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Where does student’s money go?

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Where does student’s money go?


White all Spartans pay to attend Michigan State, few actually know where their money goes.

Civil engineering sophomore Tyler Frederick is one of many students who said he wishes he was more informed about what costs his tuition is actually covering.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics Website, Michigan State University reported the estimated cost for in-state tuition and fees for the 2012-13 academic year was $12,622.

Frederick said that he would like to be more informed about what is included in the fees portion of his educational costs

“I know we pay a lot for T.A.s and stuff that most of the time I don’t do anything with,” he said.

Some students, like interdisciplinary studies freshman Emilee Morse, have said they’ve heard rumors about what student tuition goes toward.

“I heard one (rumor) about how some of our tuition went towards the new museum of art that they built on North campus,” Morse said.

Jessica Kaczmarczyk, an employee at the Broad Art Museum, said the majority of funding for the museum came from Eli and Edythe Broad, and none of the funding came from student tuition.

Some undergraduate students who choose to have a meal plan often have heard rumors about how many meals they pay for in a week.

Frederick said he has heard from friends that students are paying for 70 meals a week.

According to MSU Eat at State Website, the cheapest, unlimited dining plan available to students is the Silver plan and it costs $2,585 per semester.

MSU Culinary Services Communications Manager Jenna Brown said Via email that the amount of meals per day allowed by meal plans has been discovered.

“A student did try to see if the dining plan would max out, however, and he found that the exact number is 99 per day,” she said.

Media and information sophomore Cameron Cummings had nothing to say but “Wow,” when he was told how many meals a week students with dining plans could eat.

Cummings said this concerns him because he eats less than three times a day.

Though students with dining plans have the option to eat 99 times per day, this does not mean students are paying for that much.

“The meal plan is about accessibility and flexibility, not quantity. It gives you the option of food service from seven a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, plus the Combo-x-Change five days all for one inclusive price,” MSU Residential Dining Associate Director Bruce Haskell said via email.

Haskell said if a student ate 28 meals per week and got their combo five days a week for a semester, the cost of per meal would be about $4.60.

Students have also expressed concerns regarding additional costs of attending Michigan State that are not included in tuition and fees.

Fees which elementary education junior Elizabeth Mendez said she is concerned about include parking costs and school supplies.

Mendez said the university should give students a list of fees not included in the cost of tuition before they come to school.

Some students like Cummings have experienced the campus-wide distaste for MSU parking issues such as receiving several tickets.

“I have three right now that I haven’t paid in a long time,” Cummings said.

MSU Parking Operations Manager Lynnette Forman said parking tickets result in a large amount of fees.

“The gross amount of parking tickets and fees in 2010 was about $2 million and the net amount in 2010 was about $180,000 to $200,000, ” she said.

Cummings said he originally thought only the parking department pocketed parking ticket money.

However, Forman said the money made from parking tickets goes toward parking, traffic, and pedestrian-related issues.

She said the money is used for things like speed bump and the monthly phone bill for the green light emergency telephones placed around campus.

Forman also said the money helps prevent accidents by funding the talking crosswalk signals in order to help the visually-impaired.

She also said the money has helped reduce the amount of accidents is by funding the removal and reconstruction of the many traffic circles, which were highly prone to accidents, into four-way stops.

Forman said the only money that goes straight to the department is the money made from parking passes and tuition is not used at all for maintenance.

Accounting freshman LaToya Smith said the cost of textbooks is her greatest monetary concern. She said for each of her semesters she spent about $500 on books alone.

For the 2012-13 academic year MSU reported to the National Center for Education Statistics the estimated expenses for books and supplies was $1,026, according to the NCES Website.

According to the MSU Office of Financial Aid Website, other fees undergraduate students each pay include a tax of $18 for the service of Associated Students of MSU, a tax of $5 for the State News and a tax for FM radio.

The ASMSU tax funds student programs and events; the State News tax funds the publication of the student-run newspaper and the FM radio tax funds two student-run stations.

With the amount of money students are paying to attend school, it is helpful to know where our money goes.

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The Controversy Behind “Tiger Moms”

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The Controversy Behind “Tiger Moms”


By Courtney Rivette

What are your favorite memories about being a kid? Attending sleepovers, having play dates, being in a school play, chilling out with TV or computer games? Yale professor Amy Chua’s children were allowed to do none of these things. A self-proclaimed “Tiger Mom,” Chua has written a memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, that has brought extreme parenting styles into the public eye.

Chua has received much criticism for her extreme Chinese parenting approach where she pushed her children to be the best. Her children couldn’t choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an “A,” not be the number one student in every subject except gym and drama or play any instrument other than the piano or violin. Despite the long list of banned activities, Chua’s children grew up to be successful – one of her daughters was recently admitted to Harvard.

As the book continues to fuel controversy throughout the nation, an MSU professor is researching the effects of strict parenting styles on mental health.

Photo Credit: Jenna Chabot

Desiree Boalian Qin, an assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, has been researching the effects of different parenting styles on Chinese-American students as compared to their white counterparts, and has found that Chinese-American students often suffer from mental health problems.

Qin’s Research

Qin’s research was conducted in a variety of high achieving and prestigious high schools located on the East Coast using a mixed-method study of surveys and in-depth interviews. The study included both Asian-American and European-American students.

“They all do very well educationally, but we do find that when parents pester their kids a lot and when they have a lot of conflicts at home about education, then children feel more alienated from their parents,” Qin said. “That in turn will lead to higher levels of depression and lower levels of self-esteem and more anxiety reported by the Chinese students.”

Qin said she was surprised to learn that education created conflicts between some of the students and parents in the schools she studied.

“They already beat 90 percent of their peers to get into the school, they were already the best students, high achieving, doing great, and I was surprised that education was such a big conflict and issue at home,” Qin said. “In general, students in these schools sleep four or five hours a night and each time they get their GPA they calculate it to the tenth decimal point. There is so much competition in the school and so much stress. It is such a pressure cooker environment – they get pressure from their parents and from their teachers.”

Qin’s work was modeled on the idea of the “model minority”, a term that refers to a minority – ethnic, racial, or religious – whose members achieve a higher degree of success than the population average. Success is typically measured in income, education, and related factors such as low crime rate and high family stability. In the United States, the model minority is often associated with the Asian culture and its high educational achievement.

“A lot of these kids, Chinese American and other Asian American kids, their mental health is ignored because we focus so much on their achievement,” Qin said. “There is this façade that everything is going well; they are performing so well educationally, therefore, everything at home and their mental health must be great too. It is assumed that if you are doing well academically then you must be feeling good, and in my own research I find that is not always the case.”

Qin & Chua’s Ideas on Parenting

Despite connections drawn by the media between Chua’s book and Qin’s research, Qin said that they really don’t relate.

“My research has nothing to do with professor Chua’s book,” Qin said. “I’m sure she is a brilliant law professor, but the book is purely anecdotal about one mother raising two children. It is not research or based on anything scientific, therefore, it is very difficult to challenge.”

Qin was born in a small village in northern China and and came to the United States when she was 24 years old. She did her doctorate studies at Harvard Graduate School of Education and did two years of post-doctoral work at New York University and Columbia. She began working at MSU in 2006.

Qin received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English from Heilongjiang University in China. She often tutored students on the side and noticed students struggling with a wide spectrum of negative emotions, including sadness, anxiety, anger, depression and guilt.

“I felt at the time there was a psychological struggle, although there wasn’t a lot of research or counselors and psychologists working with youth in China during that time,” Qin said. “I think that really led me to my interest in working with youth and families and working with mental health.”

Western vs. Chinese Parenting

Chua’s book has sparked debate about the positive and negative effects of both “Chinese” and “Western” parenting.  Loosely defined, Western parents are said to be more lenient and relaxed in their parenting methods whereas Chinese parents are said to be more strict and demanding of academic success.  Chua and Qin, both Chinese mothers, have differing views on the subject.

“In a lot of ways it is impossible to categorize ‘Western parenting’ and ‘Chinese parenting’ because parenting varies so much and depends on a variety of factors,” Qin said. “I’m a mother of two girls, and parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done – you have to be consistent, and it takes a lot of work. I think all parents are in the same boat in that we all want the same things for our children, and I do think that the debate or controversy generated by Amy Chua’s book at least got us to talk about parenting.”

According to a Time magazine interview, Chua said that Western parents are often more concerned with their children’s “psyches and self-esteem” whereas Chinese immigrant parents “assume strength rather than fragility” in their children.

“It’s much less deferring to the child’s wishes,” Chua said in the interview. “The westerners want to respect their child’s individuality and to pursue their passion and to provide positive reinforcement. The Chinese are much more comfortable overriding their children’s preferences.”

Qin agrees the Chinese parents usually do have higher expectations for their children.

“I think that if you look at research, Chinese parents generally have higher expectations than other parents,” Qin said. “But, I know plenty of Chinese parents who are very lenient and very democratic, and I have also known many American parents who are very strict, very involved, and really expecting a lot from their kids.”

Qin worries that some people will look to the book as a parenting guide when they see that Chua’s oldest daughter was accepted to Harvard. She said she hope that it doesn’t encourage parents to push their children to be successful regardless of the costs.

“I think some of the findings from our research projects do send a cautionary note against this whole idea that you can push your child to succeed academically at all costs, and encouraging parents to do that,” Qin said. “I think that can be misleading and very damaging for children and their mental health.”

Nan Ma, a first-year business graduate student from China has seen the negative effects that Qin describes – she has a friend in China who suffered from mental health problems which Ma believes are a result of strict parenting.

“She is a very outstanding student, very successful academically and she got the number one position in the national entrance examination,” Ma said.

The entrance exam is an extremely difficult and competitive test that all Chinese students planning to enroll in college must take. Ma said that many students spend all of their time studying for the test, and then find themselves lost when they get to the university level because learning is structured in a different way.

“She enrolled in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which is a very hard school for mainland students to get into,” Ma said. “She suffered from mental health problems during her first year in the university and dropped out. This included a suicide attempt.”

Ma said she has an idea of what led to the all of the stress.

“I know her father is a university teacher and he is very smart, but didn’t achieve all of the accomplishments he wanted,” Ma said. “I think he put all of his expectations on her. Her father is very strict and he prevented her from having contact with friends or having social events. She really didn’t have many friends.”

Although Qin’s research is based only on Chinese-American immigrant parents, Ma said that tiger parents are common in China.

“The style of the tiger mom is very common in China, but it is just an extreme example and not all parents behave like that,” Ma said. “It is true that parents usually have very high expectations of their children. Normally parents live a very hard life themselves and they give everything to their children; they want their children to pay them back with their academic success.”

Chinese students spend more time in school than American students, Ma said. She described her school day starting at 5:30 a.m. and ending around 9:30 p.m. with short breaks for lunch and dinner throughout the day. She said the atmosphere was much different when she went to college in China and when she came to America.

Ma grew up in East China, between Beijing and Shanghai. She said she grew up in a “relatively loose environment.”

“My parents are also university professors and they have very high expectations for me, but they never pushed me,” she said.

When it came time to choose a college major, Ma said her parents let her decide what she wanted.

“My mom is an accounting professor and she wanted me to choose economics or accounting as my major,” Ma explained. “She thought it was a better major to find a job or future career and also said she could help me. But, I liked journalism at that time and they didn’t push me. I still chose journalism.

“Some parents won’t let their children make their own choices,” she added.

Qin had similar things to say regarding students from Chinese families entering college.

“They get to college, they are doing something their parents want them to do, they are in a major their parents chose for them and they may not be that interested or passionate about it,” Qin said.

The Future

The results of Qin’s research suggest that both Chinese and Western parents have room to improve in the area of mental health. Qin said she wants to make parents, teachers, counselors and other school staff members aware of challenges kids face, particularly those with immigrant backgrounds.

“Instead of just saying ‘Okay, they are really great, we don’t need to do anything to help them,’ I think my work is trying to say ‘No, even though these kids are high achieving they still need support,’” Qin said. “There are things the school can do to support the kids better and there are things that parents can do better to really pay more attention to their mental health.”

The results of Qin’s research will be published later this year and she already has ideas for what she wants to do next.

“I look forward to doing this type of study in Asia, in China, and in other places looking at high achieving kids, their mental health, and parenting,” she said.

Ma also has ideas for her future parenting methods.

“I definitely won’t be a tiger mom,” Ma said. “I think my personality is quite easy-going and I think if I have kids they should be very independent. I would tell them what are relatively good study methods for them to get better scores, but I won’t push them.”

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Where To Be

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Where To Be


Women’s Leadership Conference
Nov. 8th at the MSU Union

Get in touch with your feminism side at the 7th Annual Women’s Leadership Conference. This year’s theme is “The Courage to Lead, the Power to Make a Difference” with keynote speaker Ingrid Saunders Jones, senior vice president of the Coca-Cola Company and chairperson of the Coca-Cola Foundation.

Spartan Idol

Nov. 14, 8 p.m. at the International Center

Let out your Simon Cowell side (fake British accent encouraged) as you watch the final contestants of MSU’s version of American Idol compete for prizes including an iPod and an iTunes gift card. Hopefully there won’t be any Sanjayas in this crowd.

The Make Every Mile Count 5K Run
Nov. 12, 8 p.m. at Jenison Field House

A tree will be planted for every runner who takes part in this completely free event. Check out the 2010 Honda Insight hybrid vehicle and Daniel Martin’s magic show once you’ve made it to the finish line. Free food and raffle prizes are up for grabs and t-shirts go out to the first 100 runners. Register ahead of time at www.everymile5k.eventbrite.com.

Mictlan in Aztlan
Nov. 1, 5:30 p.m. at MSU Museum Auditorium

Celebrate the Day of the Dead as the sun goes down with this performance sponsored by the MSU Museum. Learn more about how Mexican Americans remember and celebrate their departed ancestors and make sure to eat some sugar skulls and pan de muerto for dessert.

Marathon of Majors
Nov. 12, 5 p.m. at Bessey Hall

Undecided on a what you want to be when you grow up? Thinking of switching your major to Interior Design or Entomology? Make sure to stop by Bessey Hall to talk with advisers and professors from every department at MSU. And don’t be afraid to stock up on some free pens.

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