February 17th, 2019

Reiss’s Pieces


Is it spring yet? Or even the beginning of summer? I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of winter or whatever pretends to be winter/spring. I am ready for a nice, warm day that has lots of sun. And I am not the only one, my animals are looking for a nice day also. So, we all can only hope.

Most of you who read this column know that I have an opinion on almost everything and anything. Although I don’t think that this is a bad thing, I do think that when I tell you about my opinions, I wish that I could also share with you the solution. But as a rule, that doesn’t happen. Right now, my thoughts are about all of our young people who are either graduating or have just graduated from high school. These children have been told for many years that they have to plan on attending college or some school that will give them the opportunity to learn a trade or an occupation. And friends, I couldn’t agree more. But here is my problem….

When I went to college back in the late 50s and early 60s I had to pay my way myself. In order to do this, I had five jobs a day for most of the four years. However, when I graduated, I had no debt at all. I can’t really remember how much my education cost me but I know it was not even in the same ballpark as the children have to pay today.

I talked with several parents and children who have picked out their college, and most of them have to pay in the range of $50,000 each year! And for an in-state student to go to UVM, it is about $29,000. Can you imagine?

Now I don’t know about you, but my question is, how can any average Vermont family send their child to college? And I don’t care if it is $29,000 or $50,000. Now if you are like me, maybe you think that the child should take out some loans and help pay his or her own way. Well, let me tell you, if this child borrows only $30,000 over four years, this is what will happen. First, the interest on this loan begins the minute they borrow a dime. After four years the interest is outrageous and of course, the $30,000 has to be added. Now, because I am not clever enough to tell you just how much the interest and actual loan payment is, I do know this. Let’s take only $30,000 as a number, for the next 10 years – after graduating they will have to pay about $700 a month! And because they have this outstanding loan they will find it almost impossible to buy a new car or a house.

I tried to explain to my grandson that my Sarah had a huge loan when she graduated from UVM, and that was in the early ‘90s. She was able to get a very good job but it still took her 10 years to pay her loan off. I don’t know how much she paid each month but I do know if she hadn’t gotten the job she did, that loan payment would have crippled her.

So, here is my thought and my concern – what are we doing to our children today? Not many Vermonters can pay $200,000+ to send their children to college… although we tell these very same children that they need to have this education in order to succeed in life. Something is just not right.

If you think that I am wrong, please be sure and let me know what the solution is. I sure don’t know it. There are not many students who can work off a $50,000 a year payment and still study for their education. We, as parents, grandparents and citizens of our state need to find a solution that will actually work.

Am I right?


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