College Costs: the Horror, the Horror

Image result for images of wheelbarrow full of college tuition money

Yesterday at the vet’s, when I heard what my bill was going to be–round it off to $500–I could not repress an exclamation. “Holy cow! I used to get a whole year at Rutgers, for that kind of money!”

Behind the counter, a woman’s eyebrows shot up almost high enough to stick to the ceiling.

“Five hundred dollars?” she cried. “You went to Rutgers for $500?”

“Well, yeah, that’s what it cost me, per year.”

She waved her hands. “I’m paying $24,000 a year!”

That’s 48 times what I paid. I wonder if the education is 48 times better.

“You shouldn’t have to pay for schooling,” said the other staffer. I don’t know what planet she thought she was on.

“People don’t value things that they don’t have to pay for,” I said. “So, yes, you should pay for your college. But not that much! Nowhere near that much!”

Really! Say you fritter away four years at Rutgers, although nowadays more and more people seem to need five years instead of four to get a bachelor’s degree. Four years at Rutgers, and you’ve spent $96,000 (not counting a multitude of mandatory fees). You’re either in the hole for it yourself, or your family’s in the hole for it, or you’ve got a whopping great student loan that you have to pay back somehow.

How do you even get a start in life, with that kind of monkey–or rather, 800-lb. gorilla–on your back?

“Yeahbut-yeahbut-yeahbut! That’s why we need universal student debt forgiveness! And free college tuition for all!”

Pure prattle. No matter what they do, someone’s still going to get left holding the bag. The only question is, who? My money’s on the undefended taxpayer.

Twenty-four gees, just to sit there getting a general college education. The real stuff, like engineering, say, costs more. The twenty-four big ones is for studying the marxist feminist aspects of that stuff that builds up between your toes.

And saints preserve us from the stuff that builds up between your ears!

(Old joke: “I thought this was supposed to make me smarter! By Jove, I’ve wasted all that money!” Reply: “See? You’re getting smarter already.”)

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

30 responses to “College Costs: the Horror, the Horror

  • Lydia Potter

    Yep! That’s college. Mine is going to be about $24,000 too.

    Liked by 1 person

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    How many graduates from college actually go into a career that they majored in? I would guess less than 50%. The Federal Reserve Bank of NY says 27%.


  • Laura

    My sister’s job is paying for her college. She only pays $31 a month. It’s online, but it’s an actual accredited degree in cyber security.


  • unknowable2

    What we need is not free tuition or debt forgiveness; we need effective education which prepares you for the job market. The tragedy is that after paying exorbitant tuitions, many grads come away with little more than a sheepskin, and sadly many of them come away with an inflated sense of worth as if their degree makes them smarter/better than people with real world experience.


    From the perspective of age, one’s views change. I can remember vividly being the same age you are right now. It seemed like the world didn’t appreciate my abilities or my intense desire to learn and to succeed, but in retrospect, I needed to learn from experience and that can be tough. I don’t know what your plans are, but I’d suggest that you plan your career by incorporating as many different perspectives as possible. Let me elaborate.

    I love my job as a Network Engineer, but I greatly prefer working outdoors and I prefer working independently. To be honest, if I had it to do over again, I’d probably choose a different path. Plainly stated, I love what I do, but don’t like that I have to do my job indoors. Fortunately, I am able to work independently, most of the time.

    There is also the matter of balance between working with people and working with things. A manager works with people and applies their experience and skills to keeping a team functioning properly. I once knew a man that did NDT (non destructive testing) of aircraft and spent virtually all of his time working with objects, not people.

    No career turns out to be as we imagined it. We live under the same curse that was pronounced upon Adam and we usually have at least some degree of adversity in our occupations. The best we can do is to find something we like well enough that we are willing to accept the aspects of our job which we find less enjoyable.

    Again, using myself as an example; I think I would prefer to be a field tech, working on some sort of specialized equipment. There are downsides, field techs tend to take the brunt of their customers’ wrath when there are problems, but when I’ve done this sort of work in the past, I’ve always felt that the freedom and mobility of the job more than made up for the occasional venting by customers that felt victimized because a piece of equipment failed.

    But in any field, there are factors which can make or break the deal. A friend was a commodities broker, but felt that the regulatory and reporting requirements made the job impossible to enjoy. So he became an advisor, with regard to financial matters, and has done quite well.

    I know that you’ve mentioned teaching, and I see the appeal. I did some teaching myself and enjoyed working with kids. However, in the public schools, and to a great extent in private and charter schools, there are a lot of restrictions and it can be rough from a Christian perspective. I’m not saying to give up on teaching, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that there are a lot of requirements made of teachers.

    One other thing to consider is advancement. I suffer from a dread condition of needing to advance. Not everyone does, but no matter what I do, I need room to advance, or I’ll be unhappy. I’m not saying that this is a good thing, but at least I recognize this about myself.

    On the other hand, there are some levels to which I would not want to advance. When I worked for the government, I was a GS 11, which was a technical position. I could have moved up to a GS 12 and stayed in a technical role, but most GS 13s spent all day in meetings, which I would hate. So my career path was limited. One reason I left the government is because I would never have been happy stuck in one place and never would have wanted the career paths open to me in that situation.

    What I’m suggesting here is thinking forward to what you want as a career path. There are jobs where you can do the same thing for your entire career and some people prefer that sort of career. There are other jobs which allow you to advance in different directions. Sales people can become sales managers. Techs in some fields end up as inspectors or even doing testing.

    One other thing you might look into is career testing. There are accepted tests, such as the Meyers Briggs test, which reveal some interesting things about your personality. These test results can be used for career recommendations that you might never have thought of. For instance, I’d have been a good insurance adjuster. I never would have thought of that one.

    The last thing I would advise is to value yourself. When I see fine young people, I see a lot of potential and I see optimism. Those are valuable traits. I’ve hired a few people in my day and I am interested in two things when I hire; experience and character. Experience is something you gain, frequently by doing the toughest jobs, and character is your core values. Build upon your core character and you will be bound to succeed.


  • ragnarsbhut

    If someone does not have the financial assets to pay for college, then don’t go to college. Whining about the costs is childish.


  • ragnarsbhut

    Lee Duigon, here is a video for you: The young woman in this video has no grasp of reality. Just demanding that college be free is absurd.


    • leeduigon

      Let’s see, a trillion dollars or more in debt, government “forgives” the debt ’cause that would be “fair”–fair to whom? Who winds up eating that trillion-dollar wipeout? But thanks to our swell education system, these nincompoops have no idea where money comes from or how wealth is generated. She must think it grows on trees.

      Maybe if they didn’t have to pay and pension fat-heads teaching Gender Studies, college would be cheaper. But if everybody has to go to college, then you’ll need to expand with all sorts of courses and degree programs that any moron can pass.


  • ragnarsbhut

    Lee Duigon, to simplify things, if the benefit of a certain thing outweighs the cost, you may spend a good amount of money in the short-term, however, you will reap long-term benefits. If the cost outweighs the benefits, then it is ultimately not worth the time or risk of financial assets to pursue said endavor. “Free” college may come at no cost/expense to the person who wants it, however, that will incur costs to other people.


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