The 'Education Bubble'
Within my own family, I've always promoted education as the last thing the federal government has yet to figure out how to tax! Hence, the more one can get, the farther they can 'travel' in their lifetimes. I have NOT always promoted a formal education as the way to go; an education can be as simple as the information a kid gleans from talking with the grarageman he takes his bike to when the chain won't stay on the sprokets. A far more valuable education can be had at a technical or a two-year junior or community college, at far less money.
Let's have a look at the statistics of financing said college education. Since 1982 AVERAGE cost of a bachelor's degree (tuition, room & board, books, et al) has increased 439%!! That rate of increase is twice the rate of medical care; four times the rate of inflation over the same period.
The current tuition annual averages: 2-year public college-$2,713; 4-year public college-$7,605; 4-year private college-$27,293.
Most students qualify for student aid. In a single year that pool of funds dropped 23%; from 2008-$37Billion, to 2009-$26Billion.
Projected AVERAGE total college expenses (bachelor's degree): public college in 2006-$12,796 versus 2018-$112,638; private college in 2006-$30,367 versus 2018-$267,308.
How the hell is anyone going to afford an 'Ivy League' education?!?
Relative to graduate loan debt, one study compares Simmons College (Boston,Ma., http://www.simmons.edu/) with Holy Cross College (Worcester, Ma., http://www.holycross.edu/):
Simmons enrollment: 4,933
Holy Cross enrollment: 2,932
Simmons total cost: $48,800
Holy Cross total cost: $50,942
Simmons average grad loan debt: $42,000
Holy Cross average grad loan debt: $17,000
Simmons College takes no position--positive or negative--on using private loans to finance education; Holy Cross actively discourages private loans!!
In recent years the job market--those not destroyed by the current regime--has been flooded with college graduates. In 2009 there were 1.6 MILLION graduates entering the job market. At graduation, 81% (that's 1,296,000) had no job!! Even if graduates find work, 45% of them are still only earning $15,000 TWO YEARS AFTER GRADUATION!!
Big Ed is a bubble! When it will burst is anyone's guess; how it will affect the parents, the students, the grads, those indebted is--again--anyone's guess. But.... rest assured, it will burst. The parent, the student could take steps to insulate themselves from 'getting splattered:'
Start with several institutions and compare ALL costs carefully;
Is it really worth attending a costly private college over a public one;
Fully investigate all financial aid and grant options before considering private loans;
If the student must consider private loans; insure the major choice will provide career opportunities to support the added debt;
The consensus is an individual--over a lifetime--is better off with a degree than without. A prior cost-benefit analysis is a must!!
My personal take on a technical versus a traditional college education:
Far more college grads hire plumbers than plumbers hire college grads!!
Check out Antioch College, Yellow Spring, Ohio! This college has 'had some financial problems' in the past and is trying to resurrect itself. To build a student base, the college is giving away a four-year degree,valued at $106,000. In my little world, that ain't toooooo shabby!!