The University of Alabama and changing times
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  1. #1
    BamaNation Second Team
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    The University of Alabama and changing times

    Hey all. Not sure where this post would belong, but this seems like the right place.

    My wife and I graduated from THE University of Alabama in the very late 90's. I loved my time there, as did she. It's where we met, and still have fond memories of parties at the Centre Court apartments there behind the strip, where she lived for 2 years. On to my point...

    The place is a lot different now. 20 years has seen a lot of improvements to the whole campus, and that part of Tuscaloosa extending to downtown. Good stuff. But some of it, I leave wondering how a "broke" college student is supposed to enjoy. Which bring me to a thought: knowing that more than half the incoming freshman class every year is from out of state, and tuition rates are what they are, what is the long game for business in Tuscaloosa, and the University of Alabama's attendance? By "long game", no doubt that much of the growth since 2010 or so has come due in large part to the success of the football team. Hallelujah for that, after sitting through the DuBose years. But the growth, especially following the terrible 2011 tornadoes, seems to focus on people spending more money than I ever had while a student there. Going out to eat was a 1x per week affair. And, at best, it was gonna be Chili's or Applebee's, or something crappy like that. None of this boutique restaurant business. Likewise, shopping has grown in Tuscaloosa en masse. Specialty stores, high end retailers that focus on profit margin rather than volume are everywhere.

    The place seems so different. Today's student is walking around with a phone connecting their eyes to their hands, with a considerable contract cost to each of them. This life isn't free, for sure. My recent trip to Santa Barbara, CA confirmed any doubts I had that things cost more now. But Santa Barbara is a resort city, a vacation place, with rich people living in it, that just so happens to also have a college in it. Tuscaloosa IS the University of Alabama, for the most part. Sure, there's other folks besides students, but the ratio of full time residents to students has actually gotten larger since I was there (attendance in 1996 was about 20k undergrad, compared to under 100k residents). Undergrad attendance is close to double that now. How are these people affording this place, anymore? Rents are MUCH higher, with more "luxury" living? Was this the ultimate goal of President Witt, when he launched large initiatives to grow the school?

    Lastly, and thanks for staying along so far, I ask this question as an alum, who now has one of college age, and wishes she would choose U of A. She is not choosing U of A, for many of the reasons I listed above.

  2. #2
    Senior Administrator TIDE-HSV's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    I worry about many of the same factors you've enumerated. I know I couldn't begin to work my way through the way I did in 1957...
    "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. - Ellen Parr"

    'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' - Steve Jobs

    I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is. Albert Camus

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  3. #3
    BamaNation Hall of Fame CajunCrimson's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    It’s called govt backed student loans. And these kids are piling them up like crazy. Always go back to Sugar Daddy when it runs out and get some more.
    Doc Holliday: [to Johnny Ringo, after shooting him in a duel] You're no daisy! You're no daisy at all. Poor soul, you were just too high strung

  4. #4

    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by CajunCrimson View Post
    It’s called govt backed student loans. And these kids are piling them up like crazy. Always go back to Sugar Daddy when it runs out and get some more.
    QFT.

    Lots of out of state students are getting big scholarship money, but they're still piling up student loans at incredible rates.
    Oderint dum metuant - Lucius Accius

  5. #5
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bazza's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Doesn't sound too good to me.

    What can be done?
    "Old dog - new tricks"

  6. #6

    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazza View Post
    Doesn't sound too good to me.

    What can be done?
    Not much - no different than a majority of American who live beyond their means via credit...
    Oderint dum metuant - Lucius Accius

  7. #7
    Senior Administrator TIDE-HSV's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by crimsonaudio View Post
    Not much - no different than a majority of American who live beyond their means via credit...
    Those people can bankrupt. You can't bankrupt out of student loans, which is a disgrace to the legal system, brought in to benefit the lenders like Betsy...
    "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. - Ellen Parr"

    'If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?' - Steve Jobs

    I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is. Albert Camus

    "When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

  8. #8
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Tidewater's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by TIDE-HSV View Post
    Those people can bankrupt. You can't bankrupt out of student loans, which is a disgrace to the legal system, brought in to benefit the lenders like Betsy...
    There is one exception. The children of members of Congress can discharge student loan debt via bankruptcy.

  9. #9
    BamaNation Hall of Fame Bazza's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by crimsonaudio View Post
    Not much - no different than a majority of American who live beyond their means via credit...
    Seems like a noteworthy topic for discussion - in the category of being a "responsible self-reliant human."

    I grew up with parents and teachers who taught us this basic tenant. Emphasis on parents, for which I will eternally be grateful for.

    Have things changed since I grew up in how our young people are versed in responsibility, such as this?
    "Old dog - new tricks"

  10. #10
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by Bazza View Post
    Seems like a noteworthy topic for discussion - in the category of being a "responsible self-reliant human."

    I grew up with parents and teachers who taught us this basic tenant. Emphasis on parents, for which I will eternally be grateful for.

    Have things changed since I grew up in how our young people are versed in responsibility, such as this?
    From what I see, hear, and read, yes.
    You can't reason a man out of a position he didn't reason himself into.

  11. #11
    BamaNation Hall of Fame 81usaf92's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by jashleyren2 View Post
    Tuscaloosa IS the University of Alabama, for the most part. .
    Not really. Tuscaloosa is everything you hate about the bad parts of Birmingham. The University might as well be its own city because too many people only associate Tuscaloosa with the university. If people just read or watch the Alabama news organizations then they would see daily reports of crime and violence in this "sleepy little town". Sure 1/3 of the population is students, but the median income for the rest of those folks is 27k a year.

    Basically Tuscaloosa is a city that is trying to get out of crime and poverty, and a greedy university that is trying to suck every last dollar out of anyone that steps on their grass. I got my degree there recently, and the less time im in that city the better. Really, if I wasn't getting paid to help out during the home games, to see a friend that still lives there once in a while, or catch a must see in person football or softball game then I couldn't care less if I ever go to Tuscaloosa ever again.
    "Aut viam inveniam aut faciam."

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  12. #12
    BamaNation Hall of Fame seebell's Avatar
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    Quote Originally Posted by Tidewater View Post
    There is one exception. The children of members of Congress can discharge student loan debt via bankruptcy.
    are you serious??

  13. #13
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    Re: The University of Alabama and changing times

    I really appreciate all of you who chimed in. I was shocked to see that elected politicians children can indeed have student loans (Federal) discharged in bankruptcy, while the rest of us can't. This seems like the kind of thing that isn't known by the major news outlets. If it were, I wonder if anything would change? On the one hand, while it doesn't seem fair, I know that the discharge rules would simply be changed to not allow it anymore. I don't think that solves the bigger problem, of young people leaving places like The U of Alabama with 100k in debt to begin their careers. Not only does this just not seem "right", it also seems unsustainable. I believe it sets up future job market recessions to be even more disastrous than the 2007-2009 recession.

    Couple that with soaring rent and home prices, not just for students in Tuscaloosa, but really, anywhere you might want to live or have to live, and I worry about a future economic event really derailing the American way of life for most, not just many. That's big picture stuff, I suppose. But, when your largest monthly expense just gets larger all the time, and income doesn't follow closely, where do we end up?

    I remind my daughter all the time that college will not be a time for shopping sprees and spending indiscriminately. It's a time for learning, preparing, and intense attention to finances. When she was born, I was already in a professional field, and doing pretty well. But two recessions in my first 9 years out of college sort of "held me up" on saving for her, if you will. Things are better today, but the kind of economic crunch our family will deal with to help her through school was nothing I had prepared for.

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