I have to shake my head when I see politicians promoting “free college” and “student loan forgiveness”. College grads are supposed to be smart & responsible, aren’t they?
In my view, college students are adults and they voluntarily entered into these loans with the help of the friendly folks in the university admissions department (who try hard to disguise their job as anything but what they are – simple salespeople).
The first education these students should have received is to be wary of anything sold to you with debt. Buying anything with a price that requires decades of future payments is a dangerous business. Even more so when statistics show that 40% of those who start, won’t finish their degree.
Increasingly, we are seeing that a college degree has an iffy ROI. Compare the starting salaries by major in the chart below with this article from MSNBC reporting that Walmart will now train new drivers at $85K-$110K/year starting salary …
Just think how far ahead these truck drivers will be financially than college students investing four years of their life and a small treasure for a diploma! With a starting salary 3x higher than the average college graduate and no debt, it will be hard for college students to catch them financially.
I’m guessing the same tough comparison applies to many trades and construction jobs. While debt-drenched students are strolling between ivy-covered university buildings, these folks will be miles ahead financially. (I say this as someone who worked all through college and still ended up with a good deal of college debt).
Obviously, there is more to life than just money. Many interesting & challenging jobs are only available to those with a college degree. I had a job that required a graduate degree. Still, we are doing a disservice to everyone to pretend college is singularly the most advantageous way forward for most young people. Especially those that would take on significant debt.
Perhaps some clever young folks would even consider working a job like this for a few years to fund their college later? Or start a small business of their own? Maybe a trucking company?
Has the cost of a college degree become significantly out of line with the financial benefits?
Image Credit: Walmart Corporate, Statistica