College degree still worth the cost despite the risk

  • Article by: CHRIS FARRELL
  • Updated: January 14, 2012 - 10:28 PM
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  • 1 - 10 of 10
back2schoolJan. 15, 1212:01 PM

The key message here is "keep borrowing down". And that goes far beyond the price of tuition. As Farrell points out there are options. Yet few 17-year-olds have the fiscal sophistication to manage what has come to be a $50,000 to $100,000 project. Besides big opportunities for saving such as including a stint at a community college or limiting oneself to federal loans, there are countless ways to save on daily expenses. For example, as a professor I see students think nothing of spending $10/day on coffee treats and snacks (that they've already paid for with a meal plan); yet that $10/day over 4 full years exceeds $14,000...a nice downpayment on a car or graduate school (or $14k less in student loan debt). While higher ed leaders address the cost of tuition and our guidance counselors direct students toward good-fit programs, perhaps there is room for a quick lesson on personal management of expenses and debt - not a bad lesson for life either.

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FrankLJan. 16, 1210:12 AM

Of course the obvious answer is to get a degree in some thing where there are real job prospects. Even within a career area there are ways to maximize your marketability. For example, in teaching we constantly hear of shortages of math and science teachers, but yet most teaching students still get their degree in elementary education.

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vorenusJan. 17, 12 8:46 AM

Of course, there's that little thing called personal happiness that so many experts seem to dismiss these days. Getting a degree in a field that has job prospects is not always a slam dunk as seemingly solid career choices can change within a few years. I never understood why anyone would pursue a degree in a field that they had no interest in. I can't imagine going to work and hating what you do. Life is to be lived, not endured. Pursue a passion and money will eventually follow.

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evenmorejustJan. 17, 1211:05 AM

This guy does not have a clue. Outstanding student loan debt is near $1 trillion! No more of this paper mill degrees!

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evenmorejustJan. 17, 1211:06 AM

If college is such a good deal businesses would help finance it! They can with a $2K deduction but most will not!

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mikey7543Jan. 17, 12 3:52 PM

I went to college because I wanted to be a corrections officer. I applied and interviewed for a corrections officer and was denied twice. Therefore, college degree is utterly useless.

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cblock182003Jan. 17, 12 4:01 PM

Very dissapointed in this article, and it is this continous "general" assumption that any college education is better than nothing where the author is wrong. It is easy to say now that I have a 4-year degree that it is the type of education you get that matters most. However, not every teenager knows what they want to do with their life. Also, unless pushed most teenagers don't know what a good paying job means. Yea it probably is a great idea to do Nursing and not communications! But that is just not how most teenagers think. Anyone every wonder why we all pay the same amount at a college? Why would you not pay more for a nursing degree versus a lower paying job like teaching? Oh and here is some food for thought. The main problem we have is that most feel we are in a hard place because if you don't go to school there are few options for career paths. Eventually we will get to a point where you should just give 100k to an 18 year old and tell them to just invest the money. Most will probably do better than just going to school for 5 years with the proper education!

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merrytrareJan. 18, 1210:32 AM

FrankL, I am thinking that you have to have an interest and aptitude in science and math to even begin to qualify as teachers in those respective subjects. I have a great deal of respect for science and math teachers; when my students, especially my women students, tell me that is what they are going into, I am very happy for them and education. I am an English teacher, and I have found that most people have their strengths and weaknesses. However, the schools do need to teach all the subjects well so that students are motivated and also get the necessary background and knowledge to tackle all the teaching disciplines.

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chance123Jan. 18, 12 9:10 PM

I think that if you get a degree at a 4 year state university or non-profit private college, that is known and well-regarded, you will be fine. The real problem is the for-profit schools (Brown, Phoenix) that are the problem. Getting a PHd in finance from a for profit college would not even get you an interview at my firm, but it will provide us with a good laugh. Also, please don't spend/borrow anything to learn to be a bartender or corrections officer.

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william2mnJan. 24, 12 2:37 PM

"Is college worth it?" is too broad of a question. The question, IMHO, should be: "Is an undergraduate degree in for example History worth the same as a degree in Computer Science"? That question depends on who you ask and what they want from the education... If their goal is to make a good salary that will allow them to pay off a $50,000 or $100,000 student loan then the answer if probably "no" the BA in History may not be worth it - while the BS in CS may well be. I'm telling my kid to be realistic about what jobs pay and who is hiring when he is looking at majors (along with what he likes to do) but being poor with a degree you really wanted can't be much fun and getting a degree in a field that will lead to a good paycheck will still allow you to go back to school and learn about stuff that you really like but that won't pay the bills....

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