The Rising Cost of Opportunity

By Claude Tate

I’m not signed onto Facebook. I don’t “tweet”.  And I’m not a blog kind of guy. I created a blog several years ago for a class assignment and when the class was over it rapidly died from extreme inattention. I just don’t get into social media. So as I enter into my participation in our BLS Blog, I do so with a great deal of trepidation.

Coming up with something to say that someone will read voluntarily is really my biggest hurdle. There’s an episode of “Seinfeld” in which Jerry and George are trying to sell their show about “nothing” to NBC executives. When asked what the show would be about, George said “nothing”. When they asked why people would watch such a show, he replied because it was on TV.  I hope that reasoning applies here. It will be my experiment in “if you write it in a blog, someone will read it.”

These things always evolved, but at least for now, my intention is to just focus on things that I find of interest, and not necessarily connected to my classes. In fact, while there may be some references to things I discuss in class, I hope to use it to write about things I normally would not discuss or at least discuss at any length in class. So be prepared for the mundane as well things that may be a little different.  Just please do not set your expectations too high.

And for my first post, I can think of no better place to begin than with my grandchildren.  And forgive me if I get a little “preachy”.  I have a tendency to do that from time to time. My wife and I have two grandchildren, Mason, who is two and a half years old, and Adeline, who is 4 months old. It was difficult for us to finance our son’s college education. We can’t imagine what the cost will be when Mason and Adeline are ready to go to college.  Not only will the cost be exponentially higher, but they will have two in college at the same time. Private institutions have always been expensive and getting more so each year.  While state schools are and probably will remain the cheaper option, they too are getting more and more expensive.  State supported schools across the nation are doing the best they can to keep education affordable, but still the raising of tuition and fees has become almost an annual rite as federal support dwindles and state legislatures are unable to keep up with rising costs on their own. (An Associated Press article in the News and Record this morning reported that in-state tuition at public colleges rose 8.3% this past year.  California led the way with an increase of 21%) And to make matters worse, money for assistance in meeting those rising costs is also being cut back everywhere. Across the nation, large numbers of students are dropping out of college because of the expense. This is not only detrimental to the individuals involved as their dreams are dashed, but wasting potential talent is detrimental to our future as a nation.  I know our economy is not performing as we would like, but we must find a way to keep higher education affordable for the average person. We must keep those doors of opportunity open.

But back to my son and his family….The one saving grace is that while we do not yet know what Adeline’s dreams for the future are (she can’t talk), Mason said the other day that he wanted to be President. I had suggested to him earlier that being an existential philosopher might be a good career path, but evidently it went in one ear and out the other. And maybe that’s a good thing. To be President, a person only needs be a natural born citizen, 35 years old, and a resident within the United States for 14 years. No college required.  At least he’s chosen a job with cheap requirements.

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3 responses to “The Rising Cost of Opportunity

  1. If I had my way public institutions would be tuition-free, for in-state students at the very least. It costs much less to educate a citizen than to incarcerate one, and the long-term payback more than makes up for the cost, both for the individual and for our society as a whole.

  2. I have a two year old son and I used an online tuition calculator to estimate what his college education will cost in 16 years…wow. Conservative estimates at $50-80K per year–for fours years *in-state.*

  3. Pingback: Claude R. Tate, Jr. | The Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies