Tom McLaughlin: Academia As Humpty Dumpty
Wed, 05/08/2013 - 12:50pm
Posted by tommclaughlin
How can so many college kids afford to party during spring break? Plane tickets, hotel rooms, alcohol, food, marijuana, all cost a lot of money. Do their parent’s pay for it? Do they use their government Pell Grants? Their taxpayer-subsidized loans? And where do they get the time? Don’t they have to study? Don’t they have to write papers? Don’t they have work-study jobs?
Millions of our young people believe they’re entitled to party - not just for a week in spring, but every weekend or even every night - for years. Most take five or six years to complete a four-year degree and then graduate with six-figure debt and few if any job prospects in this “new-normal economy.”
Remember the “Occupy” demonstrations? Many participants were students who spent lots of time protesting capitalism and holding up signs demanding their student loans be forgiven, not to mention trashing up whatever city they were “occupying.” How did they find time for that?
College is hugely expensive now, and too few of us ask why. In the late sixties and early seventies I was able to pay my own way through undergraduate and graduate school at state universities working part-time and full-time jobs that weren’t particularly high-paying. I was a hospital orderly on the second shift while an undergrad. I went to classes in the morning and worked the 3pm-11:30pm shift and scrounged for study time. After that I taught school all day and attended classes nights and summers for graduate school. I got no help from parents of from government for any of it other than the subsidies Massachusetts paid directly to its state universities. I got no grants and no loans - and graduated with no debt.