Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Massage School and the New Economy

There's been a lot said and written about the "new economy" that is emerging from the shambles of our current financial crisis. Someone recently told me of a financial advisor they heard on the news clinging to the old financial model saying, "We've got to get out of fear back into greed." But again and again, I'm inspired by people looking toward a way of commerce and life that transcends greed and includes sharing and appreciation.

Recently, an incoming student delayed her enrollment from September to March because her loan application (from a nationally known student loan provider of direct career training loans, i.e., non-federally funded) was moving slowly. She'd applied in August and received pre-approval, but wasn't going to get the funding in time to plan her move to Durango. During the months from September to February, the company went silent in it's communications to her. When she'd contact them, they'd tell her an item was missing from her application packet (I can't tell you how many times I faxed them a copy of her enrollment agreement!). When they finally sent her all her paperwork with the final approval, she signed and mailed it back. Then again, no word from them and when she contacted them, they told her the application was older than 6 months and was no longer valid. She could re-apply, they said, but the loan was no longer being offered due to the financial crisis.

I've written about the difficulty of finding loans for massage school before, so this is not new on my mind. Some schools do offer federal financial aid and loans, but the overall tuition can be really expensive at those schools. I'm thinking of one that costs $20k for 1000-hours of education. That's a huge loan to carry after graduating.

I'm convinced that our world needs accomplished, compassionate and professionally mature massage therapists and bodyworkers more than ever. And all this is prompting me to think about how the world of today can support people providing healing touch. Students need training; schools need to retain their quality teachers and sometimes expensive teaching tools to provide the training; the people in the world need soothing, quality healing work. The method of borrowing large amounts of money to achieve this might be breaking down. So how can a "new economy" place value on this and provide these needs for our society? That's my question of the day.


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