Toledo Talk

Student Loan Survival seminar 12-04-12

Ciolek Attorneys at Law will host a free "Student Loan Survival" seminar on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012 at 6:00 pm at Bleak House Coffee. Learn about the various federal repayment plans, what to do if your loans are in default, consolidation, student loan collections and much more! Please RSVP at

More info on Bleak House here:

created by upso on Nov 30, 2012 at 05:36:36 pm     Legal     Comments: 57

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Comments ... #

Amen! $1k /m payments are crushing me.

posted by INeedCoffee on Nov 30, 2012 at 06:55:49 pm     #  

Show up! :)

posted by upso on Dec 01, 2012 at 03:24:53 pm     #  

I think it is a rotten shame that our young are saddled with college debt that is enormous and beyond repayment by many.

When did education become so expensive?

posted by jackie on Dec 01, 2012 at 05:48:16 pm     #  

When people smelled profit in it.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 01, 2012 at 07:06:23 pm     #   2 people liked this


I have to agree with you. Hard to believe I first started at TU at $90/semester and I lived out of the city and paid a higher rate.

posted by jackie on Dec 01, 2012 at 08:07:07 pm     #  

And as the loan grants became easier to get and larger to make more able to go to college they kept raising the cost of tuition. It doesn't take beautiful facades and immaculate lawns for students to learn.

posted by Linecrosser on Dec 01, 2012 at 09:27:26 pm     #   2 people liked this

And as the state subsidy was reduced.

posted by OnePlainPerson on Dec 01, 2012 at 10:25:59 pm     #   2 people liked this

come on out and talk about it in person!

posted by upso on Dec 01, 2012 at 11:02:01 pm     #  

INeedCoffee, there is NO reason to be paying $1000 a month in student loan debt, unless you are making a whopping large annual salary. Go to this program, or at least call your lender and make other arrangements. Sure, it'll take you longer to pay everything back if you're paying less a month, but them's the breaks and at least they come with the ability to comfortably afford groceries!

If you haven't already consolidated your loan(s) with the US Department of Education, I'd recommend that you do so. They are VERY easy to work with regarding alternate payments (or at least they were the entire 15 years I was paying back my own loans -- ugh). This program that Upso's promoting will probably tell you how to do it.

posted by jmleong on Dec 02, 2012 at 03:18:22 am     #  

If the wife doesn't have to work I'll be going. I have 20,000 in school loans, and nothing to show for it. I mean I got my Associates but not a damn job in site so far.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 10:16:03 am     #  

seriously? don't do the loan if you're gonna bitch & moan.

posted by justareviewer on Dec 02, 2012 at 10:41:07 am     #  

Well when you go to college you kind of expect something out of it besides a bunch of money you gotta pay back.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 10:55:16 am     #  

$20,000 for an associates? Damn, that's steep.

Where did you go? Did you stop work to finish the degree and have to take out support loans in addition to tuition?

posted by oldhometown on Dec 02, 2012 at 11:46:19 am     #  

I went to Owens, and yes I had to take extra for support while I was doing my associates because it was during the construction recession and I wasn't working and was trying to get out of construction.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 12:01:22 pm     #  

and what my wife was bringing home wasn't cutting it for what we needed for food and bills for ourselves and our kids. I didn't wanna do it but it was necessary at the time.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 12:04:04 pm     #  

So I thought that would be a good time to get out of construction like my wife and I wanted me to. Now here I am 4 years later with school debt and no leads for what I even went to school for and still in Construction.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 12:07:13 pm     #  

What's your degree in?

posted by SensorG on Dec 02, 2012 at 01:36:09 pm     #  

Business/Business Management

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 05:53:03 pm     #  

Well, at least it is, on the surface, a practical degree.

Owens Career Services has been a bust I assume?

I seem to remember that TT member OhioKimono has a BA (4-year) degree in business and had the damndest time finding something around here. It really must be a dead zone for new business graduates. Perhaps she can chime in with a few tips if she sees this thread.

I hope you at least can put what you learned to use in a business of your own. Good luck.

posted by oldhometown on Dec 02, 2012 at 07:20:06 pm     #  

With a two year business degree and construction experience I would think being a manager at home depot. It's about combining the degree with what you know.

posted by SensorG on Dec 02, 2012 at 07:34:35 pm     #  

Honestly? It doesn't surprise me that a 2 year degree in business would not lead to many employment prospects now.

MBAs are a dime a dozen these days and taking jobs that used to go to people with a Bachelor's in business. Doesn't leave a lot of leftovers for the people with only an Associates in business.

lfrost2125 probably has better chances than others with the same degree though, because of his work experience. Hopefully something comes through for him soon!

posted by mom2 on Dec 02, 2012 at 07:51:57 pm     #  


I really hope so. Construction is really wearing on my body after doing it for quite awhile and I want out but can't until I find something else. I'm going to be 35 in April and have already had knee surgery and now they want me to have back surgery to fix some things.

Yep Owen's career Services was a bust. They gave me a few leads but they never really turned into anything. I owned my own painting business from about 2003 till recently. Just got to be to much with five kids, so I went back to working for a painting company. Not so much of a headache but the pay isn't as good.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 09:17:31 pm     #  

What managing a paint store or sales? It's about combining what you're good at and your degree.

posted by SensorG on Dec 02, 2012 at 09:21:42 pm     #   2 people liked this

That's a idea that I can look in to. Thanks

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 02, 2012 at 09:40:10 pm     #  

Sensor had a great suggestion!

With all of your hands-on painting experience, you'd certainly have insight into a customer's needs. If you could come up with a way to capitalize on that, it might pay off.

posted by mom2 on Dec 03, 2012 at 12:39:27 am     #  

This issue was the subject of a discussion I had with several colleagues.

Here's how the system works.

Lets go back to the 1960s-1970s. Most colleges and universities had admission standards that allowed them to use some selectivity when admitting a new class. Some public institutions had open admissions but the public generally refrained from going to college if they did not have the basic skills or interest to pursue a higher degree. There was a general perception that one could earn a living without a degree and that vocational training was a better idea for many people.

Throughout the 1980's, student academic abilities declined to the point where many HS graduates no longer had the skills and abilities that the previous generation had acquired. In addition, the economy for non-technical/non-degree labor shrank leaving many young people with the impression that they had to go to college to get a good job.

The problem was that many of these 18yo lack the skills to function at the college level. Many public college systems tried to pressure secondary schools to provide further remedial education before issuing a high school diploma.

By the early 90's, many colleges capitulated and began offering remedial courses in math and english. Institutions wanted the tuition dollars so they admitted individuals who had little chance of ever graduating.

Student loans became a method of funneling money, with federal support, to colleges and universities.

The problem became that the graduation rates began to drop with the surge in student loans. More and more students were being "seduced" into pursuing degrees that they would never complete. The seduction was students loans that could be used for tuition plus cars, beer and general living expenses.

By the late 1990's the problem had become malignant at all levels. Default rates on student loans had skyrocketed, graduation rates had plummeted.

Now things got really crazy. Colleges and universities discovered that the failure rate for remedial classes was higher than for regular college offerings! So students were literally throwing away thousands of dollars BEFORE they even got to to take courses in their major area of study.

How did colleges react to this data? Well they now established remedial courses....for the remedial courses!! I am not kidding. Now students get to take pre-pre english courses before taking actual english courses.

Of course this was yet another way for institutions to get access to that student loan revenue stream. If anyone raised an objection to this money scheme you would be attacked as anti-poor or anti-education.

So let me illustrate with UT data. The dropout rate at UT for some selected groups is 95%. I have the internal data. 95/100 students from selected sub-cultural groups drop out with any degree or certificate.

These students were told to come to university, we will get you setup with loans, you can pursue a degree. Of course they do not mention that academically you have little or no chance of getting that degree.

Colleges and universities have adopted a "community center" model of education. We provide for your psychological support and give you a life purpose. It is bullsh@t but that is the contemporary marketing model.

95% end up with no degree, 1-2 years of failure and thousands of dollars in debt.

Owens runs the same scam. Spend $20,000 on an associates degree in business. ???. Say what? How about the students with $20,000 of debt with no degree, they were already their future is bleak.

Unless the institution is elite, this sort of laundering higher ed scam is everywhere.

Step 1: Admit students without skills to complete degree

Step 2: load them up with loans that get funneled to your institution

Step 3: Put them in remedial classes that suck up their money early and fast

Step 4: Students find they are over their head and failing. The college delays the inevitable by providing all sorts of remedial services. This allows for more cash being rung out of the student before the hammer falls and they just walk away.

Step 5: Rinse and repeat.

The fellow on this thread is not in this position but he is an example of the next type of exploitation. Student is skilled but is provided a degree with limited value in the real marketplace. You have 5 children and need to put food on the table, this sort of expense is absurd to end up with an associated degree.

But the siren song of higher ed is enticing and sucks everyone in...funded by student loans.

I can tell you the panic has set in. The default rates are so high, graduation rates so low, the capable student pool so low that colleges have instituted dog and pony shows to get and keep student bodies. The dog and pony shows cost money, costs rise, loans rise, cultural illiteracy rises.

posted by Star56 on Dec 03, 2012 at 02:13:35 am     #   5 people liked this

A hoist of the old bourbon glass to Star56.

Note that in the 60s we had the Vietnam war. You could enroll in college and not be drafted, but then you had to keep your grades up or the university would expel you and you'd eventually be issued your very own M-16 and taught to kill gooks.

If you graduated, you'd go into the service as an officer, which was a whole lot better than being an E-1.

My point here is that the pressure was on, and those that failed at school got expelled. These days that won't happen until the money runs out.

posted by madjack on Dec 03, 2012 at 04:17:23 am     #  

frost, with a business degree and painting experience, maybe check into estimating for a construction company, or maybe project management. (just some idea's).

posted by tm2 on Dec 03, 2012 at 08:05:56 am     #  

"Unless the institution is elite, this sort of laundering higher ed scam is everywhere."

I'm going to get blasted over this but it's the truth ...

Elite institutions do partake in this scam - its called admissions based on affirmative action.

Fact is that students who are admitted based on factors other than high school gpa and test scores have a statistically lower graduation rate and higher drop out rate than students who are admitted based on gpa/test scores. This is especially true in law school.

Take these students who are diversity- managed into schools that are above their learning level (not necessarily above their ability but above their current level based on crappy high schools and marginal colleges), and put them in to educational institutions that teach to their level, and they thrive and succeed. But put them out of their league, and they fail and/or drop out at alarming rates, with all of the associated student loan debt that has been the topic of this thread.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 03, 2012 at 08:11:39 am     #  

Nice analysis, Star56. At the risk of sounding like an old codger, my view of the latest crop of graduates is that they are not very educated and definitely not getting their money's worth. If I hear another college grad say, "I seen..." and "I have saw", I am going to scream. I even hear the local talking heads on the news say that. They must have graduated from UT in Communications!!

posted by pete on Dec 03, 2012 at 08:17:02 am     #  

Too true

posted by nits on Dec 03, 2012 at 08:17:51 am     #  

Well I'll be damned. For once I agree completely with Star56 on something.

posted by mom2 on Dec 03, 2012 at 08:31:51 am     #  

Well I'll be damned. For once I agree completely with Star56 on something.

posted by mom2 on Dec 03, 2012 at 08:31:52 am     #  

Sorry for the double post - I'm posting from a new phone. Didn't realize it is so touchy.

posted by mom2 on Dec 03, 2012 at 08:34:26 am     #  

I thought you were just making a point, mom2. You know, in case someone misunderstood you. ;)

posted by madjack on Dec 03, 2012 at 09:39:27 am     #   1 person liked this

If you are interested in this topic (at least from a legal education perspective), there's a new book out called Failing Law Schools by Brian Tamanaha (ISBN: 978-0226923611) that is an excellent critique of the current situation.

I think a number of topics brought up in this book on legal education can easily be moved to the topic of general college education. The sky-high loans. The pursuit of U.S. News rankings. The professors who don't teach. All of it. A Washington Post review of the book can be found by clicking here


The real issue is that a high-paying job has become the only kind a law grad can afford to accept. Why? As Tamanaha explains, law schools have spent the past quarter-century jacking up their tuition, from an average of $2,400 per year at public institutions in 1987 to $18,500 in 2009; the corresponding figures at private law schools are $8,900 and $35,750. These increases far outstripped inflation.

“Many law professors at many law schools across the country are selling a degree to their students that they would not recommend to people close to them,” Tamanaha writes. He also accuses them of lying about it: Some schools have been caught luring students with inflated post-graduation employment statistics.

If you think those claims sting, consider Tamanaha’s argument that law school effectively transfers money from students to relatively well-to-do professors, via student-loan debt — much of which is ultimately guaranteed by federal taxpayers who are generally not as well-off as the typical law professor.

Law school faculties are also bastions of liberal politics, and this irony is not lost on Tamanaha, who accuses the professoriate of not only enriching itself but also erecting de facto barriers to upward social mobility and true public-service law practice, all in the name of “academic freedom” and other abstractions.


Tamanaha is a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis--a top 25 program. He's not a bitter prof at some Tier III or IV school. And yes, by being at Wash U as a professor, he is participating in the process (which I guess can be seen as a negative). But, he knows what he's talking about.

Worth requesting from the library if you don't want to spend the cash to get it.

posted by oldhometown on Dec 03, 2012 at 11:02:01 am     #  

Book: <u>Higher Education?</u> by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus

Graduated with a B.A. in 2009 just months after I got laid off. Sadly also just months into the still on-going economic tumult. Tried running my own business for a while, but I had no starting capital and with my student loans, non-existent savings from living those last 6 months to finish school after the full time job of two years set me loose, and with a substantial college debt load, I could not get any advertising beyond walk-about and word of mouth. Word of mouth works best when you have an established pool to sing your praises, not when you are trying for an initial client base.

So, the whole time, I've been looking for something too. Out of the three years I've been looking, living on very meager means and driving back the loan monsters with deferments, and I've gotten all of two interviews.

Now doing the only thing I can. Going back to school for a Masters in healthcare. Not related to my undergrad directly. Not any of the fields I really wanted to be in, but something I know I can do and that seems to be swelling with need for people.

College Debt. It's the new Indentured Servitude. You too can come to the new land of promise that is a higher ed degree, just sign on the dotted line that says your wages go to us for the next 15-30 years.

posted by RobJelf on Dec 03, 2012 at 11:32:24 am     #   1 person liked this

If I hear another college grad say, "I seen..." and "I have saw", I am going to scream. I even hear the local talking heads on the news say that. They must have graduated from UT in Communications!!

My undergrad degree is from UT in communication, not communications. You will never hear me say “I seen” or “I have saw.” I do not write “I should of” instead of “I should have,” something that I’ve seen tossed around this forum on more than one occasion. I also know the difference between “loser” and “looser,” as well as “you’re” and “your.”

It would be interesting to see how many of the “talking heads” you mention graduated from UT. I once heard someone on NBC-24 refer to an accident on “I-23.” I knew two things immediately: 1) she wasn’t from this area and 2) she didn’t have Mike Bartell for news writing. I happen to think the instructors I had at UT did a very good job at driving home the important stuff. And while I am not using my degree in the journalism or public relations field, it has been an excellent foundation for my current employment.

I realize that the point of your post was to comment further on the lack of qualifications of students. However, there are actual qualified students graduating from UT. I’ve never personally heard any of the atrocities you’ve mentioned, but I would bet that it has less to do with a lack of qualified candidates and more to do with how much the station is willing to compensate those who apply.

posted by valbee on Dec 03, 2012 at 02:48:27 pm     #   2 people liked this

The analysis by Star56 omits a few things:

  • If indeed today's college students are less intelligent / ill-prepared / lacking academic skills (I do not agree with this, by the way, and yes: I taught at UT from 2005-12) this is not the fault of the college or university that admits them. Start with the parents and move next to the primary and secondary schools if you would like to blame someone.
  • Star56 ignores the role of state support for higher education (SSI, or state share of instruction). SSI was set up in the 1960s to build and sustain public universities in Ohio with the thinking that producing college graduates was an important long-term goal for the economic vitality of the state. In the 1980s the SSI for the University of Toledo was between 65 and 70 percent of tuition cost, while that number has steadily dropped to a little over 20 percent the last few years. Now, we could have a friendly debate over whether state financial support for higher education is a good or bad idea, but the fact remains that Ohio's public universities and colleges have been scrambling for decades to make do with less support almost every year.
  • The "dog and pony show" alluded to by Star56 consists (I assume) of things like more attractive dorms, new retail spaces, free concerts in public spaces, more extracurricular activities, and more student organizations. In the business world I used to call this something like "ambience," and if anything universities are acting more like private enterprises these days. Granted, some of the money that they use came from public coffers, but we are likely not far from the day when some or all of Ohio's public universities become private institutions. Heck, at the rate that OBOR keeps cutting state support, there may soon come a day when a "public" university decides that the pittance provided by the state is not worth the bureaucratic hassle, and it decides to seek a permanent severing of the relationship with the state.
  • Part of the debt problem has to do with the ease with which students can tap into loans far above their basic tuition and book needs. I know of many students who max out their loans every semester, while I have also witnessed quite a few students who enroll simply to get refunds (they sign up for classes, do the minimum work, and then drop the classes and pocket the balance). In the "business" of academia these folks are known by terms such as "check chasers." Anyway, I think any student loan reform should include new rules that inhibit fraud, while making students pay something out of pocket before getting loans (either in cash or in work study programs). Something that is "free" (i.e., when students do not have to sacrifice) is valued much less than something earned.
  • Re: "useless" degrees - the last time I looked at the classified ads or online job listings, the vast majority of professional and/or high-paying jobs required at least a Bachelor's degree. While times may be tough right now in a weak job market, I would still rather be an unemployed person with a Bachelor's degree than an unemployed person with just a high school diploma:

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 04:13:08 pm     #   1 person liked this

Also: the Bachelor's degree in the marketplace is rapidly becoming what the high school diploma was in the 1950s through 1970s. If I were advising a young adult about life choices, I would tell that person to be thinking of going directly to graduate school for at least an MA or MS.

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 04:15:02 pm     #  

I would tell that person to be thinking of going directly to graduate school for at least an MA or MS.


In certain circumstances, I agree. However, I think the majority of programs...AND the students...benefit from prospective graduate students GTFO of school for at least a couple of years to do some honest-to-god work. Anything. My wife went to law school 4 years after her BA was done. In the middle, she taught middle school/high school, worked for an education non-profit, became a Rotary Foundation scholar for a year, ran the Boston Marathon, and met me (a full-fledged project like no other!)...and she was SO MUCH better prepared for the rigors of law school.

My MA was 12 years after my BA. I too benefited from years of outside experience.

posted by oldhometown on Dec 03, 2012 at 04:24:43 pm     #  

My wife triple majored in college to be a teacher. She very quickly realized the problems in the educational system and left it behind.

She turned to retail. Made about $7 an hour at Pier 1. Worked hard, proved herself, became an assistant manager within a year. Again worked hard proved herself, we moved twice, each time she put in transfer requests and had excellent recommendations from her store managers.

We moved on base. Due to her recommendations she got a job working retail administration for the Marine Corps Community Services. Again she worked hard, within 6 months they kept her at her job but made it a supervisory position. Then they offered her a promotion to another job within the organization. She did that for less than a year and she was encouraged to apply for another position but this one on the base staff.

Needless to say in this economy I watch my wife go from making $7 per hour to more than me (I am a Captain with over 10 years in you can google my salary).

My brother holds an associates degree. He served in the military until '07-08. He too is a hard worker. Since the economy tanked in '09 he has gone from being a first line warehouse manager through two company changes and several promotions to be a Division Supervisor.

The education doesn't matter as much today. That is because the younger generation doesn't want to work hard. It's a part of the entitlement culture. I see it all over where I live now. People don't want to do their job right or in some cases at all and expect a job with a high wage.

I have little to no sympathy for people who say they can't find a job. I've seen people succeed in this economy and I've seen many fail. Those who fail have one thing in common, they don't work as hard as those who have succeeded. Education barely factored.

posted by MikeyA on Dec 03, 2012 at 04:38:10 pm     #  

The other issue is people take cost of living loans and roll them into the education loans. I took an extra 10k a school year when I was going through grad school to live off instead of working. Looking back that was just stupidity on my part.

We also need to change the process so that loans are awarded based on the likely ability to pay back (i.e. what is the degree in). Also, these lenders know the loans are gauranteed so there is no incentive to turn down someone for 200k in loans to a student who wants a history degree.

posted by toledoramblingman on Dec 03, 2012 at 04:43:25 pm     #  


I completely concur that hard work trumps almost every other factor, and while I am not the smartest history PhD ever (and probably would be rather low-ranked in a table that compared IQs among PhD-holders) I know that I can out-work just about anyone. As a Master's and a PhD student I used to work 4, 5, and sometimes 6 different jobs to put food on the table and pay my bills (while, I should add, keeping my total student loan debt under $50K for a PhD, and MA, and half of a BA after I went back to college at age 36).

However, there are many jobs where a college degree is the ticket to the job lottery: no degree, no chance at an interview. Now, if a person is happy working the sorts of jobs where a degree is not required (restaurants, retail, construction, factory work, OTR hauling, warehouses, package delivery firms, some types of sales, and so on) then Hallelujah and keep on trucking, brothers and sisters. There is nothing wrong with good old-fashioned honest work; Lord knows I worked more than my share of these jobs from 1978 (when I entered the workforce on someone's payroll) to 2005 (the last year in which a portion of my income was derived from such lines of work).

But if a person aspires to something other than these types of jobs, a Bachelor's degree is the bare minimum these days.

Do I like this? Not really. Are there plenty of smart people who do not have degrees? Most definitely. Are there people with advanced degrees who could not find their way out of a cardboard box if you spotted them a flashlight and a map? Of course.

But none of the above changes the fact that there are diminishing numbers of decent-paying entry level jobs that do not require a college degree.

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 04:52:52 pm     #  


I am not sure where your numbers come from; the current limits published by DOE for subsidized and unsubsidized loans are much lower than the $200K figure that you tossed out:

Undergraduate students: ranges from $9,500 (first year student) to $12,500 per year (third and fourth year student). No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

Graduate students: $138,500 for graduate or professional students—No more than $65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. The graduate debt limit includes all federal loans received for undergraduate study (i.e., a person who racked up $50K as an undergraduate can only receive up to $88,500 as a graduate student).

Students who max out the federal loan programs would then have to take out unsubsidized loans from private financial institutions at market rates.

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 05:03:19 pm     #  


Agreed that maturity and experience are useful characteristics in graduate school. I was 100 times more motivated when I returned to college at age 36 than my first go-around straight out of high school. My advice could be amended to reflect the idea that today's MA is the equivalent of the Bachelor's degree 30-50 years ago.

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 05:06:56 pm     #  

I was going to go back for my Bachelors but just don't wanna tack on anymore debt to what I have. Most places want a 4 year Bachelors in accounting and I just can't afford that. I'm a genius in math and had a few courses in accounting while I was working in my associates and carried a 3.8-4.0 through my degree. They won't even give you a look without that 4 year degree.

After today I finally realized I have to do something sooner than later. My body just can't handle this anymore. I should have listened to the old man when he told me not to go into construction lol.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 03, 2012 at 05:18:53 pm     #  

It sounds like you have performed an intelligent cost-benefit analysis, lfrost125. In my case, I figured that a PhD at age 45 meant that I would have 20-30 years of work at higher-than-average salaries to pay off the $50K in loans, plus I would accumulate greater savings toward retirement. The icing on the proverbial cake, as you hinted, is that a job like teaching college or working as an accountant exacts a minimal physical toll on the body, unlike the beating a person takes every day in a physically demanding job.

Heck, even the restauarant business takes a physical toll; I cannot even count the number of serious cuts, burns, banged shins/elbows/craniums, and slip/falls on wet floors I racked up in 25 years of food service, not to mention the many 12-16 hour days spent entirely on my feet. You do not see many older people employed in food service, and the ones you encounter are usually pretty worn-out looking.

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 05:35:58 pm     #  

HM, I agree totally with you. Having worked 2 and 3 jobs more times than I can count myself.

lfrost2125, You may want to think about another section of skilled labor. Right now they are paying excellent and they can't get enough people to fill the roles paying a very nice wage.

posted by MikeyA on Dec 03, 2012 at 05:38:49 pm     #  

You know, lfrost, what is a goddamn shame is that if you were 18 with no experience in anything, Toledo Public Schools fully funds a four year degree at UT for any nitwit that maintains a 3.0 in their system...but you can't get any help.

This may be barking at the moon, but I'm gonna suggest it. If you are the student you say you are, is there anybody at Owens who knows people at UT or BGSU that can dig up scholarship/grant money to help you get your 4 year degree? Not all financial aid is created equally and 95% of people in financial aid offices are nothing more than loan pushers. Sometimes there is "aid" they have no frippin' clue about because it stays within a department.

Case in point: I was let go from my job smack dab in the middle of my MA program at a state school (not UT or BGSU). It so happened the day I was let go was also the first day of my new classes in January, so during the whole "who are you, what do you do, introduce yourself" segment of the first class, I proudly said "I'm oldhometown and I got fired today." Couple days later, I found out my instructor took that info to the department chair who also knew me and also had a scholarship that no one had bothered to apply to. It was posted. It was even at the financial aid office as a competitive award. Nobody bothered. Guess who was awarded the scholarship that year? Covered my expenses for both Spring and Summer classes, books and fees.

Point being, there is money out there. There are scholarships that nobody bothers to apply to (getting back to the whole "kids are frickin' lazy" argument). Plus there are scholarships where you would be OUTSTANDING in the eyes of the decision committee because of your great grades and successful work history. Maybe you can start digging up some scholarship cash to take a class or two each semester AND work to support your family. According to this site--

Many scholarship and fellowship programs do not have age restrictions, and there are no age restrictions on eligibility for federal student financial aid. Older students should conduct a search for aid just like younger students.

The FastWeb scholarship database includes more than 50 awards that have a minimum age restriction of 30 years or older. There are more than 230 awards with a minimum age restriction of 25 years or older. There are more than 1,800 awards with no age restrictions whatsoever.

Aside from those scholarships, personal connections from your instructors to people they know is extremely important--don't be just another application or number. Talk to them. Talk to them often. Then, go to UT or BGSU and sit down with the department chair or various instructors and tell them who you are, what you want to do, your record at them your drive to succeed and let them PUSH for you. Be a pest. Show them you want this.

As someone who teaches on the college level, I can assure you (and HM probably can as well)...we would MUCH rather teach someone like you than some of the entitled dullards and fartknockers who actually sit in our classes who have had it all handed to them by Mommy and Daddy.

You sound like an extremely hard worker. If you can afford to put some more energy into getting this for yourself, you might have a positive outcome. I wish you the very best.

posted by oldhometown on Dec 03, 2012 at 05:49:44 pm     #  


You don't have to tell me about the downfalls of food service. My wife has been a cook at many restaurants and was always coming home with cuts, burns, Etc.

I also have to look at it from a retirement standpoint too. Right now I have nothing. My whole family has worked in some form of construction. My grandpa had to work till the day he died, my dad will probably have to do the same (both self-employed). I don't want to be in that boat in 30 years. If I am still working I want it to be because I want to not because I have to.

posted by lfrost2125 on Dec 03, 2012 at 05:50:26 pm     #  

Good point about scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, fee waivers, and all the other intelligent ways to keep costs down, oldhometown. Much of my MA and PhD costs were reduced through a variety of assistantships and fellowships, plus a variety of smaller financial awards based on academic performance. Now, admittedly I had a 3.86 GPA as a returning undergrad and a 4.0 in fifteen semesters of grad school, so these were not gifts, but again: hard work beats high IQ any day of the week.

There were more than a few fellow graduate students who I think had higher IQs than me (at least three were borderline geniuses) but I could outwork any of those folks any day of the week. I am also something of a prodigy at multi-tasking: working on writing projects on my laptop in the waiting room while my kid was seeing the dentist, or taking an assigned book with me wherever I went in case I had 20 minutes of down time were the norm for me from 2000-2009.

Another financial consideration is the Pell grant, which is need based. My first few years as an adult undergraduate I received Pell grants on the order of $2,500 or so a year; not a whopping sum, but since we had seven kids in the house at the time, we were considered poor enough to qualify. Even if you only qualified for $500-$1,000, this is still quite a good deal, as Pell grants do not have to be repaid.

Consider also some form of work study or on-campus employment if you decide to go back to school. These jobs usually have flexible hours, and they can sometimes result in networking opportunities down the road. For seven years I worked as a Writing Center tutor, and while the pay was not especially jaw-dropping (I think I topped out at $12.00 an hour) this was something relevant to stick on my CV. I also picked up a lot of freelance editing work, and at one time I had a few professors as clients: just because someone has a PhD does not necessarily mean that the person can write well, and one professor told me that it was well worth the $20 an hour I charged to get his manuscript polished for publication. Along the way I honed my own writing chops to the point where I moved from "literate" to "competent" to "accomplished" in about six years.

I say all this not to brag, but rather to point out that at the end of 1999 I was almost broke, highly disillusioned about my life choices to that point, and unsure what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. After a year or so back in college I had a much clearer vision of the future in a field I found that I loved (history) and I began working with some talented people who gave me excellent advice and who pointed to open doors that I never knew were there.

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 06:26:28 pm     #  

Oh, and oldhometown is also right that adult returning students are a joy to have in my classes: they work hard, they ask smart questions, and they are typically very keen to learn, as opposed to just collecting grades or (worse) expecting knowledge to be spoon-fed to them. They also tend to set the bar very high for the other students, and in some cases having an adult student is like having a free teaching assistant, as they tend to take on informal advisory roles to other students.

posted by historymike on Dec 03, 2012 at 06:28:55 pm     #  

Thanks again. There good coffee to :)

posted by INeedCoffee on Dec 04, 2012 at 06:01:11 pm     #  

Sorry typing on phone.

posted by INeedCoffee on Dec 04, 2012 at 06:01:39 pm     #  

This was a wonderful and eye opening meeting. Truly wish I had meet the gentleman long ago, would have made life a lot easier. Thanks again UPSO, starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel :).

posted by INeedCoffee on Dec 04, 2012 at 09:37:53 pm     #  

Glad it went well! I'll make sure to post any future events he throws. Scott is a great guy.

posted by upso on Dec 05, 2012 at 06:34:32 am     #