Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Avoiding the College Trap"?

Years ago I remember someone telling me that they didn't think it was right to send a girl to university if you wanted to teach her that motherhood was a noble calling. That irked me. Then just last year I recall someone telling me that in one of the Scandinavian countries, university education was free, HOWEVER, if you decided to be a stay at home mom, you were then required to pay back all the money to the state.

Then a few weeks ago I came across this article, really I am left with more questions than answers now.

There was a time when having a college degree almost guaranteed you a “good job,” certainly one that pays better than those not requiring a bachelor’s degree. Parents then determined that the costs involved added up to an investment in their child’s future—an investment that would undoubtedly pay off. The general public soon grew so assured of the value of a degree that it grew acceptable and common to borrow toward that investment. Today, student loans are the rule.
This entire process assumes several things, all of which might have held true at one time or in limited circumstances, hardly any of which remain true today or in general. Yet a blind faith that includes all of these assumptions rules the day for decisions about higher education. The results are disastrous.
Joel McDurmon gives this example:

Example: meet Miss Courtney Munna. She is 26 years old and has proudly fulfilled her and her mother’s dream of graduating from NYU, a second-tier private school. She is now the proud owner of an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in religious and women’s studies. She also owns a $97,000 student debt.
Let’s evaluate the value of Miss Munna’s education: In the job market, a bachelor’s in either religion (from a liberal university) or women’s studies adds little to nothing to her marketability in the real world. An “interdisciplinary” degree—half one and half the other mixed together—actually reduces the value. A degree like this only has value in the academic world, and there it only holds value as a stepping stone to an academic teaching career. But this requires a Master’s degree (at least two more years and more debt) and almost always a Doctorate (three further years in the US, and more debt). For all practical purposes, Miss Munna’s degree has zero economic value.
But worse, $97k in debt has a value of, well, negative $97k; plus interest, part of which is at an adjustable rate (it will go higher). And this, not even for a marketable skill or knowledge, but merely a degree in religious and women’s studies. And what does such a degree provide?… Nothing more than a group of feminists’ assurances that all religions are equal and women should be in charge of all of them.
So Courtney has essentially paid over $100,000 in order to be propagandized with a message she could just as easily have gotten from a $1.25 bumper sticker.
Courtney’s mom helped finance this “education.” She herself now faces a tough time financially. She’s afraid she could lose her bed and breakfast business. And herein is the great joke. This woman owns a business. She should know something about finances. What on earth made her think a dead-end degree like women’s studies was worth selling her and her daughter’s soul? She should have known better.
She should have kept her daughter at home, trained her in the family business, marketed it, taught her how to keep it profitable, and lived a moderate middle-class life.
If after that she had a desire to learn “women’s studies,” she could easily have sated such a perversion without debt. She could have Googled “women’s studies reading list” and then selected one of several links from a major university, like this link: twenty-two pages of women-as-victim and women-as-equals screeds. Forget NYU, forget $97k. The New York Public Library is free. Free public libraries are all over the place. Even major universities will give full access and lending privileges for a small fee (for example, I just bought such at Emory University for $100/year—well worth it for projects I’m currently working on). For hardly any cost at all, Courtney could spend her free time indulging in all the feminism and gender diversity she could stand—and make money instead of borrowing it.

 And another excerpt....

 A college degree is certainly no guarantee of this ability, and in many respects is a great hindrance to it. It certainly won’t guarantee a job or even marketability.
So many young people fall for the illusion that a college degree has value. It’s an enormous deception, and parents will do well to insulate themselves and their children from it. This takes discipline and commitment to values, because the deception weighs powerfully on the ego and sense of destiny. It inflates hopes that may not materialize, and it caresses fond hopes of glory that lay in seed form in every depraved heart.

I would heartily encourage you to read the full article here . Really good food for thought.

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