Tag Archives: Higher education

Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 4/5

Did you know that about half of students that start college leave before they graduate and of those that go on to graduate, only half end up working in the field he or she graduated in.

However, the average pay of a college graduate, according to the US Census clearly shows that the earnings of workers with college degrees out earn workers without a college education.

Annual median earnings (in 2010 dollars) – Source: US Census

1. high school dropout = $26,313 (based on 4.2 million workers)
2. high school graduate = $37,237 (21 million workers)
3. Bachelor’s degree or more = $67,719 (24.56 million workers)

Now, back to the question I asked in Part 3 about the price of a car, averages wages, cost for a gallon of gas, loaf of bread, and hamburger meat.

The average cost of a car in 1970 was $3,450.  In 2008, it was $27,958—800% increase

The average annual wage in 1970 was $9,400, and in 2008, it was $40,523—431% increase

Note: My first year as a full time public-school teacher in California (1978-79), my annual pay was $11,000. The average starting salary today is $35,760—more than three times what I started with in 1978.  However, the CPI Inflation Calculator says my 1978 starting teacher salary was equal to the buying power of $56,852,66 today. I had no idea my pay was that good back then and I was still making payments on my student loan.

The average cost for a gallon of gasoline in 1970 was 35 cents. In 2008, it was $2.05—586% increase—today the average national price of a gallon of gasoline was $3.63—1,037% increase compared to 1970.

Bread was 25 cents in 1970 and $2.79 in 2008—1,116% increase

A pound of hamburger meat cost 70 cents in 1970 and was $3.99 in 2009—570% increase

The last comparison and the most difficult to find was comparing college costs between the 1970s and today, and I did not find these facts from the traditional media.  I found them from colleges and the government.

What is the media trying to hide and why or is it just poor reporting?

From the University of Texas at Austin, I discovered, “Since 1970 tuition and fees at UT have risen tremendously; for undergraduates, the increase has been around 400 percent. In 1970, tuition was $50 for any in-state student enrolled in any college or school for any number of credit hours. Fees were $54 for anyone enrolled at the University. In the Fall semester of 2002, you won’t get a twelve hour course load for less than $2,300.”

From the Congressional Budget Office, I learned that “in 1970 the average tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduate students was $690. In 1986, the average cost was $2,310.”

Then from College, I discovered,The cost for one year of tuition and fees varies widely among colleges. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2011–2012 school year was $28,500 at private colleges, $8,244 for state residents at public colleges, and $20,770 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.”

Comparing tuition and fees of public colleges from then to today shows a 1,194% increase since 1970 or a 356% increase since 1986. Private colleges cost much more as you can see but no one has to attend a private college. To keep prices down, a student may spend the first two years at a community college, then transfer in his third year to a four-year state college near his home.

Continued August 18, 2012 in  Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 5 or return to Part 3


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 1/5

This morning before I started work on the final draft of this series of posts, I saw that the media painted grandparents as victims of evil student debt.

AnnaMaria Andriotis writing for the Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money said, “Tens of thousands of retirees have fallen behind on student loans—and the feds are coming after their Social Security benefits.”

I’m sure that many reading this will disagree with me but in my opinion, if grandpa signed for the loan and the payments come from Social Security, too bad. I do not care what the reason was for the loan. In most of these cases, parents/grandparents cosigned for the student loan of a child or grandchild in college. I have a sister-in-law that co-signed for $60,000 in student loans for her oldest son so he could attend Stanford (he spent some of this borrowed money on a trip to Europe).

If that had been my son, he would have started at a community college for the first two years and then transfered to a state college to earn his BA, and because I am a former US Marine and Vietnam veteran, the tuition would have been zero in California—one of the benefits of putting your life-on-the-line for your country.

If common sense were involved and the grandparent/parent wasn’t sure the child was making smart choices in college, what happened to the word “NO, I won’t sign! Get a job!”?

And then kick them out of the house or cut them off without a dime.

My parents grew up during the Great Depression and when I graduated from high school, I was told, go to college or pay rent, so I made a third choice and joined the US Marines and went straight to Vietnam after boot camp.

Maybe student loans are debt slavery (aren’t all loans a form of debt slavery?), but the grandparents/parents signed away their financial freedom and the law says it was legal.

Dragging grandparents into this debate is another example of the recent media hate binge against college education and student loans. From what I have read and heard and then discovered on my own, this has been mostly one sided—in short, propaganda but for what purpose?

Do not believe what you are reading/hearing from the media and in Blogs.  This issue is complicated and not easy to explain, but there are other numbers that tell a different story.

For example, in 1972, the population of the United States was almost 212 million. Today it is more than 310 million—an increase of 46%.

On August 2, 2012, there were 17.5 million students attending US colleges and Universities (private and public).

However, in 1973, there were 6.8 million students attending college (private and public)—an increase of 257%  since 1973. In addition, in 2009-10, 270,666 of those college students were military veterans attending college on a GI Bill (anyone may join the military and take advantage of whatever GI Bill is available for education).

Continued August 15, 2012 in Student College Loans – Evil or Not? Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”


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Debating about the “Educated Elite” – Part 1/2

An “old” friend, a libertarian, evangelical conservative that may agree with what  the Sovereign Citizen movement preaches ( Sixty Minutes on May 15, 2011 ), sent me two links disparaging college education failing to educate good citizens.

I did not agree with the evidence he submitted.

The video link he sent was of college students claiming to support freedom of speech but wanting to ban conservative talk-show hosts Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck from both radio & TV (the video was filmed at CSU Fresno).

How do we define the term “educated elite”?

Is being a student at a college or university enough to be considered among the “educated elite”?

I don’t think so, since many students that start college don’t finish.

Only a “fool” would call a college student that may fail all or most of his or her classes then drops out of college a member of the “educated elite”.  Attending college doesn’t automatically make someone a member of the “educated elite”.  You have to graduate first and get a job that pays well, which I will talk about in more detail in Part 2.

How many students graduate from college and have a chance to join the “educated elite”.  Remember, graduating isn’t enough to achieve the status of “educated elite”.

“At public colleges and universities only 29.0% of students graduate in the traditional four-year time frame.

“Of course, the timeframe most used to discuss graduation rates is the six-year window. This timeframe appears to be used because here graduation rates pick up substantially. At public schools the percentage of students that graduate within six years nearly doubles to 54.7%.

“One might think those more expensive private, non-profit schools would have significantly better numbers. They do in fact have better numbers but given their overall selectivity the rates continue to be extremely disappointing.

“Over the four-year timeframe, we see that private schools graduate 50.4% of their students, a number that nearly mirrors the six-years of public institutions.” Source: Open

Continued on May 30, 2011 in Debating about the “Educated Elite” – Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”


Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Education, literacy, media, politics


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