It’s all part of the American Dream. Every year millions of high school seniors look at colleges that will help propel them to a good paying job that will enable them to support a family and own a house.
But there’s a growing problem.
The cost of a college education is growing rapidly. With the economy doing poorly for so long now, many states have decided to save money on education. And it sort of makes sense. Most other programs, like prisons, cannot continue functioning with cut funds, but in the eyes of lawmakers, you can pay teachers a little less and make education cost a little more and students and teachers will still show up.
However, the cost is slowly becoming out of reach. Take the University of California system. It is arguably the most prestigious school system in the world. But today students are paying nearly double what they did 5 years ago with more increases expected soon.
And it gets worse.
Not only is it becoming more expensive just to go to a college, but also because of the cut funding, classes are getting larger and the number of available classes are shrinking. Kids today are working harder and harder to get to the best schools because they are realizing that as more people go to college, it is more important to go to a top school and potentially a grad school. This leaves many schools impacted.
For instance, at UC Berkeley, some majors were so impacted this past year that it wasn’t even that students could not get into the classes they wanted, (a very common problem for college students) it was that there were not enough spots for some students to get into any classes in their major. Administration had to approve funding to expand class sizes just to make sure some students weren’t about to lose an entire semester and as much as $15,000 (even more for international students).
Is college even worth it anymore?
With even the cost of community colleges going up, many are beginning to ask if they should even bother with a education that might not lead them to a high paying job and forgo the 4+ years of debt and just go into the work force straight out of high school.
After all, how many times have you heard someone say that they have never been asked about their college education in a job interview? Once you have had the experience of one job, few employers look at what you did when you were 19 in a math class instead of what you accomplished at your last job.
In addition to all of this, how often have you met someone who did get a college degree, couldn’t find a job, and now they’re working a job they could have gotten out of high school? Would you rather work at the local grocery store for $15 an hour or would you rather work at the local grocery store for $15 and have nearly $100,000 in debt on top of it?
Are there other options?
Some people are very serious when suggesting skipping college. Peter Thiel is a billionaire who takes some students who show a lot of promise and pays them $100,000 to drop out of college. He gives them the money to put toward a better cause to create an organization to improve the world.
Thiel points out that college should only be for those who want careers that need certain degrees, such as doctors, lawyers, and teachers. After all, how exactly does 4 years of reading business textbooks make you better at working in the business world than would being an intern or apprentice in a successful company for a year working under a top executive?
Many still expect students to get a college degree. Jobs that don’t have much to do with any specific college major still require at least a Bachelors Degree. For those who decide to play it safe and get a degree in case the job market goes up, there are still grants for college and scholarships. But you have to ask, is college really worth it?