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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    K-12 loans set poor example for youth

    College students who are forced to wave the white flag in the tuition battle and resort to student loans are not alone. Kindergartners across the nation are fighting the same fight.

    The Wall Street Journal’s personal finance magazine, Smart Money, reported a rise in parents asking for money to fund their children’s education, some holding out their hands as early as their son’s or daughter’s kindergarten days.

    The article draws its research from prominent loan lender Your Tuition Solution, which works with many high-income parents who don’t qualify for financial aid. In March, the amount of requested money from Your Tuition Solution increased by 10 percent from the same time last year. Next year, the company expects to fund roughly $20 million in loans, according to the article.

    If there’s not caviar at snack time, Tempur-Pedic mattresses for nap time and weekly appearances by Bill Nye the Science Guy, then these parents are wasting their money.

    To be clear, spending money on higher education is not a waste of money. A college education should be considered an invaluable expense that will ideally pay for itself in the long run.

    However, completely disregarding the public school system and paying up to $40,000 per year for private schooling from kindergarten through 12th grade is a waste of money, especially if parents need loans to fuel it. They’re asking for money they don’t have, when there is already an education system available for free.

    Some parents think “private” is synonymous with superior, so the higher the price, the richer the educational experience. It’s an expensive assumption to make.

    To put it in perspective, the yearly tuition for the World Class Learning Academy of New York is $31,900 for kindergarten through fifth grade. When a student graduates from this World Class Learning Academy, parents will be left with a $191,400 bill, not including other fees. And if parents took out loans, this sum doesn’t even include the varying interest rates.

    The yearly tuition for a UA resident undergraduate is approximately $10,035. If tuition stays the same, then a student can receive a degree that will ideally get them though the rest of their lives for approximately $40,140. No, this doesn’t include extraneous fees for attending college, but the figure is still $87,460 less than four years of tuition at World Class Learning Academy, and $151,260 less than the entire six-year program.

    Interestingly enough, it’s the rich parents who are asking for money.

    In 2010-11, 20 percent of the families who applied for K-12 loans had incomes of $150,000 or more, according to the latest data from the National Association of Independent Schools, referenced in the Smart Money article.

    The median American household income is $49,445, according to the 2010 Census — that’s barely more than one year’s tuition for private schooling.

    The rule everyone knows, but not everyone follows, is: If you don’t have the money, don’t spend it. But considering today’s economic climate, maybe the rule should be, “If you have the money, save it.”

    Education is a worthwhile expense, but shouldn’t require loans until college or even graduate school. What children will learn from their parents seeking loans is that you can spend money that you don’t have. Just think of the fun they’ll have with credit cards.

    — Kelly Hultgren is a junior studying journalism and communication. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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