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edu180atl: pat chesser 8.27.12

Every guy has his hobby to maintain sanity, and all worthwhile hobbies cost something.  My hobby for the moment is a mountain bike. I am convinced the most beautiful parts of the terra firma world are seen only on a mountain bike: places that are too far to hike and too preserved for ATVs.  As you approach 40 you seek out these box-checking epic races fearing that your personal window to do these things is finite.  My challenge for 2012- the Leadville 100, described as 100 miles of world-class riders, Colorado terrain, and altitudes above 12,000’ to be completed in less than 12 hours.   And for me to have any serious notion of achieving this task, I needed a super-light hard-tailed bike.  It took me 9 months of research and guilty conscience to finally pull that trigger.  Not cheap.  And the cost of this beautiful sled: the monthly payment for our daughter’s college tuition.

Today is click-and-drag day, the day Target UM reminds us via email it is time to fund our daughter’s monthly tuition at the University of Michigan.  Every month is a brand new mountain bike.  Every semester is a five-star European vacation, every year is a brand new luxury foreign automobile.  There’s a culture in Ann Arbor that encourages the student to graduate in 4 years or be sucked into the black vortex of loserdom.  We have been at this routine for 3+ years now, and for that culture I am truly grateful.  I learned today, on click-n-drag day, that college tuition is very expensive.  Perhaps unsustainably so.

Go Blue!

About the author: Pat Chesser is the father of expensive children.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Margaret #

    Pat, thanks for a thought provoking and relevant post!

    It’s interesting to see ‘sacrifice’ and ‘education’ paired together. While it is obvious that you value education and see the worth in spending the equivalent of a ‘luxury foreign automobile’ every year, it is disturbing to me that education has to be a sacrifice. Education is a gift and provides opportunities for greater success in life, which I believe is why parents make these sacrifices.

    Unfortunately, in our society not everyone is able to provide their children with the gift of education regardless of the sacrifices they make. Even public colleges and universities are seeing increases in tuition, which is making it more difficult for students to attend.

    You question the sustainability of expensive tuitions. I also wonder about the sustainability of the college education system and how my husband and I will fare when we send our two sons to college. Our twin boys are only 18 months old and even though we have already begun saving for college I wonder, given the rising costs, if we will be able to provide our children with the gift of a college education.

    August 28, 2012
  2. patrick #

    Thank you Margaret. I am grateful in a weird way for the 8 year gap in our girls- it gives me some chance to re-load. Debt-free would not be an option if they were closer together as kids traditionally are.

    When the real rate of earning is flat and core/ no-core inflation is 3-4%, it’s difficult to fathom the compounded double-digit growth in tuitions. From what I read schools are already seeing pushback. Hopefully the trend at least stabilizes for your boys.

    August 28, 2012

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