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Tuition economics 101: Pick a college you can afford

Would you sell your home, put off retirement or dip into your 401(k) to buy a Lamborghini or Hermes handbag for your teenager? Didn’t think so. Then why do so many status-minded parents insist on buying their kids a “designer” education at an expensive private university? Plenty of accredited public schools offer a better value and a solid education.

An Ivy League degree certainly will grab attention. But what about the degrees from other smaller private schools? Are they really better than the one from the University of Illinois? Do the math. Save your money. Save yourselves. And save this generation from mortgaging their future.

Today’s students are well aware of the lurking financial burden once they leave the books and toga parties behind. A recent UCLA study said two out of three freshmen had “some” or “major” concerns about how they’ll pay for college. In no way are public university students immune. Consider the recent case of the 35-year-old Illinois State University graduate student whose family said he killed himself because he couldn’t pay $100,000 in student loans. Consumer protections for those taking out loans have been watered down in the last decade, and big lenders like Sallie Mae made things more difficult by persuading Congress to remove bankruptcy protection from private loans.

It doesn’t have to be so bleak. We can stick it to the big lenders by borrowing less, by sending students to cheaper schools maybe even having them live at home and attend community college, transferring later to a four-year college. Ultimately, what students do in college is more important than where they.

From the Peoria Journal Star: 

–Associated Press

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