Monday, July 09, 2007

No Money for You

File this bit of news under "No shit, Sherlock."

University fund-raisers are increasingly worried over young graduates like Minsky. They fear that with student debt ballooning today, campus coffers may be suffering tomorrow.

Private student loans are growing an average of 27 percent each year, according to the College Board. Almost a quarter of college students are turning to credit cards to help pay tuition, another study found.

I got my first alumni donation request before I'd even posed for pictures with my "receipt," known generally as a diploma. I'd just crossed the stage at the Wang, and along with a eleven-sizes too large t-shirt, I was handed a request to donate to the school. I immediately tossed the request. Fast-forward four years, and I still scoff whenever the alumni office calls to ask me for money.

The Globe's article kind of makes me feel guilty by listing all the kids who benefit from large alumni donations to financial aid. I got a decent financial aid package from Emerson-- they knocked about a third off my bill-- but I'm still in the hole about $60,000 for my entire education. I pay about $400 a month in student loan payments, which will jump to $530 in a couple of years. While I'm glad I have my degree (now more than ever), I simply can't give money to my alma mater. Hell, I haven't even donated to my friends' charity runs yet.

And even if I did have money to donate to an institution, I'd donate it to my other alma mater-- my high school. I was in there a month ago and my beloved stage is dug up and in dire need of refinishing and new curtains. I'm sure the TV studio could use some help too. The programs that typically get the shaft-- theater, art, TV, student writing publications-- got me through high school without losing my mind, and I'm sure they've helped the kids that came after me. Public school kids don't have a choice on where they go, and I think that kids can find out what they actually enjoy if given the opportunity to experiment. So don't call me Emerson-- once the Derjue Memorial Wing is built in my hometown, you can have what's left.

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