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Best of Kids & Money: Part 1 of 7

Posted by billspaced | 12:54 PM | , , ,

Stanford: Free tuition to middle class studentsSilicon Valley Blogger, over at The Digerati Life, posted a piece entitled, "Free College Tuition To Soothe the Middle Class Pinch, that describes Stanford's decision to give "free" tuition to any student whose family makes less than $100,000 per year.

In this post, SVB points out the most salient points, one of which is the misconception that tuition is free to those students whose families earn less than $100,000. The "free tuition" is on a sliding scale, where those families making less than $55,000 get tuition at zero cost, and those that make just less than $100,000 pay $11,000 instead of the nearly $50,000 2008 tuition.

Another noteworthy point is that Ivy League schools like Princeton and Harvard are already doing this. This is a good thing; hopefully, this is becoming a trend, as we've fallen far behind our competitors in the global economy in terms of higher education and thus qualified scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

A third point worth considering is that this program does apply only to those students who would earn entry into Stanford. That is to say, just because you make less than $100k, don't expect your child to be accepted at Stanford. He or she still has to be an elite student with tons of extracurricular activities and accomplishments under his or her belt. This is a crucial consideration.

The really great thing about this new policy directive is that it narrows the gap between those whose families can afford the cost of a private university and those who can "only afford" a public education.

In short, the so-called "middle class" gets a break on private university tuition, but only to those middle class students who are the cream of the crop.
Student loan debt
Reliance on student loan debt should decline a bit, since many middle class families currently are expected to pay the full tuition cost to private (and public) schools. Not a lot of middle class families can afford $200,000 to $300,000 (without mortgaging their house, which helped exacerbate the Mortgage Meltdown). While many students qualify for other assistance, often the "easy" route of students loans is taken, putting onerous burdens on the student and family for years to come.

Thanks, Silicon Valley Blogger, for this enlightening post. Stay tuned for tomorrow's "Best of Kids & Money."

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