Get A College Degree It Will Set You Free

Educational AttainmentTwo realizations have come to us recently: 1) There is a big time disconnect between reported unemployment of 9%, and the 1-2% unemployment levels among the tens of thousands of people we know in person and who read this site and 2) Only ~30-35% of Americans over 25 have their associate’s and/or college degrees.  No wonder there is such a big disconnect!

I grew up in an environment where if I didn’t study in high school, I was heavily disciplined for my lack of effort.  It became very clear to me at 14 that if I slacked off in high school, I was screwed because grades averaged over four years for college admissions to see.  It was embedded in my brain that college was the only way to get a job and make it on my own.  We know this is not as true now, thanks to the internet and the relative ease to reach many more customers.  But, back then, that was all I knew and I venture to guess it was similar for many of you too.

Never once did I consider not going to college or dropping out.  Failure was not an option, partly because I didn’t want to return to McDonald’s making egg McMuffins at 6:30am, and face a manager who made us staff feel like shit everyday.  We’d rebel by eating all the apple pies we could and slip an extra burger into friendly customer’s bags.  Even then, $3.15 an hour felt like crappy pay.  The other reason why I wanted to do well was because I wanted to be rich!

BASHING A COLLEGE EDUCATION IS LIKE BASHING IN YOUR OWN BRAINS

It’s become trendy to bash college degrees now that unemployment is so high.  Critics highlight the low return on investment of college as tuition skyrockets.  Indeed, tuition costs are out of control.  However, nobody said you have to go to XYZ private school and do poorly.  There are plenty of public schools that educate just as well at 1/4th the price.  And, if you plan to spend $50,000 a year on private school, you might as well go to Harvard than Boston University don’t you think?!

Growing up, I had no other option.  It was either go to college or die.  As I talked to more and more people about college, they told me something interesting.  They believe that many people actually are too lazy to put in the 4 years to study and graduate!  I always thought that those who didn’t go to college were either geniuses or lacked the financial means.  Who wouldn’t want to party it up with no parental supervision and learn something along the way?  I never once considered that laziness was a reason.  Is laziness really a reason?  I find it hard to believe.

Critics of college are missing the point.  If you don’t go to college, you are structurally disadvantaged from earning a higher wage or holding on to your job.  When downturns happen, companies whack the lowest person on the totem pole first.  Companies also become extremely picky because those with doctorate degrees are vying for masters degrees jobs.  Masters degrees holders are vying for bachelors degrees jobs.  And bachelors degrees holders are applying at Starbucks and McDonald’s!  So, what the hell is a high school degree holder going to do? Shine shoes on the street?  How is s/he going to compete with the bachelors degree candidate?  It’s brutally difficult!

Solution to the education bubble

Of course there comes a point where you are over-educated, and you pay too much and screw yourself in the process if the economy is bad.  So be careful on the other end as well.  Sure, there is an education bubble for those who go to ridiculously expensive schools who plan to enter an occupation that doesn’t provide a good ROI.  The easiest way to pop the education bubble is to simply enforce higher lending standards on students.

Let’s say only students who get a B+ average or better are allowed to get a college loan at the cheapest rate.  The worse you do, the higher your rate.  If you are averaging D’s, then no loan for you!  I can envision a rate chart like this: 2% interest for A average, 4% interest for B average, 10% interest for C average, and no loans for anything worse.  This is how we evaluate potential mortgage borrowers via their credit scores, why not do the same thing with grades?  No brainer in my opinion.

Unemployment Rates By EducationEDUCATION GUARANTEES OPPORTUNITY, NOT SUCCESS

In bull markets, companies need warm bodies because there’s so much demand for their products.  Companies can’t risk pissing off their clients, and know that it’s game time to seize their opportunity while things are good and maximize profits.  In downturns, variable costs i.e. you and me are the first to go.  A company isn’t going to let go of their star producer.  They are going to get rid of their worst producers.

A college degree doesn’t guarantee you anything.  What it does do is put you 70% ahead of everybody else without one!  If you are to put your life savings on someone to succeed, you would bet on the person with a college degree over one with only a high school degree 10 times out of 10 to get and retain a job.  Yes, there are always exceptions, and I can find an exception to your exception too, so the point is mute.

For those of us with college degrees, let us realize we are in the massive minority.  High school only graduates outnumber us 3 to 1.  As a result, we need to know that there are two different worlds out there.  For those without college degrees, consider getting a college degree, even if it’s just at a community college.  The statistics don’t lie.  If the unemployment rate of college educated folks is around 2%, and we make up 30% of the population, then the unemployment rate for the rest hovers around 14%-16% to average 9% national unemployment!

The world is damn competitive, so bear down, grit your teeth, and get that degree!  And if you’ve got an bachelor’s degree, you might as well get a master’s degree if you’ve got time!

Readers, is laziness really a reason as to why some people don’t go to college?  If all the statistics say that getting a college degree, no matter from where, helps you make more and stay employed longer in your life time, why don’t more people get college degrees than just 30%?  Why not get a Master’s degree?

Isn’t the easiest way to deflate the education bubble is by tightening lending standards by banks?  If you can’t borrow for college, you can’t pay their asking prices and prices fall as a result!

Photo: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Regards,

Sam

If you enjoyed this article, please sign up for my RSS Feed or E-mail Feed to keep in touch.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

Subscribe To Private Newsletter

Comments

  1. cashflowmantra says

    Laziness could easily be a reason that many don’t go to college. It could be the same reason they didn’t apply themselves in high school. I believe there are many people who don’t live up to their full potential.

    It seems like tightening lending standards for college might be a good idea.

    • Financial Samurai says

      It honestly, 100% NEVER occurred to me that liziness could be a reason for people not to go to college. But now that I look back upon college, sure it was amazingly fun, but damn, it was so hard to do well! I remember Sundays waking up at 8am after partying till 3am and studying until 12noon non stop, eating, then studying from 1pm-6pm, eating, then studying from 8pm-midnight!

      It was worth it in the end though.

  2. $,$$$,$$$ Net Worth says

    Phenomenal article!!

    I completely agree that grades should be directly tied to the interest rates and loan amounts available.

    I think there are a lot of lazy people that become “comfortable” with their situation and would rather stay the course they are on vs risking potential failure. I’ve seen this with “adults” that continued to live with their parents long after the socially acceptable time frame. I think the risk of failure in a college curriculum is the greatest asset a person can have because 1. it exposes your weakness 2. is on helluva motivator!

    I learned I sucked at math courses mainly because I was intensely bored with the subject. Then I found the right instructors that related the material to stuff I was interested in (sports and money) then all of the sudden it clicked and I’m a stronger professional for enduring the humbling time when I had go to tutoring and ask others for help with my weaknesses.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Are there really “adults” who still live at home with their parents? When I think adults, I think 30+…… but I can see why 25 year olds live at home with bank of mom and dad.

      Good stuff tying money and sports together!

  3. Adam Rux says

    Great post Sam. Even putting the ‘quality’ of a third level education aside – I’ve always thought that the simple act of completing a 3 or 4 year degree shows that a person can apply him/herself to something and see it through to completion. Something that a lot of people can’t!

  4. Kevin @ Thousandaire.com says

    People who are motivated to go to college are typically motivated to be successful. Could this increased motivation, as opposed to the college education itself, be the reason for lower unemployment and higher earnings?

    • Financial Samurai says

      Maybe. I was just motivated never to work at McDonald’s again and wanted financial freedom! College was my only way to break out of poverty. I think if people are happy with a lower income lifestyle, they’ll have less motivation for college, which is just fine. The key is being happy with what you have.

      You can’t be angry not having a job if you decided not to get an associates or college degree. Yha makes no sense.

  5. MD says

    I’ve noticed that lots of bloggers out there are bashing a college education.

    If you hate your field, maybe you took the wrong major.
    If you can’t find work, maybe you need to look somewhere else.
    If you partied too much in college, well who are you going to blame for that?
    If you didn’t go to college, what right do you have to bash someone that spent their early 20s on working their ass off?

    The only negative of a college degree is the insane amount of debt. We all need to be realistic with how much money we spend on an education and what the potential is. Sure some jobs are noble, but they don’t pay enough to justify insane debt (social work for example). With that being said, there are many scholarships, grants, and bursaries out there.

  6. The Money Grower says

    Personally, I think there may be some confusion between ‘being a high flying professional’ with being a ‘money maker’.

    To be a high flying professional in a ‘professional’ job, I definitely agree that a college degree is a necessity.

    However, I don’t believe an academic degree is all it takes otherwise the highest earners should be the college professors. Since that is not the case, there must be something else, no?

    In addition, I find it quite terrifying to write the less academic off. There are different sorts of ‘smart’, it’s just that our academic system in England, and I assume yours in the US concentrates as academia as the only smart.

    Need proof? I assume you all susbribe to the ‘millionaire next door’ theory – I’m sure the majority of plumbers/ small businessmen featured in that book weren’t college graduates.

    Do I think a college degree is a great thing? For some people, definitely and absolutely. For others, no.

    TMG

  7. Jonathan says

    Interest rates tied to grades. I definitely agree. I think if student loans were privatized more, this would be much more prevalent.

    The country is moving away from this however, as Obamacare has various provisions to increase the amount of government-provided student loans by huge amounts. :( Sounds like a generous thing to do, but I think the consequences will not be as intended.

    • Financial Samurai says

      I mean seriously, why do we give bad students $100,000 in loans to then screw up in college and then ruin their financial lives! Let’s give money to those who really need and want it!

  8. JT says

    If college had more to do with education and less to do with paperwork, signatures, following arbitrary rules, and generally dedicating your life not to academia, it might earn more respect. As it stands, the majority of time spent in college is dedicated to the mindless repetitive.

    • JT says

      In the past year I’ve had humanities, art history, business communication (can you write a letter or format a presentation?), bowling, nutrition and fitness. My major is finance. What do these have to do with finance.

      College should be a place for the development of specialized knowledge systems. Half of it isn’t. Another 1/4th (my accounting class, for example) is so elementary (can you read a form 10-K) that I could have passed it in the second grade. The last year may very well be the best, but I’m still confident that the concepts are, again, elementary.

      Interest rates tied to grades isn’t the answer; we’ll just have more elementary education graduates and less doctors, nurses, financiers, engineers, and computer science graduates.

      The solution is very simple: get rid of the massive barriers to entry that are the first two years of any degree. They’re a waste of time, money, resources, and only serve to reduce the number of educated people in the world.

      • The Money Grower says

        JT

        Would you mind explaining more about this comment: “The solution is very simple: get rid of the massive barriers to entry that are the first two years of any degree.”

        Thank you

        TMG

        • JT says

          Pre-requisites unrelated to your major are a barrier to entry. You have to tolerate two years of what is quite literally nonsense to get to your actual major. For example: I’m majoring in finance, but have to take bowling, art history, humanities, etc., before I can take the classes that are in my major (finance-related classes).

          I suggest that these are barriers to entry that keep focused people from a college degree. I really doubt that people drop out of college because the classes in their major are too hard; I would suggest most people drop out because of the unrelated classwork that stands in the way.

          I lost a ton of momentum when I realized that after high school I would spend two full years doing again what I had already done for the past 16 years. I didn’t go to college to have two more years of high school. I didn’t go to college to learn about bowling, humanities, or art; I went to college to spend a few years studying finance. Finance. But to get to finance, I had to complete two more years of schooling completely unrelated to my degree.

          Does that help shed some light on the barriers that are pre-requisites?

      • Money Reasons says

        I think the world would be a boring place if we were all trained to just do one thing or just know one topic only (to robot-like). I enjoyed the diversity of topics in college (after graduating). I think it’s good to know that there is more than just money out there.

        That said, when I was in school, I felt exactly the way that you do. I think the additional learning is something the creeps up on you after you have been out of college for a few years.

        Actually much of the learning of the electives in college could be learned via the internet these day. It’s amazing how the internet has changed society…

        To me is sounds like you are looking for a job apprenticeship (or something similar) instead of an education.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Ah, but following directions and having repetition endurance is KEY to success. No company or investor wants to hire someone without these skills.

      The folks who grate on me the most are one’s who can’t follow directions and figure things out on their own.

      • The Money Grower says

        Interesting comment, Sam.

        It is one that, as I get older, I agree with.

        I once thought teachers taught, accounts accounted, doctors made ill people
        better etc.

        But it is not wholly the case, is it? Life these days involves a fair amount of grind and just getting on with the ‘boring stuff and admin’.

        In short ones working life is not always a meritocracy but involves a certain amount of ‘playing the game’.

        In the current times of seeing people get their big break on TV, it is sometimes easy to forget the hard work and drudgery that goes on behind the scenes: we see the flower but not the journey from seed to flower. No wonder so many people aspire to overnight success.

        TMG

  9. My University Money says

    JT I completely agree with that assessment of college/university! I have a couple posts coming up about this very topic. I would also argue that while a degree in general is a good thing, we definitely have to look at the viability of a liberal arts degree specifically. Many of these people racking up huge debt levels are doing it in fields that have no demand for employment, and what does a liberal arts degree truly qualify you to do? I would also broaden the conversation to include post-secondary education in general Sam. Going to trades schools maybe a much better bet than certain degrees at this point, and I know that in Canada at least, the vast majority of trades people make more than I do as a teacher.

    I am a huge fan of the interest rates based on grades. I hated the fact that any financial assistance had to be tied to “need.” At my university less than 1% of all bursaries and scholarships at the undergraduate level were based on merit. That’s why we decided to give out a merit-based scholarship at our website (yes, I know, shameless plug).

    • The Money Grower says

      Hello MUM

      I like your thinking or maybe I like it because it is similar to my own. Either way :-) Indeed I wrote my post below before yours appeared (I think there is a slight delay in posting and posts appearing).

      Traditionally, in England at least, universities were seen as seats of learning where many subjects (classics, arts etc) were studied because of the intellectual rigour and love of the subject. I’m not sure this is the case anymore.

      It seems university is now part of the process of achieving career success rather than a badge of intellect. I know it has always been this way for some subjects like medicine, law and accounting: ‘The professions’

      If that is the case, then I would say that financial aid should be tied to the subject as well as the grade.

      I totally agree with you about trade and technical subjects. As a teacher as well, it is obvious that not everyone is academically gifted but that doesn’t necessarily mean life failure – although I am under no delusion: everyone needs a basic standard to access opportunities.

      TMG

      • My University Money says

        Yah, I have a post coming up on my blog explaining how a liberal arts degree has to start being looked at as a stepping stone to another degree, working for the government, or a luxury for relatively wealthy people and not something that qualifies your for very much in and of itself.

  10. krantcents says

    In a way laziness contributes to their decision. Many people do not take the time to really think about their careers. My students express a desire to be a doctor or architect, but they do not have a clue what it take s to become one. Is it laziness or something else?
    If you make it more difficult to go to college, only the rich will go. In some countries, only the brightest can go to university! If academically gifted people were actually better or more successful, those countries would dominate. Some of the most successful people in the U.S. were not academically gifted. Most academically gifted people become teachers, that doesn’t seem like it is working too well either.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Not only the rich, only the people who WANT to go to college and know that it takes a lot of effort and dedication. Both the poor and the not poor can bust their butts to get good grades to get lower student loan rates.

      If you don’t want to get good grades, it means you likely don’t want to go to school and get more education. The last thing we need to do is lend these students tens of thousands of dollars!

  11. libby says

    I disagree that laziness is issue. I think life happens and the time just isn’t there. In my department alone there is one degree holder and its not my manager. I work with 13 other people and two people are seeking a college degree. I am one of those two. I will be done by June of 2012 but my other coworker will take longer because she has 3 kids. She married young and has to prioritize. I on the other hand have only a bf to make time for. I try to motivate her but motivation can’t free up time as much as I would like it to.

  12. Darwin's Money says

    You should bust out the present day chart; the HS and drop-out Unemployment rate is completely through the roof. There’s much to be said for age, type of degree, etc., which has many degreed Americans out of work, but at an aggregate level, there’s no doubt, complete class distinctions.

  13. Maggie@SquarePennies says

    Many good comments on this one. I have to agree that getting a degree proves you have the guts and brains to stick with a difficult situation. You have proved that you can jump through all the hoops, put up with frustration, and still achieve. That’s the kind of person employers want to hire. And it shows you have a certain basic intelligence.

    If you want kids to go to college you have to start way back in elementary school. You have to make sure they learn to read well & do math. You can’t let them fall victim to the “it’s cool to not do well in school” group. Once they identify with that group they are as good as lost. Parents are a big influence in this, but not the only influence. If you child isn’t doing well in school do everything you can to change that. Get tutoring even if it’s a big pinch on the budget. You can’t let your own child fall through the cracks.

    That said, we always gave our kids the impression that college was in their future. They never questioned it & they are all professionals now.

  14. Jeremy Johnson says

    Sam, good stuff – I attribute my current comfortable living to my 4 year degree and technical skill I gained there and along the way. However, now that I’m living comfortable and have my needs met, there is a bigger hurdle to jump and that is overcoming the middle class apathy that occurs when you make decent money and don’t need to succeed more than that to survive. Still I am trying, but if there is a devil’s advocate to the degree, I think for me, this is it – the apathy of comfort and enough success to get by easily.

  15. Mike says

    A college degree will set you free if the area you live in actually hires people with your degree. I made that mistake and I am now having to go back to college to earn another degree. Perhaps in better economic times that generalization can be more factual.

    • BD says

      Yes, THIS.
      I have a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts, emphasis Graphic Design. During the dot com boom, it was relatively easy to get a job with this degree. But as time wore on, and graphic designers became even more plentiful, the recession hit, and the design jobs were the first to go (so now we have a ton of out-of-work artists and graphic designers and no jobs). I’ve been unable to find a job in Design since 2005.

      I’m back in college now for an Accounting Degree, (Master’s), which I hope will be a lot more useful than an art degree.
      Some college degrees (art) are as useless as having just a high school diploma.

  16. MoneyPerk says

    I couldn’t agree more that a degree gives you a significant advantage over people with out one. In fact, it’s extremely important for our economy especially. I am almost 21, with one year of college under my belt (that I paid for my self). But I decided not to continue because what is the point to rush it? I know it’s an important thing to accomplish, and eventually I will graduate and use it as a back up plan. I will have a back up plan in case my businesses, real estate, and investments end up falling through.

    I also would like to point out that sometimes you need to do other things in order for you to do things you want. The point is, in order for me succeed in my efforts to pay for my degree, I must first invest into self-education. And that includes investing my time and money!

    The thing is that my goals are just different from others. I know if I become financially free, I wouldn’t need a college degree. It would just be a save haven for me.

  17. Jeff says

    I don’t get arguments like this. Using the exact same logic, couldn’t we throw up the “average” salaries of self-employed people, note that they have lower unemployment, higher wages and higher job satisfaction (on average) — then proclaim everyone should be self employed?

    The fact is, life is full of different strokes for different folks. We’re not all the same. College is great for some people (probably not the # of people who actually attend), but work or trade school is better or others.

  18. cwall says

    what is a Professional Degree?

    Is it a designation like PMP (for project managers) or CMAs (certified management accountants) or…? could you pls shed some light on this? Thank you.

  19. KatiesMom says

    Laziness is a very broad term but you may be on to something. Having worked in higher education and having a college student of my own I have seen many students fail for what you might call laziness. However, part of that “laziness” is also lack of maturity. Many of these kids don’t understand cause and effect. It is documented that brain maturation at differing rates for different individuals contributes to this. So they just don’t “get it” that a college education is a down payment on future success.
    The ingrained notion that you “have to” go to college immediately upon leaving high school is not healthy for many young people. They are simply not ready to take advantage of what college has to offer. The European concept of a “gap year” between high school and college where a young person takes a year off to travel or work on a service project – or just work and make some money for college can provide a much needed growing space for some kids. As you point out, there is nothing like a minimum wage job to focus the mind on wanting something better.
    College is a huge investment for most parents (even state schools). Doesn’t it make sense to wait to invest until the investee is ready to take the best advantage of the situation?
    If we could get out of the mindset that college “must” take place between that ages of 18 and 22, we could remove some of the “laziness” from the equation.

    On another note – since people with degrees will make more money and presumably pay more taxes over their lifetime, wouldn’t it make sense to make expenditures on higher education tax deductable?

    • Financial Samurai says

      Love the last suggestion! Absolutely for tax deductions on higher education expenses for all! Actually, many part-time graduate studies are tax deductible ie if you get your MBA and return to a profession where you didn’t need the MBA, you can deduct 100% of the expense. Check with accountant, but weird huh?

      A gap year is def a good idea for those who are unsure before spending all that money. However, they are also going to fall behind 1 year longer. Instead, parents should have this talk every year around the dining table in their teens. If the kids don’t agree after reading this article, so be it!

    • threadbndr says

      I don’t agree that a student will be falling behind if they take a ‘gap year’ or even do military/volunteer service for a few years. Everything that I’ve seen as a non-traditional student myself is that older students, even those in their middle 20s, are much more focused and committed than the students that are just out of high school.

  20. Al says

    “Yes, there are always exceptions, and I can find an exception to your exception too, so the point is mute.” HAHAHA the point is mute! someone help the point to speak!

  21. Miguel says

    I was forced out on my own at 17 and only now can I get into college without having to ask my parents to sign my FAFSA (which failed miserably I might add). Nonetheless, I have always been fiercely autodidatic so I haven’t had it as bad as others with only a college degree. In point of fact, most people assume that I have a degree or two. I will be going to school as I believe it to be extremely important but not going was not laziness on my part nor much of an impediment (insofar as it could have been I might add).

  22. Everyday Tips says

    I don’t understand how anyone can think a college degree is a bad idea. Might not be the smartest thing to get a less useful degree from an Ivy League school without following up with gradudate school. But, many people love to justify their own decisions, and it probably makes them feel better to see the ‘educated’ standing in the unemployment line if they themselves did not spend the time and money on an education.

    I didn’t realize the percent was so low of people with college degrees.

  23. ProfGirl says

    As a college professor, I’ve been following this debate with interest, and I completely agree with your idea that interest rates ought to be tied to high school grades (or even college grades the year before). I’d add to that that groups who give scholarships should send professors a form to follow up on their scholarship recipients. I got such a form from a granting agency for a student who had only attended about 10% of my classes. There are lots of students who could benefit from that money; that student wasn’t one of them.
    I’d also suggest that we get rid of the expectation that students should go to college either right out of high school or not at all. I’m not just talking about a “gap year,” though that is a step in the right direction. The fact is that many 17-year-olds are just not independently-motivated or self-directed enough to succeed in a college environment. As a result, they drink their way through school, or take the wrong major just because it seems like the easiest thing to do, or “cram” for all of their tests and end up learning nothing. They don’t just “lose” a year; they end up losing 4-6 years and their college tuition, plus missing some valuable life experience that could have led them down the proper path if they’d waited. True, there are some people who are quite ready for college at the age of 17 — probably most of the readers on this site — and they should definitely go and take advantage of it without any further delay. But for those who are unsure, unmotivated, or having difficulty concentrating in their first year of college, take it from me: your hesitation is trying to tell you something. Go find out what you have to find out about life and come back and see me when you’re 25 — or even 35 — and ready to learn. If most students did that, they’d get a lot more education for their hard-earned tuition money.
    That being said, Miguel’s comment (above) is only one example of how college is structurally biased against people who want to take this eminently sensible course of action. There’s even more discouragement in our funding mechanisms and in the incentives we get from state legislatures — not to mention the stigma of being the only 35-year-old in a class full of 18-year olds. If we could get over the age barrier and let people go to college when they’re ready and see the need, I think we’d see more college graduates and a better return for our tuition dollars.
    Finally, as for the cost of college, there’s a surprising amount of college expenditures that have little to do with education, and IMHO taxpayers should push for them to be eliminated. Recently colleges have tried attracting students — mostly 17-year-olds — with ever-more-attractive gyms and recreation activities and lots of rah-rah root-for-the-home-team sports expenditures. As taxpayers, did you really want to fund that rock-climbing wall with your education dollars? Administrators also LOVE their new technology. We now have computers in every classroom, “smart boards,” cameras to record our lectures, and all sorts of other gadgets. At the same time, they’re cutting faculty pay and putting students in larger classes. For some subjects I’m sure technology is helpful, if not essential. But in my field — writing instruction — students are far better off with an old chalkboard and some personal attention. When I went to my Princeton class reunion, I was happy to see that the classrooms in the English department were still fairly technology free, though I’m sure that the Art department has the latest in high definition technology. They know how to spend their money wisely. Most universities, unfortunately, don’t.
    I give you this long tale of woe because I’m assuming that you guys are students, parents, and taxpayers, and I want you to know that you have a say over how much college costs. Administrators and legislatures are trying to respond to your demands for a cheaper college education, but most of them are doing that by making college precisely that — cheaper. Still, if you look at a list of colleges where students get the biggest payoff for their investment in terms of eventual earnings, they’re mostly small, private colleges that cost more, but use the money well.
    If I can help a few of you become more educated consumers who might yell when your state University spends more on its football team than it does on its freshman experience, or questions when your school district wants to cut teachers and buy every student an iPad, then I’ve done my job.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Howdy Prof,

      Thanks for your perspective! Seems like a no brainer interest rates and grades yeah? Insurance companies give discounts for honor roll students.

      It seems like it’s rough being a professor nowadays? In a way, the Internet and all the devices that allow us to access are marginalizing us all.

      Must also be very rewarding being a professor as well though. And the 3-4 months off a year ain’t too shabby!

      Sam

  24. Ben @ BankAim says

    This has been a hot topic lately. I went to college for 1 year before dropping out. I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life until after that first year of college. I got the realization that I could do more with my life than what I was trying to obtain through college and decided that I wanted to be self-employed and work for myself. So I dropped out. Being self-employed I knew I could make more than the $40k-$60k/year I could have made at the job I was looking to get into.

    I wanted to get into Internet marketing but back in the day no college that I knew of was offering such a course. It was so new that I had to find my own way and learn from those online who were successful at it. I spent as much as I would have if I had gone to college for knowledge that has gotten me to where I am today. Now that I am self-employed (through a ton of hard work and effort) I feel bad for those who have gone to college to get a degree in something that they hate.

    For instance, my cousin went to a college, paid $36k for 2 years to get a degree and a job that paid him $17/hour starting out. After 2 years of working the same job he got fired and gave up looking for other jobs in his field. The cost of college versus how much he was making didn’t add up. It would have taken him 10 years to pay off his school loans and since he’s been unemployed for almost 2 years he finally filled for bankruptcy.

    My best friend’s wife on the other hand went to school to be an RN, spent close to $80k for 4 years and now makes close to $40/hour.. the pay versus the cost of the degree and skill works out in her favor. I know that college is well worth it if you want to be a doctor, lawyer or other jobs that require a degree but for those who go to get a ‘drafting’ degree that pays $17/hour.. I’m sorry but I don’t see how anyone could do that.

    PS. I definitely wasn’t lazy.. that didn’t keep me from going to college.. it was a change of heart in what I wanted to do and since the schooling wasn’t there for me I had to make my own way.. and its paying off.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Hi Ben,

      If you’ve known since an early age, before college that being an internet marketer and entrepreneur is what you wanted to do, then that’s great. The fear is if one fails in their entrepreneurial activities, then what’s the fall back?

      Education just gives you more options. Of course don’t spend more than you can afford.

      Is Bankaim.com your site/company?

      S

      • Ben @ BankAim says

        Hey S, That’s something I have thought of many times! What do I fall back on? I guess what is where education come in, huh? Being an entrepreneur is hard because of the unknowns of the future and the constant changing market online.

        BA is a very small side project that I have been working on.. I have many other websites in different markets that are pretty successful.

  25. Morgan says

    Only go to college if you have a reason to. Then you want to learn. Instead of just dreading it. The degree only helps if it’s what you want. The one thing people say that kinda bugs me is “well, the degree certainly won’t hurt” Ha! That’s like saying a 4 year detour on a 2 hour trip “certainly won’t hurt”. What if you used that 4 years to pursue something your loved and a path that was uniquely your own. But getting the degree put that off by at least 4 years! Not to mention if someone has debt and now a wife and a mortgage and a kid on the way. With just some careful planning and some guidance they could’ve been on the path they wanted instead of “certainly” not hurting themselves.

  26. Keish says

    I wouldn’t say that laziness is the main reason why some people don’t go to college. But I will say that I’ve seen people drop out because of it. I’d also say that sometimes people let life and it’s obstacles get in the way of getting their degree.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *