September 2013 Newsletter

Is College Worth The Cost?

It’s fall semester again. Government schools all around the country have started, with the big yellow buses zooming through the neighborhoods as early at 6:30am.

Public education has been mandatory for almost a century now, but children in large numbers are no longer graduating from high school. The “dropout” rate in the United States is as high as many third-world countries.

Many years ago I predicted that because of the failure of the government schools our children, unable to get decent jobs and earn a living wage would quickly turn to crime. That time is now, as I hear of a proliferation of home invasions and burglaries and drug crimes all over the local and national news.

Even the young people that finish high school with decent grades are caught in a trap. College tuition has increased dramatically and many have student loan debts comparable to house notes. But, is this endeavor worth the cost?

According to statistics, the average cost of a college education at an in-state public college ranges from $22,000 on the low end to $43,000 on the high end. These numbers increase drastically for out-of-state and private colleges.

What’s the Price Tag for a College Education?

So, what are our children receiving for all this money? Not much. Many 2012 college graduates are still looking for jobs in their fields. They are working for minimum wage or just slightly more, at restaurants, retail stores and banks.

An associate of mine recently told me that his 23 year old son, which has only a high school diploma, works as a bank teller right next to a 25 year old college graduate with a hefty student loan. I know of students that see no choice but to continue on to graduate school, mounting up even more debt, in hopes of landing a job that will at least pay for an apartment and their student loan.

According to a Mckinsey Report: “Six times as many graduates are working in retail or hospitality as had originally planned. Since there are 1.7 million grads who are getting bachelor’s degrees this year, that means 120,000 young people are working as waiters, Gap salespeople, and baristas because it was the only work they could find.”

53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed—How?

Where did all of this go wrong?

There was a time when a college education all but guaranteed you a middle income job and a graduate degree guaranteed nearly six figures. These days unless you majored in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math you are bound to be underemployed based on your degree verses what’s out in the job market.

The STEM graduates, for the most part, are working in their fields and earning a decent living. But:

  • Most of our manufacturing jobs have been moved offshore due to greed and high taxation.
  • Foreign students are coming to the States in droves taking the best jobs at a lower pay than the college graduates would accept.
  • There has been a steep decline in the work ethic in our nation.

Hence, all that’s left is service industry jobs. We are no longer producers, we are servants! You don’t need a college education to greet people at Wal-Mart or serve them a hot meal at Longhorn Steakhouse.

So what’s the solution?

We need to first teach our children that they can start their own businesses and work for themselves. That way they create their own future.

However, for those that are not as self-motivated as others, going to technical school as opposed to a standard four-year university would probably be best.

Picking up a trade like nursing, electrician, machining or plumbing and HVAC would all but guarantee steady employment once they receive their certifications. In these professions they could eventually form their own business and be their own boss.

There may not be a lot of prestige around these professions but at least these are the people currently able to pay their bills on a regular basis.

College is not what it’s cracked up to be. It has become a money pit, trapping many young and old people into the snare of large long-term debt and despair.

College graduates unable to find jobs

Educate your young family members and friends. Let them know there are other options and that a blue collar job that is in high demand (plumber, mechanic. . . ) is better than a piece of paper on the wall that isn’t living up to its facade.

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