Is college still worth it?

Siena_Front_17185309 Graduating from high school is one of those seminal moments in any young persons life. There is usually a flood of emotions ranging from joy to sadness, excitement and also fear. In generations past, graduating from high school meant entering the military service or the workforce. Locally, that meant a long career in state government, General Electric, textile manufacturing or Bendix. However, those days are long past. Our graduates today face a globalized economy and global recession.

Over the last several decades, our society has been telling our graduates that college was the best road to success after high school. And for the majority of graduates, that would have been correct. But recently, there has been a lot of debate surrounding this idea of the college only road. The cost of college alone, which since 1978 has risen 1,100%, is a serious roadblock for many middle class families. And those that are able to attend college through loans are left with huge amounts of debt upon graduation. And due to the still pestering recession, nearly 50% of graduates will be unemployed long after graduation.

So this begs the question; Is college still worth it?

Make no mistake, I believe in education. I believe that education is one of the most important things in society. However, when families need to take second mortgages and students are graduating with 6 figure debt, something is wrong. I, myself, am still paying off my college debt!

Perhaps it’s time to think about some new ways to educate our young adults. Maybe we should be encouraging more of our graduates to go into the trades or even establishing education components within industry. Why are we making students take courses that are unrelated to their desired field? I often wonder if many college programs contain unnecessary classes only to increase the cost. Certainly, community colleges are great cost effective options for many young people and offer a wide range of programs designed to prepare a student for the workforce.

So what say you? Is a traditional college degree still worth it?

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5 thoughts on “Is college still worth it?

  1. Is a traditional college degree still worth it? Short answer is yes. Long answer is, in order to make the shorter answer more relevant we need to restructure AND rethink what an education is supposed to be.

    Note of transparency, I’m an assistant professor teaching in higher education.

    In short, we have to rethink education from the ground up. Is knowledge a commodity or do we educate for the sake of personal growth? Do we educate in order to guarantee a better salary that allows us to be a better consumer (married, house w/ 2 cars, 2.1 kids, etc.) or do we educate for a lifetime to guarantee a quality of life that moves beyond consumerism.

    Finally, education (especially higher education) has got to change to reflect the items listed above. This is the most difficult thing to accomplish because I think we’ve gone too far down the road in treating education as a commodity, something we’ve absorbed from being in a consumeristic society. However, I hold out hope.

    There are smarter men then me that have addressed these issues even as early as the mid 80s. Authors like Neil Postman, Thomas de Zengotita, Robert Greene, Malcolm Gladwell, Stewart Ewen, and Parker Palmer.

    Mike King
    Assistant Professor
    Dept. of Communications
    WLU

  2. Great post! I’m 150,000 dollars in the hole and working at CVS! I have a business degree and there is no jobs ! I wish I became a Plummer ! My dad build a house and raised 6 kids as a plummer! Now he is retired and living a good life!

  3. Yes it is! My Granddaughter has 2 Jobs right now for the summer & will be starting her Jr.year in College in the fall….She won a full schlorship to college for softball & she is getting a fine education! You see the Kids today are lazy!!! I blame parents for the no Discipline attitude that they don’t get!!! Parents please it’s the right thing to do…Help them Don’t let them be LAZY!!!

  4. College costs have been artificially inflated by banks. Just like home prices and transportation costs. The banks have systematically been waging a war on the working class. The education attack is where it is at its worst. 20 years ago when I was choosing college options, the cost was hardly not part of the equation. I knew that I would have to get low interest student loans and take a couple of years to pay them off, but the return was well worth the investment. I look at my kids today and fear greatly for them. The inflated prices of education are making college educations a form of indentured servitude for working people. Kids today need to borrow as much for a bachelors degree as they would for a middle class home. And during the same time of increase, the job market has dried up dramatically in the country. People my age are competing for entry level work, many of them with higher education degrees.

    So is a traditional college degree still worth it? I say no, the education that leads to the degree is essential and helpful, but the degree itself is no longer worth the paper it is printed on as American corporations continue to ship high priced jobs to 2nd world countries in order to increase dividends for share holders.

    A highly qualified trade in an inflation and deflation proof industry is far more valuable. But that also means that we will eventually fall further and further behind the rest of the world who have figured out that the future of their nations and children’s well being depend on funded, accessible, affordable education for as many citizens as possible.

    In their lust for more and more money, the banking system is willing to destroy the future of the country that enabled them to exist in the first place.

  5. If we were to apply the money we spend destroying Iraq and Afghanistan towards funding education for our children, we could educate all of our children for the next 30 years. But unfortunately we are more interested in destroying things in the name of freedom than building lives in the name of liberty.

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