Is a college degree a plus or minus? I recently came across an article, Student loan debt a ‘crushing burden’ that harms young families , that made me think about the practical implications of a college degree. It’s actually not so much about a college degree but questions the amount of loan debt a person has after college and the effect it has on family life.
This was followed up by this article, Rethinking College as Student-Loan Burden Rising. Now there are some flaws in this interview. The first is that if you didn’t send your child to college, you would otherwise have a significant amount of money available to invest or use to start a business. This may not be the case for most people. However, he still makes an important point about other paths to getting an education, especially considering starting a business.
The basic point is that with escalating college costs, there is a point of diminishing return with the value you get from it. This is not to say there is no value to college education but that there is a point where, financially, the costs can outweigh the benefits. Carrying that much debt right when you are starting out the gate in your career should certainly give parents pause.
The other point is that college does not have an exclusive lock on education. There are other types of education and many have more value than what you can learn in a classroom.
I think a smart approach to college is to get some basic skills out of the way at a local community college, then take an entry level office job related to your area of interest. This should be at a company that offers tuition reimbursement. Typically the company requires you to stay for two years with them otherwise you have to pay them back. I also think that you may get more value at night school compared to daytime classes.