Paying for College: Risk Versus Reward

The 1200% increase in college tuition over the last four decades, outpacing inflation by nearly 1000%, is Reason Number One parents often anxiously ask me about how their kid can apply for scholarships. As the conversation unfolds, many often also reveal having saved some for their children’s college expenses, though the amount is woefully inadequate, and are now looking for…

Continue Reading

College Tuition Increase = College Value Decrease?

For many higher education institutions, like the University of California (UC), the fiscal losses are growing as the health emergency extends, precipitating the need for a tuition increase. As reported in a December 12 Los Angeles Times article:  Systemwide, UC took a $2.7-billion financial hit between March and October — about 6.5% of its $41.6-billion operating budget, mainly from lost…

Continue Reading

College Tuition Discounts To Continue

Private universities discounted tuition in the form of merit scholarships and grants nearly 50% on average in the 2019-20 school year. Furthermore, tuition discounts for the 2020-21 school are forecasted to be 52.6% for full time, first year students, according to data from National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). And, in the current COVID-induced disruption of higher…

Continue Reading

The Downside of the Academic Meritocracy

The sentiments of a current second-year college student attending a public flagship university in California when reflecting on the perils of the academic meritocracy: Rewarding/punishing requires less effort [by faculty and students] though, making it the easier default [system for measuring academic performance]. Assigning expectations, whether positive or negative, is a low-effort path that leads to lots of power/authority [on…

Continue Reading

FinAidMenuImage

“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”

So, said Warren Buffet, net worth $86 billion. Tuition can be a measurement of value, as in, “What’s the value of the education for the number of dollars exchanged?” When families question the “affordability” of a particular college, as in, “Do I have enough money to pay for X College?”, they’re in essence determining the value of one college’s education for…

Continue Reading

Common Application Image

Can I Change My 650 Word Common Application Essay After Submitting It?

Updated: November 2020 from the original posted in July 2018 The short answer is yes…with an *.  [See Below] But, like any life-impacting decision, the short answer doesn’t account for the complexities of choosing a college.  And, the last three words are what’s most important to keep in mind:  YOU, the applicant, are the one who’s doing the choosing of…

Continue Reading

FinAidMenuImage

The 2021-22 FAFSA Is Open

The 2021-22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA, which U.S. universities use to determine what, if any, financial assistance for families, opened on October 1, 2020. Parents and students can submit the form online, only requiring some time and patience to complete, what can, on first glance, be reminiscent of a complex tax form. Furthermore,…

Continue Reading

Is Sentiment the Cost Now that Freedom Has Been Lost?

The Modern College, a place where students guided by mentors, supported by peers, experiment with adult responsibilities, free to discover their life’s purpose, only impersonates its Pre-COVID self.  To mitigate health risks of the pandemic, in March and again in Fall 2020, university administrators are restricting students’ freedoms, for which they believe they must, yet, in doing so, their actions…

Continue Reading

The Shrinking American Middle Class, Part 5

Caption: Jen Grantham/Getty Images/iStockphoto Although the causes behind the shrinking of the American middle class are complicated, the interdependent, economic relationship with the modern American educational industrial complex is not in doubt.  As academic achievements plateau at the average, middle class families are spending more funds to supplement educational experiences, like extracurricular activities. Additionally, greater middle class wealth is spent…

Continue Reading

Student Loan Interest Rates for 2020-21

Federal student loan interest rates for the upcoming 2020-21 school year will be set lower than the 2019-20 school year. The 2020-21 rates will be as follows: Undergraduate Direct Loans: 2.75% Graduate Student Direct Loans: 4.3% Parent PLUS Loans: 5.3% Student loan interest rates are set annually and apply to any loan taken during that school year. The interest rates…

Continue Reading

Understanding “Why College?” Is More Important Than Ever

On May 11, administrators at Northwestern University, a 169 year old institution, ranked #9 National University according to US News & World Report with a $10.8 Billion endowment fund, announced expense reductions, including: furloughing 250 staff, halting hiring, suspending contributions to pensions, as well as cutting salaries for university administrators. For the second year in a row, Northwestern administrators are…

Continue Reading

Governor Newsom Proposes $1 Billion Cut to California Community Colleges

Last Thursday, May 14, California Governor Newsom announced 2020-21 budget revisions, including cuts to higher education, given the projected $54 billion loss of state revenues. Although he proposes a $376 million cut to the University of California (UC) system affecting 285,000 students and a $404 million cut affecting 500,000 California State University (CSU) students, the $1 Billion cut to California’s…

Continue Reading

The value of a college education

In my recent conversation with Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle, I discussed the changes to the college admissions process starting in Fall 2021, as well as sentiment about the value of a college education. Although colleges are non-profit organizations, which in the collective culture are imagined to be altruistic endeavors where the potential of the young is discovered,…

Continue Reading

More Fiscal Reckoning for Public Colleges

In 2019, average state funding per full time college student was still lower than the 2009 levels, the beginning of The Great Financial Crisis. Given projected reductions in state revenues for 2020, higher education leaders will likely again experience reductions in state subsidies starting this fall, as we discussed earlier. Students would be wise to understand how reduced funding may…

Continue Reading