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There’s Nothing Wrong With a Discount Education


People brag about finding a steal when it comes to homes, cars and other big purchases. But for some reason it’s not a matter of pride for parents to talk about how they saved a bunch of money on their child’s education. Even middle-class or low-income families are willing to break the bank for exclusivity and branding when it comes to college. Given the rising cost of tuition, that might not be the case for much longer.

(Photo credit: Dan Zen / Flickr)

Slate business and economics correspondent Matthew Yglesias says, in the minds of many, it’s irresponsible to skimp out on your kids’ college costs. Here’s a link to the article.

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“People like to brag about getting a good deal or making savvy financial moves,” he writes. “People do not like to brag about shortchanging their kids’ education. ‘The Kids’ is everyone’s favorite thing to spend money on. There’s a powerful biological impulse to transfer resources to one’s children, and there’s a strong social convention that doing things for the sake of your kids is desirable.”

But soaring tuition costs and economic turbulence have started to change that mentality. There aren’t enough rich kids for colleges to live off of, the middle class is broke and politicos are fed up shelling out money toward high education, he says.

It’s about time for an era of affordable education, and it starts with the disillusionment of the value of expensive schools. Another idea being floated around is the so-called “$10K MBA,” which the New York Times touched on in an article earlier this year. The 10K MBA was inspired by a challenge Bill Gates asked of educators. It turned into a reality thanks to governors in Florida, Wisconsin, Texas and California.

“Most 10K-B.A. proposals rethink the costliest part of higher education — the traditional classroom teaching,” the NYT article explains. “Predictably, this means a reliance on online and distance-learning alternatives. And just as predictably, this has stimulated antibodies to unconventional modes of learning. Some critics see it as an invitation to charlatans and diploma mills. Even supporters often suggest that this is just an idea to give poor people marginally better life opportunities.”

More and more, consumers are researching the actual value of education in terms of how much they’ll get paid later in comparison to what they’re paying now to learn.

The information is right at your fingertips.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you enroll your child in a cheap school as long as the curriculum was solid? Or is prestige more your style? Share your advice on Twitter or in the comments section below.

Jennifer Wadsworth
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