"they get a quality education in lowell and it costs cheap"
however, in preparing for my oldest's impending needs for tuition, fees, and room & board, and having reviewed the costs at the various educational choices at his disposal, i'm not sure if these kids really know what they're complaining about. put it off to a cranky old man bragging about the glories of a bygone era, but i put myself through four years at one of the most expensive private colleges in the northeast with a combination of scholarships, loans and year-round job income back in the day, and i can hardly look at what these kids are paying today and feel sorry. would i have chosen the same school today? no way. but i'd have felt like i had won the lottery if this is all i would have to pay for a solid college education. (umass lowell's physics and engineering departments are some of the more rigorous and will-respected around just for starters).
as a matter of fact, digging out my records from my senior year in 1982, i paid more then in un-inflation-adjusted dollars and cents than these umass lowell students are paying 27 years later with today's copious-like-snowflakes dollars, and earned less per hour than these kids can make at mcdonald's for just getting out of bed and showing up. oh, yes, i know indeed that it is very tough these days, and i don't mean to make light of that. my car cost me $500 and almost nothing to insure and gas up, for one thing, and rent and groceries and utilities were but a fraction of today's costs, too. not to mention that beer at the pub on wednesday nights (we could drink at 18 back then, too) started at fifty cents until ten o'clock, and then topped off at a buck til closing. so i know it's not apples to apples.
but, add it all up, and look at the money that doesn't exist in our state coffers to pay for things, and i'd say these kids still have it pretty good. yup, they're being asked to come up with another $30 a week for the privilege of their education, and it's going to hit some of them pretty hard. but, at today's costs for beer, we're talking about cutting back on relatively little to achieve it, and i'm sorry that i'm not feeling compelled to take to the streets with 'em, except to try to correct their grammar and punctuation, and admonish them to get back to class where they can continue to get more of what they lack.
nothing is more valuable than education. it shouldn't come as cheaply as its absence might be these days.