Air assistance

Let’s Make a Deal on Tuition Aid – Post Bulletin

Often I reflect on how lucky I was when I grew up. This luck continued into my college years. Missing a draft call in his senior years, I decided to hit the books instead of training camp. Tuition fees were a little different 50 years ago.

I recently spoke to an acquaintance who got her doctorate. in psychology in the 1990s. Tina racked up $90,000 in college debt. That was over 25 years ago. Although she received scholarships, grants, and steady work, it was her payback as she began her career after nearly 10 years of study.

She worked aggressively on that loan with every extra dollar, every tax return, and eventually help from her husband. In nine difficult years, she paid off.

Coming to terms with her career choice, Tina knew there would be loans, but she was “all in” to control them. Despite this history, she does not have a strong opinion on the current issue of debt cancellation.

These proposals have many parts and if tuition assistance/forgiveness is in the future, hopefully the right people will be helped. She feels the college education system is breaking down as costs continue to rise.

Tina wouldn’t object to community colleges or vocational education being provided for free or at a significantly reduced cost. This would give students a discounted start and attract more people into the trades, which is badly needed.

She hopes for additional Pell grants and more repayment programs, where loan balances are reduced each year if someone stays in one area, like education.

When my wife graduated from nursing in 1975, her loan balance was reduced each year she worked full time in Minnesota. These programs that benefit students and businesses or hospitals have been around for years. The wheel was invented. Maybe he just needs a little air.

I lured another unsuspecting friend into this conversation. Randy attended college in the mid-70s in a state directly south of us. He told me that his summer jobs, scholarships, and being a resident assistant in the dorms allowed him to graduate debt-free.

Randy said he had two siblings attending the same school during a similar time. Their parents provided them with a “college car”. They made it work.

Planning by a student and their family can reduce loan amounts. Randy took this planning to a new level. He started saving money for his children’s college fund – 15 years before he had children. It was impressive planning.

Randy is not in favor of waiving tuition at all levels. If you borrow, you have to do what you said you would do – pay it back.

He thinks other issues need to be addressed, including high tuition fees, cost-effective student choices, and preventing excessive lending “down the rabbit hole” in the first place.

Tina had told me that she had a psychologist colleague who had a debt of $350,000.

Where does it end if tuition rebate priority is established? There are many programs out there – back them up.

Extend teacher loan forgiveness for each year they teach our children and grandchildren. We need a special effort to recruit diverse teachers. Our classrooms are diverse – we need plans to hone that interest in teaching at a young age.

Increase loan reduction programs in necessary areas such as law enforcement, health care and trades. Programs could be designed from the start, so expectations are known.

I believe in finding the right balance for tuition assistance. Incentives still need to be put in place for students to work to reduce their costs.

I was proud to have paid for my university studies. It was another era.

Innovative options are needed for teachers, police officers, electricians and others to eliminate or reduce these loans by working at jobs that help our society.

It would make a sense of pride.

Loren Else lives in Rochester and also writes the Post Bulletin’s “Day in History” column. Send comments and column ideas to Loren at

[email protected]