Cost of college in the US vs Other countries

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by poopscoop, Sep 2, 2013.

  1. poopscoop

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    I'm a sophomore attending a state school in the US, and I'm old enough to realize the massive expense of such an undertaking.

    Tuition and fees run about $5400 a semester for a State resident, and $14,000 out of state.

    Figuring $900 a semester for books, at least $6000 for living expenses, and assorted other costs at $1000, one semester of school costs $13300.

    Assuming an average of 9 semesters for a degree, school costs 106,000 for a state resident.

    Sure, there are scholarships that help out tremendously, but the cost is still completely unrealistic. There are thousands of brilliant people in this country that cannot attend a "good" school, simply because the cost is outrageous. Taking on 40k+ of debt in a questionable economy is out of the question for many people.

    I get offended when people brag about their school, as if they're more intelligent than someone with a degree from a lesser school. An expensive degree means you have money, not that you're smart.

    Why does college cost so much in this country?
    What did your degree cost?
    How does your country handle higher education?
  2. shortbus

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 30, 2009
    We in the US would rather pay some companies to house inmates, rather than invest in schools, of any grade level. Sad but true.
  3. Markd77

    Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2009
    I got paid £500 a year for mine, although now there are tuition fees. My parents only had to pay accomodation, food and beer money.
  4. joeyd999

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 6, 2011
  5. #12


    Nov 30, 2010
    Dangerous water there. Too close to "political" for comfort.;)
    I couldn't risk a rant...I mean response...on that subject.
  6. Delaj

    New Member

    Aug 12, 2013
    I'm actually taking a break from school right now to pay down some of the debt. I don't know how the job market is going to be when I finish so I didn't want to rack up too much debt. I can say that one year abroad cost me less than a year of school here and that was when the pound was a lot mightier than the dollar.
  7. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    University of Michigan was about $2500/semester ca. 1965 - 1969
    Graduate school was about $3500 a semester 1969 - 1970
    It was a lot more in 2001-2004 about $9000 / semester

    Having money alone won't get you into an ivy league school. Those guys really are smarter and faster than you and me. They reach high and sometimes crash and burn.

    Take heart and know that slow and steady usually wins the race.
  8. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    Higher education in Greece is mostly a public good. That means:

    • Completely free attendance of courses. No cost to take courses and exams whatsoever.
    • For the most part free textbooks. The last couple of years there is a restriction of only one free volume. However, that also applies to double volume textbooks and curricula with multiple books.
    • Rent varies greatly from city to city. The colleges have a small amount of rooms for rent, which they lease for free, but you have to be eligible.
    • Free meals are provided (if your stomach can handle them)
    That said, since for the most part everything is free, you can't hold faculty and the state responsible for not doing their job. That's how it works.
  9. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    Why would anyone these days pay $100k for institutional learning when they can learn faster, better, more efficiently and more up to date information on their own (from the internet, public libraries etc)?

    It's NOT the 1800's anymore, universities are no longer the place that has all the information and all the experts. The best information is available freely, and the best experts are likely to be self employed or in the private sector.

    I just think it's ridiculous that people lock themselves into a multi year contract where they have to pay >$100k and still have to learn in a way that is poorly structured and very outdated.
    absf and bance like this.
  10. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009

    1) You need that piece of paper, which was given to you by approved tutors.
    2) For the better or for worse, you can't learn on your own as efficiently and correctly as you would in an academic environment.
    absf likes this.
  11. tindel

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2012
    Whoa, boss! I disagree - is there good information on the internet? Sure. Is there bad information the internet? Yep. Despite how good the AAC textbook is, I still find myself looking in my hard textbooks for answers. Textbooks have loads of information in them that you won't get on the internet.

    Now, having said that, $100k is way overpriced for an education... something has to change. Even state schools are for-profit institutions and are not truly there to serve the people, but are there to line pocketbooks. They will continue to raise prices until demand goes down. I don't see that happening anytime soon - more and more people seem to think they need a higher education... and they do! My employer won't even look at your engineering resume if your gpa was below 3.0.

    I don't know how much it cost us, total, to go to school, I do know that when I started watching my finances closely last year that we had $40k is student loan debt (I am full of BS, and my wife has a MS). That debt has been a huge burden on our marriage - thankfully, we are in a spot where we can accelerate payments, and will hopefully be out of debt next year.

    I really struggle with whether or not to encouraging my child (who is only 3) to go to college and rack up that debt. I know it has hindered our wealth building ability for 6 years, but it also taught us an incredible amount of responsibility to have to pay for our own school. I'm not looking forward to deciding how to care for my child's higher education.

    Some of the best people to work in electronics never graduated from college.

    First-world problems...
  12. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    My layman's thesis is that School costs so much for the same reason health care costs so much. Because it is in supreme demand. The only difference is that health care is in actual supreme demand, and school is in stimulated supreme demand. The people of my generation were made to believe starting in elementary school that everybody needs to go to college, it will be the most important thing we will ever do, and that if don't, we will spend our lives working at McDonald's or digging ditches. So the majority of us went off to college for no other reason than the perceived ill consequences of not going, and created infinitely increasing demand, hence infinitely increasing tuition.
    absf, THE_RB, JoeJester and 1 other person like this.
  13. poopscoop

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    After paying $450 for books and supplies for freshman chemistry, I decided that if I weren't a veteran I would be going to a much cheaper school, rankings be damned. An employer who puts more value into the name on the degree than into demonstrated performance is not an employer for whom I wish to work.

    In the US, military veterans are given massive scholarships, which is one of very few things we're doing right in regards to higher education.
  14. bance


    Aug 11, 2012
    There is something morally reprehensible about a society that does not educate it's offspring, it can only lead to decay. I bet it doesn't happen in China.

    Governments are only too happy to pay for the latest arms, but won't provide sufficient monies for education. IT'S WRONG!

    Regards Steve.
  15. justtrying

    Active Member

    Mar 9, 2011
    well, when I was growing up in USSR, everybody knew you just had to go to University, not because it was free, but because it was higher education. It required a lot of hard work starting from kindergarten. Oh, did I say it was free? And, no not everybody made it, the competition was very intense... only the smartest (or sadly those whose parents knew the right people) got in.

    Anybody thinks that one day it will be like the "Glass Bead Game"? I don't. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge...
  16. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
    I don't know about the UK, but the U.S. provides PELL Grants. Grant money does not get repaid. They also guarantee "low interest" student loans. PELL Grants can be for up to 12 semesters (6 years). These are "investments" in people's education. Those in the military have 10 years after they are discharges to use their Veterans Benefits with respect to education.

    What are the rates in the UK for "drop outs", "attaining certification or Associates degree" and "attaining a bachelors degree." I know the Pell Institute, tracks those statistics in the U.S. Senator Pell, (RI) was instrumental in getting the law passed that created the PELL grant in 1972. It was named for Senator Pell in 1980.

    I tend to think they "earned" the tuitions, and whatever allowances are giving to them to complete their education, but, I'm heavily biased in that issue.

    There are programs to "volunteer" for government service to "forgive" the student loans.

    Are the schools in competition for the dollars? Yes.


    From that Wall Street Journal article, the "dropout" rate is causing concern ...

    and later in the article ...

    The whole article is at ....

    I also found this blog interesting,
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
  17. loosewire

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 25, 2008
    Did the government buy the pell grants from the banks when they took over

    the grant process. Who decided that a free grant is awarded to a student.

    Grades and what else are the factors on who get a truly free grant that does not

    have to be paid back. Adult education is part of the unemployment process ,this

    process has a paid C.E.O. each state having a different name.
  18. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    Well I agree with your point 1, but NEED is only relevant to some career options, ie; being someone's employee.

    And your point 2 is totally wrong. People CAN learn exactly as good as what is taught in the classroom, IF they put in the same effort. And IF they put in the same effort, private learning can be much better as they are not limited to an outdated curriculum, poor teacher or specific textbooks etc.

    Please don't think I am saying everyone at Uni is stupid, because those people of high ability and high desire to learn will become very proficient even when hindered by an outdated classroom environment that caters to the lowest common denominator and forced to use a less than perfect curriculum. However, you should be aware that someone who has the high ability and high desire CAN do even better in private learning.

    I'll disagree with that too. Googling any very recent high-tech topic will yeild a ton of academic white papers etc with the very best and latest research on a subject. Someone of ability and desire can easily get really good information, totally free.

    Your point sounds a bit like Georacer's point 2, which I take to mean that BAD students (ie stupid ones) will learn better in a classroom then they can on their own.

    I'm not concerned with the stupid people, even though it is the focus of many govts these days to reduce unemployment figures by putting stupid/lazy people into Uni instead of on the dole. Is this the situation you want? Lots of lazy stupid people pushed into getting degrees, so they are all competing in the jobs market against the people of ability who actually DESERVE to be there? Coming to forums and asking strangers to design their thesis work for them?

    Absolutely agreed! These days the bulk of university graduates are just a slightly better educated slave class. They are not prepped to be truly successful in life, ie become masters/business owners etc all they are good for is being someone's employee and hoping they get an occasional pay rise every few years.

    I don't think the costs are really high because of high demand. The costs are really high because of TERRIBLE efficiencies. Education managers making money decisions are not spending their own money!

    You could educate a group of 20 students in my garden, for the cost of a teachers wage and some photocopying etc. And with good teaching, they would get an excellent education and very high skill level! Total cost not much more than 1 wage / X students.

    The system is broken, govts want to reduce unemplyment figures so they push people into higher education which provides some years of relief to unemployment figures. Parents buy into it as they would prefer their child to have the "higher" educated future. But what percentage of people in society need to be engineers? What percentage of truck drivers or waiters to we need?

    What is happenning now is that all those people that SHOULD have been waiters and truck drivers go to Uni, rack up $100k+ debt, try to compete in the jobs market but can't as there are too many degrees, and so, they end up back as waiters and truck drivers...
    absf, shortbus and strantor like this.
  19. Georacer


    Nov 25, 2009
    For the first paragraph, I take it as a prerequisite. Otherwise, it's a plain bad life choice.

    As for the second, yeah, I see that every day.
  20. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
    I agree with all that, but I'm still sold on the high demand thesis. Probably has to do with inefficiency also, but I think more with demand. You made a good point with the degree too, it's like a collar. Wearing a collar doesn't necessarily mean you have to wear a chain, but the whole purpose of wearing a collar is so that can wear a chain.