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Frankly, I don't see anything wrong with debt, part time jobs, working summers + available scholarships.

My wife and I are from the baby boomer generation, (OK, first half), with large extended families--lots of nephews, nieces, cousins, etc.  Our parents were upper/lower class to lower/middle class.  Looking across two generations (ours, including our cousins, and the one following), there are about 80 people.  No one did not go to college due to not being able to find the money to go.  3 unfortunately had drug problems and their were two with mental disabilities, and three did not want to go (married after high school and farm kids, wanting that life style).  The rest went to college and graduated.

The types of colleges covered a wide range, but it was an interesting discussion, because we realized that there were some very bright kids (valedictorians, high test scores) who really chose there colleges based on comfort levels, where friends were going, expectations of friends and families.  In other words, a number of kids could have easily qualified for higher ranked schools (top 25 prestige schools)than they went to, both scholastically and through financial aid--but just wanted to go somewhere else--often the state school, which are great academicaly as we looked at them, but don't have the prestige.)  It looks like 5 of us went to "elite" undergrad programs.

So I think there are some similarities to what Jerome described about France, in that the high school you are in, or expectations of your peers and family are likely to dictate where you go to school.  But our experience says that great grades, high test scores (like SAT's) and motivation to go to the "elite", maybe elite-lite, schools,,,you can do that--finances (scholarship, loans, part time jobs, summer jobs) will not stop you.

by wchurchill on Sat Mar 25th, 2006 at 09:18:50 PM EST
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