With rising tuition and increased competition, a debate is raging on both sides of the political spectrum over college. News outlets from the New York Times to Fox have questioned the worth of a degree. The Charter asked parents, teachers, and prospective students around ACA about their college experience, and whether they felt any higher education they’d received was worth it.
Jeff Leclaire got an associates’ degree in science after high school. He says the degree “helped me in my field at the time, forestry… helped me be more sure of myself. The degree helped further me. I paid off my loan, of course. I worked for something like 12 years in that field, then moved on. I haven’t gone back, but it (college) was totally worth it.”
Karen Downing, ACA’s curriculum Specialist, had a positive college experience. “My parents paid for some, and we took out loans for the rest… all paid for by now. I got a Bachelors in sociology, and my special education teaching certification. I’d say it was definitely worth it.”
Lori Jenson is a parent at ACA. She got her Bachelor’s in managerial Economics, which has been, in her words “absolutely worth it. I went to U.C. Davis, on campus for two years, off for two years- 1 year of that I did abroad in Denmark. That was fun. Back then, it was super cheap- embarrassingly cheap. If I remember correctly, tuition sans housing was something like $1200 per year. (She did remember- until 1970, tuition was free for California residents, and exactly $1200 for students.) “I also got a scholarship… it was ridiculously cheap compared to now.” (As of January, 2020, out of state annual tuition at UC Davis had spiked to $64,356.)
Torren Lewis, a freshman, is enrolled in the CCE program, taking classes at PCC and PSU. “Higher education after high school… well, I’m (already) there!
“I do Math and Spanish 101. It’s great. PSU is really hard… really fast.” Torren is considering a career in STEM, but doesn’t know exactly where he wants to go. “I think I’ll just get the basic stuff out of the way first, then decide.” CCE makes this approach easy, even prudent, as the basic required courses can be applied towards almost all bachelors programs.”
Money won’t be a concern even when he does transfer into a four-year institution, “My grandparents have money… they set up a trust when I was born, and it’s pretty much doubled since then. I’m set.”
Ann Heppner dealt with some financial challenges through college, but noted “It was good for me. I did athletics and college- then I homeschooled my kids and came back for graduate school. Cost was a problem. I didn’t want to take on any loans, so I didn’t. I had to work through it, in addition to some athletic scholarships. The same thing happened with my kids- no loans. It took longer (for them to graduate), because whenever we ran out of money, they’d pause and work for a while. I don’t think four-year college is for everyone… trade schools can be helpful… but (college) definitely helped me.”
Jenson, Lori. Personal Interview. 15 Jan. 2020.
Heppner, Ann. Personal Interview. 13 Jan 2020.
Torren Lewis. Personal Interview. 13 Jan 2020.
Leclaire, Jeff. Personal Interview. 13 Jan 2020.
Downing, Karen. Personal Interview, 15 Jan 2020.
“University of California, Davis. Tuition and Expenses.” CollegeData. https://www.collegedata.com/college/University-of-California-Davis/?tab=profile-money-tab. Accessed 22 Jan. 2020.