Paying for college: looking for stories

Recently, my colleague Matt Krupnick wrote a story about the ever-rising cost of tuition at California’s state universities. It’s cheaper for a student from a middle-income family to go to Harvard (or other top private colleges) than to CSU East Bay, he found.

Now that many of the acceptance letters have arrived in the mail, another fellow reporter, Sharon Noguchi, is writing about families of high school seniors who are figuring out what they can afford and how to pay for it. She wants to talk to people from Oakland and elsewhere in the East Bay about the choices they’re making to finance a higher education.

TELL US: How you’re preparing for this massive expense?

If you’re in this situation — or know an East Bay family with a college-bound high school senior — I hope you’ll consider sharing your perspective with Sharon. You can reach her at snoguchi@mercurynews.com.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Super

    The linked article seems a bit sensationalist. Can’t say I’ve looked at tuition cost for all State and UC institutions, but there’s a significant difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition. For 2009-10, CSUEB was $5k for in-state, $14k for out of state. So the lead paragraph that notes that “California families” are affected is misleading at best, poor journalism at worst.

  • Nextset

    There are plenty of good Universities other than the bad state schools. Try Canada – and try the other states. Try Hillsdale College.

    This is a false problem. Yes you can no longer send your kiddies to the schools I went to – that’s true of the primary, secondary and colleges. The schools still stand but they are no longer “real” schools. By that I mean they no longer function as they once did and are supposed to.

    You don’t see decent people crying because they no longer have good ‘ole Oakland Tech to go to. things change and you change with the times. For the money CA is now asking, send the kid to McGill.

    And maybe they’ll be less likely to give you a grandchild in a dog collar too (that is a good commercial). When I see the “students” at some of these CA schools on television I think maybe it’s time we just closed those schools for renovations for 4 or 6 years.

    Either way the Brave New World is moving along just fine. Some people are not having any problems at all getting their kids educated the way they want to.

    In the Brave New World your station in life is determined at birth by caste membership. You don’t get upward mobility by going to state schools. That’s so 1950s.

  • Gordon Danning

    Don’t most Cal State students live at home? Most certainly have that option. So, since the single largest component of the cost of attendance at Cal State schools (as well as UCs) is housing, I think the story is a bit misleading.

  • Gordon Danning


    “You don’t get upward mobility by going to state schools.” You certainly do if you are an immigrant, or the children of immigrantsv — ie, the majority (or close to it) at the UCs, esp. the elite ones.

  • Nextset

    Gordon Danning: That mobility reference is primarily to primary & secondary schools. By age 18 the damage is too severe. Yes it’s true that in some cases immigrants can go to rancid public schools and still wind up in Ivy League colleges. I don’t think that’s a given at all.

    Brave New World refers to caste society. One of the main ways the caste is enforced is language as well as other things like dress, grooming and sanitation (fixed in stone during secondary school). Thought patterns are also fixed by the time secondary school ends.

    The CA state schools – the urban ones not Redding or Orinda – appear to turn out black/brown kids who have no idea of mainstream speech, grooming, dress, deportment, table manners, sexual mores, duty/responsibility etc. By the time the urban schools are done the odds of the products assimilating into mainstream USA society is poor. The odds of early death and institutionalization is higher than it would have been if the same child was processed in Redding Unified, Medford Unified or most other suburban or middle America districts. Yes the bad mothers of the poor kids is a factor but US history is way too replete with upward mobility of immigrant kids of non-English speaking & non-working mothers in US schools to give today’s school districts a pass.

    Imagine being from a ESL parent and going through high school in the first depression – and WWII – and dealing with the slums of NYC. And then there’s Justice Kennard of the CA Supreme Ct who states she didn’t see a light bulb for the first time till she was 14 (still in the concentration camp?). Failure and poverty was not the norm for any of them – including the southern blacks. There were variances in success – say the Portuguese, Greeks or rural Italians vs Blacks. But nothing like the variances we see now.

    Too many people have been dumb/poor/unlucky/bastards/troubled/bad family and still made upwardly mobile over way too many decades to give anybody a pass on this. Yes, even the black folks can do way better than the stats we are getting out of OUSD. What are those literacy scores in OUSD for the blacks?? You don’t learn to read as much (or learn anything else) when you have no sanction for failure.

    Back to the thread. CA schools are jacking up the prices for college. Boo Hoo. Leave CA and seek fortune elsewhere. End of problem.

    CA has destroyed public secondary education and is also debasing the CA public college system. And don’t think the State will fail to wreck the Jr College system either (crucial institution for the proles). Just how many parolees does it take to wreck education on an urban Jr College Campus? By systematically ruining quality controls CA is debasing state education. You can’t charge more for debased goods.

    Ca is throwing away it’s public education piece by piece because it will not limit it’s operations to quality students working in solid coursework. It’s mainly looking for feel good experiences from top to bottom. Bread and Circus if you will.

    And Bread and Circus costs a LOT of money. Ask the Romans.

    The issue here is not the high tuition of the state schools – it is the flow of students away from state post secondary into church and private trade schools and colleges here in CA and post secondary schools of all kinds out of state. That’s the future.

    And as far as paying it – my father and all his family and friends got their college and grad school paid through the US Military (most were drafted!). My Grandfather and his brother were in the Army in Europe during WWI (Black, too!!) I have undergraduate friends now doing the same.

    So those who want it still can do college. Somewhere and somehow. No problems. Just Life…