May 13th, 2012
In case you haven’t noticed, college tuition is way out of control. We have a whole generation of kids that are basically mortgaging their future. It’s a higher education bubble.
The fact is that not all (probably not most) jobs require a 4 year liberal arts degree. Many liberal arts degrees these days are waste of time that offer zero job benefit (and since most kids go to school for the sake of getting a job, that means something is off. College kids are basically taking out large loans to get worthless degrees.
The good news is that there are options and alternative paths.
For starters, to get the most bang for your buck, you could consider a 2 year associates degree at your local community college. After a 2 year’s associates degree, you could consider whether to continue on for a bachelors. If you do things right, you should be able to transfer in most of your credits from your community college associate degree to a bachelor’s program.
Other options include getting your education online. Online schools have limitations but they also have benefits. Tuition tends to be lower. And you have more flexibility. When choosing an online school, make sure it’s regionally accredited, or else your education will be a waste. Consider rankings such as this one which only include accredited schools.
At the end of the day, only go to college if you have a plan for what you want to do in life. And even then, choose wisely. Degrees in science, engineering, health and computer science have the biggest payoff.Filed under Education | Comment (0)
October 25th, 2010
Most of us don’t have the money to spend on higher education these days and some of us don’t want to take out loans in order to further our educations. What we ultimately need is the best education we can get for the lowest cost.
Sometimes this means getting an education at a local community college. If you pick a community college within driving distance of a major university, chances are that you’re actually going to get taught by some bright, young and enthusiastic graduate students working as adjuncts. These can be some of the most memorable classes as the professors are not yet jaded and boring.
Another option for affordable education is to take classes online. If you pick the right school, and you are a self-initiator, you can get a quality education without having to pay of all the overhead of a traditional school. When I was doing research for this article I came across this website which ranks online schools by lowest tuition. For example, if you want to get your MBA online, the most affordable program is Wayne State College at $7,433. That’s not cheap, but it’s the sort of investment that will probably pay off.
So there are two ways to get a relatively affordable college education on a shoestring budget. Do you have any other ideas?Filed under Education | Comments (2)
January 22nd, 2009
Even way back last August, before the economy was officially in terminal free fall, the issues surrounding a college education were in the news. CNN Money asked, Is college still worth the price?
Most of us have come to understand how necessary a college degree – in anything – is to being able to ‘successfully’ compete in today’s complicated modern world. Yet the costs of a degree – any degree – is soaring up to four times the rate of inflation even as both jobs and salaries for college graduates are shrinking. How much sense does it really make for families (or students, via loans) to pay $200,000 for a degree so s/he can get a job that pays $30,000 a year or less?
In a rational economy the rapid inflation of college tuition would slow, stop or even reverse as consumers – the pool of applying students – shrank in response to the spiraling costs. But for this particular commodity, there can be no shortage of applicants due to the recognized importance of said degree to the entire future of the prospective student. It is much easier to replace light bulbs and take public transportation to work in order to save on electric bills and gasoline than it is to forego a college education because it costs more than a graduating student can expect to earn.Back to School, Debt, Economic Recession, Education, Inflation | Comment (0)
January 16th, 2009
…or make the best of it.
Let’s face it. The “Recession of 2008″ is now officially over, because it is January, the first month of the “Depression of 2009.” The last jobless statistics for ’08 showed more than half a million new first-time unemployment filers, which represent only those workers who qualify for unemployment. Final ‘official’ tally for ’08: 2.6 million jobs lost. These are the worst figures in 16 years, while the average hourly workweek for those underneath the supervisory level doing the real work shrank to the lowest number since the government started keeping such statistics in 1964. That, for the quick-math challenged, is 45 years ago.
Most of us who watch the economic comings and goings in this strange era of bail-outs for super-crooks and callous economic eugenics for working families also know that the ‘official’ statistics don’t come anywhere close to matching what is really going on in the real world. Young workers, seasonal workers, minimum wage workers, temp workers and millions who otherwise don’t qualify for unemployment aid or who have exhausted their eligibility are completely off the books – no one bothers to count them, even if their numbers swell the real unemployment picture to more than double the reported statistics. “Unofficial” numbers can range anywhere from 11.1 million jobless Americans to somewhere very close to 20% of our work force. No one much likes to mention that, since anything more than 10% puts us in that ‘depression’ they’d rather slit their wrists than admit to.Economic Depression, Economic Recession, Education, Joblessness, Surviving, Unemployment | Comment (0)
November 3rd, 2008
We’ve seen a lot of desperation as the world (and US) economy tanks in the wake of the mortgage-loss pyramid scheme crash. We’ve heard a lot of hyperbole and rhetoric from the candidates who want to replace Bush-Cheney as President and Vice-President of the United States. This is The Week That Was, votes will be counted tomorrow night, and we should know sometime in the wee hours of Wednesday which of the contestants gets the erstwhile “prize.”
As Wall Street began its precipitous fall, Republican candidate John McCain was busy informing the nation that the ‘fundamentals’ of our economy are strong. No, they aren’t strong, they’re utter failures after years of massive tax cuts to the wealthy, heavy borrowing to support two wars, and the “Unfettered Free Market” [TM] frenzy allowed by blanket de-regulation of the banking and investment sectors.
To get an idea of just how outrageous things had gotten, consider the so-called “Mortgage Meltdown” that took so many once-staid capitalist houses into ruin. We all know that housing prices had ballooned in most urban areas of the country, a ‘bubble’ sustained by the practice of lending to workers whose incomes haven’t seen even a minimal rise in more than 30 years, for houses that cost easily twice as much as they could hope to afford and three times what they were actually worth. Many of these loans were made with specific criminal intent to skim fees off the top, and saddled with adjustable interest rates that worked just like time bombs to force people into bankruptcy.Bankruptcy, Economic Depression, Economic Recession, Education, Elitism, Government Bailouts, Housing, Income Inequality, Politics, Taxes | Comment (0)
October 24th, 2008
It’s true, and should come as no surprise that modern day pirates are responsible for the current mass chaos in the markets. I mean, this is just the sort of things pirates do, isn’t it? Or, so says Peter Hayes, Senior Lecturer in politics at the University of Sunderland.
In Dr. Hayes’ latest paper, ‘Pirates, Privateers and the contract theories of Hobbes and Locke’, the argument is developed and interesting. Not only did pirates practically invent participatory democracy by electing their captain, voting on major decisions and distributing the booty in fairly equal shares, but they were often backed by financiers in distant countries. Which, according to Hayes, makes your average pirate ship roughly equivalent to a modern corporation.
“Pirates had a democratic structure, and relative equality, but they were doing all this to violate the rights of other people,” Hayes says. “The idea of a social contract is that it protects human rights. But what if you create a social contract to say that we’ll observe rights toward each other, but we won’t observe rights for outsiders?”
Hmmm… Maybe Hayes has a point. Or maybe pirates themselves were an expression of the basic xenophobia that has existed ever since early tribal society. But pirates are a more popular romantic icon these days than simple hunter-gatherers, so Hayes can use them as a selling point. Somehow, the robber barons of today don’t elicit the kind of romantic idol-worship or secret sympathies from the vast amount of us in the out-group they’re busy hijacking day to day.
For the most part, they’re disgusting. Which is why when AIG and other failed brokers and bankers take $70 billion of a trillion-dollar taxpayer bailout to pad the top privateers’ junkets and golden parachutes, the taxpayers aren’t very happy with it. Off with their heads, I say!Filed under Economic Recession, Education, Government Bailouts, Humor, Pirates, Politics | Comment (0)
September 3rd, 2008
While those of us in the less-than 95th percentile of the American income scale celebrated a long Labor Day weekend with family and friends, the 2008 Presidential race heated up, took a bizarre turn, and looks more like a “North Country”-like sit-com every day. The New York Times published some Labor Day editorials that are as remarkably honest as they are politically timely in this era of double-digit inflation for basics like food and fuel, the mortgage crisis tossing millions of families out on the streets, and ever-faster distancing between ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ that can positively cause major depression if you think too much about it.
Why? Because things are getting worse, not better. Our shoestring budgets can no longer be thought of a a temporary condition, but something we’ll have to work with all our lives. This is what op-ed contributor Dalton Conley commented on Tuesday in his opinion piece, Rich Man’s Burden.Economic Prognostication, Education, Holidays, Income Inequality, Inflation, Politics | Comment (0)
August 13th, 2008
My eldest grandson graduated from high school in the top 10% of his class a couple of months ago, for which we are inordinately proud – he was taking courses like advanced biology, pre-calc, physics and advanced literature/writing, which most kids around here avoid like the plague. Now we’re facing the costs of getting him through college, since we raised him and of course we will.
We have had to seriously crimp some of our expectations about how this could happen, as things have changed both personally and societally since our children were in college. First, they don’t give out full scholarships to incoming freshmen around here, no matter how well they do in high school. You have to start with your basic Pell Grant and complete at least two semesters before you’re eligible for scholarship or extra grant money. The Pell Grant won’t come in until the second semester because the process doesn’t even start until the student’s already enrolled, so tuition must be paid up front out of pocket, along with all fees and the cost of textbooks.Alternatives, Back to School, Brand New Used, Discount Outlets, Education, Recycling, Resale | Comment (0)
April 23rd, 2008
Primary and Emergency Care
In response to increasing unaffordability of health insurance in America and justifying his repeated vetos of State Children’s Health Insurance Program [SCHIP] expansions, President George W. Bush declared during an appearance in Cleveland last July that:
“The immediate goal is to make sure there are more people on private insurance plans. I mean, people have access to health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.”
As if that weren’t clueless enough, the New York Times reports today (April 23) that one of the nation’s largest health insurers, UnitedHealth, announced disappointing first-quarter earnings (profits), saying the weakening Economy Has Dented Its Prospects. In short, as premiums rise, employers are dropping insurance plans for their employees, more employees are opting out, and rising unemployment is reflected in increasing numbers of uninsured.
The for-profit industry has also shot itself in the foot by increasing premiums to protect its profits over the quickly rising cost of care, not covering people who may have health problems, and simply refusing to pay for health care for the insured. Medical bills now account for a full half of all bankruptcies in the US, and ER treatment is NOT “free.”Alternatives, Economic Recession, Education, Health Care, Health Maintenance, Prescription Drugs, Surviving | Comment (1)
September 24th, 2007
The Situation: Desperate, as usual
Even as the many politicians line up on both sides of the party divide to try and convince the citizenry they’re the man or woman for ‘The Job’ of cleaning out the mess our current national leadership has made out of D.C. over the past 6 1/2 years, research studies, issue forums and public opinion polls are consistently tracking growing concerns about the state of health care in America. From many worsening indications, it looks like the patient is fading fast.
It’s not just the cost of health care, though at this point a significant majority of the solid middle class is just a single serious illness or accident away from bankruptcy. Rapidly increasing numbers of the insured are discovering that despite paying more for insurance every month than for the mortgage, their for-profit provider will not actually pay for health care. Most insurance companies these days pay whole departments full of people whose only job is to deny coverage. Other companies are requiring larger co-pays and deductibles, even while raising the premiums. And governments have capped the safety net systems (Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP) so that they can’t accept the millions who have fallen through the cracks.Alternatives, Education, First Aid, Health Care | Comment (1)