Skip to comments.Is college worth it?: Too many degrees are a waste of money.
Posted on 04/05/2014 5:06:23 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
WHEN LaTisha Styles graduated from Kennesaw State University in Georgia in 2006 she had $35,000 of student debt. This obligation would have been easy to discharge if her Spanish degree had helped her land a well-paid job. But there is no shortage of Spanish-speakers in a nation that borders Latin America. So Ms Styles found herself working in a clothes shop and a fast-food restaurant for no more than $11 an hour.
Frustrated, she took the gutsy decision to go back to the same college and study something more pragmatic. She majored in finance, and now has a good job at an investment consulting firm. Her debt has swollen to $65,000, but she will have little trouble paying it off.
As Ms Styless story shows, there is no simple answer to the question Is college worth it? Some degrees pay for themselves; others dont. American schoolkids pondering whether to take on huge student loans are constantly told that college is the gateway to the middle class. The truth is more nuanced, as Barack Obama hinted when he said in January that folks can make a lot more by learning a trade than they might with an art history degree. An angry art history professor forced him to apologise, but he was right.
(Excerpt) Read more at economist.com ...
Forgive me, I am not good at interpreting some charts. Would you mind explaining?
The chart tells us that quality schools and good technical schools pay an excellent return on investment, ROI. Low quality schools and art schools do not.
It depends on which school you attend and the courses you take and the career you choose.
I screwed up and sent my son to college when I should have bought him a McDonalds.
I, too, am having trouble with this chart. According to chart, it looks like one can get a degree at Harvard for a touch over $50K. That can’t be correct.
Agreed! It is a lousy graph. The far right figure in the box is the ROI, the Rate of Return on you get on the Amount, indicated by the blue bar graph, which you have Invested in your education. Probably tuition only.
As IowaMark has said, go to a quality school, preferably an engineering school, preferably a state school with lower costs and you will get a significantly higher return on the smaller amount you have invested.
Short blue bar with a higher ROI. Thus, UVa and Ga Tech (go Ramblin’ Wrecks!) are at the top of the chart and wiser investments.
I just looked at Harvard’s website. They advertise around $67K per academic year. The chart is bogus.
A good technical school provides an excellent return on investment as you pointed out. When I got out of the Marine Corps in the mid-1980s, I had sufficient money available to go to a traditional 4-year college. However, I chose a Technical School that was about 10 months of intense instruction in the very field I wanted to get into - computers.
Within 6 months, I had already landed a full-time job in the high tech industry and I had to switch to a night class in order to complete my Technical School certification. I've never looked back and I can honestly say I have a much higher income than most college grads that completed a traditional four-year "liberal arts" type program.
That's not to say that I do not value education. All my life, I continue to read several books a week, many of them non-fiction books. For example I devour books on history, management, and business. I've read just about every book written on Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Wal-Mart and even McDonalds. I love to read how entrepreneurs take an idea and either create a new industry or disrupt and re-invent an existing one.
This self-learning propelled me into the ranks of upper management and I am one of the only ones at my level without a formal college degree. But that is transparent to my peers because I don't go home at night want watch six hours of sitcoms. I read books or I come to forums like this where I hone my writing skills.
Autodidacticism is definitely a viable way to go, along with learning in the workplace. Again, why study it when you can be doing it? When I got my first real job in high tech, I learned more about it in 30 days then I did in all my previous schooling.
Now there are some professions, such as medicine or law, that would require years of formal education. However, if you are looking to make it in business or high tech, all you really need is a good trade/technical school and then get out there and start doing it!
There is one factor missing from the graph, that is the effect of the available pool of graduates in certain career fields. One time long ago, graduating attorneys could command great salaries as the career field was not as saturated as it is today.
There is also another variable, the perceived value of a degree from certain schools i.e. a finance degree from Penn seemingly is of higher value than say a finance degree from a match book cover advertized correspondence college. Also the GIGO principle is at work too, schools which have very low admissions standards or which have super inflated rates of “preference” admissions can have a bias against hiring of their graduates into high paying career fields.
All IMO of course.
If you have a kid with a good GPA and test scores, there are colleges that will give merit scholarships from a few thousand to full tuition to a full ride. Those are mostly in the south and Midwest, but definitely worth the searching if you want to cut the cost down.
If you have a HS junior make sure they take their SATs or ACTs this spring. And start searching for colleges over the summer. If you have a sophomore, have them study for the PSAT. There are some automatic full rides for high scoring kids.
I agree about the prestige factor for some majors, finance being one of them. But if a kid wants to be a teacher, or an account or a nurse, sending them to $60,000 a year fancy U over State U, especially if paid with loans may not be a great decision.
Yes, and that explains the low ROI in doing so which is the underpinning of my commentary.
Thanks, I have a college freshman that was 5th out 160 in HS, Eagle Scout, many awards, etc. I’m paying around $22K out of pocket to an in state university in PA. Being a white middle class male student with married parents is a decided cost driver. The way I have it figured I’m paying for my kid and some other kid on campus.
Why didn’t you go to a community college for your first 2 years? Same requirement, same associates degree, half the money.
Reform begins at the state level with one axiom, and some statistics that getting will be as hard to get as pulling teeth from the universities.
The axiom is that the state subsidizes universities *solely* for the purpose of providing better education for its citizens resulting in better jobs for them than they could get with a high school education.
The statistics are first a listing of all academic majors in the state, compared with a list of the number of their graduates who have obtained employment in that field within six months after graduation.
At the top of the list would be Nursing, Education, and Criminal Justice, with lots of placements. At the bottom of the list would be majors like race and gender studies along with basket weaving and counting to fifteen without taking off your shoes. A LOT of college sports would be at the bottom of the list as well.
Then, the state legislator who compiled this list forwards a bill that no state funds would be used in future to subsidize these losers. If students want them enough to pay full value, good for them.
Once this bill passes, state subsidies to universities might be reduced by a third. To reduce them even further, the state should examine individual courses, and refuse to pay for utter nonsense courses like “The influence of television lesbianism on society”, and “Why white people should apologize for living.”
quote “I screwed up and sent my son to college when I should have bought him a McDonalds.”
BEST QUOTE OF THE DAY!
Look at the asterisk. “After financial aid.”
My son just earned a full scholarship for his Doctorate at Penn State. I still wonder if the 6 years to earn the degree will pay for itself vs working for 6 yrs.