The first in a multi-part series.
Is college all it’s cracked up to be? Will it improve your life to the point it’s worth taking paying $200,000 for 4 years PLUS foregoing earning full-time income for those same 4 years? And if you have student loans, then also paying the interest over 10 or 15 years.
I have begun to question whether college is worth it. In fact, I bet 70% of all college students would be better served to get a technical degree and learn a trade.
In fact, I made this suggestion to the former head of a state university system. He agreed but turned the question on me when he asked: “But how many people would say that they don’t want their children to go to college?” No, most people have been programmed that to get a college degree is the sign of success. It’s a source of family and personal pride.
The other day I had a good talk with a loan officer at a bank. He told me that he’s seeing a good number of loan applications for homes get denied because of the applicant’s student loan debt. It throws off their income to debt ratio. This officer also commented that one of the bad things about student loan debt is that the loan is a loan on the person. Meaning, you signed a promissory note, you said you’d repay the lender. And there’s no collateral securing the note that once the collateral (house/car) is sold, the proceeds go to paying the loan. Nope, it’s a full on unsecured note.
I remember D-Day in law school when the admissions department handed out paper to each student showing them their student loan debt. People were teary eyed. Some were surprised. Quite frankly I was astonished they didn’t know the amount beforehand. It was tattooed on my psyche each time I signed the student loan note. I knew how much I owed. That’s the number one reason I lived with my parents during law school: so I could keep my loans lower.
I really don’t think people going to school think about the fact they are signing a promise to repay. Remember when you sign a note, you are giving your word.
I don’t think people sit down and do the math to decide what is really the best path for them, whether work, trade school, or college.
Please comment with your thoughts.