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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Back to school time--grab your checkbook

Uploaded: Aug 27, 2013
College students on the semester plan already headed off to their campuses while k-12 students are returning to school this week except in Livermore where schools opened last week.
Not surprisingly, the president and his spin doctors decided it was time again to campaign for lower higher education costs. Last week, President Obama visited a few campuses on a bus tour and talked about making college more affordable with a new rating plan.
A couple of important notes:
? College costs have soared at a rate that makes the increases in health care costs look affordable since the federal government established its grant and loan programs. Perhaps, there's a connection? The item listed on my daughter's financial aid package from a private university was a federally subsidized loan.
? The Congress with the approval of the Obama Administration took over the subsidized loan program from the private sector as part of Obamacare. Just what higher education has to do with health care is a fine question that was ignored in the takeover.
The president, as is his wont, has been a master of mixed messages. Of late, he seemed to encourage students to default on their loans and was taking steps to make that easier. His idea was to go to work for the government and get the vast majority of your loan forgiven or to limit repayment to 10 percent of discretionary income (how would a mortgage lender or a banker lending on a car view that standard?). The basic concept that when you signed your name, you committed to repayment seems to be fading rapidly in the White House.
And anything the president can do to distract attention from the Benghazi scandal that is approaching its one-year anniversary with precious little public disclosure or accountability for government employees involved as well as the discriminatory actions by the IRS to say nothing of the NSA's rampant and ever evolving invasions of privacy.
The president's latest notion—rating colleges as a curb on tuition costs—has some merit. It does involve competition—what it lacks is removing the federal subsidies so colleges have to present a value proposition to potential students. The trends during the economic turndown showed more students and parents were carefully evaluating the costs and making decisions with economics in mind instead of blind faith that a high-paying job would be available to pay back the loan.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Aug 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm

anon is a registered user.

Forget the cost of about the cost to send your kids to "free" public primary and secondary schools? The "begging" from every organization (PTA) is one thing, but I am tired of every teacher asking for a classroom "donation" of $25 or more.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School,
on Aug 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

The recent passage of the law eliminating fees for a variety of consumables was ill conceived. Now everything has to be called a donation and no one has to donate. Where a teacher/school could charge a fee for x and make a little extra to cover those who could not afford the requested item, now no one has to pay for what might truly enhance their child's learning experience. So a teacher/class does without or a teacher is left to beg. While I understand the premise of the law, the solution is one that hurts everyone, albeit equally.

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