In the search for greener pastures, millions of students hit college. Progressive steps, right? After all, when many of us were raised by our baby-boomer parents the American dream was college. So, here I am holding Internet Technology degrees and an MIS in Criminal Justice. In my PhD path, something happened. The interest rate increased and my lame payments seemed as useless as using a toothbrush cleaning up a landfill. Bill Gates was contemplating some mistakes he regretted; his ability to allow Ctrl+Alt+Delete and dropping out of Harvard. If you were a college student, what is your take on this?
Let us delve into the spectrum of numbers. Certainly, the majority of us will not rise to the fame and fortune of Bill Gates, Matt Damon or even Steve Jobs (RIP) – so should the rest of us remain committed to an educational path that is becoming saturated? A jaunt over to the National Center for Education Statistics shows education has been on a steady rise since 2000. While America has a whole has seen an average 20 percent increase in college enrollments, further yet are the reviews of the individual states. Iowa experienced a 60 percent increase from 2000 to 2010. The rush to college picked up during the sub-prime collapse in 2008, resulting in fierce competition for jobs.
While Bill Gates regrets dropping out of college, it seems he has no plans to rectify that (he did receive an honorary degree in 2007). Unlike Bill Gates, the greater majority of Americans would not be able to fund their own education without assistance. Heading over to the American Student Assistance revealed numbers that is slightly troubling. Is America headed for the next great bubble burst?
- In 2012 over 60 percent of students needed student loan assistance.
- The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau reported $1 trillion dollars as outstanding student loan debt (this is up to 2012 and does not include data from 2013.)
- From that amount, students over the age of 60-years-old carry $43 billion of that troubling debt.
- Only 37 percent of students are able to make *some* timely payments. For every one student that pays on time, two more students become delinquent.
- 48 percent of students within the 25-34 age bracket blame the delinquency on their inability to find jobs.
For the amount of education, costs in association and time — students are still left without jobs. Every single person can find someone in their circle of friends that relate to this situation. Someone who sought the big dream to now feel like their drowning in excessive debt. College costs are continually rising, a simple review reveals that information. This leave students in a bind of continuing education to determine if more is better, or quitting and facing the harsh reality of a seemingly good choice.
Adults take to the web to create a future five year plan. They review the industries in demand such as Medicine, Technology, Engineering, Science majors and a continuing guessing game. Students start enrolling in majors they necessarily are not interested in, seeking the big dollar. Before they know it, they have fallen into a trap of education they no longer enjoy, resulting in engorged debt.
I am not saying here to give up college. I am stating to make the right choices if you decide to make that leap. Consider your interests and the alternatives that may exist. Interested in fashion? Instead of heading for that four-year degree, consider a local fashion institute. Enjoy technology? Consider certifications such as Oracle or Cisco certifications like CCNA. Love medicine? Review a two year college which cuts the initial cost tremendously. Right choices and realizing the realities of the situation will help you make the right decision for your future. Obtaining a higher education degree does not guarantee you a place in the job market.
Students can fault the college for raising tuition, or employers for making education such a big deal. The action of attendance is only on you and I as the individual responsible. Screaming for free college tutition does not offer a competitive advantage or a fair playing field. It merely disintegrates the aspect of competition and now truly creates a saturation level of massive proportions. Education is a bubble – simple solutions are needed that make credible sense. This starts with the student and level of choice.
Bill Gates mentioned in an interview with Harvard, his conglomerate may had continued on the same path of success had he remained in college. The analysis of that assumption is broad, and considering he was an interview with said college makes one understand why he relayed that answer. In the more humble aspects of everyday individuals, like you and I –we have to weigh all options. Seek your industry level and consider paid internships if electing to attend college. Consider the consequences as repeatedly as the potential positives. The decisions made do create a ripple effect of what your future will hold.