The Wall Street Journal reports:
While many parents and students have long emphasized getting into a top school over financial considerations, families in recent months have seen the value of their homes decline, their investments dramatically shrink and sometimes monthly incomes lost due to layoffs. Other students who in the past would have taken on thousands of dollars in debt, are being stymied as lenders tighten access to loans amid the global credit crunch.
Many college-age kids are setting their sights on less prestigious and lower-cost colleges or adding “financial-safety” schools to their lists as a backup. Some students are considering spending their first two years at a community college, while others are focusing on schools closer to home to save on fuel and housing costs. Students stuck on going to their top-choice colleges are trying to help out by getting after-school jobs and increasingly applying for scholarships.
I know we are supposed to feel sympathy for those going to (gasp) state schools or (double gasp) finding jobs. But is this such a bad thing? Perhaps the difference in cost between Harvard and Ohio State can be put to better use. And the Ivies might stop gouging students–if the latter figure out they can get an identical education at half the price. If the recession gives thousands of teenagers the idea that money isn’t unlimited, choices need to be made, and more expensive isn’t necessarily “better,” then it’s not the worst thing to befall them.