Letters to the Editor

Readers write about college costs, the legal drinking age, and 'working' to be idle.

Cost is not the only consideration for college

In response to Kathleen Connell's Sept. 8 commentary, "College trophy hunt: weigh the costs first": The largest share of those students who eliminate college choices based on anticipated costs are not those from families who make more than $100,000 per year, but from those making far less. These are students who will often find that attending a private, four-year college costs them little more and often less than attending a public university.

It is irresponsible to tell families to "weigh the costs first." Despite high price tags at many colleges and universities, more students will be better served by considering the environment and experience they'll need to attain a college education.

Once they know what they're looking for, they can send applications to colleges and universities with a range of price tags, and then decide which combination of educational benefits and financial sacrifices makes the most sense to them.

Telling people of any income level to limit their college search to nominally lower-cost public universities from the outset isn't providing alternative, helpful guidance. It's adding an extra level of misinformation to an already complicated process.

Jonathan Burdick
Rochester, N.Y.

Dean of admissions and financial aid, University of Rochester

Don't lower the drinking age

Regarding the Sept. 8 article, "Colleges take on drinking age": I am having a difficult time with the logic behind the quest to lower the drinking age.

The drinking age was 18 when I was in college in New York State and that didn't stop binge drinking and keg parties, nor did it keep students from drinking and driving. This theory that lowering the drinking age will stop binge drinking isn't very well thought out or investigated.

If someone really wants to change the way college students behave, then they need to debunk the belief that getting drunk is somehow a rite of passage.

Binge drinking and getting drunk are immature ways of dealing with the transition from childhood to adulthood. Surely there is a better way of doing this. Why don't the college presidents get behind an idea like that?

Mary Comfort
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

It would appear the college presidents are saying we don't want to take the effort to enforce the law because it would be too difficult or even make it seem as if their campus was less "fun."

My main concern with this discussion is that the college presidents are sending this problem back to the high schools for enforcement.

Shame on you all for passing the buck! What a bad example you are sending to the students.

Sheela George
Gig Harbor, Wash.

Contemplation vs. laziness

In response to Gerry McCarthy's Sept. 10 Opinion piece, "Idleness takes hard work": It's all very well to point out the need for time to be contemplative, the need not always to be racing from one task to the next, but whether idleness is laudable may depend on whether the person seen as "idle" is self-supporting or is living on the generosity of his or her family or friends or of the state.

At age 19, one perhaps has a right to think about one's future, but not at age 29 or 39.

I've seen some trust-fund-supported idlers who are fairly contemptible because they remain dependent and make no contribution to the society they live in.

Susan Pettee

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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