"Is College a Lousy Investment?" (Newsweek)

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by yoopermom, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. yoopermom

    yoopermom Come join Bravo by the fire...

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  3. HM

    HM My tag from the Tag Fairy is now too long to use.

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    Thanks for sharing.
     
  4. yoopermom

    yoopermom Come join Bravo by the fire...

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    I just don't know quite what to think of that magazine anymore. When I was growing up, my DF read it every week, and shared important parts with the rest of the family. Now it just seems to be mostly op ed pieces masquerading as information.

    Terri
     
  5. littlebit0863

    littlebit0863 Mouseketeer

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    Yeah that definitely seems like an opinion piece but they may not be off. I manage a small personal loan company, starting pay $8 per hour, and each time we hire I get lots of resumes from people with bachelors degrees, even people in their 40s with plenty of office experience. It's really kind of sad.
     
  6. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    I think there's a lot of truth to it. Most of my childhood friends went to college and earned degrees. Few have seen any real benefit to it. And the issue the article raises about "credentialism" is certainly dead-on; jobs that never used to require college now do, not because the skills needed to do the job are taught there but as a way of filtering the mountain of applications to a more manageable pile. Heck, in this economy Starbucks could probably get away with requiring at least an associates and still have an oversupply of baristas.

    We are graduating FAR more young adults than we have jobs requiring higher education. The logical consequence of that in a market economy is that the value of the degree is diminished. Still we continue to push ridiculous ideas like "college for all", even at the expense of technical and vocational training for fields in which there are growing shortages, while the very idea that a 4 year education isn't always the right choice is pretty much dismissed as nonsense.
     
  7. SaraJayne

    SaraJayne <font color=red>Stop moving those smilies! <img sr

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    I think it can be a lousy investment for some people.
     
  8. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    I was in IT before becoming a SAHM... Straight out of school, with an associates and a few industry certifications, I was earning 40K/year. Now? Most ads I see want a 4 year degree and the same certifications for $12-15/hr jobs. And the sad part is, the parents of high schoolers that I talk to know this... They are very aware that a degree isn't going to assure a middle class lifestyle. They're focused on the lower unemployment rate for college grads, rather than higher earning potential. Because $12/hr employed steadily is better than $8-10/hr with frequent layoffs, which has become the "new normal" for high school educated people around here.
     
  9. TinCup

    TinCup Mouseketeer

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    Personally I think a college degree is a good investment if you choose a marketable field of study. You also need to use common sense in funding a college education. It makes no sense to spend $100K on a college education with limited marketability or earnings potential.
     
  10. MomToOne

    MomToOne DIS Veteran

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    When it comes time, I am going to encourage DD12 to go the trade school route if that seems more logical for what she is interested in. My parents were all about college, college, college - if you were interested in something that didn't require college, well then you needed to change your interest to something that did! That was how the next generation was supposed to do better than the last. So my father would probably be flabbergasted at my willingness to send my daughter to trade school if he were still alive. But times have changed.
     
  11. mrsklamc

    mrsklamc <font color=blue>I apologize in advance, but what

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  12. Colleen27

    Colleen27 DIS Veteran

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    I think how you're paying also makes a huge difference - if you can pay cash, I think college is still a good investment. If you're going to finish with 5-figure debt and pay decades of interest on it, maybe a different route would be more suitable.

    I have one on each path - DS14 is interested in trade school or an apprenticeship through our community college, DD11 has a career goal that requires a degree. And a lot of people are flabbergasted that I'm not pushing DS to "set his sights higher", even though the trades he's interested in (machining primarily, or maybe welding) pay well and are experiencing/expecting shortages of qualified new hires.

    If I was going to push one of them to reconsider it would be DD11, who wants to be a teacher - $100K+ in education (not counting eventually needing a masters or the ongoing continuing ed requirements) to earn $35K/year in a high stress job that is constantly caught in the middle of political tug-of-wars just doesn't sound like a great path to me!
     
  13. BeachLove

    BeachLove Mouseketeer

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    Agree, Agree and Agree! :thumbsup2
     
  14. tasha99

    tasha99 DIS Veteran

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    If your DD wants to be a teacher, have her consider speech language pathology or occupational therapy. Both have shortages and can be teachers in school. Both also have other options if the schools aren't paying enough, as well.
     
  15. FINFAN

    FINFAN Mom to Tinkbell

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    yep, the 4 year degree is simply to help become employed, not rich. Around here even part time has become favorable as it keeps you actively in th ework place making you more likely to get hired in the next position. Matter of fact, I know a lot of folks woth 2 part time or part-time/contract/free-lance income. Some of those folks have Masters degrees.
    Mike Rowe is regarded as positively God-like in our home. His whole outlook and beliefs mirror ours. Our DS who just turned 18 was fortunate enough to watch the show during his early formidable H.S. years and took advantage of shop classes in school etc., I am sure because he was so entertained by Mr. Rowe, he saw a fun side to the practicality of it. The guy is beyond entertaining and draws his audience in by being a regular guy (quite easy on the eyes as well :lovestruc) anyways, I wish John Ratzenburger's Made in America was still on as well.

    I would vote for Mike Rowe for President, I really would.
     
  16. Patience

    Patience DIS Veteran

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    I agree that college is not for everyone and that the push for "college for all" has downgraded the value of a four year degree. I also agree that there is not enough transparency regarding the cost of college versus the benefits. Too many kids (and their parents) simply do not understand how hard it is going to be for a 22 year old to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in loans while still earning enough to have a reasonable lifestyle. It was hard back in the 90's and it's worse now, especially since a lot of the student loans out there are unsubsidized and accrue interest the whole time the student is in school. The student graduates owing more than they borrowed and the interest rates for unsubsidized loans are fairly high. It's sad.
     
  17. tzolkin

    tzolkin DIS Veteran

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    The debt is really my issue with education. I can't even count how many times I've heard the idea that "every penny spent on a college education is an investment" and to "not worry about how much you're taking out in loans because your earning potential will be so much higher after you have the degree". I've even read recent threads like this on the Dis.

    I don't think going to any school is worth going into major debt over and this will ultimately affect the advice DH and I give our kids. Yes, I see a value to college education, but not at any cost. I know so many people who have $100K+ in student loans and it affects their families and their quality of life. They're also not necessarily making any more money.

    Fortunately ;) my family was poor, so I was able to get an over $200K education from a very prestigious university for only about $8,000 in student loans after all my financial aid. I recently found a job with no benefits making $12/hour but for several years I was a SAHM because I couldn't find anything that would cover the cost of daycare. While my education was valuable for personal and intellectual growth, it certainly would have been the worst financial investment of my life if I had paid "rack rate" for it.

    DH spent even less on college (2 year degree to become an RN) and right out of school his income was more than enough to support our family.
     
  18. disykat

    disykat DIS Veteran

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    I agree. As a parent I consider it a good investment, and an investment worth a bit of sacrifice, for both my kids. For two reasons - first being that we can do it with minimal debt.

    The second is a biggie to me. Grades. If my kids weren't A/B students, I'd be encouraging them to go a different direction.
     
  19. eliza61

    eliza61 http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    I'm an advocate for higher education but everyone I'm friends with, well almost everyone is using their degrees.
    I'm a chemist, out of my 5 roommates, there is 2 attorneys, 1 CPA. 1 teacher and 1 small business woman. My sister is a retired cop but in NYC now in order to take the test, I believe you have to have at least 60 college credits.

    my kids are college students and so far so good but if my kid came to me and say college wasn't for them, they'd like to be an electrician, I'd be totally cool with it.
     
  20. mks18412

    mks18412 Mouseketeer

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    If it wasnt for my husband going to college he would not be in the postion he is in now. His degree has carried him pretty far. But on the other hand someone could get a trade and be just as successful.
     
  21. Sagginit

    Sagginit DIS Veteran

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    here is another good article:http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/b...-collection-agencies.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    i think the debate is not clear cut. that article you posted makes a good point but they should have further elaborated. if you go to college just to get a credential and life experience, not an education, it may not pay off. i did not have as much fun as some of my friends that went to big state schools, but i feel i learned an enormous amount in the four years i was at my small liberal arts college.

    even vocational type degrees can not pay off. in my area the market is flooded with teaching degrees and nursing degrees. quiet frankly i never in a million years planned to work in the field i do, but the work is steady and i feel stable. there is also a sense of entitlement of those with degrees that they deserve a certain job in a certain field. life just does not work like that.

    i really honestly don't know anyone in serious debt that was truly that naive. at the heart of them going into such debt was not planning a career logically, but going for their dream job. while i think the economy is going in a bad direction with the widening wealth gap i think also there is a lot to be said about the pride that is behind people's decisions. while you want the next generation to do better, if your little precious has to do some manual labor for part of their career its not the end of the world. i know many who did well working for local utility companies or doing things like welding or construction but i think many parents would never encourage their child to go into these jobs because their pride stands in the way. my brother spent a year after college working at a golf course and i spent four years in retail working my way up into a better field. while we always were looking for something better, my mother was just as proud of us then as she is now.
     

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