Diane’s Student Loan Story

I graduated from Syracuse University in 1965, before student loan debt. Many high school friends went to University of Massachusetts. Syracuse (private) and UMass (Public) both provided excellent educations.

My friends who chose UMass came from families that did not have the means to help them pay for college.  Umass students worked part-time during the school year and full time during the summer, often 12-hour days, 6 days a week. Their earnings were enough to cover tuition, room and board, fees, books and spending money.  Tuition, room and board was $1,081 in 1964-65 ay UMass

My family’s business was financially stable by the time I was ready for college.

My family agreed to pay for tuition, room and board. I agreed to continue working in the family business on vacations and in the summer and to use my earnings for books, spending money and savings. My father told me that my savings were necessary to provide a “nest egg” to pay for “start up expenses” when I graduated and got a job. Tuition, room and board was $2,202 in 1964-65.

Today Syracuse’s tuition, room and board is $61,242 (27 times higher than 1965); and UMass’s tuition; room and board is $25,410 (22 times higher than 1965). The Federal minimum wage has increased from $1.25 to $7.25 (5 times higher than 1965).  Students with minimum wage jobs can no longer afford to pay tuition, room and board.

The myth that a college education will get you a good job and a ticket into the middle class continues, particularly among low and lower-middle income families. The reality is that these students graduate and can only find minimum wage jobs that never required a college degree to begin, and do not pay enough to provide for basic needs. Nothing is left over for a student loan payment.

Over 20 years ago  I was convinced the model for higher education had to change. Over the years it did change; it got more complex and confusing. Tuition, room and board continued to increase at double the rate of inflation. Today major thinkers have labeled Student Loan Debt ($1.3 trillion) as the next Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis.

The Rooted Investing process is to flip a problem on its head and create a new paradigm. We call the new paradigm for higher education Tithe For Tuition. Tithe for Tuition is a solution-based collaboration built on Rooted Investing principles of My Own Money (MOM).  MOM Principles are:

  • SIMPLE –easy to understand, simple arithmetic, simple documents
  • DIY – you are your own expert
  • PEOPLE – relationships, not numbers
  • LOCAL – community-based solutions

If these principles resonate with you, or you have additional solutions for alternative financing for Tertiary students, we ask that you join Rooted Investing. Help us solve the student loan crisis.

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