skip to main content
planning across the spectrum logo - special needs certified financial planning services connecticut
  • Posted August 6, 2018

My Issue With Higher Ed

It seems like almost every day I’m hearing another depressing statistic about student loan debt and how quickly it’s climbing. It frustrates me, because to a significant degree this is controllable. I will concede the point it’s unlikely the majority of students will get through college without ANY debt, but I am raising the B******T flag on earning a Bachelor degree with more than $50k in debt (sometimes 6 or more times this amount).

I can hear the arguments now – but it costs a lot to become a physician and/or attorney – and  will not disagree. But not everyone going to college is in those particular courses of study. What is the stigma of attending an in-state community college for your 100/200 level courses? Unless you’re earning them in High School, I don’t see much value in paying the higher costs required at a 4-year university.

Or what about learning a trade? I refuse to believe I was the only High School graduate who didn’t have it “figured out”. I chose to join the Navy, because it offered me an opportunity to get as far away from Massachusetts as I could imagine (literally – San Diego, CA). This is not, nor should it be, for everyone; but neither is college.

Yes, unskilled labor jobs are drying up and it’s getting much harder to find work without experience. But you can get experience through apprenticeships, and get paid while you learn. It bothers me at a visceral level when I meet someone whose annual salary is less than half what they owe in student loans, because I don’t understand how they did this to themselves.

Where was their support group – friends, family, etc? Someone to challenge the belief they need to incur so much debt to better themselves. Or have we all sipped the Kool-Aid and bought into the belief the value of an education is directly correlated to how much you’ve spent?

It’s my belief there are a LOT of great schools, all across the country. Attend for the teachers, and the pathways they can open in your mind – after all isn’t that what education is all about? So I challenge you – students and parents alike: try a state school, or be so committed to your belief in the value of other institutions you do the work necessary to qualify for scholarships and grants. Let’s get rid of this belief the quality of the degree comes from how much you paid.