Sunday, May 26, 2013

The college-industrial complex

Here's an interesting article off Yahoo entitled Dear Class of ‘13: You’ve Been Scammed.

According to this writer, college costs three times as much (adjusted for inflation) as it did 30 years ago. "Consider this: You have just paid about three times as much for your degree as did someone graduating 30 years ago," writes author Brett Arends. "That’s in constant dollars -- in other words, after accounting for inflation. There is no evidence that you have received a degree three times as good. Some would wonder if you have received a degree even one times as good."

And this doesn't count dorms, food, apartment costs, etc. This is just the cost of teaching. The writer calls this the "College-Industrial Complex."

Our girls have been priced out of the college market. If we can't afford $10,000 in health insurance costs, we sure as heck can't afford $40,000 a year for college costs. And what's the alternative? Saddle our girls with anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 in student loan debt? What an awful way to start their adult lives.

Older Daughter's choice to attend nanny school is, we feel, sensible and practical. The cost is moderate and her chances of employment are superb. Younger Daughter is still trying to figure out what she wants to do, so we haven't had to face the issue of higher education for her yet.

"Some members of the College-Industrial Complex are now talking about a new solution to bring down costs," notes Arends. "They want to reduce, or eliminate, the amount spent on the actual teaching. Instead, students will watch online videos."

I see. So material you could get for free on YouTube is worth nothing, but material you see at home on your computer through a college for a mere $40,000/year is critical to an adult's earning potential. Got it.

I'm fully aware that a wide variety of fields require extensive higher education. I don't want my doctor learning his skills through YouTube videos. But what about other fields? Can a businessman learn business skills by going into business or working for a business, rather than earning a business degree? I don't know, but it sure seems like a possibility.

So dear readers, what are your thoughts? Are you in college or facing college options for your children? What is your experience on this issue? Is college worth it?


  1. I think college is worth it if one is aspiring to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.... Otherwise, it's a total boondoggle!! All these kids being pushed into these worthless liberal arts degrees is astonishing.

    My husband and I (both engineering school grads) never felt like NOT going to college was an option. As adults, we're your typical "smart" people who would have no idea how to build a fence or milk a cow - and we're trying to do a lot of "catch up" in these departments!!

    With 4 kids, we're hoping against hope that they aspire to be plumbers, mechanics, or some other job with "real world" skills. The world does not need more sociology degrees, and I'm sure as heck not funding one!! :)

    Here's the flip side of that -- all these folks are taking out student loans, which must be paid back. So by raising tuition and then providing loans, the government (since these are state schools) employs more liberal professors to push their leftist agenda and churn out "educated adults" that believe all the liberal dogma. It's a win-win situation for the government.

  2. I'm in college currently, and the price is absurd for what you get. They use the money to build things we don't need, to make the school look nice. That way they can get more people to come there so they can make more money. It's a big cycle.
    It's not the professors either. Granted, some professors are only there for the cash and the good hours. But if you make it to a college level professor, you usually want to be there. And they get stuff done. Most of the department money is used to buy usable equipment to help us learn, or to get us accustomed to equipment or software we will be using in the job field. But even though the professors are good and use the money for actual learning techniques, half the time you can learn the same things from the right book and/or youtube video. For free.
    But for the higher ups, they're just in it to make money. They don't actually care what we learn. In the end, it all comes down to that little piece of paper that it is a bachelors degree. Because a lot of times, you can't get to the next step without it.

  3. I'm actually in college right now. If it weren't for two things - A) special pricing for the military and B) Tuition Assistance, I wouldn't be going. I would not pay what amounts to a year's rent for a degree that may or may not help me get a job when I retire from the military. And I certainly wouldn't pay that money so that some socialist hack could try to indoctrinate my classmates and me.

    And let's face it; while I'm getting a degree in business management, how many young kids out there are getting a degree in some field like "Womyn's Studies" or other rot of that nature? I would say that about half the degrees available are worthless in terms of getting a job outside academia. It equals paying six figures for a fancy piece of parchment that you can hang on your wall, and then go work as a fry cook at McDonalds.

  4. We are thankfully in a position where we are able to save money for college for our kids. By the time they graduate our homeschool, we should have enough saved up that they could attend an in-state college. However, we do not believe in going to college "just because". If our kids express an interest in something that could be learned without a degree, we'll definitely encourage that option.

    That said, my husband and I got through 13 total years of college education (undergrad for both, 1 year grad school for me, 4 years of med school for him) with a grand total of $14,000 in debt. And if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have taken out that loan for my year of grad school. We got our college costs covered by scholarships, and in fact had enough extra money left over that we lived off our scholarship money for the last two years of college.

    Don't count out college without checking out all the scholarship/financial aid (NOT LOAN) options. Likewise, don't count out the other ways to get an education besides the traditional college route.

  5. We went round and round about this with our daughter that is graduating (in 2 weeks - sheesh!). She wanted to go to a school for $19,000/year. Finally we managed to convince her that going to the local "Junior College" (might be a community college or some other name) at approximately $4,000/year (both costs do NOT include books, fees, etc...) for tuition the first two years was a smart idea.

    Part of what helped was a book called "Debt free U" - a lot of redundant info, but some very interesting data about student loans, debt, and the fact that a degree from a prestigious university isn't all that much different than one from a state U.

    In our case, the "JC" that she will go to has agreements with a number of state colleges and universities that they will accept the Associates degree from them directly into nearly all their programs.

    The other advantage is that you can get an Associates degree in something practical (Electronics Technology or some areas of computer programming/science) in two years and decide at that time if you want to go on or not. Plus it give one the ability to figure out just what area they want to study for a lot less cost than a $20,000 - $40,000 / year place does.

  6. We went round and round about this with our daughter that is graduating (in 2 weeks - sheesh!). She wanted to go to a school for $19,000/year. Finally we managed to convince her that going to the local "Junior College" (might be a community college or some other name) at approximately $4,000/year (both costs do NOT include books, fees, etc...) for tuition the first two years was a smart idea.

    Part of what helped was a book called "Debt free U" - a lot of redundant info, but some very interesting data about student loans, debt, and the fact that a degree from a prestigious university isn't all that much different than one from a state U.

    In our case, the "JC" that she will go to has agreements with a number of state colleges and universities that they will accept the Associates degree from them directly into nearly all their programs.

    The other advantage is that you can get an Associates degree in something practical (Electronics Technology or some areas of computer programming/science) in two years and decide at that time if you want to go on or not. Plus it give one the ability to figure out just what area they want to study for a lot less cost than a $20,000 - $40,000 / year place does.

  7. After hearing in high school how it was so important to go to college, it was early on in my college career that it was painfully obvious that most of the people there weren't there for any reason in particular, but this was the "next step" out of high school. Absolutely maddening. I'm glad for having gone to college, but I definitely don't feel like it's something that everyone needs to do. My husband, who has a master's degree, says all the time that he wishes that he could have done the master's program without the regular undergrad, because the majority of the classes he had as an undergrad didn't have anything to do with his field of study and seemed for the most part a waste of time.

    It does make me wonder what your take on the "Don't Fail Idaho" stuff that's been going around. I just saw the ads on television yesterday, and my knee-jerk reaction to the ad lamenting how (supposedly) only 4 in 10 high school kids in Idaho go on to college is that we don't need to force more kids into debt & wasting their time. It seems like they're trying to push computer science and programming in high school, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but even in CS, having a certified specialty is better than just having a general computer science degree. Their website is pretty, but badly designed (I think they want to look like Pinterest or something) so even though it was hard to see what they are really getting at, I can't help but shake the feeling like they're a group that's wanting to help strengthen the teachers' unions in the state.

  8., technology, engineering and math....those are the only degrees that currently pay back....I warn high schoolers all the time about going into debt...I am an engineering grad that co-op'd through school and came out with a minimum of loans (almost 20 years ago)....and dilligently paid them off...but it was difficult....

  9. You're not a Georgia Tech grad, are ya? :)

    1. if that was directed at me, no...Auburn grad here. ;)

  10. Education, including the STEM programs of today (though necessary I do understand, the undergraduate programs fail to educate) are a farce. Most of today's college graduates can't pass the high school graduation required exam of the early 1900s. Perhaps it's mere coincidence that a majority of today's self made millionaires and billionaires are college dropouts.

  11. More apprenticeships is my answer. Many careers could be learned totally on the job. An article I read one time told of a father that had all his kids serve in HVAc,daughter to beauty school and then they had good skills that could support themselves if they chose to go on to college.

    Personally I think my son's expensive Knox College educaiton was a waste. He does not work in his field...actually went back to school at my urging and is a nurse....and never without a good paying job! (So he can pay back his college loans....)

  12. I have one in college now, attending the same college I did. I can attest that the cost is about triple what it was when I was in 25 years ago. Fortunately for us, he has a scholarship that covers the cost, otherwise there's no way that we could afford it.

    I spent a while as a job developer for a state agency and saw all sorts of young people come out of college with degrees in things that, while they may have been interesting, would not help in the least as far as securing a job.

    I counseled them that if you are planning on going to school, whether it be college or some vocational training, you need to be able to say "I am a...." not "I have a degree in...". Something like a doctor, welder, teacher, plumber, engineer, etc. " I have a degree in..." Just doesn't

  13. "So material you could get for free on YouTube is worth nothing, but material you see at home on your computer through a college for a mere $40,000/year is critical to an adult's earning potential."

    Patrice once again you are dead on.
    I think college is a totally waste of time & money unless your kid wants to be a rocket scientist or a brain surgeon.
    The average person (young or otherwise) will make a better life for themselves by learning a practical trade.
    Plumbers, upholsterers, chefs,floral designers, cabinet makers,large equipment operators,personal trainers, bus drivers,masons, dog obedience trainers,dress makers, electricians,loggers,welders,jewelers, barbers/hair stylists,weavers, stencil artists,house painters/wallpaper hangers - or any of a hundred other professions need no or minimal training. Time spent as an apprentice/journeyman in most trades is time better spent than wasted in college not to mention the money earned.

  14. A while ago on a talk show a young man called, upset that he had graduated with a degree in Humanities AND $60,000 in student loans, but no one would hire him. I suggested that if rather than college he had gotten an apprenticeship as a plumber he could now have $60,000 in the bank (or equivalent) and a job for life - or at least until people no longer need bathrooms.

    JW M

  15. I keep telling my children that 1) College is not for everybody and 2) if you follow your dream, also be sure you have a fallback. If you want to study drama, be sure you take accounting so you can get a job while you try and become a struggling actor.

    It will be interesting to see in the years to come if the upcoming generations learn from this generation of high student loan debt and limited job options for many of their fields.

  16. Most of my 4-year degree was a total waste of time. I did a couple semesters of a Master's degree program and concluded that it was an even bigger waste of time and money.

    The only classes worth taking in the whole business administration program were accounting and finance classes. The rest was just so much bovine droppings regarding the theory of the year. Perhaps I was a bit, er, short tempered about my time being wasted, but I was by that time an Army veteran, wife, mother of a young family, and small business owner. I pity the young going straight from high school to college without even a work background for perspective. They won't be able to sort the rare nuggets of gold from the huge piles of crap, and it's going to hurt them.

    Didn't take out any loans, grants, or scholarships. Used some GI bill money but mostly self paid because the government is so danged inefficient. Couldn't take dealing with them.

    I would advise a young person to follow their interests and start their own business before going to college. They'll learn a lot more from the practical rather than the theoretical (which will be memorized just long enough for the test and then promptly forgotten), and they can pursue the classes that will be of actual value to them when they know what they need to focus on.

  17. Actually college is not worth it. I was working for the State and as such was required to have a degree. It didn't have to be a degree that complimented the job, just a degree.
    Colleges are part of the State system so therefore them requiring a degree was just another way for the State to raise Money.

  18. I graduated high school in 2000 and college in 2005, and in college I graduated with 2 BS degrees in natural resources related fields. Which to get permanent jobs in those fields you have to have college degrees with X amount of credits in certain subjects. The only problem is, so many people are going to college for that now, there are no jobs and now even lower paying permanent jobs are going to people with masters. But in all honesty, in natural resources related jobs fields, a college degree shouldn't be necessary, its the hands on training you get on the jobs that you actually use, not all the crap you learn in school. My husband is a high school teacher, he teaches elective classes in machining/manufacturing. Most of the kids that take his classes are considered the problem students, the ones the other teachers don't want to deal with. They are the outcasts that people say won't accomplish anything in life. Many of these kids suck at regular school classes but excel at his class, they want to learn how to do this and want to get jobs in that field. And often they can get good paying job in that field after completing a 2 year tech degree at a local community college, which is pretty cheap to attend. But kids that take those classes are looked down on, not just by many teachers, but also by parents and people in the community. And sadly its careers like that, that are lacking employees, so kids can get jobs in them.

    For me personally I see college as a waste of time and money for most people. I wish I would have never gone and I think most careers could be taught with just hands on work, like it used to be in the 1800s/early 1900s. Where if someone wanted to learn how to work with metal or wood, they would apprentice with people and learn the trade or like mechanics in the early/mid 1900s. I lived in a college town for over 10 years and seen all the kids that went to school for the most random degrees, most of which ended up working in retail after they graduated and owe thousands in loans. I like the thought of community colleges better than regular colleges. It's way cheaper to attend and many offer 2 year programs that grant you a certificate at the end where you can get a job in that field, such as being a vet tech, certain types of nurses, mechanics, etc.

    Sadly though in the US and much of the rest of the world many careers are looked down on and many people don't want to work those jobs and look at only jobs that require a college degree as "real jobs". I do wish however that high schools didn't try to force the issue of college on kids. Many kids aren't cut out for college and for them its just a waste of money.

  19. I don't have children, but if I did, I wouldn't worry so much about sending them to college. I did go to college, because that was what I wanted to do. My first degree was an associate's degree that took me longer than the two years to earn, because I was working to pay for everything myself. With that degree, I was able to go on and use it toward another full bachelor's degree. I worked full time and continued my education at night.

    A few years ago, the local university started offering a bachelor's degree in Spanish, which is what I had wanted originally. I thought it was going to be the best thing ever, and I was finally going to get the degree I had dreamed of. Turned out, it was more of a nightmare, and indicative of why I am no longer impressed by college degrees.

    I am old enough to remember when teachers and professors actually bothered to teach. That's why in all of my classes in recent years, I have been so disappointed. Most of the professors expected the students to do the teaching while the professors sat in the back of the room, doing nothing. The younger students today don't realize that teachers are actually supposed to teach, and think it's normal for them to do nothing. Of course, that's assuming the "professor" knows anything about what they are supposed to teach. Again, being older, I was able to recognize the revisionist history being taught, as well as the prevalence of anti-American ideas in all kinds of classes. I once had a writing class where the objective wasn't to actually teach writing, but to indoctrinate the students with the professor's socialist ideas.

    These days, I would give more credence to a mechanic, a plumber, or a carpenter who has never seen the inside of a college or university than I would to someone with a piece of paper that says they sat through four years of nonsense, while learning nothing of any value.

  20. I'm currently going to college for an engineering degree. Our community college offers a mechanical and an electrical engineering associates, with only three more classes to go from the mechanical to electrical. My over-all goal is to either get the mechanical or civil from a 4-year school, but the difference between $40K and $6K a year was too good to pass up, and I don't need to move to a campus 300 miles away.

    I tried going to college right out of high school (class of '05), but my heart just wasn't in it. Now that I have a great wife, an 8 month old kid, and a new old house (built 50 years ago, new to us), I want to get back into school. We're paying for it out of pocket and with grants, no debt whatsoever. So far some classes are going to be useful no matter what; Calculus, CAD, etc. Others are completely worthless for what I'm after; I don't care if the Mongols swept through Russia this way or that way, I don't care if rubies were mined from this part of Africa and Emeralds from that part. Oh well, it'll be worth it in the long run

  21. Technical schools are an affordable option if a student knows what they want to do.
    Like Community Colleges, they are often 2 year schools and many have definite job opportunities at the end of the course.

    Our oldest boy just finished Craven Community College in North Carolina. He got a student job on campus, and put in for every grant that he thought he might be eligible for.
    He spent three years in England, while his wife attended Royal Holloway University, working at a pharmacy nearby. He worked his way up from stocking shelves, to taking--and passing--a pharmacy test that would have allowed him to process prescriptions with a pharmacist on hand.

    Sadly, her possibility of a teaching position disappeared after she graduated as England's economy is as bad off as ours.

    Anyway, he decided he wanted to become a pharmacist. While in community college, he found that he could get a paid scholarship to UNC Chapel Hill, if he maintained a certain grade level -- which he did.

    They signed for their apartment on campus last week.
    And he has already started submitting for more grants and looking for a job he can work around his university schedule.

    Sorry for the long reply. I hope I made some sense that can help you. Loans are not the way to go in an economy where almost everything is made in China; but if your student can find grants or awards, that may be the way to go.

  22. Technical schools are a much better route to take than the traditional 4 or 5 year degree programs at colleges.

  23. I agree with a lot of your comments. I think society puts pressure on young people to go to college and often when it might not be for them and/or they are unsure of what they want to do with their lives.

  24. I am currently an Apprentice Electrician, I have to go to four years of school in addition to 8000 hours of on the job training to become a Journyman, the VA pays for it, but what a bunch of crap, nine months of school and on the job training would get me to the same place but would not generate funds for "educators". The "good" jobs require a college education to be considered for a position. Until government gets smaller this trend will continue.

  25. What a joke! I am a fully credentialed teacher with 4 years experience and can show you I am very good at my job! However, for 3 years now I haven't had a job. There was one position in our town of 500,000 people and over 300 teachers who made it through the other applicants and got the interview, and who got the job? A first year out of college teacher, do you know why? $$$$$ that teacher who has no experience at running a classroom while getting students go are below basic or worse up to state standards only makes 28-30 thousand a year while those of us who CAN get students up to standards are getting paid 40 thousand a year due to our experience and college credits! Here is the worst part, I personally owe 75 thousand dollars in student loans! Yah tell me about it, when I went to college everyone told me " People will have children and those children will need schooling"! Well they were wrong, teaching positions are few and scares! It's so bad that many teachers I know have a second degree in something or are working for minimum wadges. No one entering college can pay the student loans off, and if they can afford the 800-900$ per unit (one class is normally 4-5 units) that is great, but even students going to be doctors is also getting hard. Who wants to be a doctor with obamacare?! Just my thoughts,

  26. You may want to check out You basically take the KLEP test for as many subjects as you can, then take classes online at 1 of 2 colleges to obtain your degree. It's a fraction of the time, and a fraction of the cost.

    Another problem with college is that the Federal Government completely controls all college funding. You must file a FAFSA form, tell all your financial details, and then they deny you anyway. 2 colleges that don't take Federal funds are Hillsdale and Patrick Henry College - and they have developed private sources of funding to assist with the costs.

    I have one that is working to earn the money to return to school, and 1 just graduated homeschool high school last night who also plans to work a year before considering college.

    DWLee3 in Bend, Oregon.

    DWLee3 in Bend, Oregon.

  27. dig around here...

  28. When I was younger, you were almost guaranteed a job if you had a college degree, therefore nearly everyone went to college if they could. Now we have highly educated idiots who don't know how to DO anything. I am a college graduate and have not "used" my degree for even a day, though I am glad for the experience and the fact that I met my hubby in college. I have four children and have told them they have to pay for their own education and would be better off learning a trade. My oldest is 16 and we have made an effort to expose him to different occupations/skills. He can fence, operate equipment, finish cement, and will be helping a local butcher this summer. He was hired to practically manage a farm last summer for the owners who do not live here. They relied on a 15 yr old for their crop and asked him what they should do!! If you know what you want to do and can work your way through college, go for it. For most people, they are better off learning a SKILL.

    Cindy L.
    NE Calif

  29. Although I would never advocate for someone to go to college to pursue a non-professional degree, there are careers that simply require a degree. And although you quote an estimated 40K as the cost, excellent students CAN and DO go for free. I believe your children could well fall within that category. My daughter will enter an engineering program next year at a christian college, for the cost of room and board IF she does not get MORE scholarships. She could have gone to her second choice college for free. Since we had saved and she is working and has a work program at her college, this is a reasonable option for her, and engineering is a career which requires a college degree.

  30. I found the book "Chucking College" to be very helpful:

  31. I've been saying for the past 20 years that employers only want bachelor's degrees to increase the chances of applicants having an 8th grade reading level...

  32. And concerning "online videos", the college I will be attending in the fall charges 93 bucks more per credit hour for internet classes than it does for traditional lecture classes. Talk about milking profits.

  33. Probably LONG post on college, because it's a hot topic around our house. I have a son with autism who is heading into 9th grade and a 12 year old 7th grade daughter who is probably going to skip up to 9th grade next year.

    The idea that "everyone should go to college" is patently false. Not everyone wants to, is cut out to nor needs to go to college. At best it's a politician trying to make folks feel good, at worst it's further attempt at subjugating our children to insurmountable debt.

    I have a cousin who I think did the smartest thing ever. He married at 20 after serving a 2 year mission for his church. He learned a trade first - large machinery repair in factories. He worked his trade and traded working at their apartment complex in lieu of rent until his wife finished college.

    Then he joined the Air Force where he was put to work repairing jet engines. In the meantime, he's using the military tuition assistance and just received his Associates degree. Bachelor degree is next on the list. He is able to very comfortably support his stay at home mom wife and three children. Good plan!

    My son, at this time, wants to go to college for chemistry, biology or engineering. All good majors. It is likely that his disability (autism) will make a very good essay someday for a scholarship application. We are also encouraging him to look at some related trades such as electrician.

    Daughter wants to be a geneticist or biochemist. But if you ask her what she'll study, her answer is "Well, it depends on what jobs are available when I start college, what college costs, if the job I want would cover the cost of the education...". If she skips to 9th grade, which is likely, she'll have an extra year in high school where she'll be able to concentrate on getting some general ed college classes out of the way. Our school has an on-line agreement with Clarion University. We pay $100/credit and daughter gets both high school and college credit. Daughter also plays soccer & the trumpet so has mentioned keeping an eye out for scholarship opportunities.

    Myself, I hope the whole college paradigm comes crashing down before they get there. The costs are ridiculous, the benefits scant, the loan business criminal.

    High schools need to go back to offering more trade school tracks. We'll always need plumbers, electricians, nurses and mechanics. And our government has to stop letting in so many illegal immigrants - they have been instrumental in pushing down trade wages.

  34. look at Udacity

    and other free online sites.
    my daughter has a disabling illness and was just able to get her two-year degree before she collapsed entirely.
    after a real diagnosis-not psychogenic!!-
    her medicine brought her back from the brink and she can get as many as 4 good hours out of a day.
    yes, Patrice, she is one of the 'useless eaters' who gets food stamps but she gets no medical aid at all.
    no, she did not have to pee in a jar to prove she was worthy.
    we heard about Udacity on Charley Rose, on PBS.
    she loves it. it is free thanks to the kind and stunningly intelligent donating professors.
    you can get credit for some courses for a small fee.
    i think we also saw Dr. Khan on C.R. on PBS.
    khanacademy is great for homeschoolers with internet access--try the library!!
    Khan is for all grades. the others are college but let your kids look at it even if they are young. it is stunning how smart kids are.
    they need earphones at the library but your library may supply them.
    a service of the taxpayers. we always vote for the library money and for the developmentally disabled money, too, when it is on the ballot.
    no. i am far from liberal--i am a hillbilly. and a Southerner, if that tells you anything.
    try these sites and there are more, it is the wave of the future. don't get drawn into anything. the above sites are above board.
    my daughter is having great enjoyment from these courses, like a kid in a candy store.
    you view when you have time. some do have a date to begin and finish and be sure to order the necessary books thru inter-library loan before you need them.
    much love in Jesus, deb harvey
    sorry if i was a bit rough Patrice i was a social worker and i have seen the abuses but i have also seen those bankrupted by serious illness and under other types of hardships who need help to keep heads above water. .what of adult retarded kids? their parents often live a nightmare to try to secure aid for the child when the parent is dead or in a nursing home.
    Christian provision must be one of our burdens.

  35. Colleges have grown in the same ways our government has! The bloat is astounding.

    If they really want to cut teaching costs, they should cut out electives and offer programs that teach the vocation. Requiring students to take cultural geography or philosophy so they can be an audiologist is astoundingly stupid.

    I would never recommend "college" unless someone was flush with cash to pay for it or was going on scholarship. The student loan and grant business the government is involved with has only served to drive up the costs of a so called education.

    Vocational technical/trade schools are the way to go. If I were king, even medical doctors would go to such schools. As another poster wrote, he must go to school four years to take classes that he could do in nine months if all the garbage was cut out.

    Both our girls have gone to college, on full scholarships, though. That is the only way I could ever recommend it. Neither kiddo went to the school of their dreams, they went to good schools that recognized their talent! One went on an ROTC scholarship but had to go into nursing instead of education to make it work. Incidentally, she got her teaching opportunity and found she missed nursing more, so is back there. She never intended to be a nurse growing up, but the opportunity was there, she took it, made the best of it and has never been out of employment.

  36. I'll chime in cause, well... you asked.

    I was raised to believe a college degree guaranteed success. $80,000 later I had my Bachelor's of Science and it was almost worthless (unless I wanted to work for $20k a year).

    Then I attended a "technical school" for two years and became licensed in Radiography (x-ray tech). This netted me $50k/year easily. It amazed me that a 2 year tech school (which cost $20k) was so superior to a big university like Arizona State, in terms of earning potential.

    The truth was, you have to research the end result or ending career path. Analyze the FUTURE of that particular job market to determine if you are headed down the right path. My BS in Psychology was worthless to me because I not only didn't care for counseling other people's problems but also wanted to earn six figures.

    Following the same "tech school" philosophy, I repeated the concept. This time, I returned to a tech school for two years and graduated from Sonography (ultrasound tech) for a mere $8k. This raised me to $66k a year but with all the overtime, I cleared six figures. And I did it four years in a row.

    Now before you think I left this post to be smug or to brag, hear the end of the story because I was in for yet another lesson.

    Acknowledging that my field of Radiology was on fire, I gladly recommended the field to anyone looking for career advice. Perhaps I should have stepped back and looked at the trend once again. What I was blind to see was that the business sector also saw the Radiology field as a hot job market. In a two year period, around 15 technical schools popped up around the Phoenix metro area. Tech schools, community colleges and online-only schools have now completely flooded the market for Radiographers, CT Techs Sonographers and Echosonographers.

    It all hit home for me when my little hospital was purchased by a large conglomerate. Two weeks later, I was laid off. 4 years @ ASU & 4 years of tech school and I'm applying 3 hours north in Flagstaff, 3.5 hours south near the Mexico border and back home in Oklahoma just to get a job.

    My saving grace is that I followed blogs like this and began canning, prepping, storing, accumulating and saving. I have a year of food stored and am thankful. I only wish that I had moved to a farmstead/homestead already.

    It's funny... in a way. As a kid, I hated farming. Cows stunk, work was hard, and I was made fun of at the city school for wearing Wrangler jeans instead of Levis. So I moved to a big city, got a big, expensive degree and racked up lots of debt... including a house $60k upside down.

    Now all I can think about is how to get back to the farm as soon as possible. Not just for my sake but for my children and grandchildren.

    Rant over.

  37. Everyone is different, I do not want my doctor to get an online degree, but I am not sure the degree from the Syrian University is any better (I'm not kidding). I paid for my college degree by working at an insurance office, when I graduated with my shiny degree in Biochemistry no one was looking for chemists, but my experience in the insurance field has kept me employed until recently when my husband got laid off and we took his pension and retired to Idaho. Now I counsel seniors in our church on medicare and rant about Obamacare, (I can however pronounce all the words on the back of those cleansers, and explain why they are harmful to your brain or whatever!) I learned my career by going to college - sort of! ;)

  38. It's too bad apprenticeships are all but gone-learning a trade such as a plumber or electrician may be a better alternative for many.

  39. I attended a university for 2 years (at my mother's insistence) before figuring out I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. Basically I was pushed into college right out of high school and encouraged to major in what SHE thought would be best a.k.a. what would earn a lot of money without regard to my interests or happiness. Granted, she was paying for it. Huge waste of money! I left after two years, although I assumed I'd return to finish.

    During that "down time" I worked for my parents small real estate firm. I enjoyed the appraisal aspect and took the formal training to become a real estate appraiser in the mid 90s. I've worked for myself and have had the good fortune to make a decent living, homeschool my kids, and never need daycare.

    It is a job I had hoped my kids could use as a fallback if college wasn't in their cards. BUT in the last couple of years that has changed - now one MUST have a bachelors degree to be eligible for licensing. Mind you, the degree can be in basket weaving AND then you'll still need to complete the required round of pertinent appraisal courses (available privately and at community colleges) and a lengthy apprenticeship. All this to appraise someones house! In 2000 you could be up and running after less than $5000 tuition. I guess I could understand if the requirement had changed so that a license now required an associates degree in the specific field, but there is no way an unrelated bachelors degree gives an advantage in this field.

    My father has no college degree but can walk though a house without measuring it and in five minutes give you ballpark estimate of value with 95% accuracy and be within 100 square feet of the actual size. There are some things you learn from experience. And then there is college.

  40. There is one more option that I haven't seen mentioned yet. It's college reimbursement programs.

    Where I work, they will pay for your college through a reimbursement program. The degree must be related to jobs within the company. Since this is a mining company, it's wide open to all kinds of degrees: Engineering(We have chemical, electrical, civil, mechanical, process, mining engineers), Accounting and Finance, Business(I think), Chemistry, as well as trade degrees: Mechanics, Heavy Machinery, Electrician, etc. In fact, the company just donated $500,000 to the local Junior College to help start an apprenticeship program so you get on the job training as well as an associates degree.

    The way the program works is that you must pay the tuition first, for every class you make a B or better in, they will reimburse you up to $6,000/semester or year, can't remember.

    Depending on what our girls want to do when they grow up, this is the option we will encourage them to explore if they want a degree.

    Keep in mind, a degree, even in engineering, doesn't gaurantee a job. I had to get a Masters to get a job after I finished my bachelors, and I applied all over the Western half of the US.


  41. I joined the military right out of High School, did 4 years then got out and went to Indiana State for 1 semester under The G.I. Bill. The G.I. Bill? What a joke, didn't pay for books let alone any of the numerous costs of 'higher education'. After that 1 semester I reentered the College of Hard Knocks and went back into the military and made it a 21+ year career in the Navy. Worked out fine did drawing a pension at 39! Not enough to live on, but sure does look good hitting the bank every first day of the month...

  42. I agree with many of the above posters - look at the career prospects of a field and the costs of college before you get a degree; treat it like the investment that it is.
    STEM and a few other subjects, like medicine, are worth it - many subjects are not.
    As an engineer, my degree from an inexpensive private school cost less than I make in 1 year, not 3 or 4, and I was fortunate that my parents were savers and able to help with college so I have no loans.

    One thing not mentioned above: For any woman that wants to be a stay at home mother, I STRONGLY recommend work experience at some point - I have met several women who, through death, illness, or divorce, suddenly had to provide for their family and really struggled to do so - EVERYONE needs to have a plan to provide an income if it becomes necessary!

  43. Hey God opened the doors for us in the college area,so
    far. I homeschooled my daughter. She started at the
    local Vo-tech, to get her basis English and Math, etc.
    We found out after year, that Dillion had an outreach
    progrom in early Childhood educaton. So our daughter
    was able to stay home and attend those classes. And
    we had saved up to that point for them. Now she is living in town and working part time and finishing her
    associate degree, and it is still all paid for.
    So that may be the way to go for some of you.

  44. Hey another thought that I just had. McGill univistry
    in Canada is like our Ivory leaguea colleges down here
    but I think that it is under 15,000 a year form everything.You all might want to check into some
    Canadan colleges.

  45. First suggestion: a year before Younger Daughter could go off to college, applying for scholarships should become her full time job. Start local ( Rotary, Kiwanis, etc. ) and apply for everything that she is not automatically disqualified for.
    Second suggestion: find a school that has a co-op program in the field she is studying. It's extra money for school plus work experience.

  46. We have been real blessed here in southwest Missouri. My daughter graduated from a high school that participates in the A+ program (students have good grades-not all A's, good attendance, and perform 50 hours of tutoring). The program allows her to attend the local community college for 2 yrs with FREE tuition!! She has bought most of her books on craigslist or from other students. She is currently in the nursing program. My son is now a junior and has been homeschooled since 8th grade. He is not eligible for the A+ program. However, there is another rural community college about an hour from us that allows students who are still in high school (either homeschooled or public) to take classes for...get this $60 a credit hour and they let the students borrow the textbooks. No other fees!!! Praise the Lord. So for his senior year he will be taking all online classes! 12 credit hours (1 semester) will cost about $680. He plans on being an Engineer but we are encouraging him to get his mowing business off the ground and go from there. My kids do not need to go to college to 'find themselves'. They are both strong young Christians who have high morals and standards. My son loves theology and apologetics. I pity the professor that tries to convince him that he came from pond scum!

  47. My husband and I took out school loans to go to college, because it was what we thought "successful" people needed to do. We pay as much in school loans a month as we do for our mortgage! And it has been 12 years. The balance barely inches down each year. I definitely don't want this kind of economic slavery for my children.
    Incidentally, his well-paying job is a result of working his way up in one of those same jobs he got in college--pumping gas at a convenience store. His counterparts do not have degrees, so it hasn't enhanced his opportunities, only his belief in his worth. As I am a stay-home mom/seasonal worker, my degree is literally worth kindling to me.
    Amanda in Maine

  48. Couple of thoughts/tips:

    - I think there is a pervasive attitude in our culture that the parents should be responsible for their kid's college tuition. This is probably closely related to the fact that in our culture, a college education is somehow the answer to all of life's problems. When in fact, the parents are paying $50,000 a year for little Johnny or Sally to be indoctrinated by a very dangerous mix of leftist ideology that not only will NOT prepare them for the real world in any tangible way but in fact turn them into the very agents of destruction of our once great Republic.

    - However, if one must go to college, take on mechanical, electrical or software engineering with an emphasis on robotics. That way, you can be involved with designing the robots that will perform almost all of the jobs (including complex skilled positions like practicing medicine and surgery) in the next 20 years.

    - Or, how about this. Forget about the rat race completely. The "American Dream" as we know it, is a scam. It's really nothing more than a modern day golden calf that we (most Americans) unknowingly worship. Getting the big degree to chase the dream career to get the bigger home, better car, fatter pay check to accumulate more stuff does not lead to happiness. It does lead to events like the 2008 housing bubble burst or increased divorce rates or health problems due to stress or being slave to an employer that cares nothing about you but it certainly won't lead to happiness. Trust me, I started down that path.

    Get a small house with a bit of land, live way below your means, don't go to college, learn a skill that you enjoy doing and get a decent job that you enjoy doing or start a business. You won't have to make a lot of money as you'll be living below your means without student load debt.

    Get rid of cable and TV, plant a large garden. Spend time with family in the garden for example. Store food. Participate in the most sustainable and green form of gathering local, free range, organic foods: hunt and fish. Donate food to the needy in your community. Volunteer at church. Barter for stuff, its fun. Get a wood stove, split wood. There are few things better than a house warmed by a wood fire. We heat our entire house with wood here in CO. Going down this path, you won't make much money and probably won't be able to afford sending your kids to college (back to my first thought) but you and your family will probably be much happier and closer.

    Lastly for true happiness only repenting and believing in the Lord Jesus Christ will bring the joy that we all seek. Jesus transcends ALL of these things. When He is our focus all other things fall into place regardless of what situation we are in.

  49. College-- PFFFFT!!

    If you're not going into medicine, engineering, or law (and I hope you've raised your kids well enough that they don't want to go into law), it's useless.

    It's worse than useless. It's a stultifying waste of time, money, and youth.

    I went to college straight out of high school, even though I didn't know what I wanted to do. I think it was supposed to be a safe place for me to finish growing up out from under my father's roof or something...

    ...and I could have accomplished the same thing with a job and an apartment (or, for that matter, by getting a job and paying my father rent).

    As it was, I spent six years changing majors, only to leave with a Liberal Arts degree (my, don't I write well?? Yeah-- but I didn't learn it in college!!). The real degrees that meant something to me were the ones people joke about-- "MRS" and "MOM."

    My husband fought his way through engineering school. With a massive mound of student-loan debt. We did finally get it all paid off, and he's making excellent money...

    ...but I have to issue a word of caution to the would-be engineering student. His $70K salary comes with A LOT (and I do mean A LOT) of 70-hour weeks. He cries, frequently, over how little of him is left for our kids. He yells often, over insignificant things. He NEVER feels well any more. In the last year, two of his co-workers have died of heart attacks in their early 40s.

    Think about what you're buying.