I agree wholeheartedly with this article. Just saw it in a friend's feed on Facebook, and it got me thinking, again, about how ridiculous we've gotten about college nowadays.
College education used to be the end all and be all. It's not anymore. Says the college graduate. :) But I did it without spending my life chained to student loans. My parents said they'd match me dollar for dollar...(and they didn't save ahead of time for me...probably because they couldn't afford it) I know in reality they most likely paid more than 50%, but my dad has long since paid off the small loans he took out here and there to help me out...I also had working scholarships and worked my ASS off to pay most of my own way. My parents helped some with tuition/school expenses...I paid what was left and all my own rent, bills, food, necessities, etc. with the money I made working various jobs the entire time I was in college. I had one $5000 student loan that I paid off during my time at SCICON, when I only made $500/month but all my room/board/utilities/etc were provided.
Every summer when I was still living at home I worked and saved my money for college the next year...after I moved out I juggled jobs and small loans from family (which were paid off quickly). I worked full time through pretty much all of my college education. And I got it done in 4.5yrs. (Not sure how I did that!) And honestly, I pretty much hated college. Not much about it was enjoyable to me. It was a means to an end...but that was the way things were done, so that's what I did.
After graduation, I eventually went into a field that made practically no money...I made a bit more because of my degree...but since my degree was something that I use every day as a mother (child development), and since it's something I still thoroughly enjoy (I yearn to eventually do preschool classes again, someday, once my kids are older and we have a better suited house for doing it at home)...I don't think the money and energy was wasted...but I do not at all think college is the way to go for everyone. In fact, I tend to think it's a waste of time for so many. Maybe even most, since there's so many ways to learn skills for free on the internet these days.
The jobs for college graduates just aren't out there anymore...ask my brother. I have known SOOOO many people that are not working in the field they paid boku bucks to get a degree in. I mean a LOT. And many are still strapped to ginormous student debt. WHY???
So my advice for my children and every young person out there. Do NOT go into debt for your college education. If you must go to college....and don't assume you must...take the longer route and pay your way as you go. You will be grateful for the lack of debt later, and you will learn so much more in work ethic in the process. And work ethic is very important. Listen to the last 3 episodes in Dec 2013 of the Busy Mom Survival Guide podcast for more info on teaching children a work ethic. I'm going to be using more of her advice in the new year...as I agree wholeheartedly with her on how important it is for my kids to have a good work ethic.
If you must go to college, try for financial aid and scholarships, things that you will not have to pay back. And work. Work hard. At school, and to make money to pay your way. Because I saw so very many kids in college who's parents paid for everything and they didn't have to do a thing but go to school...those were the kids that tended to party all the time and appreciated none of what they had. Not all, but most. If we hand them everything, how do they learn to appreciate what it takes to make it in this world? That's not what I want for my kids, even if I could afford it.
And if you are drawn to a field that could be had by technical training or just learning on your own via the internet and such... DO IT! There's just no sense in making college the end all and be all anymore. I actually hope my kids DON'T go to college...just because of how friggin expensive it is nowadays. But that, of course, will depend on the field they choose...as, of course, there are some that simply cannot be had without college (doctors and lawyers come to mind).
Ok, stepping off my soapbox. Time to go back to life. :)