
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Old 04-25-2013, 11:03 PM   #12
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Now, I have never understood why it costs $40K or more per year to educate someone here....
It doesn't have to cost $40k a year to educate someone here.

My son is at community college and his tuition was about $1500 this semester and we are paying out of district tuition. Book another $500 or so. My other son went to a CC with a dorm and room and board was about another $3k a semester.

The son now at CC is transferring to the state university in the fall. It is close by so he will be living at home. Tuition and fees for 12 hours is about $3700 per semester so about $7500 a year. Of course if he lived in the dorm that amount would be about $8400 a year so call it $16k a year plus books.
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Old 04-26-2013, 09:12 AM   #13
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Having worked with many bright and successful Canadians, I think Canada would make a great education choice. Also, I have many successful relatives there who have done just fine. It would seem wise for a perspective college student to include Canadian schools in their choice. Understand, they may need to take language lessons, eh.
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Old 04-26-2013, 10:16 AM   #14
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I listened to a Commonwealth Club podcast, a lecture by Google Fellow and Stanford research professor Sebastian Thrun on April 17th titled "What's Next in Higher Education". https://www.udacity.com/us#sec3 During the lecture he discussed the cost of higher education, lack of space in classes, and proctored exams.

He is much like Sal Kahn, in fact taken together a student of some science and engineering fields could go from 2nd grade to post grad.

It will be interesting to watch entrenched academic institutions cope with change.

By the time my 8 yo grandson enters college I expect the era of lecture hall teaching will have gone by the wayside.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:45 AM   #15
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I listened to a Commonwealth Club podcast, a lecture by Google Fellow and Stanford research professor Sebastian Thrun on April 17th titled "What's Next in Higher Education". https://www.udacity.com/us#sec3 During the lecture he discussed the cost of higher education, lack of space in classes, and proctored exams.

He is much like Sal Kahn, in fact taken together a student of some science and engineering fields could go from 2nd grade to post grad.

It will be interesting to watch entrenched academic institutions cope with change.

By the time my 8 yo grandson enters college I expect the era of lecture hall teaching will have gone by the wayside.

Heck, my DW is graduating next month with a masters in education that she did all online.... the one big problem I see with this form of education is that she was 'self taught'.... IOW, there were NO lectures or class discussions... I can remember when I was in college, discussions were the best way for me to learn.... heck, I did not read some of the books because the lectures and class discussions were so good...
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:35 PM   #16
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Heck, my DW is graduating next month with a masters in education that she did all online.... the one big problem I see with this form of education is that she was 'self taught'.... IOW, there were NO lectures or class discussions... I can remember when I was in college, discussions were the best way for me to learn.... heck, I did not read some of the books because the lectures and class discussions were so good...
The lectures are still there, as are class discussions at least in some online courses. DW took some online college classes (offered by a state college) few years ago and they had collaborative web tools for group projects and class discussions. The prof posted few time slots for the interactive part of the class and people just worked these into their schedules. The lectures, exercises and some group projects you could do any time. The finals were the first and only time she physically saw and talked to the profs, but as I understand it even these could be proctored.

Of course you are missing a lot of social aspects of brick and mortar college, but for actual "education part" I don't think it's that much different.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:06 PM   #17
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The lectures are still there, as are class discussions at least in some online courses. DW took some online college classes (offered by a state college) few years ago and they had collaborative web tools for group projects and class discussions. The prof posted few time slots for the interactive part of the class and people just worked these into their schedules. The lectures, exercises and some group projects you could do any time. The finals were the first and only time she physically saw and talked to the profs, but as I understand it even these could be proctored.

Of course you are missing a lot of social aspects of brick and mortar college, but for actual "education part" I don't think it's that much different.

Your DW was then different than mine... yes, there were a couple of one on one talks with a prof, but nothing major... yes, there were a couple of group projects (which, BTW, my DW had to do most of the work)... as far as 'interactive', well, it was just not there....

Also, my DW would look at other people's work and make comments (as suggested by the prof).... she was detailed in her comments... the ones I saw on her work was usually one sentence or just a few words ('great job', or 'I didn't think of that'... useless)....


One of the other problems with an online course is that the prof can not tell if the students are actually 'getting it'... I can remember times when at least half the class just did not get what was being said... the prof could see the blank stares and adjust what was being said to try and get the point across.... if still unsuccessful, she would say 'we will meet at such and such time to discuss further'.....


I think there can be some good online courses, but they have to be combined with real group discussions or the ability to get some answers to questions from a real person....
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:43 PM   #18
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Just for grins, I looked at what my tuition cost per year was when I entered college compared to what it is today. Just tuition, not books or anything else.

Today's tuition is roughly 1,100% of my tuition cost back then.

Cumulative inflation during that period has been 644%

So I would have to say that the school administration has been doing something wrong. But they sure have become good at begging the alumni for money!
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:59 AM   #19
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I like to tell the story my BILs story ... a tenured UMass prof, teaches the same 2 classes (5 years and counting). Pulls 120k a year working 2 days a week (office hours by apt only) Sept - May.

When my niece was born he got 6 weeks paid "family leave". Not surprising ... he says he'll "work" forever. And he's a scratch golfer.

Needless to say, as a umass alum, I stopped donating years ago.
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