To riff on a bestselling book title, everything I needed to know, I learned in undergrad.
At Arkansas State University, my humble alma mater, I received all the essential knowledge I needed to become a successful journalist. I also had the opportunity to serve as editor in chief of the student newspaper, work with many other talented students who are still professional writers and editors today, and — with only one exception — attend small classes taught by full-time professors, many of whom had recent real-world experience in their fields of study. What’s more, I got all this for a paltry $975 or less in tuition and most fees each semester.
It was a great value, even in those days, and seems more of a steal when you consider the average annual in-state price tag for tuition and fees was $8,893 for public four-year institutions in 2013 according to The College Board.
All this doesn’t discount the value of my master’s degree from Columbia University in New York, where I learned how to physically and psychologically navigate life in the city, gained insights from some of the best reporters in the nation, landed a paid internship at Newsday, and was matched with a mentor who helped me get my first real job.
But I have no doubt that I would still be thriving as a professional reporter, writer, and teacher today if I had ended my educational career after earning my bachelor’s degree — and all for less than $1,000 a semester.
To read the college newspaper news story and editorial I wrote about tuition in 1995, please click here (and ignore the fact I use the words fewer and less interchangeably).
To hear Sen. Elizabeth Warren talk about the great undergraduate education she got for $50 a semester and how the American dream is 300 percent more expensive today than it was a generation ago, check out this CBS Sunday Morning interview.
To post your own thoughts about being a student, teacher, or both, respond to The Daily Post’s Weekly Writing Challenge.