Archive for April, 2012

College…only for the “elite”?

Is the American Dream of affordable education becoming out of reach for most families? Case in point:

Three years after Angie Rider earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Michigan State University, she has a teaching job that she loves — but also a student loan debt of $100,000. Rider, 27, a fourth-grade Detroit Public Schools teacher, pays $1,000 a month on her debt, and sees no end in sight. That’s why she has delayed buying a home, getting married and starting a family.

“I did the math and it’s going to take (decades) to pay it off,” said Rider. “It’s just crazy. I just feel like it’s never going to go away. I get so hopeless.”

As spring commencement season begins later this month, more students are graduating with a debt load that’s doubled in comparison to a decade ago, as unemployment remains high. The growing student loan debt has led to concerns that it could harm the economy, especially since federally backed student loans can’t be discharged through bankruptcy. Recent reports show that student loans are on track this year to exceed $1 trillion — more than credit and auto loans. Meanwhile, default rates have climbed.

Student debt has (been) growing for some time,” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access & Success, an Oakland, Calif., policy organization that runs the Project on Student Debt. “College costs have continued to outpace both family incomes and available grant aid so students and families are increasingly turning to loans to fill that gap.


I have a son who is a Junior in college and one who will start in a couple of years. We used to joke that we had them four years apart so we wouldn’t have two in college at the same time. Now it is no joke…just a painful reality. Funny how colleges can continue to raise tuition and costs 6-10% a year and say it’s a “good value”. There is nothing “good” about putting our young people in financial ruin before they even graduate and the “value” is subject to marketability. Yet we have all been drinking the Kool aid in the supposition that a kid can’t “make the BIG BUCKS” without a degree. Not to mention, manufacturing jobs or any job beyond minimum wage is not to be had anymore right out of High School. Careers with any hope of entry level and advancement require an advanced degree. SO, unless you have an industrious 18 year old who has a dream and plan that’s clearly defined and who is mature enough to work hard and face sacrifice and disappointment at that tender age with the distant hope of success years down the road, colleges have us all by the mortarboards, I guess.




Curb Appeal…you never get a second chance to make a first impression

So important to our communities and most of us really do get it. Curb appeal reels people in and excellent maintenance keeps people happy. Check out this simple, yet timely article.


what Spring means

I was born and raised in this beautiful state of Michigan and the winters of my childhood always seemed extra snowy and bitter cold, so these past few years have been like paradise by comparison. While I’m convinced Global Warming or the more politically correct, Climate Change is a skeptical proposition, I do often marvel at the “dumbing down” of Michigan winters. I mean we can’t even claim the “hearty Michigander” moniker anymore and that’s something we were all proud of. Heck, we had high 80 degrees temps a couple of weeks ago…IN A MICHIGAN MARCH NO LESS! Unheard of. BUT as TRUE Michiganders, we all knew in the back of our collective minds that it was just a cruel joke from Old Man Winter…a silly pause in the true intent of that nasty old man. So while the warm winds and sprouting peonies turned a page in our winter minds, we weren’t really fooled and sure enough, a spitting of snow greeted my ride home with its familiar intensity.  SO, what does Spring mean? Another season of glorious change and peeping frogs. Flowers and plants making their annual appearance up through the mulchy soil and the state awakening to the shortest pleasure it can give its weary residents….regardless if we need it or not.  And for that, I am very grateful.