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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Sunday March 03, 2002
03:57 PM

Das Schulkapital

[ #3268 ]
Dear Log,

«"We've given the youngest members of society permission to get into debt to get an education... it's no longer a sign of inadequacy."»
-- Young people 'boast about their debts'

«The Barclays graduate debt survey last year estimated that most students would graduate owing £10,000. The NUS estimates £12,000.
The Department for Education and Skills condemned the NUS claims as "irresponsible and untrue".
A spokesman [irrelevently!] said: "Graduates can expect to earn on average 35% more in earnings than the national average - an extra £400,000 over a lifetime. Thankfully, most students have not been deterred by such scaremongering."»
-- "Students 'would be better off on [unemployment] benefit'"

I love how the "lifetime earnings" argument always comes up when one is defending governments making people pay for their university schooling.

The problem is that one could clearly extend this argument to all of schooling: "Why should we taxpayers bother to pay for elementary schools at all? Studies show that if you don't go to elementary school, you'll make a bazillion dollars less in your lifetime earnings! So it only makes good financial sense for you to borrow yourself senseless!"
Yow! Do I live in the third world yet?

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  • <generalization mode="on">
    I sometimes wonder if this debt accounts for some of the differences between my generation (graduated from college 10 years ago) and my parents' (baby boomers). When they went to college they generally didn't have to worry about being $20K in debt after graduation -- and that's just for undergraduate education, in a public state school! So they were freer to mosey around the country, go to rock concerts in new york, fart around for a few years trying to experience life and figure out what they wanted to do. And then they criticized us because we didn't have any big dreams when we got out of school while never acknowledging the luxuries they had.

    Not that my parents did any of that, I'm just saying...

    • Speaking with my Merican hat on...

      There are a lot of differences between the generations. The economy was way different a generation or two ago. Colleges were a reasonable way to absorb a large number of GI's coming back from WWII, and they were also a haven for those who didn't want to go to Vietnam. What was once a blessing became a luxury, and is now almost a requirement to participate in the economy.

      Of course, this too shall pass. When I was in high school, practically everyone was preparing to

      • Well, at least not if you're ingenious. My college [] just crossed the 30K a year boundary. Of that, I pay 6 or 7K, my parents pay 5 or 6K, and scholarships, grants, and work study pick up the rest. Admittedly, I'm something of a special case because I get $18K in academic scholarships from various sources, but it's still doable even if you don't have that.

        The problem is only going to get worse, because these days you essentially need some sort of graduate degree to get the really cool jobs that you used to b

        • $30,000/year! Kee-rist! I laughed when my dad predicted that he'd need to cover $100,000 for tuition alone for my two brothers -- at a cheap school! Sad thing is that he was right, but that was just a ballpark figure.

          When I started, my school was fluttering just over $8,000/year for tuition. Upperclassmen were complaining about how high that was. When I left, tuition was pushing (or just over) $13,000. Oh, and this was the original Macintosh University, so lots of people were complaining about the o

  • I spent three years in university. It did provide me with a solid ground of knowledge which has never ceased to be of help, even though I gave up (I was studying philosophy). Much of that knowledge was gained through the time it gave me to muck around and meet interesting people that had weird ideas.

    One of the reasons I wasn't afraid of mucking around and spending time thinking on my own or talking to interesting people was because a year in university (and not any university, La Sorbonne) cost onl


    -- Robin Berjon []

    • Wow. I think if college cost that little in the US I'd never leave :-) (Or at least my wife's graduate school student loan payments would be nonexistent...)
      • Hehe. Some people pretty much never leave (or take their time doing so) but they're a tiny minority. I'd be willing to bet that you might want to take advantage of it a little and stay there, say, a year more than you would have otherwise, but that you'd eventually get bored with hanging around and not "doing something of your life" (I don't know how to express this in a way that sounds positive ;).

        I could've stayed there. In fact, young as I am I could still be there, probably doing a thesis or so


        -- Robin Berjon []

    • That sounds typically French. :-) Pity more of the world can't be that way...

      There was a human interest story about a reporter this past summer. (Must have been a slow news day.) His wife was was very ill while they were visiting Paris. So they go to the hospital, and the Doctors manage to treat her condition (whatever it was).

      As they're about to leave the hospital, the husband (the reporter) askes the lead physican "How much do I owe for my wife's treatment?"

      The physician, dumbfounded, responds b