From the New York Times:
With college prices in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, more middle-class families are looking for ways to spend less for quality education.
By KYLE SPENCER APRIL 5, 2018
PASADENA, Calif. — When top students from the sun-dappled suburbs that surround Pasadena, Calif., graduate from high school, they are expected to go to colleges that are prestigious, pricey and often far away. Last year, seniors from La Cañada High School, one of the highest rated in the state, fanned across the country to M.I.T., the University of Michigan and Yale.
But 18-year-old Annie Shahverdian, the daughter of a commercial real estate agent and a nursing administrator, started her higher ed journey closer to home, 15 minutes down the road at the local community college. To save money, she is planning to spend two years at Pasadena City College, a two-year public institution, before heading to what she hopes will be a top four-year university where she will earn her bachelor’s degree.
“My parents don’t want to just throw money around now,” Ms. Shahverdian said as she walked across Pasadena’s 53-acre campus, heading toward her English class. “I’m getting a great education at a fraction of the cost.”
Pasadena City College, where my dad went, has a nice campus, a couple of blocks from Caltech. Pasadena is the oldest old money part of SoCal, so it’s full of amenities.
I kind of doubt that this is an actual trend, other than it reflects upon something I’ve remarked upon before: West Asian parents, like, presumably, the Shahverdians, don’t like sending their daughters away to college at 17 or 18. Also, they like a good deal, and they are aware of the huge back door for transferring from the community college system to UCLA. It’s ridiculously hard to get into UCLA these days as a freshman, but much easier as a JuCo transfer.
The junior colleges in the Armenian belt (e.g., Glendale) have thus been upgrading.
Regular upper middle class white parents in Southern California seem pretty oblivious to these considerations, and generally let their kids cajole them into sending them across the country to, say, Pennsylvania, where they discover, to their dismay, that the weather isn’t as nice.
There’s a stereotype that freshman coeds tend to get depressed when they go off to their dream college (e.g., Tom Wolfe’s I Am Charlotte Simmons). For some unknown reason, research universities haven’t been enthusiastic about researching this topic, although UCLA is a few months into a multiyear study.
The Armenian view is generally: well, then, don’t send your daughter off to live in a dorm until she’s a little more mature.