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College, Loans and the Road to Success
Townhall.com ^ | May 3, 2012 | Cal Thomas

Posted on 05/03/2012 4:44:49 AM PDT by Kaslin

It is something of a truism that whenever the federal government steps in, costs usually rise and efficiency declines.

That is especially true when it comes to a college education, which President Obama promised during the 2008 campaign to make more affordable. "We've got to make sure every young person can afford to go to college," he said then. Instead, tuition costs keep rising, along with the debt owed by increasing numbers of graduates, who are now campaigning -- with bipartisan approval in an election year -- for Congress to stop interest rates on their subsidized Stafford loans from doubling in July.

I feel about those with crushing tuition debt the way I feel about people who choose to live along the frequently flooded banks of the Mississippi River. If students and their parents choose expensive schools, they should accept the responsibility and cost accompanying that decision.

The federal government has no constitutional authority to require people to receive an education. Education should be the primary responsibility of state and local entities (and parents). Taxpayers should not be expected to pay for college tuition when graduates default on loans they agreed to repay. What kind of life lesson is it when this early test of a young person's character is said not to matter?

But, today, is all that college debt even worth it?

The value of a college education -- at least at the more pricey private universities -- is declining. An Associated Press analysis of government data found more than half -- 53.6 percent -- of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25, either couldn't find a job, or were underemployed last year.

The AP story references a 2011 New York Times article reporting that only half of the jobs landed by new graduates "even require a college degree." Worse, numerous studies over the years have found too many college graduates often do not meet minimal requirements employers are seeking. Paying more, getting less. That sounds like what we get from government and the U.S. Postal Service.

A surprising new report from the Pathways to Prosperity Project, based at Harvard's Graduate School of Education, concludes that four years of college may no longer be the best preparation for a job and career.

As noted in Harvard's education magazine, "...we place far too much emphasis on a single pathway to success: attending and graduating from a four-year college. Yet only 30 percent of adults successfully complete this preferred pathway. Meanwhile, even in the second decade of the 21st century, most jobs do not require a bachelor's."

Thirty percent of new jobs will only require "an associate's degree or a post-secondary occupational credential," the report found. It recommends a new direction by broadening "the range of high-quality pathways that we offer young adults. This would include far more emphasis on career counseling and high-quality career education, as well as apprenticeship programs and community colleges as viable routes to well-paying jobs."

Another surprising fact that argues against costly colleges and universities that impose heavy financial burdens on students, parents and government is found in a study conducted by The Wall Street Journal. It discovered "U.S. companies largely favor graduates of big state universities over Ivy League and other elite liberal-arts schools when hiring to fill entry-level jobs."

This sounds like a win-win-win. Attend a far less expensive state school and save money; avoid crushing debt that will take decades to repay; and reduce the burden on taxpayers. What's not to like?

Students and parents should have the right to choose when it comes to college, but if they choose a costly private institution, they should assume the financial obligations that go with that choice. Before choosing, they should look at these studies and consider whether in the long run the supposed prestige and expense of a well-known school are worth the cost, especially if the job or career the student wants doesn't require a degree, or worse, that there isn't a job waiting after graduation.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: studentloans

1 posted on 05/03/2012 4:44:55 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
"The value of a college education -- at least at the more pricey private universities -- is declining. An Associated Press analysis of government data found more than half -- 53.6 percent -- of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25, either couldn't find a job, or were underemployed last year."

Considering that 2/3 of today's college graduates earn a non-quantitative degree, and coupled with Obama's huge tax on new hires, that's better than I might have expected!

According to BLS, the unemployment rate among those with a Bachelor's Degree or Higher ("Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees") was 4.2% in March. I could see how this number could contain a lot of new grads, particularly ones with general degrees. Why would an employer want to train a new graduate when they can hire someone who can do twice as much work for less than twice as much money?

In any case, my daughter was working at her "dream job" a few months before she formally received her master's degree.

2 posted on 05/03/2012 4:58:34 AM PDT by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: Kaslin
Since half of today's graduates can't find work, wouldn't this be a good time to stop student loans?

Sure, a lot of kids could not afford to go to college, enrollment would drop, and tuition should drop to affordable levels as colleges seek more students.

Yeah, I know, never happen. Even if it did the libtards would find some way to push taxpayer money into the colleges.

3 posted on 05/03/2012 5:30:57 AM PDT by CPOSharky (The only thing straight, white, Christian males get is the blame for everything.)
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To: CPOSharky
The easiest way to make anything ridiculously expensive is to tell the gov't to make it "affordable"!

I would suggest putting an absolute $ ceiling on the total amount of an individual's education loans that are backed by the gov't (and are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy). Perhaps the average of state university tuitions or community college tuitions across the US. Anything above -- well, if grandma, some private lender or Tony Soprano are willing to assume the risk, sure.

My kid's college had an official College Arborist managing their trees. Pretty campus, but how did they survive the first 100 years without one?

4 posted on 05/03/2012 5:50:46 AM PDT by Sooth2222 ("Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself." M.Twain)
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To: Kaslin

It’s heads I win, tails you lose -

If Junior goes to an expensive school and gets a good job, he wins;

If he doesn’t get a good job, the taxpayers get screwed twice (once for the defaulted loan, and once for various benefits for the unemployed)


5 posted on 05/03/2012 6:11:16 AM PDT by bt_dooftlook (Democrats - the party of Amnesty, Abortion, and Adolescence)
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To: Kaslin

A lot of the reasons people can’t find work is because they get degrees in their “hobbies” not an actual occupation. Being 25, I’ve seen many of my friends get stupid, stupid degrees. Just wasting money. And then they get upset when they can’t find a job.

In my mind, painting, being a musician, etc are hobbies. Not degree worthy jobs.


6 posted on 05/03/2012 6:13:50 AM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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