From Mod Squad Pete…10 Reasons to Skip the Expensive Colleges

This weekend, the one-way college article flow became two-way. Thanks, Pete!

UVA Admissions TweetI’ve been blogging about the college search / finance / admissions world since May, but I’ve been reading articles and books on this topic since, oh, 2008 or so. My husband and I have sent each other links to college-related articles at least since then.

I just checked when I started sending college info to Mod Squad Pete. I think the screenshot above was the first one, in January of this year, and right about the time he was picking senior year courses.

There weren’t as many emails as I thought there had been.McGill Jazz Orchestra / The Stones Project Most times it was something I truly thought would interest him, like McGill tweeting that the McGill Jazz Orchestra performed with members of the Rolling Stones band. Sometimes, I admit, I have sent along information I thought he should know [and he probably didn’t care about knowing], saying, “Please read this.”

Saturday, Pete turned the tables and sent a link to us, writing, “Check this out.”

Please see this article from Yahoo, courtesy of Reader’s Digest, written about a new book, Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids — And What We Can Do About It. The book looks worth reading.

Here’s one clip from the article:

1. Beginning adulthood without debt is worth far more than a designer diploma.

The authors’ No. 1 rule for parents: Don’t let your child go into debt for college. In 2010, almost two thirds of undergraduates borrowed money, and student-loan debt outpaced credit card debt for the first time. The College Board likes to say that a typical senior graduates with “only” $24,000 in debt, but with interest, collection charges, and penalties for postponed payments, the amounts owed can exceed $100,000. If you ever default on a federal student loan (and the rate of defaults is rising), you’ll be hounded for life. Lenders can garnish your wages, intercept your tax refunds, and have your professional license revoked. You can’t work for the government or collect your social security. “People have been sold this propaganda: ‘The rates are so low; just get a loan,’ ” Dreifus says. “The long-term effect is to cripple your children.”

Been over-impressed by college facilities when taking the tour? Another clip:

6. Don’t be seduced by the luxuries they show you on the tour.

Today’s students get suites, private bathrooms, and food courts with chefs that make sushi and Dijon chicken, not to mention jumbo Jacuzzis and five-story climbing walls. It’s all part of an extravagant amenities race that’s helping to push up tuition rates. “When we sneaked in on parent/student tours across the country, we were shocked at the number of questions parents asked about amenities,” Dreifus says. “A college doesn’t have to look like Club Med. In fact, I’d say you should be suspicious if a school has a lot of amenities. When a college has every kind of plaything, that tells you something about its priorities.”

We’ve discussed with Pete, more than once, that college value has to be a part of his decision process. Having him send us this information — that we hadn’t seen — confirms that he gets it. Of course, it was just nice that he bothered to send it.

When I asked Pete about sending the article, he said, “Must have been an accident.”

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Filed under Paying for College

3 responses to “From Mod Squad Pete…10 Reasons to Skip the Expensive Colleges

  1. So glad you shared info about this book. I’m definitely going to read it. Have you read Debt-Free U by Zac Bissonnette? Also a worthwhile read. Preparing for college academically is only one part of the entire equation. Making sound financial decisions, both for the family as a whole and for the student as an emerging adult, are critically important and now more than ever before. I’m glad your son “gets it” whether by learning or by “accident.”

  2. Pingback: Student Loan Debt Climbs «

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