Whit's End

Ivy League vs. State University: Which is the Better Financial Decision?

0 Written by: | Friday, Apr 25, 2014 12:15pm

Hi Whit,

My wife and I are having a problem deciding what to do about our daughter Kathryn’s college decision.

On the one hand, we and Kathryn are thrilled that she was accepted to an Ivy League school, but on the other hand, she could also go to the state university which has an excellent honors program. The difference is that we would have to pay over twice as much for the Ivy, the one that Kathryn wants to go to. Read More →

Featured, Money & Power, Schools

Small Maryland School Quietly Moves Against Inequality

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Feb 19, 2014 11:01am

Photo via South MD News

Photo via South MD Newsin

Inequality is on the rise in the United States, as you might have heard; CEOs now make 354 times (!) as much as the average worker in the U.S.. At some companies the ratio is much worse — at JC Penny, the former CEO made 1,795 (!!!) times as much as his department store workers. It hasn’t always been this way; in 1950, CEOs made only 20 times as much as their workers.

When faced with numbers like that, it’s easy to just throw up your hands and assume rampant inequality must be inevitable. But that’s why this new proposal by students and faculty at St. Mary’s College is so inspiring: They want to cap the salary of the school’s highest-paid employee to ten times that of its lowest-paid employee.

Read More →

Lifeline, Schools

Baltimore Is Attractive to Students Thinking About College

0 Written by: | Monday, Nov 25, 2013 11:34am

collegetown_logotype_blkred-2

In recent years, Baltimore has bet on the “meds and eds” mode of urban planning — that is, investing in schools and hospitals to replace the city’s floundering manufacturing industry. In many ways, that gamble has paid off so far. People like our hospitals, and students want to go to school here — so much so, in fact, that Baltimore is the eighth-most attractive destination for students heading off to college.
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Getting In, Lifeline, Schools

Parents’ Weekend: All Major Credit Cards Accepted

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 2:14pm

Parents’ Weekend.  A trip to the grocery store for healthy snacks to keep in the dorm room.  A trip to the local Mall for new fall clothes.  Nice meals out with roommates and new friends.  A pitch from the university to join the “Parents’ Committee” or “Parents’ Club” or whatever your child’s school calls its volunteer fundraisers (which they charge you to join).  We’ve just finished two parents’ weekends, back to back, and we’re broke!

I mean, it was so great to see the girls.  Emily is making the transition to her “new” school as a sophomore transfer, and Grace has hit the ground running, facing all the freshman thrills.  Seeing them doing well, growing where they are planted — that part is priceless.  But the rest of it has a slightly insidious feel, like we are not even conscious of the up-sell.  Their friends all seem more sophisticated, and better dressed, with better hair care products.  It’s so tempting to change to make new friends.  Alas, it never worked for me, and my guess is, wouldn’t work for them, either. Read More →

Schools

Morgan State Plots $149 Million Expansion

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Oct 23, 2013 3:15pm

Morgan State University is undergoing a major expansion of its campus in northeast Baltimore, on property it owns at Hillen Road and Argonne Drive. The new west campus will contain the long-awaited Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management, opening in 2015, and the Behavioral and Social Sciences Center, to open in 2017. Together, the two buildings cost around $149 million.

An undetermined amount of funding is being sought for a third building and parking garage on the site, according to Cynthia Wilder, a Morgan State planner. Morgan State, part of the state university system, owns more than 170 acres, of which 143 acres constitute the main campus for its approximately 8,000 students. Read More →

Getting In, Lifeline

To Grace, From Mom – A Love Letter

4 Written by: | Thursday, Aug 29, 2013 11:00am

Dear Grace,

I miss you.  I know it hasn’t been a whole week yet, but I do.  I miss you like the sun would miss the moon, or the waves would miss the shore.  For 18 years, we have been companion forces of the universe, rising and falling in time, coming and going together.  But now, you are moving in your own direction, in your own time, as you should; and I miss you.

This morning, the house is quiet.  I passed your empty room, and my heart got heavy.  It will be months before you sleep here again.  You will be so busy making friends, navigating roommate issues, adjusting to college classes, learning how to eat from a cafeteria every day (and possibly learning how to drink shots).  I know you will do great – we have watched you conquer obstacles your whole life, and there is nothing you can’t do.

I will miss your beautiful face, and the radiance that surrounds you wherever you are.  I will miss your sparkling eyes, wide open to the world of possibilities that lie in your future.  I will miss your laughter – crazy, loud, quirky, and totally joy-filled. Read More →

Featured, Schools

Some Baltimore-Area Schools Are Financially Fit… And Some Are Not

0 Written by: | Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013 10:38am

1219

If you’ve paid a tuition bill lately, you may find it difficult to believe that many colleges and universities are at risk of running out of money. But according to Forbes, many schools — especially those considered “non-elite” — are having trouble keeping their endowments up, attracting students, and offering a high quality education at the same time. “In some ways colleges operate like prestige-seeking liquor brands,” Matt Schifrin writes. “In other ways they are more like Macy’s offering regular sales days, only quietly.” According to the magazines’ “financially fit schools” ranking, only two Baltimore-area universities can consider themselves A or B students when it comes to having healthy finances.
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Featured, Getting In

Proof of a Happy Childhood

4 Written by: | Monday, Aug 19, 2013 1:07pm

Happy child with red paper heart. Image shot 03/2012. Exact date unknown.

How is it over?  I don’t think I looked away, but somehow I didn’t see it happening right now.  Her childhood is over.  Grace has grown up.  And Monday, she leaves.  I am stunned by the truth I have always known, and at this minute it is raw, and painful.  I will miss my little girl.

I spent the evening putting together a collage of Grace’s childhood – proof for her future roommates that it was a happy one, and that she comes from a loving family.  I dug through boxes of old photos – remember when we had boxes and envelopes of photos?  Duplicates of everything so we could send them to grandparents?  Well, all the old photos are in the basement, in dusty under-the-bed storage containers.  I sat on the floor, sifting through the years, staggered by the speed of life.

There are almost two decades of sheer beauty in there.  A life time, our life times.  Birthday parties with homemade Barbie cakes, pony rides, Halloween costumes, Christmas stockings, so many summers at the beach and lake, years when she lived in dress ups.  Pictures of family trips, and of the everyday – baking cookies with big-girl aprons and baker’s hats, and flour all over the kitchen.  How is that all in our past? Read More →

Getting In, Schools

Walking Forward, Looking Back

1 Written by: | Wednesday, Jul 31, 2013 2:45pm

Graduation was more than a month ago, even though it feels like we’ve just stopped celebrating.  Grace didn’t want it all to end – the parties, the excitement, friends all talking about the fun they were planning for beach week (thank God that is over!).  But it did end, and summer jobs and internships began, then the air-traffic-control-like coordination of who needs to be where when, and what vehicle they will use to get there.  (With four teenagers under our roof, the exercise requires an advanced skill set of diplomacy, flexibility, ingenuity, and a thick skin, so you can ignore all the insults and whining.)  Like other summers, we are all busy.  We work. We make plans with friends. We prepare for our next steps.  But the summer, too, will end, and with it, a precious time for our family.

When Grace leaves for college, right before her big sister, I will have to work hard to stay focused on the joy of her journey.  She is in one of the most growth-filled times of her life, and is bursting as a human being.  It’s sort of like that magic moment in the science class movie about mitosis, where you say to yourself, “Wow!  How does it grow so fast?”  She is a human example of cell division – doubling every second.  She has registered for classes, and at this moment, plans to double major in neuroscience and biology (thus, the science metaphors).  She reads the course descriptions out loud before dinner when we are all in the kitchen with the enthusiasm that, if you are lucky, you can remember having had once in life.  She wants to take every class, right away.  She can’t wait for all that lies ahead.   Read More →

Schools

Are Pricey University Summer Programs Worth It?

3 Written by: | Thursday, Jul 18, 2013 10:00am

Dollar Sign College Campus

It costs $10,490 for a high school student to spend seven summer weeks at Harvard, $11,900 for two months at Stanford, and $8,170 to spend a month taking classes and living in the dorms at Johns Hopkins. Students take the time and effort — and parents spend the money — because it makes them feel as though they’ve got an edge when applying to competitive colleges. But increasingly experts are decrying these programs as, well, kind of a scam.
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