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Top University Rankings for 2004 Released 701

jemecki writes "US News and World Report has posted their annual rankings for the top colleges and universities in America. Of particular interest to Slashdotters are the top Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering universities and the top overall engineering schools. For those that don't want to RTFA, Harvard and Princeton are the best in the country, and MIT, Stanford and Berkeley are the best in Engineering."
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Top University Rankings for 2004 Released

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  • by AEton ( 654737 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:21PM (#6768301)

    I am applying to college this fall, looking for a degree in computer engineering (or software, maybe. heh) so I can go join the rest of the madding crowd in the unemployment lines.

    The portions of this report available free didn't really surprise me -- MIT and Berkeley were already on my "apply here!" list, and maybe Stanford just for fun. But I have a bunch of others in mind -- Carnegie-Mellon, Harvard, CWRU, maybe Ohio State (tuition would be cheap or free as I live in state).

    This story should generate some more interesting suggestions as to what I should look into--particuarly because we have to pay money to see more than the top 3--and I'm very interested in input from the techie crowd, particularly those who have already gone through the college circus.

  • by GreenCrackBaby ( 203293 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:23PM (#6768328) Homepage
    Forget this survey. Is there really a surprise when schools that cost $30,000 per year rank at the top? What I'm interested in is a country -vs- country ranking. Here in Canada we have some amazing universities, and I'd love to see them up against the US's best.
  • GOD I HATE THIS LIST (Score:3, Interesting)

    by falcon5768 ( 629591 ) <Falcon5768@co[ ]st.net ['mca' in gap]> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:24PM (#6768339) Journal
    Cause every year my school (Montclair State University) uses it to show its good and the honest truth is the school SUCKS and basically rapes you of money and gives you no education for what you paid.

    I mean they closed down the TECHNOLOGY DEPARTMENT!!! just so they could build a bigger building on campus

  • by (54)T-Dub ( 642521 ) * <tpaine@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:24PM (#6768347) Journal
    The Debt Rankings [usnews.com] are interesting though. I also thought that cal tech's #1 [usnews.com] on the Best value [usnews.com] ranking was interesting. Totally subjective, but interesting.
  • by (54)T-Dub ( 642521 ) * <tpaine@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:28PM (#6768384) Journal
    It really depends on your industry as well. As an engineer the school I graduated from means less than the job experience i have. Go to a highly competive field like law and I would imagine that the rules change completely.
  • Johns Hopkins (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bjtuna ( 70129 ) <.brian. .at. .intercarve.net.> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:28PM (#6768388) Homepage
    I know there's gotta be some other JHU alumni reading this. For years, Johns Hopkins has been ranked around #15, which always prompted Hopkins to brush the rankings aside as subjective. Surely the rankings are bullshit, they would say, since anyone worth their salt knew that JHU was the premiere research institution in the world.

    So my freshman year, 1999, rolls along and Hopkins finds itself ranked #7 by US News. Oh how they did celebrate. We heard about it nonstop for the first few weeks of school, especially during orientation. Major prestige thing. Huge boost to the administration's collective ego. And those rankings? Not so subjective anymore, were they? Finally those US News guys saw the light, and ranked Hopkins near the top!

    Man, what a bunch of hypocrites. Long live JHU :)
  • hmm that sounds more (Score:5, Interesting)

    by waspleg ( 316038 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:29PM (#6768398) Journal
    a popularity contest than anything useful

  • The Fix Is In! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:29PM (#6768405)
    Worse than just being irrelevant and stupid, the results are fixed to put Harvard/Priceton/Yale at the top of the list.

    Slate ran some articles on this a few years ago.

    "Cooking the School Books"

    and better yet

    "Cooking the School Books (Yet Again)"

    Tech is Hell
  • by Timmmm ( 636430 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:30PM (#6768422)
    How can you all afford to go to university?!?

    In the UK, tuition is ~ 1k/year, wherever you go.

    $30 / year ?!?!?!?!?!
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:34PM (#6768467) Homepage Journal
    but the "University" I went to had to be the bottom of the barrel.

    I still recall the quote from the dean of Chemistry when we walked into the 1st day of Physical Chemistry:

    "None of you will pass this class the first time around, I will make certain of it."

    And he did too. Had two exams, midterm and final. The midterm was on the day *after* the last day to drop the class, so in other words you had no idea how well you were doing in the class until it was too late.

    Motherfucker had tenure as well, so we couldn't get his butt fired for this. And sure enough, we all failed (even the straight A students, of which I was not one)

    In any case, long story short (too late!) everything I learned in life I *damn sure* didn't get at college. I got it in real life, so I have to wonder just how accurate those ratings (and how useful) really are.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:34PM (#6768470)
    I don't know about other Canadian universities, here at U of Waterloo (which is considered by many to have the best CS program in Canada), I'm finding them putting too much focus on mass producing coders as oppose to education and research. It probably has a lot to do with the lack of research funding though.
  • by chia_monkey ( 593501 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:34PM (#6768473) Journal
    Do Carnegie Mellon. Expensive and you'll bust your ass just to make a "B", but wow is it worth it. No coasting through classes here. And it actually does have a little pull out in the real world (even though right now everyone is probably saying "Mellon? Like in 'Back to School'?"). But...the thing I got most out of it, you'll make some damn good friends as you're all staying up late trying to survive.

    And then you got Pitt and a couple other nearby schools to go to/recruit chicks when you have ten minutes for a social life.
  • by Mike556 ( 88243 ) <mjrizzo.gmail@com> on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:37PM (#6768514) Journal
    Although an undergraduate degree may not get you the farthest as far as your career is concerned, the instruction you get while earning one could potentially make or break your chances at having an illustrious career. Also getting your education at an accredited school can boost your chances of getting into a good graduate program. Sure the community college can save you a ton of money, but depending on the worth of their instruction you could wind up regretting it later.

    ~Mike Rizzo

    It is better to keep quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:37PM (#6768517)
    it's hell of a lot cheaper and if you do it right can get you into your field faster.

    sign up with the Local CC.

    get all your crap classes out of the way there... why the hell do you think you need to pay $$$$$ for the basics that are the same everywhere...

    come on remedial English is the same at your local CC as it is at Stanford..... There's just less Football players at the community College classes.

  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:40PM (#6768543) Journal
    C'mon up to Canada for your education. The tuition is about half (or less) of what it is in the states, if you're gay you can get married, and we're about to decriminalize marijuana.

    Better yet, you don't have to pay to see our rankings: [macleans.ca]

    1 Toronto [utoronto.ca]
    2 Queen's [queensu.ca]
    *3 McGill [mcgill.ca]
    *3 Western [www.uwo.ca]
    5 UBC [www.ubc.ca]
    6 Montreal [umontreal.ca]
    7 Alberta [ualberta.ca]
    8 Sherbrooke [usherbrooke.ca]
    9 Ottawa [uottawa.ca]
    10 McMaster [mcmaster.ca]
    11 Dalhousie [www.dal.ca]
    12 Saskatchewan [usask.ca]
    13 Laval [ulaval.ca]
    14 Calgary [ucalgary.ca]
    15 Manitoba [umanitoba.ca]
  • by QuackQuack ( 550293 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:49PM (#6768641) Journal
    Either you pay for it in high tuition or you pay for it in high taxes. ;-)

    If you can't afford $30K/year (and that is for the most prestigious of schools, most schools are much less than that), there are scholarships, grants, and loan programs to pay part or all of your tuition.
  • by Skater ( 41976 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:55PM (#6768680) Homepage Journal


    Lots of loans.

    I went to a relatively inexpensive school [clarion.edu], and I still have a ton of debt from it. I'm glad I didn't go anywhere more expensive. I'm quite happy with the education I received at Clarion, too.


  • by eaddict ( 148006 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:57PM (#6768701)
    My wife used to work at a University in the Statistics/Retention/etc... or soemthing like that dept. I used to call it the Department of Imaginary Numbers. For example, when she turned the graduation report in to the Dean/board about graduation rates the #1 degree was nursing. Well, they didn't want to be known as a nursing school so they told her to break the nursing graduates down into specialties. She then asked if she should do that for the engineering/math/chemistry departments as well. The told her no, only nursing.

    So much for accurate statistics! She left that job after few more reports had to be modified. For fun we called back to admissions to our old school to get the graduation rates. Scary that the same thing was going on there.

    It would be interesting to see the colleges lumped together to see where the school focuses for REAL.
  • by djeaux ( 620938 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:57PM (#6768703) Homepage Journal
    Undergraduate degrees are meaningless now-a-days, so you might as well spend as little as possible getting one. Going to a community college for the first 2 years to get the basics out of the way is a good start.

    Spot on!

    Another point is that the majority of community college faculty are actually interested in teaching students. Most university faculty, particularly those at the "prestigious" institutions, have absolutely no interest in teaching. They want to do research. Odds are that the undergrad classes at those top universities are being taught by graduate assistants anyway.

    I've worked as an institutional research administrator for a couple of community colleges, and I've found that when community college students transfer to universities, they perform as well as or better than students who started as freshmen at the universities.

    On the tuition side of things, attending a community college translates into savings sufficient to pay for the junior year at a public university.

    The end result is that unless you're one of those rare /.ers that could actually get admitted to Harvard, Stanford, Princeton or MIT, you're going to attend a state university, and most state universities already have "articulation agreements" with their local community colleges to expedite transfer of credit, etc.

  • by MadAnthony02 ( 626886 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @04:59PM (#6768717) Homepage

    Princeton Review [princetonreview.com] - ranks on such important catagories as "most weed" and "most hard liquor"

  • by raehl ( 609729 ) * <raehl311@yahoo. c o m> on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:09PM (#6768792) Homepage
    Avoid schools primarily geared towards engineering. Well, if you want to learn how to interact with real people anyway.

    There are a few good reasons to go to a big state school, esp. if you have one that's decent at your intended major in your state.

    1) It's cheaper. You will be very hard pressed to make enough money after school to make up for the extra $100,000 in debt you'll be from MIT or Stanford.

    2) You will run into many, many more people during the rest of your life who went to your school. This is good.

    3) Real people will not instantly label you as a snob.

    4) You have a much broader range of educational opportunity, and employers value this. Employers want engineers who took a few humanities classes. You will enjoy the opportunity to take a few humanities classes. You will have the opportunity to apply your major to fields that are just not available at engineering oriented school.

    5) If you decide you hate engineering - and I know many people who do - you can easily move into something else.

    6) Social Fraternities. I'm not saying you should join one, but you should have a good friend who does.

    7) Women. Who bathe. Some who have probably not heard about the tech bubble bursting and who will date you because of your perceived post-graduation paycheck.

    8) You'll still have access to everything you would have had at an engineering-only school.

    I know way too many people who went to Engineering schools who have a very difficult time functioning outside of an Engineering environment. One of the *MOST IMPORTANT* things I got out of college was taking classes with, and doing extra-curricular activies with, people who were smart *AND* not engineers.
  • Re:"Premium login"?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by $carab ( 464226 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:16PM (#6768869) Journal
    Sure, college is expensive. But more and more I view it as a progressive tax system. All the elite colleges have need-based financial aid. In my room next year, 2 people will be receiving 10,000+ financial aid GRANTS, not loans, and the third will be receiving nearly a full scholarship.

    My family isn't rich - but we're not exactly middle class either (100k per year, im the only child). Genreally the only folks who are paying 45,000 a year are those who are rich enough so that it's not a financial burden. Now, fine, there may be extenuating or special circumstances but in my experience financial aid officers are more than willing to listen to you and give you extra money if you can show you deserve it. The only real difference in price is between an "elite" school and a state school. Some of my friends were forced to turn down "elite" schools just because of the enormous disparity in price between an elite school and a state school with an academic scholarship.

    An incoming freshman at one of the #1 ranked schools.
  • Other way around (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:26PM (#6768951)
    Wait! There's less! In France you receive a salary when you make it to the top engineering school.
  • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @05:34PM (#6769007)
    Yes, speaking as a Yale alumnus: US News can blow me. The top three are basically a perpetual toss-up between Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, with a different college (or pair) holding the top spot each year, depending on how they've decided to tweak their ranking formula. Occasionally there's an upset - Caltech got #1 a few years ago. (Which is a good indication of how fucked up US News' system is: Caltech is a fantastic school, but it's an engineering school, not at all like HYP.)

    A couple of years ago, when Yale Law came in first in one of those rankings, the dean said that people should ignore the numbers anyway, because he didn't feel they were reflective of anything. The truth is, colleges probably prefer students who chose a school based on some particular attraction, not those who picked the school out of the rankings.
  • Re:"Premium login"?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @06:48PM (#6769543)
    This may surprise you, but the median household income [census.gov] for the US in 2001 was $42,228, and most families have more than one child. The 80th percentile begins at $83,500.
  • engineering upset (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grue23 ( 158136 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:11PM (#6769700)
    Wow, it's weird to see Stanford and Berkely in those high spots for Engineering. Usually the top three for engineering are some combination of MIT, Carneige-Mellon, Caltech, Harvey Mudd, and Rose Hullman. (MIT being almost always #1).
  • Re:Bah (Score:2, Interesting)

    by philipborlin ( 629841 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:21PM (#6769757) Journal
    Finally universities get a taste of their own medicine!

    We have all spent years being quantified by percentages that translate into A, B, C, D, and F and further go into a meaningless 4 point scale GPA. Does GPA measure our intelligence, our ability to perform in the "real" world, or our worth as a member of society? None of these, it simply tells how successful we will be at taking school tests in the future. Now universities are being quantified by meaningless measurements and they expect us to feel sorry for them?

  • Re:"Premium login"?? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Alan Partridge ( 516639 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:25PM (#6769779) Journal
    That doesn't really surprise me - though I'm rather impressed the the US census gives a median figure rather than the near useless mean we always seem to be given in the UK.

    And I'm damned grateful that OUR household income is considerably more than 26792 - coz we'd find it pretty tough going to live on that 'round here.
  • Re:Not exactly true (Score:5, Interesting)

    by humblecoder ( 472099 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @07:50PM (#6769937) Homepage
    I feel compelled to respond to your post, mainly because you mentioned my alma mater (Princeton) in a disparaging way.

    On the topic of financial aid, what you say was largely true at one time. However, the situation has gotten A LOT better. The financial aid rules have been reformed over the past 10 or so years so the inequities that you mention have been reduced.

    When I was going through college (class of 93), the financial aid formula assumed that something like 80% of assets in a student's name would be used towards tuition, while only something like 20% of assets in the parent's name would be used (I don't remember the exact figured, but you get the idea). If the family had saved money in the names of somebody else, like a sibling or a grandparent, those assets wouldn't be used in the financial aid calculation AT ALL. This ended up penalizing students like myself whose parents had saved money in my name. On the plus side, after the first year when all the assets in my name had been exhausted, my financial aid got A LOT better. Anyway, this rule has been reformed so that assets in the student's name aren't penalized as much.

    There have been other reforms to the financial aid system. For instance, home equity isn't included as heavily in your parent's assets. Your friend whose parent's house appreciated in value wouldn't have hurt them as much today. Also, I know that Princeton recently announced that they would eliminate loans from their financial aid packages and replace them with grants.

    All these things taken together show me that college administrators are listening to people's complaints about aid.

    One area in which Princeton falls short is in their switch from Early Action to Early Decision. Under Early Decision, if you apply early and are offered admission, you are obligated to go. This does hurt students because if you are concerned about financial aid, you are discouraged from applying early because you don't know what your bill is going to look like. It's sort of like agreeing to buy a car without knowing what the sticker price is. If a car dealer did it, Ralph Nader would be all over this issue. However, since Nader is Princeton Alum, I guess he thinks it's okay!

    Also, you mention how Princeton is not very diverse. If anything the elite school bend over backwards to show how diverse they are, even if they have to lower their standards. Of course, that is a debate for another day....
  • by wcbarksdale ( 621327 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:13PM (#6770054)
    The major problem with Cornell is the weather. It is cloudy around 90% of the time and snowy for several months. If you suffer from seasonal depression, don't go here.

    Aside from that, Cornell offers the experience of a solid engineering program within the framework of a solid general university. It gives you more opportunities if you're not totally sure about what you want to do -- I went from a CS major in Engineering to a Math/CS double major in Arts & Sciences. And unlike a state school, the atmosphere is fairly nerdy -- not at all focused on athletics.

  • Surely you jest! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jhylkema ( 545853 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @08:36PM (#6770151)

    Real socio-economic advancement is happening, by . . . nonetheless succeeding in fields that reward true hard work, skill, intelligence, and risk taking behavior (e.g., business . . .

    The business world rewards intelligence and risk-taking behavior? My Introduction to Management textbook said, "the people who get promoted often are not the best workers, but the best politicians." In my experience, it's quite often the people who exhibit "intelligence and risk taking behaviors" are the ones who are labeled "management issues" or "not a team player" or "not a Company man" and are let go. Why? They represent a threat. No, there is tremendous pressure to get along by going along at the expense of these very attributes. All too often, this meets with disastarous [nasa.gov] results.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:02PM (#6770254)
    In case anyone has forgotten, this biased US News list was at the heart of a firestorm of criticism just a couple of years ago (let your Google fingers do the walking and you'll find plenty of citations). Some of the accusations included skewed data purposely weighted to maintain certain institutions rankings as well as the always popular bribe for ranking. Here is one I quickly found: http://aemes.mae.ufl.edu/~vql/misc/NYTimes_20Aug01 .html
  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:06PM (#6770285)
    *bzzzt* Sorry, try again. You are just wrong on this one. Sure, people go to top notch schools, and it doesn't guarantee you anything - plenty of them will sit around in boring jobs (though the people I know from Harvard in boring jobs are mostly working boring, non-dead-end jobs in finance, where at least they end up making 100-150k in 2-3 years after graduation). And plenty of people from lower ranked schools will go on to have successful careers.

    Frankly, even if you just measure the value of an education in $$'s earned over a lifetime, or $$'s earned right out of college, you'll still very clearly see the value of an education at a top school. The CS major from MIT and the CS major from SUNY Albany may be equally bright, but the one from MIT is going to land a job making more right out of college, have more choices, and be able to advance faster due to other people's perceptions. The guy from SUNY Albany can get to the same place too, but he'll have to work harder and prove more to do it.

    In any case, if you want to know what I got out of my expensive Ivy League education, I'll tell you. We'll ignore the obvious good quality education, since an equally intelligent, motivated person can get that at most high quality universities, it doesn't have to be top-25 or top-50. The immediate ability to get people in places of power and authority to treat me with respect and level with me as an intellectual peer: PRICELESS. The trust of powerful people in the business and academic world who will overlook my young age due to my educational background, and entrust large budgets, investments, and decision-making to me, and take my ideas seriously: PRICELESS. Access to a social network which allows me to screen women for dating purposes (obviously, not all bright women went to a top school, but after a few years out in the real world, I have realized how much brighter the ones I went to college with were than the average woman out there - it's a mighty useful screening tool to select people who are at least intellectually compatible with me): PRICELESS.

    Anyway, I have yet to have anybody give me a cushy job due to nepotism, and I don't really see what going to a top school has to do with nepotism - plenty of wealthy people get a job running daddy's company who don't and couldn't get into a top university - that's nepotism. And many if not most people at top schools are from middle class backgrounds - getting access to a social network and business network that lets you get your foot in the door places isn't nepotism at all. In fact, it allows for social mobility that wasn't possible 50 years ago when the Ivy League was effectively closed to those outside the social elite, and it was nearly impossible to get in on merit (yes, we all know schools still take legacies, but it's certainly a fairly modest minority of the student body anywhere I've ever seen).

    Let's be honest - as we all know, many jobs these days have lots of qualified candidates, and it's never possible to fully judge anybody's qualifications. Doesn't it make sense that people will look at where you went to school and use the "pre-screening" that the university did inform their decisision making? I think they'd be remiss in their hiring if they didn't.

  • Re:Not exactly true (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Friday August 22, 2003 @09:14PM (#6770329)
    All these things taken together show me that college administrators are listening to people's complaints about aid.
    I disagree. If they really were concerned, then they'd lower tuitions dramatically (I know at least one of these top schools can by roughly 10K this year as I have some inside information (which I'll not name)--without having to change a thing really--others can by trimming the fat). Paying less attention to net worth in housing may have helped my friend, but it still leaves millions of students out in the cold. What about parents who own small businesses (e.g., sole proprietorships, partnerships, etc)? What about parents who simply save more? Why should they be penalized heavily for saving, investing, etc? Why should we penalize people who work harder? Part of what drives MANY parents to succeed is to ensure that their children have the best opportunities possible. This system creates a lumpy and messy system where you can work harder and succeed more and ultimately be left worse off as far as sending your kids to a top school goes. Many assets simply can't by transfered or shifted around that easily. I realize that a good number of parents simply can't make it without financial aid, no matter how hard they try, but please realize that the financial aid system is an aweful compromise.

    Also, you mention how Princeton is not very diverse. If anything the elite school bend over backwards to show how diverse they are, even if they have to lower their standards. Of course, that is a debate for another day....
    Well Princeton is one of the worst in that respect. Part of my problem is that they go about seeking diversity in the wrong way. They all too often seek out students that they can describe as African American whose experiences are often either that of an upper middle class person OR lower class (and ilprepared to compete in serious programs), but then effectively reject the many many more students, such as those of recent immigrants (many of whom have real stories to tell), between lack of consideration and lack of financial aid, even though they are very very capable of competing with those students. All too often they admit people that just can't cut it in a serious fields of study.

    Also, I know that Princeton recently announced that they would eliminate loans from their financial aid packages and replace them with grants.
    I've heard and I think it's a real mistake. Either the parents OR the students should at least pay something. Moderate student loans and work study programs are not overly onerous and they can go a long way to keep people honest, to make sure they really want to go there, etc. It shouldn't be viewed as an entitlement.
  • Re:Not exactly true (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:01AM (#6770997)
    I hate to be blunt, but this poster makes no sense. On one hand, he blasts the system of expensive, top-flight schools, and yet says his friend was "forced" into a state school. That's like people complaining about how hot people are so shallow. And his friend, unfortunately, is rich. With over a half-million dollar in home equity, she is a firmly entrenched member of the elite he hates so much.
    No, to be blunt, I am rich. I do not hate the rich. My friend is NOT rich. Her father earned maybe 60K dollars a year and they were nearing retirement age and they had 2 kid nearing college age. Middle class? Sure. Wealthy or elite? No. They had equity because they SAVED and invested wisely. What cost them roughly 100K dollars a couple decades earlier in Seattle rapidly appreciated in value (like virtually ALL of Seattle now). Ok, you might argue that they could sell it, but first off, it's not easy to buy a decent house in Seattle proper for less than 500K. Second, should they be forced to take make such a drastic change in their lifestyle to support it? Third, what about their life savings?

    Here's some math for you:

    - 300K (2 kids for 4 years at Princeton)
    - 100K mortgage
    - 100K (taxes, transaction costs, moving, etc)
    200K dollars. Go buy a decent house in decent part of in Seattle for 200K dollars. Ok, the math there is a lot more complex than that, but the idea that that house makes them rich enough is really laughable. The simple fact of the matter is that, given the status quo at the time of the financial aid system, good private schools were not affordable for them. The parents could have sold the house, destroyed their lifestyle, and still not be guaranteed being able to afford 4 years of private school. (Yet if her father chose to rent a nice apt, drive a nice car...to have little net worth, financial aid wouldn't even be a question).

    The poster also assumes that poor people got that way because they are lazy, and that is not the case. Backgrounds matter. Children of immigrants might be poor, but that does mean they are lazy? Of course not. They probably have it much harder than the average Joe.
    Where did I say that? Many people EARN more because they WORK harder. Many people of the SAME income are WEALTHIER (a different concept) because they choose NOT to spend; they choose to SAVE. Many people are more educated because choose to study longer and harder. There many be tons of exceptions to all of these, but that does not mean that you can conclude from any of that all or even most poor people are lazy. Nor does it necessarily mean that creating a financial aid system that levels these makes sense either. It particularly doesn't make sense to let spending run amok at these universities in the flawed belief that the financial aid system is even approximately "fair". Nor does it make sense to charge those who can barely cover their own costs an extra 10-15K a year to subsidize tuition of students that can't even afford 10K a year.
  • Re:"Overpriced?" (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bahamutirc ( 648840 ) on Saturday August 23, 2003 @12:36AM (#6771127) Homepage
    Caltech spent nearly $200,000 per student per year? What the HELL are they spending it on?!

    My guess is that businesses jack up the prices for universities. Primary example: books. If a book is going to be sold to a class, they jack the prices *way* up, into the ~$100 range, because they know people are going to be required to buy them. I would guess that it would be similar with other items as well.

People who go to conferences are the ones who shouldn't.