When our kids go off to college, we will no longer be there to spoil them every day. So, at least in the case of the private schools, it is up to the colleges to take over the pampering. On many of the tours, in preparation for their careers in finance, students were enticed with five star amenities:
– Amazing gyms and workout rooms with new, fancy equipment – the kind you would pay hundreds of dollars a month to belong to here in LA
– International food courts with salad bars, sushi chefs, fresh-baked pizza, vegan entrees and other exotic fare, often available 24/7. And, if you can’t find something to your liking, your meal plan card can be used in town at dozens of restaurants.
– Opportunities to join hundreds of clubs. Want to create your own? No problem, even if you need funding for editing rooms or sailboats or polo sticks.
– Free laptops (Yes, this was an enticement at many schools.)
– Dorms that look like hotel suites, with fireplaces, pool tables and ‘business centers’ equipped with brand new printers and scanners.
– 18 hole golf courses, Olympic size swimming pools, art museums, sculpture gardens, plush screening rooms, complementary airport shuttles and free lecture series with fascinating speakers.
– Opportunities to spend a semester Barcelona or Capetown or Buenos Aires or Sydney, with weekend safaris and excursions on yachts.
Some elite colleges have not upgraded to this level of luxury because they don’t have to – applications are up even with unpresentable dorms with mold, allergens and no AC. But many will enjoy a resort lifestyle while their parents’ college memories involve cinder blocks and cafeteria spaghetti.
Who pays for all this? Today’s WSJ has the answer: Surprise…it’s US – the very same stressed-out parents who are cutting back on weekends at the lake so we can afford a decent education for our children.
For the students, the only downside to all this luxury is that they actually have to learn something. If not we might get mad and make them go to community college or pay for their own health club membership.
And, they will have to come to grips with the reality that there will come a day when it all ends, when no longer will somebody pay $65,000 a year for them to play Ultimate Frisbee, take a heli-skiing course or spend six months admiring the gardens in Florence.