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Author Topic: Higher Education Pros/Cons  (Read 2454 times)

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Online Oniya

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2013, 09:24:45 PM »
Sooo... I invoked the power of Google (actually GoodSearch), chanting the incantation 'earnings of college graduates by GPA'.  I've learned that when it comes to statistical analyses, there's a high probability that someone, somewhere, has decided to see if the numbers make a pretty picture.  The journal article from the Journal of Human Resources is noticeably scant on pretty pictures, but does present a substantial amount of data in chart form.

I leave it to more critical minds to interpret the charts, but I noted one particular sentence near the bottom of page 13 of the PDF (p. 264 of the actual journal):

Quote
The positive and significant grades/earnings relationship for the first job after graduation indicates differing levels of human capital accumulated in college.

Offline Denivar

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2013, 04:58:14 PM »
Accounting for the fact that it will take about 10-12 years to repay the debt first, Person 1 will have over $1,000,000 by age 65 at such a savings rate, while Person 2 (the college graduate), will have about $400,000.  If you guys want the math, I can provide it, but it is essentially compounding interest.

This is the type of stuff they don't teach in high school, and that they should, and I'm sure if more people were aware, they would not go to college.

If one's only criteria when making the decision of whether to go to college or not is to have more money in one's retirement account at age 65, then shouldn't one assume the same living expenses along the way?

Apparently the fellow who didn't go to college lives off $30k - 0.05% = $28.5k at the 'peak of his career'. So shouldn't the college grad making $56k be able to survive off the same $28.5k and thus save $27.5k per year -- almost half her salary?

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2013, 06:15:19 PM »
You're right Denivar, it's a very poor model when looking at the net total of college graduates - but again, this model was attempting to get a discussion going on a specific segment of college graduates.  I have explained my reasoning in the post below.  Clearly, as you suggest, if one is industrious and makes use of the opportunities in college, it is a great investment.

http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=187889.msg9073409#msg9073409

This model is very unscientific, because it is not based on actual data, as well as the fact that I made a lot of errors in putting it together.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2013, 06:24:45 PM by ValthazarElite »

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2013, 09:39:29 AM »
I'm also going to throw this out there... There are a ton of employers (and honestly almost every employer I've ever had, even when I was working minimum wage) here in the US who are willing to reimburse you for your college tuition provided you A: work a set number of months/years/whatever after they do so (you only have to pay them back if YOU leave, you don't have to pay anything if you get laid off due to downsizing or something of that nature) and B: Get a decent grade in the class. The company I'm with right now is willing to reimburse me for not only my technical certifications, but my four and six year degrees (I haven't decided just how high I want to go yet, so I'm only planning for a bachelors). Between them paying me back for my out of pocket expenses and my pell grant, I will graduate with only a few thousand in debt and I'll have cemented my position with my company (not to mention my value in the workforce as a whole). Most companies have entry level positions that pay a semi decent wage (I'm making about 35k a year at the moment) and are willing to help you get through school which greatly negates the cost to you and makes you more valuable as an employee. They're investing in you, so they're less likely to look at laying off/firing you down the line.

It really bothers me when people say college isn't worth it and "too many people" are going. I agree that the quality of our college educations these days is greatly diminished, but I think that's more because of an over all "dumbing down" of society as a whole. Look at kids in highschool... few of them understand half the words their trying to use, let alone are able to spell them. And basic math? Forget about it! But is a degree useless? Not at all, if you get the right degree! Going out and getting a liberal arts degree or a writing degree with nothing to pad it (I'm getting a technical degree and a writing degree because I plan to pursue my current career path as a technical writer) is pretty much shooting yourself in the foot, but a degree in science? Technology? Teaching? Those aren't useless (though teaching pays squat, which is why I tell anyone who asks me if they should go in to teaching not to do it unless it's a passion), and there's a world of jobs out there (yes, even with the economy and job market being what they are) for people qualified to get them.

I work as a contractor for the DoD and I see dozens of positions that require a degree posted every day, and almost none for those without degrees or only with trade skills/certifications. Most people need both a degree and a number of certifications.

Is any of this to imply that everyone should have a degree? No, of course not, but it's been pretty solidly proven that the more accessable higher education is in a society, the better the society does as a whole. I think the biggest issue with our current system of higher education is the fact that it's all privatized. Those running the schools are more interested in making money than truly educating. Their sports programs garner more interest than their research labs. Their fraternities/sororities garner more attention than half their educational departments. They overprice everything (IE I can go to the community college here and take a basic prerequisite math class for about 600 bucks including books, but if I were to go ten miles down the street to the private college and take the exact same level mathematics course with the same book and close to the same work load, it costs 50-100% more, which is absurd).

Even if you make higher education a free pursuit that anyone can get in to, there are still going to be plenty of people who either A: don't go because they can't handle it, or B: can't graduate. You get the education system out of private funds and raise the requirements to get in/graduate. Then you have a highly educated graduate class and society, and you're not risking leaving someone out in the cold and unable to improve their quality of life because those improvements cost too much.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2013, 10:44:10 AM »
I agree with everything you've said, and you seem like a very motivated, hard-working person.  I am not referring to people in your position.

My point is, why not make loans merit-based, like they used to be?  In other words, a world where banks were actually taking a 'gamble' by giving out the loan, and thus, would only give loans to students that they knew had the academic ability to graduate, and eventually be able to pay them back.  I have not had the pleasure of chatting with you yet, but given what you have described so far in your post regarding your job/career, I am willing to bet that you were at least a reasonably decent student in high school - and I'm sure you would have qualified for a merit-based loan, had you decided to pursue college after high school.  I apologize if this is an incorrect assumption.

What is happening now, with freely providing loan money to a 1.5 GPA high school graduate to go to XYZ University of Profit, is that banks no longer have a risk factor in lending money.  This student will most likely dropout of college, or barely graduate.  The banks can rest on their laurels since they know they can garnish this student's wages, social security checks, etc. etc.  In other words, it's just another form of predatory lending.

This is an injustice for this segment of students.  This is no different from the 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis, where people were granted housing mortgages that did not correspond to buyers' incomes.  In many ways, the current student loan issue represents a safer scenario for the banks, since student loans cannot be dissolved in bankruptcy, unlike housing mortgages.

Many economists state that the student loan market will be the next financial bubble to burst.

There are many campaigns now where students describe being deceived by financial aid officers, and being approved for loans, despite the lenders being fully aware that it will be impossible for them to pay it off.
http://studentdebtcrisis.org/outwithstudentdebt/

Everything you say is true (including the fact that many jobs today are present that require college degrees).  The solution, however, is not to simply flood higher education with more students.  The solution is to improve the K-12 education system, which will naturally result in more entrants to college.

A lot of people in this thread are presenting very idealistic solutions - such as removing private colleges/universities.  How exactly are you planning to convert a private industry (or at the very least, any private industry) into a government-run industry, without changing the basic premise of our financial system?  The better question is, is this even realistic? (Given that most Americans enjoy having the freedom of private choice).
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 11:09:31 AM by ValthazarElite »

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #30 on: October 21, 2013, 11:13:45 AM »
You'd be wrong to assume I was a decent student. I could have been (if my college career is any sign, I could have been a straight A student), but I wasn't. I'm not even sure what my GPA was, I hardly ever bothered to show up after 10th grade. I did take the major tests (SAT, ASVAB, etc) because it meant getting out of classes for a legit reason, but I hardly ever bothered to go to my classes. I did score really high on all my tests, though. I held the highest female score in my state (beat the score my mom set when she was in high school) on the ASVAB for several years. I ended up dropping out and didn't get my high school diploma until I was 20 because I went and tested out of the last two credits I needed to graduate. It wasn't until a couple years ago that my family came to accept that I wasn't "just lazy" in school. I had undiagnosed ADD, I was bipolar, and honestly knew more of the material than most of my teachers. I was bored and unmotivated and put myself through a vicious cycle of not being able to focus, taking that as meaning I was too stupid to "get it" and didn't see the point in trying if I wasn't smart enough to do the work. I had everyone telling me I was just a "bad kid" even though I'd never done anything honestly terrible. I'm really lucky none of my attempts to take my own life out of despair at what was going on worked.

It took growing up and making it on my own on minimum wage, getting out of my parents house at 17, etc for my family to realize that they'd been ignoring serious issues when I was in their care for years. I'm not medicated for ADD now and I'm obviously still bipolar, but now that I'm aware there is a problem and that it's not me, I can cope and I'm working through it.

I will agree with you though, that the student loan situation is insane, which is why I think we need to do-away with for-profit education in our country. It doesn't do anything but hurt us. It gives the banks an easy way to basically steal from people who don't understand exactly what it's going to take to get to where they need to be to pay it off, never mind if the person isn't able to finish school because of some kind of life crisis or whatever. It also means that those who chose to go to less expensive colleges aren't taken as seriously as those who do go to "big" schools, even if their education might have been just as good... the name on your diploma means a lot to employers (this coming from someone who works regularly with a technical recruiter for the company that employs me).

And I agree that K-12 needs to be improved dramatically (I have my son in private school because the public schools here are lack luster at best), but I don't think that taking colleges out of the for-profit sector will automatically "flood them" with more students. I think in the offset you'll see a sharp increase, yes, but I also think over all you'll see that people will stop being drawn in by things like advertisements making false promises about what life is going to be like for students and professionals with degrees, you'll have more people basing whether or not they can get the degree on their own merit and not on finances, etc.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #31 on: October 21, 2013, 11:28:02 AM »
I'm glad you were able to sort out those issues from your high school years, and develop a great career. 

But try to put yourself in that position today, where all your classmates and teachers were referring to you as the "bad kid" - and yet, a university, of all things, is welcoming you with open doors - and I'm talking about non-profit private universities and state schools.  Even state schools, while receiving federal subsidies, maintain largely autonomous tuition-based budgets, which make them have to segment their market base.  They also run advertising campaigns, and struggling high school students are a strong target for them.  Given that his/her parents usually don't have much education, the student doesn't have much perspective to go off of. 

All their life, they've been sold a message that college = American middle class, so they decide to enroll, and have to do the learning process you describe, while they are in college - which will certainly affect their grades.

Whereas if there was a merit-based loan program, perhaps they would have been denied initially, but a few years down the line, may qualify - mirroring your path to success.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 11:30:57 AM by ValthazarElite »

Offline Chris Brady

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #32 on: October 21, 2013, 11:30:57 AM »
The biggest issue I found with schooling in general and the work market is that what you know meant very little.  It was who you knew that would get you the job, what you knew might have been able to let you keep it, but in a lot of industries, especially government, it often didn't.

Offline dragonsen

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #33 on: October 21, 2013, 12:05:11 PM »
I'm also going to throw this out there... There are a ton of employers (and honestly almost every employer I've ever had, even when I was working minimum wage) here in the US who are willing to reimburse you for your college tuition provided you A: work a set number of months/years/whatever after they do so (you only have to pay them back if YOU leave, you don't have to pay anything if you get laid off due to downsizing or something of that nature) and B: Get a decent grade in the class. The company I'm with right now is willing to reimburse me for not only my technical certifications, but my four and six year degrees (I haven't decided just how high I want to go yet, so I'm only planning for a bachelors). Between them paying me back for my out of pocket expenses and my pell grant, I will graduate with only a few thousand in debt and I'll have cemented my position with my company (not to mention my value in the workforce as a whole). Most companies have entry level positions that pay a semi decent wage (I'm making about 35k a year at the moment) and are willing to help you get through school which greatly negates the cost to you and makes you more valuable as an employee. They're investing in you, so they're less likely to look at laying off/firing you down the line.

It really bothers me when people say college isn't worth it and "too many people" are going. I agree that the quality of our college educations these days is greatly diminished, but I think that's more because of an over all "dumbing down" of society as a whole. Look at kids in highschool... few of them understand half the words their they're trying to use, let alone are able to spell them. And basic math? Forget about it! But is a degree useless? Not at all, if you get the right degree! Going out and getting a liberal arts degree or a writing degree with nothing to pad it (I'm getting a technical degree and a writing degree because I plan to pursue my current career path as a technical writer) is pretty much shooting yourself in the foot, but a degree in science? Technology? Teaching? Those aren't useless (though teaching pays squat, which is why I tell anyone who asks me if they should go in to teaching not to do it unless it's a passion), and there's a world of jobs out there (yes, even with the economy and job market being what they are) for people qualified to get them.

I work as a contractor for the DoD and I see dozens of positions that require a degree posted every day, and almost none for those without degrees or only with trade skills/certifications. Most people need both a degree and a number of certifications.

Is any of this to imply that everyone should have a degree? No, of course not, but it's been pretty solidly proven that the more accessable accessible higher education is in a society, the better the society does as a whole. I think the biggest issue with our current system of higher education is the fact that it's all privatized. Those running the schools are more interested in making money than truly educating. Their sports programs garner more interest than their research labs. Their fraternities/sororities garner more attention than half their educational departments. They overprice everything (IE I can go to the community college here and take a basic prerequisite math class for about 600 bucks including books, but if I were to go ten miles down the street to the private college and take the exact same level mathematics course with the same book and close to the same work load, it costs 50-100% more, which is absurd).

Even if you make higher education a free pursuit that anyone can get in to, there are still going to be plenty of people who either A: don't go because they can't handle it, or B: can't graduate. You get the education system out of private funds and raise the requirements to get in/graduate. Then you have a highly educated graduate class and society, and you're not risking leaving someone out in the cold and unable to improve their quality of life because those improvements cost too much.

Just an FYI, BP. I corrected a couple of your mistakes in the first post. :) As a joke. Feel free to do the same to any of my posts.

You'd be wrong to assume I was a decent student. I could have been (if my college career is any sign, I could have been a straight A student), but I wasn't. I'm not even sure what my GPA was, I hardly ever bothered to show up after 10th grade. I did take the major tests (SAT, ASVAB, etc) because it meant getting out of classes for a legit reason, but I hardly ever bothered to go to my classes. I did score really high on all my tests, though. I held the highest female score in my state (beat the score my mom set when she was in high school) on the ASVAB for several years. I ended up dropping out and didn't get my high school diploma until I was 20 because I went and tested out of the last two credits I needed to graduate. It wasn't until a couple years ago that my family came to accept that I wasn't "just lazy" in school. I had undiagnosed ADD, I was bipolar, and honestly knew more of the material than most of my teachers. I was bored and unmotivated and put myself through a vicious cycle of not being able to focus, taking that as meaning I was too stupid to "get it" and didn't see the point in trying if I wasn't smart enough to do the work. I had everyone telling me I was just a "bad kid" even though I'd never done anything honestly terrible. I'm really lucky none of my attempts to take my own life out of despair at what was going on worked.

It took growing up and making it on my own on minimum wage, getting out of my parents house at 17, etc for my family to realize that they'd been ignoring serious issues when I was in their care for years. I'm not medicated for ADD now and I'm obviously still bipolar, but now that I'm aware there is a problem and that it's not me, I can cope and I'm working through it.

I will agree with you though, that the student loan situation is insane, which is why I think we need to do-away with for-profit education in our country. It doesn't do anything but hurt us. It gives the banks an easy way to basically steal from people who don't understand exactly what it's going to take to get to where they need to be to pay it off, never mind if the person isn't able to finish school because of some kind of life crisis or whatever. It also means that those who chose to go to less expensive colleges aren't taken as seriously as those who do go to "big" schools, even if their education might have been just as good... the name on your diploma means a lot to employers (this coming from someone who works regularly with a technical recruiter for the company that employs me).

And I agree that K-12 needs to be improved dramatically (I have my son in private school because the public schools here are lack luster at best), but I don't think that taking colleges out of the for-profit sector will automatically "flood them" with more students. I think in the offset you'll see a sharp increase, yes, but I also think over all you'll see that people will stop being drawn in by things like advertisements making false promises about what life is going to be like for students and professionals with degrees, you'll have more people basing whether or not they can get the degree on their own merit and not on finances, etc.

I agree with the dumbing down of society. I loathe standardized tests, even though I scored fairly high in the SAT and ACT. (ACT average score was 30 out of 36. I forget my SAT.) Now, they have standardized tests EVERY year starting with kindergarten. The school system doesn't care about my kids unless they score below passing which negatively affects their pass rates. Those pass rates affect teacher pay and school budgets. They don't actually show what the kids knows, only that they can regurgitate information on command. For all my complaints, I honestly cannot think of an alternative. Similar to the health care snafu, yes it is broke. Instead of just complaining about it why not give a possible solution to the mess? Simply removing standardized tests is not an answer either. Unfortunately, there does need to be a way to compare progress. We do need to compare apples with oranges, along with bananas, pineapples, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, grapes, cherries, etc.

The problem with the athletics vs arts/sciences is funding. Many more people are willing to donate to schools for athletic programs than they are for "touchy-feely crap." Businesses are willing to buy ad spots on fields because they know that the local community, their customers, will be there for the games and see those ads. I'm not so sure that a choral recital would have the same effect if there was a big ad in the back declaring how "Big Ed" will take care of your tire needs. Few people read the programs at the art events to see who donated to make the event possible. I know I rarely do.

The biggest issue I found with schooling in general and the work market is that what you know meant very little.  It was who you knew that would get you the job, what you knew might have been able to let you keep it, but in a lot of industries, especially government, it often didn't.

Sadly, this is very true. Your personality also has a part in your job interview process, much more than your education.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 12:06:51 PM by dragonsen »

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #34 on: October 21, 2013, 12:34:02 PM »
Just an FYI, BP. I corrected a couple of your mistakes in the first post. :) As a joke. Feel free to do the same to any of my posts.

D'oh! This is why I shouldn't try to write things like that off-the-top-of-my-head-while-sleepy. My brain moves faster than my fingers can keep up and I don't bother to double back to check things. -.- I feel a bit like an idiot now. LOL

Offline Zeitgeist

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2013, 09:07:05 PM »
While the statistical analysis of the argument has mostly played out, I won't attempt to argue that.

Everyone's experiences and situation is different. I consider myself very fortunate to have an almost $70K/year job and while I have a GED the highest grade I completed was 10th. I didn't know a soul at my current employer 15 years ago now. I was applying for a junior database programmer position, and having no real life experience to point in the speciality, I brought with me a disk of Microsoft Access database programs/queries/routines with me as proof positive of my abilities. I learned later they never looked at it but I was hired nevertheless.

I have been convinced over time that intelligence has less to do with capability and more to do with simple curiosity. I've learned more crap by accident than I ever did intentionally.

Again, this is and was my experience, which is to say is probably not yours or anyone elses.

Offline Tairis

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #36 on: October 21, 2013, 10:21:49 PM »
College is worth what you can get out of it. Which for many people isn't nearly what they put into it. The number of people I work with that have the same or lower paid position than I do that have a completely irrelevant degree is staggering.

That's the problem with statistics. Yea, having a degree across the board gives you an increase in money. Start breaking it down into majors, however, and you're going to start seeing some major disparities.

Offline didoanna

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #37 on: October 29, 2013, 08:45:30 AM »
I have been convinced over time that intelligence has less to do with capability and more to do with simple curiosity. I've learned more crap by accident than I ever did intentionally.

Brilliant!

Offline IStateYourName

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #38 on: January 01, 2014, 10:46:02 PM »
An interesting discussion.  I'm going to be a little contrarian and say that degrees do matter...but perhaps not for the reasons we believe.

I think what most determines your success and prosperity is vision, drive, focus, and the ability to translate these into adding value to the people and things around you.  What do you want to do?  No, really.  I didn't ask "what do you think you have to do just to get by?"  I asked you what moves you.  What makes you want to get up early, stay up late, have passion in life?  And can you put a little twist or curve on it so that it adds value to the world around you? 

A degree?  Yeah, that's useful.  But it's as much an effect as a cause.  If you had enough passion for something to sit through four to nine years of classrooms after the law said you no longer needed to sit in a classroom, when you already had 12 years of classrooms--if you have the drive and discipline to do that and do it well, you probably have the gumption to achieve other things as well, including financial success.  The degree is an effect of your successful personality, not the cause.

Most people who get a degree and regret it a) borrowed a lot of money to do it, and b) saw the degree as an end unto itself, as a golden ticket.  "Oh, I'm going to get a degree in art and I'll be set."  No, you won't...but if you are an artist, if art moves you, you'll take that passion and probably, more likely than not, build it into a decent paycheck.

My $0.02 anyway...

Offline alextaylor

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #39 on: January 14, 2014, 09:54:14 AM »
A bit sad that the calculations are being reduced to salaries.

I took a degree. I nearly failed everything. But it was a damn hard degree in one of the best (and most expensive) universities in the world and it taught me things I never would've learned elsewhere.

I couldn't get a job because of bad grades in an unknown foreign university. I basically just forced my foot in the door with my first employer... let him hire me at barely any wage for the first 3 months. My salary went up to 'average' after those three months. Now my rates hit almost the same wage as a senator in my country. I've got two businesses which I got from bank loans - one is a restaurant, the other is engineering. And I'm making a lot of money part time from programming skills. I'm 25.

None of this would be possible if it wasn't for my degree. My degree isn't even in the field I'm working in - it's a mechatronics engineering degree. I just applied the same principles to everything else. Cooking, based on my chemical knowledge, heat transfer, object oriented design, etc. Programming I picked up better than people with CS degrees in an average uni. One of my businesses is in oil... the business skills I've picked up from being forced to do difficult presentations on things where I had no idea what I'm talking about. The technical part is petroleum not mechanics nor electronics, but fluid mechanics is easy to pick up with a heavy mathematical background and being forced to solve tough hydraulics problems in class and stuff.

If you broke me down into data, I'd be dismissed as some outlier. It'd be very difficult to link me and the fields I work in because I've never held a job in mechanics/electrical despite my degree. But everyone from my university has the same success story. Similar friends who failed several subjects and got a long string of bad grades work in top companies. Several of the most influential people in my country come from the same university even though the university has no reputation here.

And hey, I've learned that no good employer in my country actually hires based on degrees. There's a lot of grade inflation, where average students are expected to graduate with second class upper. The good employers would rather look at the 'hobbies' side of the resume and hammer the interviewee with tough technical questions rather than rely on exam results.

Offline chaoslord29

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #40 on: January 14, 2014, 02:04:57 PM »
I'm firmly on the side of higher education.

The benefits of at least an undergraduate degree cannot be reduced down to simple salary, and if you're really dedicated to the idea of quantifying it in economic terms, you still can't deny the networking benefits and opportunities that only higher education can offer. More than that, universities and colleges fill the niche of the last remaining "formative" years for youths/young adults, and are the late bloomers time to really shine in both academics and extra-curriculars. There's only so much that four years of school can teach a teenager, especially when they're still trying to learn what it is they like to do and reducing down a degree to the potential for higher salary (often opposed to student loans) is the last resort of the materialist.

Even a strict objectivist (Ayn Rand's two cents) knows the value of higher education, and regards a "properly motivated" (ahem, profit driven) educational institution as the pinnacle of achievement for the elite. While I may not agree with a lot of Rand's philosophy, we're at least in agreement on this point: Higher Education is what makes the elite class truly elite, and it is the greatest greatest opportunity for those not counted amongst the wealthy class to achieve greatness.

Particularly I feel like I have to say something about the humanities, about how humanities majors are by and large the most satisfied, well-adjusted, and career oriented people according to Pew Studies and Analytics, especially compared to more material oriented majors (Engineers, Physical Sciences, Business Majors; though interestingly, not Economics majors).

Granted, I don't want to get bogged down in that debate, just need to point out that the greatest benefit of higher education institutions isn't necessarily the degrees people receive there, it's the existence of the institution itself as a bastion of accumulated knowledge and the relatively objective application of that knowledge compared to profit and politically interested parties.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #41 on: January 14, 2014, 03:22:29 PM »
The benefits of at least an undergraduate degree cannot be reduced down to simple salary, and if you're really dedicated to the idea of quantifying it in economic terms, you still can't deny the networking benefits and opportunities that only higher education can offer.

I don't think anyone here is suggesting that higher education doesn't have huge benefits.  Heck, I work in that industry, so of course I realize this.  This is not a debate about whether it is good to be educated or not.

However, what I am saying is that it is doing a disservice to young people to unilaterally portray college as a beneficial endeavor, when there are thousands of recent graduates regretting their decision each time they get their monthly loan bill.  Again - college is a very worthwhile endeavor for some students, not all.  Many recent graduates can only make the minimum payment, causing their principal to rise and rise, making it a form of modern day indentured servitude.  Their social security checks will be garnished in old age, since it is impossible to file for bankruptcy on these loans.  If a high school graduate is not 100% sure about their future career, they should proceed with caution (perhaps even taking a few months off as free time) before deciding on going to college.

Offline Torch

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #42 on: January 14, 2014, 03:29:45 PM »
  If a high school graduate is not 100% sure about their future career, they should proceed with caution (perhaps even taking a few months off as free time) before deciding on going to college.

You are assuming this fictitious high school graduate will only be able to afford college by taking out loans. That's not the case with every student. Some students are lucky enough to procure scholarships or grants that do not need to be repaid. Some students can earn athletic grants that pay for their tuition. Some students (like my own two Demon Spawn) will have their tuition and fees paid for by their parents. Not every student will be burdened by outlandish loan debt.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #43 on: January 14, 2014, 03:50:52 PM »
You are assuming this fictitious high school graduate will only be able to afford college by taking out loans. That's not the case with every student. Some students are lucky enough to procure scholarships or grants that do not need to be repaid. Some students can earn athletic grants that pay for their tuition. Some students (like my own two Demon Spawn) will have their tuition and fees paid for by their parents. Not every student will be burdened by outlandish loan debt.

I don't deny that it is very doable for people to set up a college fund and let it grow over ~18 years.  I am also fortunate to be in such a position.  But I am willing to bet that this demographic of individuals are already middle-to-upper class (or choose live a pretty frugal lifestyle).  Not very many people are in this position.

I am referring to the average American.  71% of students have to take out loans, and the average debt is now $30K.

I'm not suggesting college isn't a beneficial endeavor, but it isn't for everyone - especially those who are attending because their "parents told them to."  High school guidance counselors have really failed in this sense, by not giving enough financial information to high school grads.

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #44 on: January 14, 2014, 04:10:59 PM »
I'm not suggesting college isn't a beneficial endeavor, but it isn't for everyone - especially those who are attending because their "parents told them to."  High school guidance counselors have really failed in this sense, by not giving enough financial information to high school grads.

I don't disagree with you as far as the financial implications are concerned. Although my own personal experience (and that of Mr. Torch) was that college was not optional. We were expected to attend after we finished high school. Period. No arguments. And we have the same expectations of our two children. College isn't optional, it's a requirement. If they find that their life calling is in a field that doesn't require a college degree, great. They will have their degree and four years of life experience that can't be duplicated in any other setting, and then they can go off and do whatever the hell they want.

Because of our expectations, we made sure a long time ago that we would be able to finance their education so that they would not be burdened by loans. We feel that's a fair trade off. I would be hard pressed to say to a child "You have to go to college, and you have to find a way to pay for it yourself."


Offline chaoslord29

Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #45 on: January 14, 2014, 04:48:26 PM »
I don't disagree with you as far as the financial implications are concerned. Although my own personal experience (and that of Mr. Torch) was that college was not optional. We were expected to attend after we finished high school. Period. No arguments. And we have the same expectations of our two children. College isn't optional, it's a requirement. If they find that their life calling is in a field that doesn't require a college degree, great. They will have their degree and four years of life experience that can't be duplicated in any other setting, and then they can go off and do whatever the hell they want.

Because of our expectations, we made sure a long time ago that we would be able to finance their education so that they would not be burdened by loans. We feel that's a fair trade off. I would be hard pressed to say to a child "You have to go to college, and you have to find a way to pay for it yourself."

Seconded, the combine experiences of college life is in my humble opinion spending the better part of your adult life in debt, even if your degree is totally unrelated to the field you find yourself in by the time you're finished paying it off (or even just a year after school). Higher education isn't just advanced vocational skill acquisition, it's a rounding out of the education process that begins in grade school and gives you the opportunity for a capstone on the structure that is your academic career and the potential to go on for even greater crowning achievements in grad school & beyond. For every person I know who feels like they found their calling right out of high school, I know someone who feels like they didn't find their calling until they reached grad school or a phd program. 4 years of college is worth it by dint of just being exposed to the ideas and grandeur that post-grad education can offer.

Furthermore, Torch touches on something important in terms of the financial concern, that saving for children's future in college is one of the best ways to help temper the overall expense that is rearing a child. If your child grows up with the expectation of higher education and a certain amount of financial backing for it, that's all the more security and aspirations you as a parent can offer them even if they don't wind up going to a university.

Offline ValthazarTopic starter

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Re: Higher Education Pros/Cons
« Reply #46 on: January 14, 2014, 10:45:57 PM »
I would be hard pressed to say to a child "You have to go to college, and you have to find a way to pay for it yourself."

I also grew up with the ideology that college was not optional, and was a requirement.  I was also fortunate to get my education paid for by my parents.  But sadly, it is society as a whole today - not individual parents - that is turning college into a requirement.  Even if one hails from a poor family, students are drilled from grade school that getting into a good college is a natural progression in life.  So for better or for worse, that statement I quoted (which I would also feel hard-pressed telling a child), is happening on a broad-basis across the nation today.

Torch touches on something important in terms of the financial concern, that saving for children's future in college is one of the best ways to help temper the overall expense that is rearing a child. If your child grows up with the expectation of higher education and a certain amount of financial backing for it, that's all the more security and aspirations you as a parent can offer them even if they don't wind up going to a university.

I actually encourage people to save for their kids' college education - more people should do it.  But people are too trusting in the loan industry sometimes.  Let's say a couple has saved up $80K, and are $20K short of covering their kid's 4 year college experience.  Most people in this situation would simply opt to cover the remaining 20K using loans.

An alternative idea is for the kid to work two minimum wage jobs for 2 years following high school, and then enroll in college at the age of 20.  ($8.00 x 30 hours x 52 x 2 = ~20K after taxes)

edit: messed up my math, heh
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 10:48:08 PM by ValthazarElite »