I just found a tuition and fees announcement from an Ivy League website:

The Board of Trustees announced today that undergraduate tuition for the 2012–13 academic year will be $43,782, an increase of 4.9 percent (or $2,046) over the current year's tuition rate. Undergraduate tuition, room, board, and fees for the coming academic year will be $57,998, a 4.8 percent increase from the current year.

What I found more interesting is the following:

Tuition, room, board, and fees cover about half the full cost of the education, with the balance met primarily through gifts, endowment income, and other revenues.

I think we should all be grateful to those who contributed to this second half. This is about the best part of America's higher education. Because of this, many can afford to attend. Because of this, the American universities are free to teach what they believe is important (not like their counterparts in some other countries where communist propaganda are mandatory courses). And because of this, students can choose which schools best fit them. All these I believe made the America's higher education to stand out as the best in the world.

Like many others, I am doubly grateful because my first half was also paid for by scholarships.

But, people's enthusiasm about their beloved alma mater isn't about the money they paid or received. Just as I, a scholarship recipient, am proud of having attended the schools I love, others seem doubly proud as they often wear college sports shirts with "Tuition Payer" printed below their beloved college name.

What we have decided to study in college is not that critical looking back through life. I don't deny there are some fortunate ones having set their life's path on a straight line starting with their college education. But most of us have an experience of life that is unexpectedly dynamic. To rephrase Steve Jobs, one can only connect the dots looking back through life.

The real things people learn are certainly not through mindlessly attending college courses. They are through clicks in unexpected moments in life when one's mind is clearly present. It is mindlessness that makes everything worthless.

I now think that people's enthusiasm about their beloved alma mater is more about passion, perhaps not really the passion to study, but that of one's belonging, a belonging to a famous heritage, a prestige, a powerful network, a mental foundation, an incubator, a statement about life, and a perfect blossom basin.

In this sense, the $57,998 per year expense is cheap if that is what one needs, not because the other $57,998 per year is paid for by contributions, but because fulfilling one's life passion is priceless.





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