Tuesday, October 9, 2007

School Daze (part 2) and Sticker Shock

In my earlier post, all of us at the branch were hoping that intuition would help us figure out how to use our nifty (or at least feature-ridden) new phones, new to us but second-hand in fact -- hence the lack of manuals.

Intutition certainly wasn't getting us where we wanted to be, so I went back to the web, using that search engine that doesn't like its name used as a verb, so I try to think of it as Barney, from the first name in the song "Barney [company name] with the [first syllable of company name, repeated twice] - [company name with y instead of e at the end] eyes." Saying I Barneyed something doesn't quite trip off the tongue as easily as saying I [company name]d something, but who am I to argue with corporate America?

I finally came up with the full 72 (or is it 52) page manual, thoughtfully posted by a university in the midwest. Thank heavens for Barney's search capacity, and thank you to that university, tactfully unnamed in case posting it violates something or other.

When I told one of my tech colleagues about my success (she had responded to my earlier post with a suggested site that turned out not to have the manual,) she said that she's found a lot of items online posted by universities for their students' benefit. Let's hear it for academia.

Of course, even with the manual, we can't figure out how to get the phone at one desk to buzz to indicate someone's calling on another line ....

On roughly the same day that we came up with the manual, I received the first of this fiscal year's letters from my undergraduate college, asking for a donation. The letter, very chatty, mentioned that tuition this year is $34,500. EGAD! When I went there in the 1960s, it was $1600 per year, and even at that price I only attended because I had a California State [i.e., government] scholarship which paid the tuition. Those state scholarships still exist, I think under another name, and, while the maximum is higher, they are still not anywhere near the cost of tuition for private colleges/universities today.

I went to Cyndislist and looked under "money" in the table of contents, to see if I could find a site that would convert the 1960s tuition price to today's dollars. Measuringworth came up with a variety of values, the explanations for which were too lengthy to make much sense to me. One of them was in the $31,000 range, but the rest were all a lot less. I decided I would take the $31,000 figure as the most accurate, just so I wouldn't feel retroactively priced out of the market.

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