The United States has the most expensive post-secondary education system in the world. In Part One of this series, I detailed how the government, as well as institutions of higher learning, the media and the banks have loosely conspired to dramatically drive up the costs of a college education and enslave middle-class college students through their lifetime by coercing their participation in a system which almost guarantees an adulthood filled with massive debt.
The Exorbitant Cost of a College Education Is No Accident
The elite have created a post-secondary education system which is out of the financial reach of an increasing number of middle-class students. This is deliberate and it is NOT being driven by market forces. It is a conspiracy concocted by the wealthy to limit the elite’s children to the dangers of competition from middle-class children. Yet, on the other side, the elite have convinced the federal government to fund the college educations of the poor and the disadvantaged so they can create competition for the middle class. The omnipresent goal is to create a bifurcated two-class feudal society, and education is the starting point in this plot to control social stratification.
The astronomically rising costs of funding a college education, as well as the establishment of predatory lending practices, are the weapons of the mass destruction being used against the middle class’ ability to obtain a college degree. This is classic divide-and-conquer class warfare. However, there are cracks in the educational caste system, and I am going to reveal a few strategies which might allow you to provide a college education for your children.
The economics underlying the obtaining of a college degree are as exploitative as any scheme which could have been devised by the most ardent dictators who are hell bent on creating a society of “haves and have nots”.
The economics of funding the post-secondary education system is predicated on wealth redistribution by making it increasingly difficult for the middle class to send their children to college as opposed to the wealthy or the poor. Many in the bottom tier of the economic strata get the government to fund elaborate financing mechanisms (e.g. Federal Financial Aid, Federal Work-Study, etc.) in order to pay poor children’s education at the expense of higher taxes for the middle class. And it is ironic that these middle class taxpayers don’t see any economic or educational benefit for their children with the taxes they are paying.
Consequently, middle-class children are cast into a corrupt system of debt enslavement in order to fund a college education.
Conversely, the wealthy don’t blink an eye at spending $60,000 per year to send their children to schools like the University of Southern California. And before the bleeding heart liberals jump through their computer screen to attack me, please allow me to state that I am not opposed to helping poor children to become what God intended them to be. I am opposed to poor children getting access to a benefit which is increasingly being denied to middle class children. Both strata of socio-economic classes deserve the same opportunity. I am not socialist, but in this case I would support taking back the bailout money and ending the war in Afghanistan and applying the savings to funding a free post-secondary education system. Oh, but that would not benefit the agenda of the elite, because their kids might get competition for meaningful jobs by children from the wrong side of the tracks.
You Want Answers?
So, what is a middle-class parent to do? The options are very narrow, but there is a way to finance a college education at a fraction of the cost that young adults face when they set foot on a university campus this coming September. However, I do not expect that this opportunity will remain available indefinitely because universities are actively lobbying against the plan that I am setting forth here which will finance college education at a fraction of the cost. The strategies to reduce college costs will be covered later in this article, but first parents must prepare your child to be college ready at an early age if they want to reap the benefits of the tuition reduction plan.
The Middle School Years Form the Foundation for Funding a College Education
Most college courses require a certain level of literacy, math skills and work ethic. If a child is encouraged to develop the critical and essential basic skills in seventh and eighth grade, a foundation is set in order to take honors classes in ninth and tenth grade. Honors courses often provide a student with the academic rigor that they will need in order to be prepared to master the skill sets needed to begin to take college courses at a young age.
The middle school years are the age that parents need to invest in tutors, if needed, and to look for alternative methods to prepare their children for college courses. For example, last year my son took a reading comprehension and speed reading course on Sunday afternoons at a local college designed for elementary aged children. We also pay a small fee for him to be tutored in math, science and literature.
To get your child college ready, I strongly recommend the development of a study skills plan for your child. The one that I chose for my son is called the Study, Question, Read, Recite, Review (SQ3R). This was the study skills plan that I was taught in seventh grade, along with speed reading. I was able to utilize the SQ3R method starting in middle school and I successfully employed these study principles all the way through my post-graduate education. I teach a modified version of the SQ3R to my students on the first day of class and I am now beginning to teach it to my son. And no, I do not have a business relationship with the creators or publisher of this method. I use the system because it works.
I also suggest that children take as much math as they possibly can at an early age because math forces a child to use different parts of the brain. The earlier math is introduced to a child, the easier the mastery of math is obtained.
The brain goes through a definitive and major change between the ages of 11-12, and this is the time that a child should be taking Algebra as well as foreign language. During the period from six to puberty, scientists have found that the gray-matter spike shifts to the temporal and parietal lobes. These parts of the brain play a major role in language skills and spatial relations which are critical to math. The growth rate of these brain cells then falls off fast, which may explain why, as a rule, the ability to learn languages declines sharply after the age of 12. Therefore, the window of maximum opportunity is narrow. As children age, brain growth moves in a sort of wave from the front of the brain to the rear which results in an increase in gray matter in the front part of the brain right before puberty, which occurs around age 11 in girls and 12 in boys. This is your optimal developmental window to introduce pre-college learning experiences which are critical to later success. How do I know this? This is part of what I have taught at the university level.
I would also advise parents to get their children to take some career interest inventories and identify a career path as early as possible. Academic indecision and changing majors are two huge factors which will drive up the cost of a college education. A solid career interest inventory test that I have utilized is the Self Directed Search by John Holland. Again, I have no financial interest in this testing instrument.
As your child becomes college ready, it is time to move to the next step which involves taking dual enrollment college courses at their local high school.
Turning Eleventh and Twelfth Grade Into a Money-Maker
If you live in or near a metropolitan area anywhere in the United States, you will find high schools which offer dual enrollment. Dual enrollment is a program in which a high school student takes a high school course which is also offered in conjunction with a nearby community college as a 3-5 credit college course. Parents do have to find the funds to pay for these tuition costs. However, these costs are relatively minimal compared to the cost of a university education. Let’s look at a cost comparison in Arizona which is typical for students living in any state.
The University vs. the Community College
It’s fun and it is sexy to go away from home to a major university. There are no parental restrictions, no curfew, there is an abundance of alcohol, a plethora of social gatherings and there is of course the opposite sex. It is exciting, but it is a very expensive way to break away from parental controls. Middle class students should come to grips with the fact that there is a much more efficient and cheaper way to grow into adulthood than the four-year university on-campus experience.
For many students, a four-year university experience can produce the kind debt which can enslave a person instead of creating economic opportunity, which is what education was intended to do. I have composed a typical cost comparison between attending a University or a Community College for two years.
For an incoming freshman who will be attending Arizona State University (ASU), the following are the cost estimates of attending ASU as published on the ASU website.
Base tuition and fees: $9,724
Room and meal plan (average): $9,094
Books and supplies (average): $1,000
Total direct costs: $19,818
Base tuition and fees: $22,977
Room and meal plan (average): $9,094
Books and supplies (average): $1,000
Total direct costs: $33,071
There are some high schools which offer dual enrollment courses for nearly every discipline. In some high schools, students are earning an Associates two-year degree by the time they graduate from high school.
A potential ASU student would save a huge sum of money by enrolling in dual enrollment courses offered through the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) while still in high school.
Maricopa Community College Tuition Schedule – 2013-2014
Registration Fee: $15 per semester
Resident Tuition: $81 per credit hour (subject to change) or $2,430 per year for 15 credit hours
Out-of-County: $317 per credit hour
Audit Fees: $25 additional fee per credit hour/plus tuition/fee
Non-Resident: $317 per credit hour $215 per credit hour – courses offered out of Arizona, including distance learning, to non-resident, out-of-state students
Do the Math
For a total of $4,890 a high school student can fund the first two years of a college education. I did not include book costs because in a state-supported high school, textbooks are generally offered free of charge.
The same student attending ASU for their first two years has paid almost $40,000. Your child is saving themselves over $35,000 by taking dual enrollment courses. By the way, the ASU estimates of only paying a $1,000 per semester for books is grossly underestimated. If a student takes the normal five course (three credits each), they are paying $100-200 per book. Again, do the math and you will note that ASU is understating textbook costs, and many courses require more than one book.
What If Your Local High School Has Limited Dual Enrollment Opportunities?
It is possible that your family may live in area in which your local high school may not offer many dual enrollment courses. Most states mandate open enrollment for just these kinds of reasons. Parents, do your homework and find a high school which offers a variety of dual enrollment courses and subsequently enroll your child.
If all else fails, there are community colleges which offers online dual enrollment college credit and will coordinate with your local high school counselors. Don’t wrinkle your nose up at online learning; it is the inevitable wave of the future because it is cost effective.
This Window May Not Be Open Long
In 2001, I testified before the House of Representatives Education Committee at the Arizona State Legislature with regard to the quality of dual enrollment programs and high school students readiness to take on these challenges. My testimony was offered as a counter to the ASU paid lobbyists which tried to get lawmakers to outlaw dual enrollment programs. ASU’s had a clear financial motive to oppose dual enrollment; it was taking money out of their coffers.
The Arizona Legislature reached a compromise in which they limited students to taking only two dual enrollment courses in any one semester unless they were ahead on their credits needed for high school education. I have discovered that this is a typical restriction in most states. It is very easy to get ahead on credits. For example, in the summer before a student’s junior year, a student should enroll in one or two community college courses, which can be offered as dual enrollment at their high school, or by taking the class online.
If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them
Today, ASU has embraced online education and is no longer attempting to destroy dual enrollment programs. However, the federal government will not acquiesce so easily. If more and more students opt for dual enrollment as a means of avoiding the predatory lending practices for obtaining and paying back a federal student loan, you can look for the feds to move in and control dual enrollment in the same manner as ASU attempted to back in 2001.
A Final Cost Analysis
Cutting back on college costs and avoiding predatory student loans will result in financial savings which are substantial to a middle income family.
Four years at ASU will cost an in-state student around $80,000. By following the plan I have laid out here in which a student attends an ASU satellite campus for only the last two years and lives at home, will cost a middle-class student around $40,000 to obtain a college degree. And with these kinds of “reasonable” costs, a college student can fund their own college education with a fairly minimal part-time job. And by avoiding predatory federal loan practices, you will, unlike Kenneth Wright, not have a SWAT team breaking down your front door, physically abusing you and terrorizing the rest of your family members for the non-repayment of an estranged wife’s college loan.
The biggest advantage to following this plan is that when a college graduate launches their career, they will not do so under the tyrannical thumb of the federal government, at least not yet.
And one more warning for your soon-to-be college student. Do not send them to a high school where the recently implemented Common Core curriculum is the base standard of their educational system. The system is designed to lessen math achievement and compromise literature courses.
If You Only Knew Some of What Professors Are Teaching
There are strong social and moral reasons to limit your child’s exposure to four-year colleges and universities. Some of what is increasingly taught on college campuses would shock the average person. That is the topic of Part Three of this series.
Dave is an award winning psychology, statistics and research professor, a college basketball coach, a mental health counselor, a political activist and writer who has published dozens of editorials and articles in several publications such as Freedoms Phoenix, News With Views and The Arizona Republic.
The Common Sense Show features a wide variety of important topics that range from the loss of constitutional liberties, to the subsequent implementation of a police state under world governance, to exploring the limits of human potential. The primary purpose of The Common Sense Show is to provide Americans with the tools necessary to reclaim both our individual and national sovereignty.