Friday, August 23, 2013

Colleges' Money-sucking Secrets

If this is the first year your little darling is going to school, then you know college is VERY expensive. You do not get what you pay for either when it comes to pricey campuses either. Most colleges insist freshmen have to stay on campus to get the “college experience.”

*Loosely translated we will charge you extravagant fees for a tiny room and a meal ticket. Few things you need to know about the door. Things disappear a lot. Roommates are sometimes the culprit. The roommate smokes pot in the room, your child is culpable too. Other words, he faces penalty for the roommate’s behavior. Even expulsion from the room you already paid for and there are no refunds.

*Dorms are not as safe as advertised. People who do not have rooms in the dorm often get in because they follow someone in, claim they are visiting someone, or a student props the door open because of a forgotten pass key. Often expensive schools are shiny opportunities for theft to the poorer communities surrounding the school.

* Security figures used in brochures often aren’t correct. Sexual assault, assault and theft handled by the campus police never make it to the regular police. As you can guess that would be bad publicity for the school. You’d do better to talk to a random student and not a handpicked ambassador.

*Dorm supplies are an unneeded expense. See what you have at home. Most things will be ruined while others end up in the trash at the end of the year because students didn’t want to go to the trouble of packing. Boys are more accepting of what they get. Trust me, I’ve moved children in and out of college and am amazed what is tossed. Towels, blankets, textbooks, even furniture crowd the dumpster.

  * The food at your child’s could be good or barely edible, but he has to get there at the right time to eat it. Schedules are not planned around your when the kitchen is open. My daughter consistently missed supper because of her classes. Most schools don’t provide meals on the weekend. The expensive meal plan has to be supplemented with other food. Often schools force the freshmen to take the most expensive meal plan. What is up with that?

Surveys have shown 70% of students who enter school do not graduate. Most leave after the first year. Colleges have to squeeze as much money out of the incoming freshmen as they possibly can. Students and parents wise up after staying around a few years.

In the olden days, you spent two years taking general core classes and thinking about your major. College wants your child to sign up for specific classes first. This way when your daughter decides she doesn’t want to be an art major, she’s tacked on another two years of school.  A college or university that let you sign up for core classes first is praiseworthy.

Books can be a major expense. One that often doesn’t merit the bucks spent. Many professors assign several books while only using one or specify the newest edition. Students can get by with older versions, buying them used online, electronic versions even checking them out from the library or renting them. Ask the teacher what book is the most important to have.

When your student is almost ready to graduate, an official will come around and tell them they need to sign up for graduate school. Most will be told they will not be able to get a job in their profession without going to graduate school. This isn’t true. It is often counter-productive. New college graduate only merit starting positions staying in college longer does not make you smarter. Often companies will hire the student with the BS first. If the company wants you to have a higher degree, they will have a tuition reimbursement program.  

What can you do to beat some of these expenses?

 Commute (This will save you food and housing expenses.)

·         Say you are commuting if you live less than an hour away. Look for an apartment. It will be much cheaper than the dorm, especially if you share it. After your first year, no one cares if you live off campus.
              Take your first two years of core classes at a junior college. This will save you thousands.

·         Don’t buy new stuff for the dorm. Cute items grow legs and walkaway. Items get lost too.

·         Have a fridge and microwave and buy food. It is cheaper and more dependable than a meal ticket.

·         Don’t buy your books from the bookstore, even used books. Their ideal of a discount on used books is $6. Don’t sell your books to the college bookstore either. Then the $125 book becomes worth only $12 bucks, but next semester it will sell for $92 to another gullible student. Renting books from Clegg is inexpensive. You can even borrow eTextbooks from Barnes and Noble.

There are endless expenses associated with higher education. Why pay more?

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