Newsweek: Is College a Lousy Investment?
In the September 17th issue of Newsweek, Megan McArdle interestingly tackles the worthiness of a college education. As a recent college graduate, I have often pondered the same question. I graduated a few years ago with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Loyola University of Chicago. I double majored in Accounting and Finance. As a child, I was constantly interested by any subject taught in school. There were a myriad of careers I could have pursued. I decided to major in Accounting because I thought I’d have more opportunities to find a job. What historically had proven to be correct was seemingly proven false by the economic recession. Two years later, I still work at the same job I obtained to pay for my college education; albeit, it is a full-time position now.
I willingly went to a more “prestigious” institution because I thought I’d not only quickly get a job, but I’d get a higher paying job than my peers. I was quickly humbled by the recession that didn’t really care where I went to school. As McArdle states in her article, the reason I went (and so many other students) to Loyola as opposed to a public university is primarily for the “prestige” associated with the university. Studies have shown that the college educations obtained from “elite” universities are marginally better than their public counterparts. I have friends who graduated from public universities and are still looking for accounting positions. The upside in their case is that their debt is severely less than mine.
Between my student debt and personal expenses, I have been crippled in purchasing/renting a condo of my own. I don’t like to fret too much about my financial misgivings because I am definitely more fortunate than others. I at least have support from my family. The recession has certainly not discriminated in those affected by its economic consequences.
After much introspection, I’ve come to the realization that although it might not currently seem to have been a wise decision to incur more debt in college, the long-term benefits will compensate for the current financial strain. At least I hope so. I remain optimistic my decision in high school will pay dividends in the near future. However, I implore prospective college applicants to seriously consider the consequences of a higher debt load. The market for jobs isn’t how it used to be. If you can’t afford to make your loan payments then go to a school which you will be able to comfortably afford.
Also, don’t expect your parents to pay for your college education. Many things can unfortunately occur which could hinder them assisting your payments. It ultimately is YOUR responsibility to pay for YOUR college education. Keep that in mind. Do not expect a job waiting for you when you graduate. Have a few back-up plans, if possible, in case things don’t go as planned. More likely than not, the unfortunate truth is that things won’t work out the way you necessarily plan them. Acknowledge and accept that fact.
What do you think?
Is college worth it?
Should students seriously consider forgoing a college education, at least temporarily, and pursue other endeavors?
Check out the Newsweek/Daily Beast article Is College a Lousy Investment?
Twitter: @adrakontaidis & @talkrealdebate