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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
 
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At what point does college seem too expensive?

While it may be debatable whether college broadens the mind or leads to higher paying jobs is one thing, we can all agree that there's a price at which college is too high. In a way, it's like guitars in that there's a certain point where extra money spent won't give you a better guitar and simply not worth it.

When I started decades ago it was free, and it was funny that we complained that we had to pay for books but the prior generation got them for free. I dropped out and did music, like I assume some of you have, but when I returned it was from $100-$250 dollars a unit so a year of tuition was at least $2,400 and double or triple that for private universities. While I didn't find it easy to swallow, I went on all the way to finish but acquire some debt but "eventually" it would pay for itself.

My pre-college job paid $11.50 per hour and my post college jobs were $7-$9.30 an hour in next few years from retail in my small town to civil service. I did find some $12-$18 dollar an hour jobs later on so at that pace it still took some time to catch up with what I gave up in lost wages/salary. After it's all said and done, it was like many grads 20 and 30 years ago said as being a way to enrich your life where as the immediate group after world war II enjoyed massive economic growth and a near guarantee at success with college.

Now in 2013 with school being ten to twenty times what I experienced at my all time high tuition hikes, I can't see where college can pay for itself outside of maybe becoming a chemical engineer and joining the oil industry, dentist, or MD. As for lawyers and MBAs, I know many more not working or severely underemployed. And other majors ... are you kidding?

Thoughts?

Last edited by 63Blazer; 02-25-2013 at 01:24 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 02:07 PM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

college is just for a piece of paper. Nothing more nothing less. It doesn't measure you as a person, your intelligence or devotion to learning. It is on you to prove yourself competent and worthy for whatever position or job you go for.

Do you need it? Yeah it is important. I hate to say it but not everyone needs a degree though. I don’t think it should be easy or that everyone should have it. It becomes worthless when everyone has one. It is just more time and money to spend for nothing and end up not have an edge over your competition for a job.

There will soon be real shortage of trade based jobs. Diesel mechanics, electricians, plumbers will soon be the jobs to have. They are hands on, technical, and require an apprenticeship style training. Those things are all in contrast to the fields of work which so many young people try and go for

So yes and no. You need more education but is college always the answer? Nope.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 06:26 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

With all the young people graduating from college, and then being forced to move back home because there are no jobs, I think the trades may end up getting a lot of those kids.

If there's a need in the trades due to shortage now or in the near future, then many will go into them straight out of high school, joined by many college grads who were not able to find work.

With these possibilities, maybe the trades may become overcrowded one day.

At best, only 25% percent of the US population have college degrees leaving a huge 75% percent without them and they have to go somewhere. I think the trades will always have at least some people going after them and there won't be a shortage for long. That being said, there are many more jobs and need for jobs in the trades versus the few occupations and positions that absolutely require a college degree. You don't have to have a degree to be a CEO, and actually in some states you don't need one to be a lawyer, as in California where you can apprentice into the field if you choose. Obviously doctors and dentists will need college as well as some technical fields but the trade jobs will outnumber them greatly.

If anything, whether people in at least the USA get a degree or not, we all need to shore up on our math and science skills no matter what field we go into, even if it is to make sure Asia and Europe don't leave us too far in the dust.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-25-2013, 06:45 PM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

The costs for university education are far better in Australia than what you have in the US. There's still costs for it all, but the Government covers the costs via the HELP scheme, and you pay it back straight out of pre-tax wages over a number of years once you are working.

Funny thing is (well, probably not that funny) is that in the last 20 years there's been a role reversal in terms of work and wages. Traditional "blue collar" work like the trades (electrical, carpentry, plumbing, etc) earns a lot more money than traditional white collar work. There's such a shortage in tradies that they can command much higher rates than previously. I'm in a reasonable office public service job, and I earn probably up to half someone about my age working a trade.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 02:14 AM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

As a fairly recent college grad at the ripe age of 35, my major left me $20k in the hole with essentially zero job potential. My fault for picking Environmental Studies, but I will assign some fault to the department for not really preparing me for that sector of the job world. No classes to prep you for state certifications needed for most of the jobs in that field (i.e. wastewater, hazmat, etc.). It doesn't help that they didn't add the BS program until my senior year. At that point I would've been there another year and a half and another $10k to add to the debt to go that route. Totally wasn't worth it in my case. Keep in mind this is for a state school, not the prestigious UC or private university. I wish I would've stuck with drafting and got more involved in machine shop.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 10:11 AM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

I make 30/h and im only half way done my degree. But im also taking something useful
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 10:19 AM
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

Quote:
Originally Posted by LonePhantom View Post

Funny thing is (well, probably not that funny) is that in the last 20 years there's been a role reversal in terms of work and wages. Traditional "blue collar" work like the trades (electrical, carpentry, plumbing, etc) earns a lot more money than traditional white collar work. There's such a shortage in tradies that they can command much higher rates than previously. I'm in a reasonable office public service job, and I earn probably up to half someone about my age working a trade.
Im not sure about that, skilled trade job have usually paid well, and some trades have been hit pretty hard especially the last few years. Contractors are all looking for concessions, no one is getting raises, benefits are being cut. It might be better than an office job, but it's not getting better. You can be sure if they find a way to get skilled trades cheaper they will. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a free trade agreement in the works that would allow workers to be insourced from China or India or some other lower wage country who will do the work at a fraction of the cost without benefits or labor laws.

A friend of mine just got her BA and was lucky enough to get a job paying almost $13/hr. The sad thing is they required at least a Bachelors Degree. She was going to enter the Peace Corp. and they even wanted a degree
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

As a high school automotive teacher I tell my students that higher education is now needed to work at a dealership. No service managers want to hire anyone without some training. I encourge my students to either go to local technical colleges that offer auto/diesel programs or private schools like UTI or Nashville Auto/Diesel College.

I also tell them if they can earn in their first year what it cost for tuition it to go to school, it will be money well spent. UTI and Nashville current charge $22,000 - $30,000 for their programs depending on what exactly the student takes. Most auto/diesel technicians will make $25,000-35,000 their first year if they work hard. These schools are 12-15 month programs.

While local colleges are cheaper, they take longer to complete.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

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Originally Posted by silverctr View Post
As a fairly recent college grad at the ripe age of 35, my major left me $20k in the hole with essentially zero job potential. My fault for picking Environmental Studies, but I will assign some fault to the department for not really preparing me for that sector of the job world. No classes to prep you for state certifications needed for most of the jobs in that field (i.e. wastewater, hazmat, etc.). It doesn't help that they didn't add the BS program until my senior year. At that point I would've been there another year and a half and another $10k to add to the debt to go that route. Totally wasn't worth it in my case. Keep in mind this is for a state school, not the prestigious UC or private university. I wish I would've stuck with drafting and got more involved in machine shop.
I think one day society will need you guys when you bail us out of basically self-destructing via destroying the environment.

Twenty grand would have been considered a career death sentence thirty years ago making repayment nearly impossible before age 55 with the regular strains of day to day living. While it's not terrible, you are 35 so any major stress you are going through is understood. My wife paid off her loans around age 50 because she majored in art and it took time to pay off but I don't think she would have wanted a "safe" job.

The best way to deal with crushing college debt is to ask where you would be had you not gone that route. Ten or twenty years from now you probably won't care how long the debt takes to pay off if you go into the field of your choice. However, if you do become a plumber or electrician you can pay off the loan much faster and maybe volunteer in an environmental group and provide your knowledge and services there. Also while the debt may keep you up at night as it does most people, realize that it's really finite and compared to a house, in most cases, it's a smaller debt.

Coming from having most college grads not knowing what it's like to be two thousand in debt on a small credit card, the student loans in the tens of thousands seem like they will take an eternity to pay off. But eventually you will have any loans and/or credit cards with school debt paid off but your degree will last forever. Sure, there will be other things to keep you up at night or cause ulcers, but eventually student debt won't be one of them. College these days is more of an investment than a car and then approaches that of some houses, but many equate college with both those necessities so it's not as if you blew the money on horses or at the local pub.
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 12:54 PM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

There are cheaper colleges out there. Name doesn't matter as long as you have a paper that says you have a degree.

I paid for school almost all on my own. I did two study aboard programs both for a month a piece and have over 140 credit hours. I was in sort of the same boat because i had around 30,000 in student loans. So i joined the military and had them pay most of the loans back. I will still have some debt when i get out but nothing like before.

there are several way you can get help to pay for school.

I have little sympathy for those that get meaningless degrees from expensive schools thinking that a name on a degree matters and makes them a better candidate for a job then someone else that paid less for the same degree. If you suck at interviewing, or are not confident then you wonít get the job. Simple as that.

Like i said it just a piece of paper. If you are a tool bag, now you are tool bag with a paper. The paper doesn't change who you are, how good you are at your job, work ethic or intelligence. It is on you to prove that you are worthy of the job.
Perception is reality, if you control perception you can control reality. If anything, learn how to interview, write a cover letter/resume, and figure out what you are good at. A degree can only let you meet a requirement, not get the job.
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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 01:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

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Originally Posted by j.arledge View Post
There are cheaper colleges out there. Name doesn't matter as long as you have a paper that says you have a degree.

I paid for school almost all on my own. I did two study aboard programs both for a month a piece and have over 140 credit hours. I was in sort of the same boat because i had around 30,000 in student loans. So i joined the military and had them pay most of the loans back. I will still have some debt when i get out but nothing like before.

there are several way you can get help to pay for school.

I have little sympathy for those that get meaningless degrees from expensive schools thinking that a name on a degree matters and makes them a better candidate for a job then someone else that paid less for the same degree. If you suck at interviewing, or are not confident then you wonít get the job. Simple as that.

Like i said it just a piece of paper. If you are a tool bag, now you are tool bag with a paper. The paper doesn't change who you are, how good you are at your job, work ethic or intelligence. It is on you to prove that you are worthy of the job.
Perception is reality, if you control perception you can control reality. If anything, learn how to interview, write a cover letter/resume, and figure out what you are good at. A degree can only let you meet a requirement, not get the job.
Largely I agree with you. My piece of paper was an HR bachelor's so I went into HR for federal government after school. If anything we are supposed to treat all bachelor's the same, meaning a four year degree (above a two year degree and below a six year course of education leading to a master's degree).

That being said a BA from a prestigious school, like a USC or Harvard or NYU, even in a worthless major will still hold a lot more water than a more useful degree from a lesser known school. Yes, people who interview well will be able to make up for a lot, but sometimes get passed over by that agoraphobic person who went to an Ivy or top private school. It's not fair and it was even worse in the private sector.

The only place where I see the greatest equality was in the military where it was looked down upon to consider your four year better and anyone else's four year. At the time I was at DoD and the Chairman JCS was Colin Powell who went to a modest college, was not an academy graduate yet a young four star general in his job, and was largely considered a go-to frontrunner for GOP nomination. DoD civilians were also supposed to be egalitarian in that manner but you did find your elite school grads rise up in the ranks somewhat faster.

Having gone to both types of schools, I didn't see a huge difference in the education methods, but more of a perception of what non-college people thought. If you went to an expensive school with famous alumni, then the first thing people may say is that you are smart without really knowing one way or the other. But however smart you were, if I mentioned that I got my first 2 1/2 years at XYZ State U. then people just acknowledge the degree, but not the school. At the top school, they don't care what degree or what level, but that it's pricey and has a strong network. Had GWB gone to University of Texas, do you think he would have become president as easily as he did being both a Harvard and Yale graduate?

Until non-college people learn how to be unimpressed by the eastern Ivies, the preferential treatment will continue, as wrong as that is. BTW, it is also of my opinion that whatever Harvard or Yale could do, UT can do, too.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 01:52 PM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

i agree that any school can do anything an Ivey school can. I earned a BBA in Management from Angelo State University a part of Texas Tech. The UT (texas) has an outstanding business program, i donít know much about UT(tenn.) but i am sure they are just as good as any other.

I am GTFO of the Army though. It has been worth it to help with loans, and have health care and consistent pay, but i know what I am capable of and want the pay and responsibility for my skills. Competence isn't rewarded in the Army like it is in the civilian world.

I also plan on going back to school for another degree because this time it will be free... Sometimes you have to embrace the suck to get what you want in the end.
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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 04:55 PM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

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Originally Posted by elcid View Post
Im not sure about that, skilled trade job have usually paid well, and some trades have been hit pretty hard especially the last few years. Contractors are all looking for concessions, no one is getting raises, benefits are being cut. It might be better than an office job, but it's not getting better. You can be sure if they find a way to get skilled trades cheaper they will. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a free trade agreement in the works that would allow workers to be insourced from China or India or some other lower wage country who will do the work at a fraction of the cost without benefits or labor laws.

A friend of mine just got her BA and was lucky enough to get a job paying almost $13/hr. The sad thing is they required at least a Bachelors Degree. She was going to enter the Peace Corp. and they even wanted a degree
Remember Cid, I'm in Australia, and I'm talking about what's happening here. Our working entitlements and conditions, pay, etc are much better than what you guys face in the US.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 02-26-2013, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

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Originally Posted by j.arledge View Post
i agree that any school can do anything an Ivey school can. I earned a BBA in Management from Angelo State University a part of Texas Tech. The UT (texas) has an outstanding business program, i donít know much about UT(tenn.) but i am sure they are just as good as any other.

I am GTFO of the Army though. It has been worth it to help with loans, and have health care and consistent pay, but i know what I am capable of and want the pay and responsibility for my skills. Competence isn't rewarded in the Army like it is in the civilian world.

I also plan on going back to school for another degree because this time it will be free... Sometimes you have to embrace the suck to get what you want in the end.
Also remember that civil service is also not fond of achievement or competence. Depending on your ambition and skill set, you may be ripe to be an entrepreneur.

There are plenty of people who took the discipline of military service, but otherwise learned from the "mistakes" of a large organization like the army and then built a business model that did the opposite, and then became successful. That suck, or the bad stuff you endured, is sometimes more important than the good stuff because if you do strike out on your own, you know what things not to do.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 01:03 PM
 
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Re: At what point does college seem too expensive

College is hoops-jumping. You have to determine for yourself if it's worth it. Just remember:

1: Nothing is free.
2: Going into debt for a poor return is just about as self-destructive as heroin.
3: Universities are just as bad as any other large organization or corporation. They're in it for themselves, same as everyone else.
4: You can blame the federal government and its various idiocies for nearly all of the inflation of the costs. (refer back to #1 above)
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