With student loan debt at an all-time high, and degrees not being what they used to, this man says it’s time for parents to rethink what they teach their children.
Back when I was in high school, the factors involved in deciding whether or not to attend college were completely different. Going to college just made sense. If I wanted to climb the corporate ladder and live the American dream, I needed to start with a College degree.
But fast-forward to the present, and this reality doesn’t exist anymore.
The statistical data of today suggests that college is no longer a sound financial decision. On the surface, it takes nothing more than a hard look to illuminate the hoax that most institutions and society as a whole is currently selling.
As parents, we need to realize that the worth and value of college is changing rapidly and that it is no longer the same type of choice that we had when we were getting ready to join that system.
So, before my children make their decision of whether or not to attend a four-year college, here are the six cold hard facts I want them to understand.
1. The Price Of A Degree Is No Longer A Good Deal
The cost to earn a degree has skyrocketed 12 fold over the past three decades. In the same breath, the very value of that education has remained relatively the same if not diminished. And yet, while the cost of education has exponentially increased, the cost of living has only increased threefold since 1978.
2. The College To Non-College Gap Is Closing
The statistics used to be clear. College graduates would earn more than their non-college graduate peers over the course of a lifetime. However, this gap is closing, which alludes to the diminishing returns of going to college over the long-term.
In a recent study by The New York Fed, the findings suggested that a minority (yet, very large minority) of college students will earn less than those with only a high school education over their lifetimes.
3. College Degrees Are No Longer Special
There’s a growing sea of new graduates competing for the same nonexistent jobs every single year. During the 2014-2015 school year, over 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees were awarded. That figure doesn’t include the number of associate degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral program graduates.
Getting a college degree no longer makes someone stand out. When everyone has one, it no longer makes that person impressive or grants them any new skills that their peers might not have.
In fact, according to a recent study, only 36% of college graduates ended up becoming employed in jobs that were semi-related to their field of study. What’s worse is that 44% were employed in jobs that didn’t even require a college degree in the first place.
4. Students Need At Least A Master’s To Compete
The master’s degree is slowly becoming the new bachelor’s degree in that students need one if they want to stand out in the marketplace.
However, the cost of standing out is now rising into the mid-six figures and requires a total of six years of education to get there.
5. Students Start Their Life Drowning In Debt
As we discussed, the cost of college is exponentially increasing. The average cost of attending a public in-state college in 2015 is $18,943 a year. That means that on average, college graduates could be leaving with over $75,000 in debt…before they ever earn a penny.
But don’t forget, if they want to stick out, then they need a master’s degree, which tacks on another $20,000 to $50,000 a year to their already accumulating mountain of debt.
Imagine what our children could do with the $100,000 they would save by not going to college or pursuing this course of action.
6. Experience and Skills Trumps A Degree In Today’s Market
Since so many students have degrees nowadays, recruiters aren’t as focused on a degree requirement as they are the amount of skills or experience an applicant has.
Bill Gates, a famous college dropout, emphatically promotes the understanding that degrees are not as important as skills and encourages employers to use “skills-based hiring.”
In 2013, a hard time in our society, there were over 3 million jobs that remained vacant. Not because there weren’t enough applicants with degrees, but because they couldn’t find applicants with the right skills.
When education costs were lower, it made sense for children to go to school to find themselves and grow away from home. It was a cheap class in self-exploration. However, now, education doesn’t seem to make any sense unless it’s an absolute necessity along your career path.
Our world is changing. The college education system isn’t keeping up. The prices are soaring, and the value is declining. It sounds like I’m talking about a stock you would never invest your money into.
College can be valuable for a small set of circumstances, however, the decision of pursuing higher education needs to be made from the head and not the heart.
If I could give my children any advice, it would be to approach the decision of attending college more like an investment decision than anything else.
Photo: Flickr/ Alex