Sunday, February 10, 2013

Was this trip really necessary?

As of the writing of this blog, there are 40” of snow on the ground at  Most of Connecticut and New England got slammed with the storm. Some people in Long Island slept in their cars. Many are trying to figure out how they are going to get to work tomorrow morning. It is hard to take a train when there is several feet of snow covering the tracks.

Here in New Jersey we were lucky with less than 10” of snow in our town.  And according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg everyone in New York City “dodged a bullet” as far as the storm is concerned.

Because we did not lose power, the storm had zero effect on me and my business. As long as I have the Internet, I am a happy camper. But when the Internet goes down, well, let’s just say you don’t want me in your Internet-less lifeboat.

So, people will not be able to get to class tomorrow at Quinnipiac and UCONN as will be the case with many of the major colleges and universities in the region. People will not be able to take the train to work in New York City, and most of of the major highways in the area have yet to be properly cleared.  

Why not work from home?  Why not take classes from home?

Both of my sons went to college in Connecticut (who just got dumped on with snow). Tommy is now taking Graduate classes at Quinnipiac University (online). My youngest son Robert has one more semester to go (brick and mortar) at UCONN.

The COA (Cost of Attendance) for college is made up of direct charges such as tuition, fees, room and board. Indirect costs are things like books, transportation and personal expenses. 

For a Freshman Resident at Quinnipiac here are the numbers:

Tuition & Fees: $36,130  
Room & Board: $13,430  
Books: $800  
Personal: $900  
Transportation: $500  
Total: $51,760
I can tell you this: the above numbers are just an estimate - a low estimate. Factor in trips to visit campus, special events, special sporting events and dining out. Also iPads, iPhones, various types of tablets and smartphones. Throw a few thousand dollars per year on top and you might be close to the real numbers. Then multiply by four years (and how many kids do you have again?)

The Internet has changed the world forever. It has changed the way that we work, live and play. It certainly has changed the way that we learn. The costs of higher education have spiraled out of control, and it not clear if the value of a four-year education is worth the expense.

Tomorrow, all classes on campuses in Connecticut will be canceled. Many people will not be able to make it to work in NYC. Airports will be trying to recover from thousands of canceled flights from the weekend. For me, the “Blizzard of 2013” has reminded me of the true costs of traditional business and classic higher education. If you were one of the unfortunate people who had to sleep in their cars on the Long Island Expressway, you will be thinking about this storm for quite some time, I am sure.

I believe that the future of education is distance learning. I think that the future of work is telework, and I believe that technology will continue to change the way that we live, work and play.

The “Blizzard of 2013” is making people think about distance learning because of the snow on the roads and the canceled trains. But when you look at the spiraling costs of higher education, it looks like it has been "snowing" on college and university campuses for many, many years. 

We are just now starting to take notice of how deep the cost of a four-year college education has become. When buried by snow - eventually it melts. 

Sadly, it does not work the same way with college debt.


  1. Is it true that some of the increased costs are due to colleges trying to raise their ranking in the various "Best" lists? But I suppose that if you have to pay the college president a million dollars, as well as the sports coaches, somebody has to foot the bill...

  2. What amazes me Tom is you are all the time boasting to the world on how much cash you spend, you love that. What about the people that worked for you that had kids going to college and you refused to pay them to line you own pockets. There is plenty proof of this online

    This is only one of many

    Before you boast to the world and tell everybody what your spending on your kids pay your debts so other kids can go to college