As an old guy cleaning out years of memories, I came across some college fee notes to myself from 1966 or 1967. Tuition at the University of Massachusetts was $200 for a semester. Room and board cost $800. So for a year of college, not counting books and travel and other incidentals, was about $2,000. Even if my figures are off, they are close. Today at the University of Maine costs are about $21,000 a year. Many of today’s graduates leave with an excess of $40,000 in debt. I cannot imagine carrying that much debt when I was just out of college. Can a young person today begin an adult life and responsibilities without feeling at least just a bit lost?

I wonder if we have given our children the skills to plan a budget. How about healthy cooking or saving for retirement? Does a liberal arts college degree really meet the needs of most young people, or would many of them be better served with training for some other kind of skilled work? How many people know that when a medication is advertised as reducing some illness by 50 percent, it may mean from 2 percent to 1 percent? Would a population of citizens with critical thinking skills leave us with the current selection of presidential candidates?

Really, this is the best we can do?

Peter Swartz


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