Raising a Snob: College or No College for Your Child?

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If asked, most parents say they want their children to attend college if they want to.  Being able to afford to send our kids to college is another question.  But when did the issue of snobbery become part of the calculus of higher education?

Not every family can afford the full freight of a four-year degree.  Today the average cost hovers between $10,000 to $15,000 per year at state universities for tuition, room and board, and books.  Private colleges charge as much as $50K a year.  I know from personal experience that there are ways to pay for college through grants, student loans, work/study programs and other avenues.  I took out loans, got a small scholarship or two, and worked a couple of different jobs to pay for my education, and I was still on what I called the “eight-year plan” to finish my bachelor’s degree.

I worked hard, kept at it, and got that diploma.  Does that make me a snob?  One presidential candidate thinks so.

GOP contender Rick Santorum announced to a crowd of supporters recently that President Obama was a “snob” for believing that all American children should have a shot at college.

To steal a phrase from Hannah Montana, I ask, “Former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania with three college degrees, say what?!”

I understand that the candidates still in the presidential race are grasping to find messages that resonate with particular crowds, but suggesting that the dream of college is just for Snobby McSnobbersons, rather than a path to a future where our children have a better chance at gainful employment, is a culture war game, not an economic policy.

Santorum is from Pennsylvania, the state where I grew up.  I want him, the man with three college degrees, to tell me to my face that I’m a snob because of the education I got (oh, and by the way, the education he’s making sure his kids get) and that it’s high-falutin’ snobbery for American parents to want they best for their own kids.  Next thing you know, those who question the benefits of a college education will be supporting those kids who want to drop out of high school.

Oh, wait.  They’ve already done that, too.

Joanne Bamberger writes the blog PunditMom, and is the author of Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (on sale now at Amazon!), a bipartisan look at how women online will be a force to be reckoned with in the 2012 election!  Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!


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