I titled this post The Business of College because that is exactly what a college is. It's a business. I know this may be shocking to some but anyone who has gone to college realizes that tuition rates normally go up to surpass inflation every year. I know it does for me. I believe getting a Post Secondary Education is important as long as you use it. Otherwise its a waste of time and hard earned money(rather you pay for it now or for the rest of your life.) I realize some people reading this post will tell me that one cannot find a good job without a college degree. To those people out there your wrong and right. I have gotten decent jobs that make good money since I was 18 without any sort of degree. Also many people have created their own business and jobs without a degree. I am currently working on a degree right now. Yes it is true that if you want to do something like being a doctor, accountant, lawyer etc... one will need a degree but just to make it in life you don't necessarily need one to start with.
Now the reason for this post is because most colleges have around 50% dropout rate for first year students. Many people take out student loans to pay for college. I've personally recruited people who joined the Navy just because they got out of college and had over $50,000 in student loan debt. That is a small house. Those are just the people who had the guts to walk through that door as a way to handle their student loan debt.
Now we are just talking about student loans here. According to collegestudentcreditcard.com The average credit card debt for college students is $2,700. Now this is average. I listen to the Dave Ramsey show and read a ton of articles where people just have tons of debt they have amassed during college because their whole life they were told they needed to get a degree or they won't make it.
In fact when I searched for credit card debt for college students, Discover Card was the first webpage that popped up with the start smart. This goes back again to my first post Financial Education. We are programmed to go to college and get a degree so we can be good employees without educating ourselves in finances. So much in fact that Doctors, Lawyers, etc.. are getting their houses foreclosed and filing bankruptcy. Not because they don't make money or have an education but because they were never taught how to handle their money.
I myself was told I needed to go to college and get a degree, but I was also taught the importance of taking on little to no debt as well. I didn't know the best way to do this until the Navy Recruiter called my house and talk me into joining the Navy. Now this isn't a push for the military. But talking to the Navy Recruiter changed my thinking towards college. It started with a few questions.
"Why do you want to go to college?" the recruiter at the time asked me. My first answer was "So I could get a degree." His next question was "Why do you need a degree?" My answer was "So I could get a good job." Than his last questions is what changed my whole way of thinking about college. "So if you could get a good job today without having to pay for college with time and money would you do it?" I was silent for few seconds and then answered "Yes". 2 days later I was raising my right hand and joining the Navy. Now again I am not saying go out and join the military. But if you do Go Navy. Seriously though it made me realize that College is a tool that is part of the journey but not the end result and not the only tool. Quite often college can sometimes not be the right tool for the moment and maybe never.
The point I am making is that college is a business. They want you to get a degree and go to school mainly so they can make a profit. Many students probably at least half who get degrees come out with a mountain of debt. On top of that just because you have a degree does not guarantee a job when one gets out. So if one comes out of college with a mountain of debt and makes about as much as a person with a non degree and not even working in the field he or she wants. Or worse the field he or she chose isn't the sunshine and rainbows he or she thought it was. This is all to common occurrence What is worse students come out of college are flabbergasted that the world works this way. I talked to individuals with this type of situation all the time who walked into the Navy Recruiting Office. 80 percent of whom had to be turned away because they didn't qualify for the military.
I know I was a little all over the place but college is a business to make money and one many people waste money on and more important asset time. Many students go to college not knowing what they want to do so they waste money on classes they don't need until they find out. All the while colleges are making more money off of them and the students are spending more and usually acquiring debt in the process. I personally believe no one should ever go into to debt to go to college. It is like a oxymoron to me. Why take out money to get a degree for a job you may never get? Its like borrowing money to invest in speculative stocks. It just doesn't make sense to me. Yes I believe college is important and many times necessary to get ahead. But taking one step forward and two steps back with debt just doesn't make sense to me. There is just to many opportunities and other options out there to achieve success. Even if it means putting college on hold or going part-time.
In conclusion, college is a business and it isn't in the business of your success it is in the business of making profits. Believe me when I say this. I have firsthand experience of how colleges take advantage of students. There are other options to going to college at least right away.
1. "College Student Debt Statistics - College Student Credit Card." College Student Debt Statistics - College Student Credit Card. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2013