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Education The Almighty Buck

Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common? 390

Posted by timothy
from the rice-beans-eggs-and-kale dept.
Gud (78635) points to this story in the Washington Post about students having trouble with paying for both food and school. "I recall a number of these experiences from my time as grad student. I remember choosing between eating, living in bad neighborhoods, putting gas in the car, etc. Me and my fellow students still refer to ourselves as the 'starving grad students.' Today we laugh about these experiences because we all got good jobs that lifted us out of poverty, but not everyone is that fortunate. I wonder how many students are having hard time concentrating on their studies due to worrying where the next meal comes from. In the article I found the attitude of collage admins to the idea of meal plan point sharing, telling as how little they care about anything else but soak students & parents for fees and pester them later on with requests for donations. Last year I did the college tour for my first child, after reading the article, some of the comments I heard on that tour started making more sense. Like 'During exams you go to the dining hall in the morning, eat and study all day for one swipe' or 'One student is doing study on what happens when you live only on Ramen noodles!'

How common is 'food insecurity in college or high school'? What tricks can you share with current students?"
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Ask Slashdot: Hungry Students, How Common?

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  • by runeghost (2509522) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @05:11PM (#46796411)

    Sure, the 'best' schools are there, but who cares if you're walking the edge of malnutrition in order to pay for class, gas, and books? Emigrate to an actual civilized country instead of a pretend one.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @05:13PM (#46796421)

    ... 80% of you in the US are competing over 5% of the money in the economy, you guys have no idea how unequal your society has become and you keep voting for more of getting screwed. [] [] []

  • by jmcbain (1233044) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @05:29PM (#46796485)

    I finished my CS PhD about 10 years ago at a top-20 US university. My first year I was not paid, but after I hooked onto an advisor later, I received an RA or TA position for $23k/year, and in my last few years, I received a fellowship for about $40k/year.

    That first year was horrible. I recall eating spaghetti and ketchup, and I distinctly remember having to ask one of my rich friends for a $500 loan just to pay my rent one month. That was one of the most humiliating experiences of my life, and it really shaped my financial planning. Now, 10 years later, although I'm making well over $150k/year, I keep my expenses very low like I'm still a grad student, and I always have at least 6 months' expenses in short-term accounts.

  • by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Saturday April 19, 2014 @05:57PM (#46796607) Homepage

    Ah spaghetti and ketchup. Nice combo.

    Some of my favorites from my college days were:

    - A boiled potato with a slice of American cheese
    - A cup of white rice with a handful of peanuts

    I was hungry much of the time the last couple of years in college, but mostly that was from stupidity (losing money for dumb reasons) and hubris (refusing to accept any assistance from my parents).

    In Pittsburgh (I went to CMU) there used to be a grocery store that would sell expired food ("Groceries Plus More II" was its name). That was a godsend. You'd never know what you'd get each time you went since their stock was determined by whatever expired goods they could procure that week, but whatever you ended up with was usually for pennies on the dollar. Who cares if a can of spaghetti sauce expired two weeks ago, if it is only a quarter, I'll take it.

    Nobody actually starves in college or grad school, and going hungry and living on the cheap is one of the charms of that time of life. So enjoy it.

  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @06:37PM (#46796811)
    right now. But wages have been in decline for 30 years. A little mis management is one thing (Mitt Rhomney was famously so broke at one point he had to sell the stocks his dad gave him to make ends meet :P ), but we're getting to the point where it's impossible to "work your way through college".

    For one thing, when we say "Wages Adjusted for Inflation" we mean inflation as a whole, but the cost of food and shelter (what college kids spend most of their money on, jokes about Ramen & Natty Lite aside) have gone up much faster than inflation. The sort of job you can hold while in College is gonna pay $8-$15 an hour depending on where you live. I know ppl at that income level working part time because the economy sucks and they made mistakes. They're not making it, and somehow I doubt the added expense/stress of school would help them, especially after they graduate with $150k in loans... If you're one of those super humans that doesn't need sleep and can go to class and the work 8 hours then spend 8 hours doing homework you might make it. Everyone else will just drop out. The consoles tell you this when you apply, and a lot of the big majors (Math, CS, MIS, Medical) won't take you if you're working full time.

    What sucks is we're so much more productive, you'd think we'd be working less. But why the hell would we give anything to anyone if they didn't "work" for it?
  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @07:19PM (#46797013) Homepage

    "What sucks is we're so much more productive, you'd think we'd be working less. But why the hell would we give anything to anyone if they didn't 'work' for it?"

    If inheriting property is a legitimate idea, what about all of humanity inheriting our collective know how and so being entitled to some of the fruits of our global productivity? []
    "Douglas disagreed with classical economists who recognised only three factors of production: land, labour and capital. While Douglas did not deny the role of these factors in production, he saw the "cultural inheritance of society" as the primary factor. He defined cultural inheritance as the knowledge, technique and processes that have been handed down to us incrementally from the origins of civilization. ..."

    One way to implement that: []

  • by gwolf (26339) <gwolf@[ ] ['gwo' in gap]> on Saturday April 19, 2014 @08:20PM (#46797301) Homepage

    I am a teacher at a public university in Mexico. I know many of my students work (and, of course, many don't) to get enough income to live (maybe because their parents cannot support them, maybe even because they support their family).

    What I completely fail to understand is how on Earth can a 22-year-old graduate –as you say– with US$150K in loans. That is just insane. And sick.

    In my country, as in most of Latin America, and (as far as I understand) in Europe, all of the best universities are State-run, and tuition is either free or really low — Of course, there are private universities, with first-world scolarships. They have some selling points, but with very few exceptions, they are basically little but diploma mills, and next to no research at all is done in them (just teaching).

    Anyway, I cannot understand how the USA cannot have a decent public university system. I know there are *some*, as part of my family have graduated from them. But just the idea of being in such a deep debt as a freshly graduated student... Makes me sick.

  • by puto (533470) on Saturday April 19, 2014 @09:35PM (#46797579) Homepage
    I am a natural born US citizen of Colombian heritage. My first degree was a double major of Information Systems/General Business and a minor in Philosophy. I got it in the US, at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana in 1992. My tuition, meal ticket, apartment, insurance, and spending money was 4,000 us a semester. 1500 hundred was covered by grants, and the rest was me waiting tables and bartending. My second degree was in economics in Colombia at a private university. 2000 was the year and my tuition was about 1200 USD a semester. Just for tuition. I worked for the university in the computer science department and was a sub ESL teacher, and so my tuition was waived. I also had a wild hair and studied law for a bit a public university but al fin no me llamo la atencion. I have worked in Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. The company I worked for specialized in letting computer science majors do their internships and then hired the best of the best. In the US students tend to work while in school. In Latin America some do, but the majority do not. It is almost a insult to suggest to a Latin American student that they have an after school job. Not too mention the 18-20 year old grown men not being able to cook, wash clothes, and basically take care of themselves without being under their mothers skirts. Sure some of the best unis in Latin America, are state run. In Colombia only the best of the best get into them. In the US many people can go to a community college, then to a public uni etc. But people like to get grants, loans, stay in school forever, live beyond their means, and accumulate debt. It is not the school systems fault but the individual students. You can go to an inexpensive school, work full or part time, or you can ride the government teat and run up huge loans. No one signs the papers but you.
  • by gwolf (26339) <gwolf@[ ] ['gwo' in gap]> on Sunday April 20, 2014 @12:04AM (#46797985) Homepage

    The people complaining in the media about 150k debt for 4 years of school are either lying, actually had post-graduate education, or made extremely poor and lazy decisions (and I count going to a $$$ private university as a poor decision if you have zero financial aid). Its not even easy to get 150k in loans. You can't get that much from federal loans...and private lenders aren't so favorable to slacker kids who can't even bother to earn a single dollar all 4 years.

    That's also a very striking fact. Practically all of the people I know that work on postgraduate studies in the best universities in the country not only do it without paying tuition, but getting a scolarship (around US$1000-1500 a month, roughly the salary they would get as professionals). The logic is, postgraduate studies do require you to focus full-time on them, and not giving them that attention will lead to failure. The whole society will benefit from masters and doctors, so the whole society pays for them. Of course, academic requisites for permanence are high.

    If the society and government do not value having skilled professionals, sick schemes where graduate students have to spend their evenings serving at restaurants, and can devote much less to their studies. That's a losing recipe. And of course, that leads to longer terms because of failed subjects, which means increased debt.

Maternity pay? Now every Tom, Dick and Harry will get pregnant. -- Malcolm Smith