I am back in my college town/hometown today for work. It’s a lovely place to walk around on a beautiful Spring day.
It’s an odd feeling though. It’s been awhile, and things have really changed. What was when I was a little girl the town was an old, quaint town with Victorian houses turned into shops and apartments. The college was part of the town, but not the entire town. It is now full of new brick buildings that look like they have character, but on closer inspection most have been built in the last 15 years.
The biggest change is seeing the plethora of chain restaurants that have moved in. Where once there was an old bar/concert hall/dump, there is now a condo building complete with a Cosi, and other businesses at street level.
One thing I noticed while walking the main street was how many restaurants offer the OCMP, or off campus meal plan. This was definitely NOT an option in my time, and I worked part-time just to be able to afford decent food, and the occasional night out.
I have no idea what tuition costs now as compared to what it was in my day (15 years ago), but I know it has gone up significantly. The big changes I SEE are in the cost of what the kids “need.” Laptops, iPods, cell phones, off-campus meal money, all that stuff really adds up! I’m not claiming I didn’t have help from my parents, but the amount was significantly less. I can’t imagine how much some parents must be spending, and if I add that up plus inflation for my 4 kids the number is SO astronomical I almost passed out.
I would like to help my kids pay for some of their college expenses, but it’s unlikely I’ll be able to afford all the extras as well. I also secretly think it will teach them a valuable lesson if they have to pay for some things on their own.
Did you pay for your college expenses and tuition? Did you work while you were in school?
More later, I have to go back to work. 🙂