I'm hearing more these days from frustrated parents who absolutely can't afford to send kids to college: It's just too expensive and they're depressed and ashamed that they can't give their kids the help they need. (I recently pointed out to one friend whose daughter insisted she wanted to go to art school several states away, "In-state credit hour, $200+. Out of state credit hour, $974. See the difference?") My kid was furious with me 15 years ago when I told him I couldn't in good conscience advise him to go to the school he wanted because they didn't give him enough money and he'd graduate with a $125,000 debt.
Soon it's going to be like the early 1900s, where your only hope of going to college was to attract the patronage of some kindly millionaire. Ah, the good old days!
Here's another option. Cory McCray:
Growing up in a single parent home in Baltimore City, college expectations were slim for me. I didn’t want to have mountains of debt that I could be paying for half of my life and I knew that my mother couldn’t afford to send me to college without the accumulation of debt herself. So, I decided to go through an apprenticeship program and in 2008 I was able to complete the five year apprenticeship through the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Local 24 with a Journeyman Electrician Certification.
Deciding to further my education, in early 2009, I enrolled in BCCC (Baltimore City Community College) part-time. After three years of hard work and commitment, I am entering my last semester at BCCC. This journey has been rewarding, but also expensive. After tuition, registration fees, consolidated fees, and facility capital fees, I accumulated bills exceeding eight thousand dollars ($8,000.00). This doesn’t include the cost of school books; over two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00). Many students and parents that are paying for four year colleges have stated “that was a cheap price to pay and wait to see your bills from a four year college”.
I find myself fortunate to be able to come out of high school and find an employer such as the IBEW, who placed me in the middle class by paying a living wage, affordable health care, and a respectable retirement program. I am fortunate because I could cut back on spending to allow myself an extra three thousand ($3,000.00) plus dollars to accommodate furthering my education, when the reality is the majority of our country doesn’t have that option.
[...] The reality is that many of us don’t have wealthy parents and a small percentage of us will attend school on full scholarships. That leaves the majority of the population left with the three options of not going to school, taking out loans, or waiting later in life to be able to pay for school. The latter three options weaken the middle-class, and place a greater division between the wealthy and those in poverty.