Monday, June 6, 2011

Using rent money to pay for dream school

A recent Pew survey tells us this.
In the eyes of parents, being able to pay for their children’s college education is just as important as being able to own a home or live comfortably in retirement. 
Now I read this story about a mother who would have had to use the family's rent money to pay her daughter's enrollment deposit for a private college that costs about $40,000 yearly to attend.
This spring Natasha van Doren, the mother of a prospective Southern New Hampshire University student, wrote an e-mail to Paul LeBlanc, its president. Her daughter, Mariah Mann, had fallen in love with the campus, she wrote, but there was a problem: Money was tight, and if Ms. van Doren sent in the needed $500 deposit, she would have only enough left over to pay half of her monthly rent. Ms. van Doren and Mr. LeBlanc traded several e-mails....
In his conversation with the mother, Mr. LeBlanc raised a point colleges all over the country wrestle with: Sometimes there is no good way for families to afford sending their children to the college of their choice.
Mr. LeBlanc advised that Mariah should consider attending community college for two years and then transfer to SNHU.  Doing that, she could avoid graduating with $40,000 in student loan debt.  But her mother was not satisfied with his answer.
The mother’s response, which Mr. LeBlanc included on his blog, read: “Does this mean my appeal did nothing? I always hear schools say that there is always a way to pay for school....
But until now, the message she heard everywhere was that college was a good investment, one worth borrowing for. “It’s hard to be able to admit you can’t help your kid to do some basic thing that’s like some rite of passage,” she said.
As it turns out, Ms. van Doren's daughter will be attending Marlboro College in the fall.  She estimates that, after figuring in the total aid package offered, she will graduate with about $40,000 in debt.  The cost of attendance at Marlbora College is about $49,000.  Neither SNHU nor Marlboro are nationally ranked among the top 100 colleges and are not considered selective in their admissions.

According to USNWR, over 90% of SNHU students are sorority/fraternity members.


  1. I agree that the cost of college is ridiculous, but then again so is the notion that you have the right to drink champagne when you're limited to a beer budget.

    Sorry, honey, but if you don't want to graduate from your "dream school" and wind up in hock, you'll have to get your feet back on the ground and consider Plan B: Either go two years to a CC (and even better, work & save money while you're doing that), then transfer, or (perish the thought!) adjust your expectations and settle for a maybe-not-so-dreamy school

  2. I keep hearing similar stories. Some people seem to think a college degree means a guaranteed well-paying job.

  3. I read a really interesting analysis of how the "useless" liberal arts degree evolved from a marker of being so wealthy that you didn't have to work, to the current notion that merely getting one will guarantee you a job. I will have to scrounge up the link when I have a chance.

  4. Here is a link to the post

  5. Thanks for that link! I left this comment over there.

    When a liberal arts degree served as a social-class marker, wasn’t the curriculum more rigorous? I suspect it was, which means its value as an actual education has been diluted as well.