After two weeks with no school, I was getting excited about going to work tomorrow. I was e-mailing students, Skyping with my family, cooking my lunch for The Big Day, and just all-around in good spirits. Then, something came along that pissed me off.
I’ve purposely not disclosed the name of the college I graduated from in past posts. I’m disclosing it now: Duke University.
Duke sent me the link to this NPR article because I’m a graduate. In this article The Powers That Be attempt to justify its high tuition rate.
Even I didn’t know it was at $60,000 now. I almost fell out of my chair when I read that.
I thought maybe I didn’t know my place values after all. But, no. My second grade Math teacher taught me well. That’s the price, and it’s rising.
And. It’s. A. Damn. Shame.
Like I’ve said before, I got a great education. Was it worth the amount of debt I’m in? Nope, not at all.
For those who say working would have reduced the loan debt, let’s be real. No part-time job while going to school full time is going to make ends meet when $60,000 is on one end. No work-study job (which limits the amount of money you can make), coupled with an off-campus part-time job, while going to school full time is going to make ends meet.
If I had attempted the latter I probably would’ve failed out anyways. Working full time and getting my master’s was a juggling act that I have vowed never to repeat in life.
All that is to say I don’t care what the movies or documentaries say about people who worked three jobs, went to school full time, earned their B.A. with honors and did it all while saving the world. They’re the exceptions that prove the rule (See: The Anecdotal Fallacy).
Then there’s another argument: but what about financial aid? I know; Duke claims that it gives competitive aid packages.
I know my aid package was steadily shrinking even while tuition was rising. Duke left me feeling like I was in a business setting more than an academic setting when it came to financial aid. There was always some reason why I was getting “the right amount of money” that my sticker-shocked brain didn’t understand.
Stupidly, I turned to loans when I should’ve turned to a cheaper school.
Well, my family should’ve prepared more financially.
True, we should’ve. We bought into the myth that working hard from K-12 would pay off though. That’s the story that has been told to my generation again and again (I know what story I won’t say to my children!). Even more, I had too much ego. I wanted that name brand school. We all know what happens to people who get caught up with that nonsense. They end up going broke and telling their story on Oprah. I haven’t reached that level…yet.
You’re just whining. That’s what’s wrong with your generation. You’re too entitled.
Very, very true. The amount of entitlement I harbor is disgusting. Yet who taught us how to be so entitled? I didn’t teach that to myself. But, to not point fingers, I’m trying to un-learn my entitlement affect on a daily basis. The Real World is helping me very nicely with that.
In all seriousness though, my response to all of this is but what about the middle class? What about the people who, thankfully, don’t struggle financially but don’t make enough to afford the “top quality education we as a society proclaim everyone should have access to”?
Or maybe that’s not what we as a society are saying. I mean, that’s definitely not what Rick Santorum is saying.
I’m saying it right now: as long as I remain teaching I can’t even fathom how my own children will be able to go to Duke without being overburdened with loans like I was.
I’m not even going to get into the debate with that one, but one woman admittedly turned to porn to pay for Duke while Duke is trying to justify tuition spikes when it’s moving entourages of researchers???
I’m an educator. I get it. I value education. People need to learn and research. But even I can smell the BS all the way in South America with my cold and allergy-damaged nose. I don’t understand entourages in the music industry and I don’t understand them in education.
I close with the comment I posted on the article (two weeks late) because I need to take my angry
ass self to sleep:
I just now came across this because my alma mater–Duke–emailed it to me. Duke’s argument infuriates me. I got a great education. I’ll never deny that. The amount of debt that I (foolishly) racked up to get it is not worth it. Period. Duke is a for-profit business pretending it’s a non-profit organization. That’s the main lesson I walked away with when I graduated.
I’ve got work to do tomorrow. I’m educating the babies.