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?