What's on my mind.

05 March 2007

A side trip from yesterday's Whatever post on marriage and class. A couple of commenter's wrote about college loan debt as a disincentive to get married.

Far be it for me to discourage anyone from pursuing higher education. I love learning and school and wish everyone did. Not everyone does.

I had one class in particular with someone who said "D is for diploma" (real quote, not paraphrasing, not just an attitude) and many classes with many other students with that attitude. I felt like they were wasting their time and someone's money (often not their own). There are a lot of people in college to get a diploma, rather than an education, because they need it to get a job - a job that will pay for the life they want.

Blame it on the GI-bill, degree inflation exists. And this means, sometimes, a degree doesn't mean what it used to (MBAs are becoming a dime a dozen). Lots of jobs that one used to be able to get or at least work up to with a HS diploma now require an AA or BA/BS, particularly in business. One of my brothers has a good job that pays well but he had to work his way up. His sons want to start out at the same standard of living (hell, the rest of the family does, too) and so they have to get college degrees (one is a business major, the other doesn't know yet). Both of my nephews have struggled with the freedom and responsibilities, and the "why?", of college. The older of the two finally realized when another of my nephews starting interviewing for $40K jobs that he better finish up or he'll be working to pay the rent forever.

College isn't for everyone (certainly not all 18-yr olds) and everyone doesn't need to go to college.

I don't think we should discourage kids from continuing their education or do away with student loans. I believe in making education (pre-K through grad school) more accessible. But I think we need to look at the difference between job training and education - between jumping through hoops and learning.

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