US Education

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Hache, Jul 22, 2011.

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  1. Hache

    Hache Well-Known Member

    I have some questions, possibly an area of debate as well.

    I'm from the UK so I do not know the way education is set up, i'm talking about college/university. For those after 18/19 years old, or whatever age the final stage of education is.

    Because of TV I often hear of a "College fund"

    Is the best education in the US only for the rich? Is it the parents responsibility for their childs education?

    Here in the UK parents play no role in funding their childs education. Those from the poorest backgrounds can go to the best universities in the country if they were good enough in school. To put those universities into perspective 20 of Europe's best 50 universities are in Britain. Everyone here is entitled to a student loan (rich or poor) which does not have to be paid back until you earning over a particular income, and even then they only take 1 or 2% of your wage until you've paid it off. The student is reponsible for their own debt, not the parents at all.

    The amount of programmes I see from the US where there is emphasis on the stress of a college fund is unreal.

    So my question is how big is this elitism? If it exsists at all? I know you have scholarships which I assume bridges part of the gap.
  2. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Students are often awarded a grant through the federal government called a Pell Grant, which awards up to $5,000 I believe. The federal government also offers different types of student loans: Subsidized (the government pays the interest during school, grace periods and deferments), Unsubsidized (the borrower pays both principle and interest), PLUS (parents borrow the loan in their name for their dependent students in college AND grad school after college, at a slightly higher interest rate), and Consolidation loans which is a loan that bundles all the federal loans together at a capped interest rate.

    Schools offer scholarships and grant awards as well, and private companies and individuals also offer scholarships through essay competitions, for being an ethnic minority, being a single parent, etc which students can apply to receive. Many schools here also have alumni grants, which cover part of the tuition cost for students not on full scholarships, they award to students every year as long as they maintain good academic standing.

    Although tuition is rising at almost every school in the US (there were protests against a recent hike in public universities in California to 50 thousand dollars per year), the amount awarded from the government to needy students has barely increased at all. Attending private school runs up to 60 thousand dollars per year for more expensive schools. Even state schools (public) can have costs up to 25 to 30 thousand dollars per year, and even higher in California.

    What happens to a majority of students attending university here is, unless they're receiving full scholarships, they end up with a gap, and have to resort to borrowing loans from private banks to fill in the gap. After four years of doing that, the debt from those loans can range from as little as 10 thousand to as much as 100 thousand dollars by the time the student graduates.

    But it's not so bad. Loan conditions are flexible and allow students to repay on terms that meet their income to debt ratio most favorably; for example, all of the federal student loans come with terms that allow the borrower to defer payment on those loans whenever they become unemployed, or unable to make payments, in addition to income-sensitive terms where a small percentage of income is calculated and payments become according to that amount. Federal loans have an infinite amount of times a borrower can defer repayment, as long as they can document that they're unable to pay.

    However, private bank terms for repayment are tighter, and some limit the number of deferment or forbearance periods a borrower can have; after those are exhausted, no other options are available to the borrower, and they may end up in default on those loans after missing a certain number of payments. These are loans that aren't forgiven in the event of death, or bankruptcy, whereas government loans are in most cases.

    So the best education is not necessarily only for the rich because there are so many options. There are excellent top-ranked universities in the US which are not very expensive nor private, such as the University of California at Los Angeles, and UC at Berkeley, University of Virginia, Universities of Michigan, and North Carolina, and a slew of other public colleges and universities that come at a lower price, yet are at the same level, if not better, as expensive private schools such as Brown, Columbia, and Cornell.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 22, 2011
  3. Hache

    Hache Well-Known Member

    Doesnt sound as bad as its made out then, thanks.
  4. Mikeintx

    Mikeintx Well-Known Member

    It's not that bad if you have a plan and don't jump into a worthless degree for the sake of going to college. I think the issue is more with the mindset of everything HAS to immediately go to college after high school which a lot of people do, then party, then get a worthless degree with no skills for future employment, and then bitch about being in debt for 60k with nothing to show for it. If someone has a passion for something they can start at community college getting grants to cover most of it(so no debt), then transfer to a university for their final couple of years(again getting grants to help, part time job etc).
  5. Zurkhardo

    Zurkhardo Well-Known Member

    I agree with this sentiment strongly. There is no doubt that the education system is flawed in it's own way, but that doesn't mean you cannot work around the challenges. It's simply a matter of better planning, time management, and money management.
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