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Is college for everyone?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend last night regarding student loans and higher education.

Many many kids now are graduating from college with upwards of $75K - $100K in debt. Even traditionally "job guaranteed" degrees are not netting employment for a good chunk of graduates (think nursing/physicians, IT, law and some business fields) and so we have a large portion of the population living under staggering loan debt with no end in sight. If you've got private loans you're in an even more harrowing position because those cannot, typically, be deferred or put under income driven repayment plans (know this first hand).

The student loan industry is heavily lobbied and interest rates have risen tremendously.

Have we done our kids a disservice by encouraging that they all go to college? Is it still a viable path? Is it one more area where only those whose parents have a very high income will be able to attend without setting themselves up for a lifetime of debt that may not even be repaid in a lifetime?

Answer Question

Asked by Brawn at 3:00 PM on Dec. 30, 2013 in Politics & Current Events

Level 23 (15,760 Credits)
Answers (25)
  • Right now college is not the answer. I have 2 cousins who graduated last year. Tremendous debt, one is a waitress, the other is working at a brewery, each living with parents. The jobs just aren't there.

    My son wanted to be a music teacher. Teaching jobs are hard to come by, and music programs in most schools are being cut. He was going to go thru 4 years of school and come out with a degree for a position that doesn't exist anymore.

    We tried to encourage him to go into the military, but that didn't work. I'm hoping he gets this job today and can stick with it.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 3:07 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • Unfortunately I think the lifetime of debt is where we are headed. You are damned if you do, and damned if you don't it seems.

    Answer by Ramble_on at 3:08 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • I have never thought college was for every child. Some kids can't handle it and others don't want to. Trade schools are a great option for those who don't want to go the college route.

    Answer by kmath at 3:10 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • Oh and a side note: my grandmother threw a fit way back when one of my older cousins decided not to go to college and opened a landscaping business. One of my aunts told her "Not every job requires a degree. Someone needs to empty the septic tanks, someone needs to pick up the trash, and someone needs to mow the grass. Where would you be without THOSE people?"
    Makes sense!

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 3:11 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • I don't believe so. Never really have. If you can open up a business, buy products to sell at a reasonable cost and then make double or triple what you bought them for, why wouldn't you do this? In life, there are no guarantees you are going to get a job after graduating.... Hell, there isn't even a guarantee you will live long enough to get a job.....

    Answer by m-avi at 3:19 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • "Makes sense! "

    It makes perfect sense. My thoughts were that, somehow, a lot of us got sucked into the "college is the key to success" thing and it really doesn't benefit a huge segment of students. My daughter's student loan payment is $1500/month. She couldn't find a job in her field so now she's having to go to graduate school in order to put her loans in deferment while getting a degree that "may" pay her a decent salary.

    Comment by Brawn (original poster) at 3:19 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • I was wondering about this the other day, Where are the people who fix air conditioners, do plumbing, know how to build going to come from. I guess as a mother it would be nice to say, " My kid is a doctor." But there is something to be said for learning a trade, if someone had thought it important, do you know how much money I could have saved, by taking a basic machine class, as in changing oil, etc.
    My sister has over 150,000 in debt, she has a master's in social work, now she does great things, but is still living hand to mouth.

    Answer by 2kids2dogs2cats at 3:38 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • No. I have a coworker who has 95k in student loan debt. She's a teacher. Now I'm not knocking the teaching profession but it's not exactly a high paying job, which is why she now has a 2nd job as a waitress in nights/weekends to pay back her loans. It will take her YEARS, and I think it's ridiculous!

    Answer by missanc at 4:01 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • There are kids like my stepson, who will graduate this spring wit a handful of good luck, who have no wish to go to college and no aptitude for it. That may change later in life for some of them, maybe not for others. I went to college twice over, and I'm not in debt thank goodness, but I'm not using either degree. I wouldn't trade the experiences because I learned a lot socially and gained confidence both times, once right out of high school and once after I got divorced and needed a reintroduction to the land of the living in my thirties, but college didn't really help me much as far as getting jobs. There's a joke that unfortunately has a lot of truth to it--how do you get a sociology graduate off your doorstep? You pay him for the pizza.

    Answer by Ballad at 4:06 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

  • No it's not the answer thats been taught to kids since the 90s. Skilled jobs or skilled labor is something that has a shortage coming if not already.

    Answer by Fairierose81 at 4:40 PM on Dec. 30, 2013

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