Author Topic: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.  (Read 24943 times)

matchewed

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2013, 06:19:46 AM »
As an "uneducated" individual my take on this is colored heavily by my experience, so take this with a grain...etc.

It has been made very clear to me by several layers of management that regardless of my past history of raises and promotions that I will cap out soon (I make about 41k) due to my lack of a degree. It has been openly discussed that it is not my drive, work, or messy desk that will will cause this. It is solely my education level.

With that being said you can work your way up and get to a level within an organization without a degree. An advanced degree is not for everyone and I agree that we as a country (US) have done a disservice to the blue collar jobs by blindly promoting getting the degrees. On the flip side it has been very good for women. I think rather than just promoting one type of educational achievement the focus should be on education as a broad function within our society. I like the idea of a smart populace whether or not they had formal education.

meadow lark

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #51 on: July 24, 2013, 08:05:35 AM »
It does strike me as odd the thought that college is only there for financial or career reasons.  What about being an educated human?  By the same token, couldn't you ask "is 7th through 12th grade worth it?"  I work closely with members of the public, at all different education levels.  In general terms,  I do find a difference in how well people understand information, and it does correlate pretty closely to education level.  Yes, there are always outliers, but, by definition, most people are not outliers.
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StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #52 on: July 24, 2013, 08:24:09 AM »
It does strike me as odd the thought that college is only there for financial or career reasons.  What about being an educated human?  By the same token, couldn't you ask "is 7th through 12th grade worth it?"  I work closely with members of the public, at all different education levels.  In general terms,  I do find a difference in how well people understand information, and it does correlate pretty closely to education level.  Yes, there are always outliers, but, by definition, most people are not outliers.

We're an economic bunch, I guess. Money should be spent only to satisfy your core values--if education is one of those, then go nuts, for sure. Like it or not, though, most folk these days do view college as a stepping stone to "a good job" and economic success, which is evidently debatable, since we seem to be debating it on this forum right now.

I'd like to see if that correlation holds for autodidacts, though. Most people don't bother learning much of note after they leave formal education. Then again, I suppose the people who chose to teach themselves (which, let's face it, in a class of 300 is mostly what you're doing anyway) during their leisure time are already outliers in your scheme. Formal education is necessary only because the vast majority of people do not have the drive to slog up a learning curve on their own, without some structured support/encouragement.

randymarsh

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #53 on: July 24, 2013, 08:34:43 AM »
It just doesn't have to cost that much. A BA or BS at my institution runs under $20K, books and all, whole thing. Not $20K per year, $20K total.

What school is this? I go to a public 4 year and tuition alone is ~$8,500 per year.
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Gerard

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #54 on: July 24, 2013, 08:40:14 AM »
A possibly-useful data point based on the new Statistics Canada release:

http://www.universityaffairs.ca/margin-notes/the-value-of-a-degree-earned-in-canada-vs-one-earned-abroad


Basically, it says that the employment value of a degree is even greater than previous studies suggest, because the numbers are skewed down by the archetypal immigrant-PhD-driving-a-taxi.

Whether that justifies the massive costs some schools are now asking, I don't know. But I reiterate again for American readers -- if you or your young 'uns are planning to go away for university anyway, you should seriously look into doing a degree in Canada, where tuition is still manageable.

[edited to fix words in wrong order the]
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Albert

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2013, 08:51:44 AM »
And remember that graduate school in sciences does not cost anything. Might be a better deal financially than law school or medical school particularly if you don't end up working for top law firms or as a surgeon in a hospital. However they key is that you need to like your chosen field as well. In my opinion it's stupid to choose medicine or engineering just for money. You are unlikely to be a particularly good at it anyway if that's your only motivation.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 08:58:35 AM by Albert »

renbutler

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #56 on: July 24, 2013, 08:53:29 AM »
It does strike me as odd the thought that college is only there for financial or career reasons.  What about being an educated human?

1.) I'm sure we all support the further education of "humans."

2.) The issue is whether the financial cost and potential debt created are matched by the educational value and earning potential provided by the average university. It's not the only issue, but it's the issue that the original poster wanted to discuss.

3.) Universities are not the only means by which an adult can obtain continuing education.

ace1224

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #57 on: July 24, 2013, 09:00:02 AM »
It just doesn't have to cost that much. A BA or BS at my institution runs under $20K, books and all, whole thing. Not $20K per year, $20K total.

What school is this? I go to a public 4 year and tuition alone is ~$8,500 per year.

my school (UNCW's) tuition is $6,343 a year at this time for in state.  it does not include room and board but most people lived off campus when i went to school there i know i did.  when i went to school it was like 4000 a year. 
http://uncw.edu/finaid/costofattendance.htm
they give a total of 20,000 a year but most of that is room and board.  there are apartments that rent super cheap (like 200 a month a roommate) within a mile.  i lived in one that was literally 20 feet from campus property and walked to all my classes.

jrs

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #58 on: July 24, 2013, 10:18:07 AM »
It was worth it for me.  Simply because as a student with a particular major, I qualified for an internship.  They later hired me on full time and promoted me fairly regularly.  It launched my career.

Most of what matters day in and day out, I learned on-the-job, not at school.  But there's a serious possibility that without qualifying for that internship I would have ended up a bus driver or security guard (both fine), instead of doing what I really love, which is rock climbing writing software.


MrMoneyPinch

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #59 on: July 24, 2013, 10:22:19 AM »
I'm impressed with how much people in public jobs earn and how fabulous their pensions are. I am thinking of cops, firemen, etc who can earn huge overtime. In some cities and states they retire after 20 years on a huge fraction of their highest income, which could be vast with enough overtime, and great health insurance.  Even military service can lead to great savings, income and early retirement. None of these areas requires more than high school education.
That one's easy: those jobs demand that you risk life and limb daily.  That's worth something.   Also, the physical demands are so high that after 20 years most people can't keep up.
Please have some gratitude.  A good pension for 20 years of saving lives is fair.

Spork

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #60 on: July 24, 2013, 10:32:08 AM »
I'm impressed with how much people in public jobs earn and how fabulous their pensions are. I am thinking of cops, firemen, etc who can earn huge overtime. In some cities and states they retire after 20 years on a huge fraction of their highest income, which could be vast with enough overtime, and great health insurance.  Even military service can lead to great savings, income and early retirement. None of these areas requires more than high school education.
That one's easy: those jobs demand that you risk life and limb daily.  That's worth something.   Also, the physical demands are so high that after 20 years most people can't keep up.
Please have some gratitude.  A good pension for 20 years of saving lives is fair.

I didn't read it as a lack of gratitude.  I read it as "here's a good opportunity for folks that want a rewarding career with semi-early retirement."   ...but maybe I'm reading too much into it.
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rubybeth

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #61 on: July 24, 2013, 10:38:27 AM »
I suspect many people who go to university would have been better off financially learning a skilled trade instead. (electrician, mason, carpenter, welder, plumber, lab technician, you name it)

This may be true, and I've heard it said many times that skilled tradesmen can make more than college educated workers. However, the thing that people ignore is that most of those are very physically demanding jobs. I wouldn't want to be doing them as I got older, esp. like the average worker, waiting for full retirement at age 65 or whatever.

My dad specifically encouraged my sister and I to get jobs we could do even with a physical disability, since in his profession as a vocational counselor, he worked with so many skilled workers who couldn't work after they were injured. They often had few 'office job' type skills and so needed re-training or just were unable to work at all. Becoming disabled in some capacity is way more likely than people realize: http://www.disabilitycanhappen.org/chances_disability/disability_stats.asp

Being able to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day is a luxury to me, since I used to be on my feet all the time in customer-service type jobs.  I can do this job until I'm as old as dust, as long as I keep up with my professional development.
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Daleth

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #62 on: July 24, 2013, 10:41:49 AM »
I'm actually working on writing an eBook about saving money on college by going to college in a foreign country (which is what I did--got a BA for a little over $20,000). It surprises me that more people don't go abroad.

Spork

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #63 on: July 24, 2013, 10:45:15 AM »
I suspect many people who go to university would have been better off financially learning a skilled trade instead. (electrician, mason, carpenter, welder, plumber, lab technician, you name it)

This may be true, and I've heard it said many times that skilled tradesmen can make more than college educated workers. However, the thing that people ignore is that most of those are very physically demanding jobs. I wouldn't want to be doing them as I got older, esp. like the average worker, waiting for full retirement at age 65 or whatever.


While this is true, they can also be extremely satisfying jobs.  (I'm not blue collar, but there are times that I think I might have enjoyed that more.)  There is something immensely satisfying about working out a problem beginning to end and seeing the results of your work.  And there is also something to be said for jobs that require you to use both your brain and your muscles. 
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wing117

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #64 on: July 24, 2013, 11:12:27 AM »
I must say I've loved the discussion so far. I notice there are quite a few folks who believe that not attending university/college equates to being uncultured and uneducated. That is quite sad. As other posters have commented, the autodidact folks are far from uncultured or uneducated. How many of us are autodidact though? Do we have a population number? All I have is anecdotal evidence currently. So it's hard to put some good reporting around that (unless someone has a source?).

I, for one, would be classified as autodidact and have delved deeply into the sciences: Physics, electronics, biology and astronomy specifically outside my immediate career (granted, I'm at a hobbiest level due to my own limitations of interest). I use free mathematics courses to further my understand there as well. The skills I've learned to perform my job functions were all self taught or through certification-style 5 day courses paid for by my employer to cover new technologies. I perform analytic and critical thinking daily - and if I'm wrong it would cost businesses thousands, if not millions of dollars in damages. At a previous job, I controlled a 2 million dollar yearly budget. I managed 15 workers and have shaken hands and performed mission critical work for CEO/CIOs of Fortune 500 companies. Perhaps I'm the outlier. I've worked with many people who make 80-150k/yr and have no college education. (Admittedly skewed information: 90% in IT industry).

I think my overall complaint here is not whether or not people should be striving for knowledge and to enlighten themselves with the profound amount of information the human race has managed to uncover, discover and document - I support that FULLY- but that I don't believe the costs associated with accessing and assimilating that information should be so high or that people are pushed to these institutions as the only path of success. I also disagree with the dated structure in which this information is presented to students as well - there are several movements starting on that front, however, to change the structure.

As stated earlier in this thread, when a student is in a class of 300 (or more!), how much teacher/student value is there? Does the student not need to be autodidact anyway to gain much knowledge from a situation like that? Why can a student pass all their tests, papers and homework but be failed from a class due to attendance if the knowledge was actually gained? (This does happen.)

I've worked in K12 and Higher Ed. (collectively called P20) my whole life and I completely enjoy working with students to help them learn and grow. I have tons of stories of wonderful moments in student's lives; of them having that Aha Moment. Again, I just don't approve of the cost and current structure more than anything else and believe, for a lot of people, there are better  paths for them to take.

wing117

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #65 on: July 24, 2013, 11:16:06 AM »
There is something immensely satisfying about working out a problem beginning to end and seeing the results of your work.  And there is also something to be said for jobs that require you to use both your brain and your muscles.

Annnd this is why I'm thinking about getting out of IT. At the end of the day, with all the knowledge and toil to keep systems running, all I have done, ultimately, is changed 0's to 1's and 1's to 0's. That's it. Back and forth every single day. Once I realized that, I have had an overwhelming desire to do something more physical and real with my life.

Spork

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #66 on: July 24, 2013, 01:22:41 PM »
There is something immensely satisfying about working out a problem beginning to end and seeing the results of your work.  And there is also something to be said for jobs that require you to use both your brain and your muscles.

Annnd this is why I'm thinking about getting out of IT. At the end of the day, with all the knowledge and toil to keep systems running, all I have done, ultimately, is changed 0's to 1's and 1's to 0's. That's it. Back and forth every single day. Once I realized that, I have had an overwhelming desire to do something more physical and real with my life.

Yep.  Been in IT (or equivalent) since about 1988. 
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SaveALLTheThings

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #67 on: July 24, 2013, 03:08:59 PM »
I just graduated from a top private engineering school in the US, with about $150k in debt.  Luckily my parents are covering 2/3rds of it.  So while still expensive, it'll at least be manageable.  I secured a well paying job with great perks months before I even graduated college but I do feel like I paid too much in retrospect.  I think the university style of learning really was best for how I learn, but I could have done it for a lot cheaper.

  At the same time, I don't see how I could have been persuaded to go somewhere else at age 17.  By the end of high school I was absolutely SICK of living a suburban teenage life.  I felt seriously trapped and immobile, and I felt like the only thing I could do to save my sanity was run off and go to college in a real city.  There's nothing you could have possibly told me at that age to convince me to stay in New Jersey and attend a public university, even if I could go for free.  Going to college in a place with good public transportation, walkability, cultural institutions, and the ability to socialize with people outside a very small group of peers (my high school class was only 79 people) were all extremely valuable to me, among other things.  Overall, I did benefit significantly both in terms of my mental and physical health by going to an out of state private school, given how shitty things were before then. I just didn't do so great by my financial health.  And since I was uneducated in financial matters as a teen, I didn't realize what I was doing until the water had already passed under the bridge.

So while yes, I could have gone to an affordable state school and continue to live with my parents and save tons of money, I would also probably have continued wallowing in depression through my college years wondering what could have been if I had gone to the fancy private school.  I wasn't in a position where I conceivably could have made that choice with a clear conscience.   I seriously needed a fresh start at the time and in the end I'm better off for it, even if my first year or so of post college wages will have to be surrendered to the bank.  Not to mention, the confidence that came from getting myself out of a situation I didn't want to be in and into the exact place I wanted to be was extremely powerful.

 Perception is reality and I would have perceived myself as a failure for not getting my ass out of NJ.  Luckily, I got more out of my college experience than just an education.  Today I'm in a much better state of mind to figure out what makes me happy, and how to get to where I want to be in the future.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2013, 03:11:21 PM by SaveALLTheThings »

Zikoris

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #68 on: July 24, 2013, 05:20:04 PM »
Well, I started going to post-secondary before realizing anything I could possibly want to learn is available freely online and through libraries. Fortunately I hadn't run up too much student loans at that point and was able to clear them out quickly.

My boyfriend had a creative writing degree and it's proven to be absolutely useless. Fortunately, his parents covered the cost of that, so no real harm done besides a few lost years when he could have been getting more experience..

If you have a desire for a career, university is great(provided you study something useful). I've never particularly wanted a career, or to work in general.
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Rural

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #69 on: July 24, 2013, 05:49:20 PM »
It just doesn't have to cost that much. A BA or BS at my institution runs under $20K, books and all, whole thing. Not $20K per year, $20K total.

What school is this? I go to a public 4 year and tuition alone is ~$8,500 per year.

I'm not comfortable saying exactly where I teach in a forum where I'd like to be able to speak freely; I hope you understand. But you can research high and low cost options at various levels of education at this DOE site. You'll find my school near the low-cost end of the "public, four year and above" list, on both the lowest tuition and lowest net cost lists.

http://collegecost.ed.gov/catc/Default.aspx

YoungAndWise

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #70 on: July 24, 2013, 06:03:48 PM »
For college will be worth it because I am aiming to go into a niche field (Crime Mapping) that has very little formal requirements except being knowledgeable in GIS and Criminal Justice. And the school I am going is one of the best in the nation for criminal justice.

Not only that but it is relatively cheap with total cost for the first and second semester  ~$14,000 gross, $6,000 of it being required because I have to take the rooming* and a certain selection of meal plans** first year. So basically ~$3,400 of that money is being ripped out of my pocket by force. 

Also for this year I have $1,700 saved up in scholarships already and I am hoping to get a position as a library assistant working 9-15 hours per week so that will help.

Next year I plan on going overseas as an exchange student because I can save a couple thousand easily*** since dorm rooms will be cheaper and I can cook for my self.

Final year I will plan getting an internship (or another if I already did one), being in an apartment because by then dorm rooming will be much higher, and cooking for myself.

Last year
*I got the cheapest one w/ the Honors dorm. And apartments are about the same price.
**All of them expensive as hell. Seriously who spends $400 dollars a month on food in RL?
***Plan on going to Finland.

EDIT: Fix'd some things.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 09:16:01 AM by YoungAndWise »

DrJinDC

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #71 on: July 24, 2013, 08:07:51 PM »
Hmm, as fellow mustachian who has been lurking for a while, I thought I should finally register to answer this question.  Since this question always comes up, and I, like many of you, prefer to perform (at least) some back-of-the-envelope calculations before big financial decisions, I actually made a site to help figure this out for you:

http://www.collegeriskreport.com

It's basically a Net Present Value calculator, but also calculates some other financial metrics in case those help you make a better decision.  It stores all of the college costs in a database, as well as their annual increases, to calculate the expected cost to make your life easier.

It's my little hobby, but my ego is not attached to it, so feel free to offer criticism as I always hope to keep improving it as time permits.

But to answer your question, after working on this tool for a while and seeing thousands of different outcomes, college being FINANCIALLY worth it boils down to this: how much you pay for college, and how much earning potential your degree has.  For example, it makes sense to get a STEM degree in most situations (public, private, in-state, out-of-state), but paying more lowers your rate of return, and the NBER reports seem to show that earnings depend on the person, not college, because students who turn down acceptance into top-tier colleges still make as much money if they go to a lower-tier college as their peers who go ahead and go to the top-tier college.  On the other hand, getting a liberal arts degree while paying full tuition at a private school (or even out-of-state tuition at a public school) is probably not the best idea and really doesn't pay off relative to some alternatives like a 2-year degree.

wing117

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #72 on: July 25, 2013, 05:30:19 AM »
Hmm, as fellow mustachian who has been lurking for a while, I thought I should finally register to answer this question.  Since this question always comes up, and I, like many of you, prefer to perform (at least) some back-of-the-envelope calculations before big financial decisions, I actually made a site to help figure this out for you:

http://www.collegeriskreport.com

It's basically a Net Present Value calculator, but also calculates some other financial metrics in case those help you make a better decision.  It stores all of the college costs in a database, as well as their annual increases, to calculate the expected cost to make your life easier.

It's my little hobby, but my ego is not attached to it, so feel free to offer criticism as I always hope to keep improving it as time permits.

But to answer your question, after working on this tool for a while and seeing thousands of different outcomes, college being FINANCIALLY worth it boils down to this: how much you pay for college, and how much earning potential your degree has.  For example, it makes sense to get a STEM degree in most situations (public, private, in-state, out-of-state), but paying more lowers your rate of return, and the NBER reports seem to show that earnings depend on the person, not college, because students who turn down acceptance into top-tier colleges still make as much money if they go to a lower-tier college as their peers who go ahead and go to the top-tier college.  On the other hand, getting a liberal arts degree while paying full tuition at a private school (or even out-of-state tuition at a public school) is probably not the best idea and really doesn't pay off relative to some alternatives like a 2-year degree.

Some actual numbers! I like seeing this. And the report generated was much more substantial than I had expected. Well done! I'm still diving into everything on the site. Good stuff.

sherr

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #73 on: July 25, 2013, 06:31:21 AM »
I think it's pretty silly to ask generically if college is worth it. It depends heavily on what your major is, what field you will go into, and how much you will pay for your degree.

Is it worth it to pay $200,000 for a B.A. in Psychology (I know someone who did this)? Almost certainly not.

Is it worth it to pay $30,000 for a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math degree from a good state university? Almost certainly yes.

College degrees can still be very worthwhile, you just have to decide beforehand what your goals are and not waste your time / money while at the school.

rubybeth

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #74 on: July 25, 2013, 06:55:26 AM »
I suspect many people who go to university would have been better off financially learning a skilled trade instead. (electrician, mason, carpenter, welder, plumber, lab technician, you name it)

This may be true, and I've heard it said many times that skilled tradesmen can make more than college educated workers. However, the thing that people ignore is that most of those are very physically demanding jobs. I wouldn't want to be doing them as I got older, esp. like the average worker, waiting for full retirement at age 65 or whatever.


While this is true, they can also be extremely satisfying jobs.  (I'm not blue collar, but there are times that I think I might have enjoyed that more.)  There is something immensely satisfying about working out a problem beginning to end and seeing the results of your work.  And there is also something to be said for jobs that require you to use both your brain and your muscles.

With all due respect, did you read the rest of my comment? I did not say the jobs aren't satisfying.

My dad specifically encouraged my sister and I to get jobs we could do even with a physical disability, since in his profession as a vocational counselor, he worked with so many skilled workers who couldn't work after they were injured. They often had few 'office job' type skills and so needed re-training or just were unable to work at all. Becoming disabled in some capacity is way more likely than people realize: http://www.disabilitycanhappen.org/chances_disability/disability_stats.asp

My argument is more than you may be able to do a physically demanding job for 20-30 years, and sure, it might be 'rewarding' to do something with your hands, but your likelihood of becoming partially or permanently disabled is much higher in those jobs, and an injury makes you less able to do those jobs. Your ability to do a desk job is less hindered if you develop any number of disabilities, which is way more common than being killed at a young age. This means you can work in the office job longer, if needed. Even if you earn less with the college degree, being able to work more years may allow you to earn more, and work while partially disabled. Even if you are just partially disabled for 3 months and unable to work, for some people, 3 months without income means utter and total ruin--sad, but true.

Also, ome of the jobs mentioned are not steady income, they are more project-based. So you can have lulls and busy times, and while that's probably not a huge deal for a mustachian who can budget, having a steady, regular, predictable paycheck is a pretty big deal to a lot of folks.

Lastly, if the computer/software programmers here want to feel more 'useful,' try working for a non-profit organization that really needs a good website or software to run their program. Heck, volunteer a few hours each week and build a website or program from home for an organization you care about. I work in a seemingly boring administrative job in a library, but just about everything I do ultimately helps someone get better help with their question or problem, which is highly rewarding. P.S. Libraries have IT departments, too.
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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #75 on: July 25, 2013, 09:40:31 AM »
I think it's pretty silly to ask generically if college is worth it. It depends heavily on what your major is, what field you will go into, and how much you will pay for your degree.

Is it worth it to pay $200,000 for a B.A. in Psychology (I know someone who did this)? Almost certainly not.

Is it worth it to pay $30,000 for a Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math degree from a good state university? Almost certainly yes.

College degrees can still be very worthwhile, you just have to decide beforehand what your goals are and not waste your time / money while at the school.

That's the key, yes. Psychology is a good career economically (not great, but good, and assuming it's a subject that really interests you, you'll be far happier spending 20 years as a psychologist and then retiring, vs. spending 10 years as a corporate lawyer and then retiring). That said, there's a vast range of ways to get the necessary training, and most of them cost a heck of a lot less than $200k.

One other thing that doesn't come up often enough, IMHO, is how important the choice of location can be. For instance, an English degree actually can help you get a great job in publishing, but not if you're doing the degree in Nebraska or wherever. It makes WAY more sense, if you want to get into publishing, to go to school in the NYC area, since that's where the publishing industry is, which makes it VASTLY easier to make the connections and get the internships you need to get into the industry. Same goes for, say, entertainment technology degrees or degrees in things like entertainment management or certain performing arts (i.e. if that's the career you want, go to school in NYC, LA, Silicon Valley [home of the computer games industry] or Nashville [country music]).

Those places all have a high cost of living, but that's just where you have to live if you want to be in those industries. So if someone is considering a degree in those fields, it'd be good advice to suggest that they look for the good-to-best schools for those fields that are located in those cities, and then, between the various school options, pick the least expensive one.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 09:43:18 AM by Daleth »

TLV

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #76 on: July 25, 2013, 12:08:58 PM »
Hmm, as fellow mustachian who has been lurking for a while, I thought I should finally register to answer this question.  Since this question always comes up, and I, like many of you, prefer to perform (at least) some back-of-the-envelope calculations before big financial decisions, I actually made a site to help figure this out for you:

http://www.collegeriskreport.com

It's basically a Net Present Value calculator, but also calculates some other financial metrics in case those help you make a better decision.  It stores all of the college costs in a database, as well as their annual increases, to calculate the expected cost to make your life easier.

It's my little hobby, but my ego is not attached to it, so feel free to offer criticism as I always hope to keep improving it as time permits.

But to answer your question, after working on this tool for a while and seeing thousands of different outcomes, college being FINANCIALLY worth it boils down to this: how much you pay for college, and how much earning potential your degree has.  For example, it makes sense to get a STEM degree in most situations (public, private, in-state, out-of-state), but paying more lowers your rate of return, and the NBER reports seem to show that earnings depend on the person, not college, because students who turn down acceptance into top-tier colleges still make as much money if they go to a lower-tier college as their peers who go ahead and go to the top-tier college.  On the other hand, getting a liberal arts degree while paying full tuition at a private school (or even out-of-state tuition at a public school) is probably not the best idea and really doesn't pay off relative to some alternatives like a 2-year degree.

Very nice! I think it works better at comparing different majors (especially to a 2-year degree - psychology major is a fail) than it does at comparing colleges, though. For colleges, it appears the only differences it takes into account are the costs, when the prestige of the college can certainly have an influence. I understand it's hard to quantify, but there's no way the average lifetime earnings of Electrical Engineers from the school I went to are the same as those who went to MIT instead.

ace1224

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #77 on: July 25, 2013, 12:31:59 PM »
Hmm, as fellow mustachian who has been lurking for a while, I thought I should finally register to answer this question.  Since this question always comes up, and I, like many of you, prefer to perform (at least) some back-of-the-envelope calculations before big financial decisions, I actually made a site to help figure this out for you:

http://www.collegeriskreport.com

It's basically a Net Present Value calculator, but also calculates some other financial metrics in case those help you make a better decision.  It stores all of the college costs in a database, as well as their annual increases, to calculate the expected cost to make your life easier.

It's my little hobby, but my ego is not attached to it, so feel free to offer criticism as I always hope to keep improving it as time permits.

But to answer your question, after working on this tool for a while and seeing thousands of different outcomes, college being FINANCIALLY worth it boils down to this: how much you pay for college, and how much earning potential your degree has.  For example, it makes sense to get a STEM degree in most situations (public, private, in-state, out-of-state), but paying more lowers your rate of return, and the NBER reports seem to show that earnings depend on the person, not college, because students who turn down acceptance into top-tier colleges still make as much money if they go to a lower-tier college as their peers who go ahead and go to the top-tier college.  On the other hand, getting a liberal arts degree while paying full tuition at a private school (or even out-of-state tuition at a public school) is probably not the best idea and really doesn't pay off relative to some alternatives like a 2-year degree.

Very nice! I think it works better at comparing different majors (especially to a 2-year degree - psychology major is a fail) than it does at comparing colleges, though. For colleges, it appears the only differences it takes into account are the costs, when the prestige of the college can certainly have an influence. I understand it's hard to quantify, but there's no way the average lifetime earnings of Electrical Engineers from the school I went to are the same as those who went to MIT instead.
i also think its super cool! i plugged in my stuff and it was pretty spot on.  it makes me cranky that my job wouldn't even have interviewed me with "just" a 2 year degree as my lifetime NPV it totally higher if that had been the case. 

Undecided

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #78 on: July 25, 2013, 12:47:13 PM »
Very nice! I think it works better at comparing different majors (especially to a 2-year degree - psychology major is a fail) than it does at comparing colleges, though. For colleges, it appears the only differences it takes into account are the costs, when the prestige of the college can certainly have an influence. I understand it's hard to quantify, but there's no way the average lifetime earnings of Electrical Engineers from the school I went to are the same as those who went to MIT instead.

Yes, I thought this was a major issue. Based on the data I've seen, the average salary of my classmates in my major at 15 years after graduation (in my case, as of last year) is approximately 2.3 times what this calculator projects a current graduate (same major, same school) to be making in 15 years. That seems unlikely.

DrJinDC

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #79 on: July 25, 2013, 02:50:37 PM »
 
Very nice! I think it works better at comparing different majors (especially to a 2-year degree - psychology major is a fail) than it does at comparing colleges, though. For colleges, it appears the only differences it takes into account are the costs, when the prestige of the college can certainly have an influence. I understand it's hard to quantify, but there's no way the average lifetime earnings of Electrical Engineers from the school I went to are the same as those who went to MIT instead.

Yes, I thought this was a major issue. Based on the data I've seen, the average salary of my classmates in my major at 15 years after graduation (in my case, as of last year) is approximately 2.3 times what this calculator projects a current graduate (same major, same school) to be making in 15 years. That seems unlikely.

Hey, thanks.  This is actually what I was alluding to when I was murmuring about NBER reports.  Clearly, if the college you went to had a significant impact on your earnings, then I need a better statistical model.  I spend a lot of time worrying about this, until I found this report:

http://www.nber.org/digest/dec99/w7322.html

It basically says that earnings depend on the PERSON, not the college.  The way they determined this is by tracking people who were accepted to a top-tier school, but decided not to attend it, vs. people who did attend a top-tier school.  In this way you are controlling for the school, but still allowing for variability in people's talents/skills/whateveryouwanttocallit.  They found that after controlling for that, school didn't matter.  People that were, say, accepted to Ivy League schools, bud didn't go, made as much as those who were accepted at Ivy League schools and did go for a given major, implying that the school doesn't matter as much as the person's talents/drive/etc.  This is the main reason I included Section 8 of the report: to account for over- and under-achievers and how that might affect their financial outcome.

In other words, Ivy League/top tier schools have higher average earnings NOT because of the school, but because of the people they attract, which is something I can't address in the report without knowing more about the individual person requesting a report.

rebel100

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #80 on: July 25, 2013, 03:05:56 PM »
I happen to have something of a higher education hobby going.  I'm part of a couple of groups that use credit by exam (CLEP and DSST exams) to knock substantial costs off the sticker price of accredited degree's...the extreme MMM could even apply these techniques to earn an accredited US degree for well under $10,000.

Would you guys be interested in hearing about this?  There is a lot to it, probably require it's own thread.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 03:08:19 PM by rebel100 »

Undecided

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #81 on: July 25, 2013, 03:27:09 PM »
It basically says that earnings depend on the PERSON, not the college.

So what's the point of your project?

Edit to add: I'm not trying to be facetious, but the project seems to be about making decisions to pay for a particular college, which seems at odds with your statement.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 04:13:12 PM by Undecided »

rebel100

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #82 on: July 25, 2013, 03:45:31 PM »
Posted my "badassitty" on bachelors degree's here: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/share-your-badassity/college-education-the-$6000-bachelors-degree/
« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 03:47:48 PM by rebel100 »

DrJinDC

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #83 on: July 25, 2013, 06:15:40 PM »
It basically says that earnings depend on the PERSON, not the college.

So what's the point of your project?

Edit to add: I'm not trying to be facetious, but the project seems to be about making decisions to pay for a particular college, which seems at odds with your statement.

I'm not sure I understand your confusion, but let me point out several reasons why it still matters.  If college prestige doesn't affect earnings (which the NBER report shows), and your goal is to maximize NPV of college, then you want to go to an inexpensive college.  This helps you compare colleges by cost.  Furthermore, if you have multiple majors that you are considering that suit your interests, then this helps you assess which major might be more lucrative.  It then combines these two factors to give you an estimate of your financial outcome.  Most college ranking sites only consider the college costs in isolation, when major choice is at least as important.  On top of all that, it gives you a baseline comparison to 2-year degrees (on average) and high school only earnings to give some perspective by making a relative comparison against other paths a prospective college student might consider.

Undecided

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #84 on: July 25, 2013, 08:04:25 PM »
It basically says that earnings depend on the PERSON, not the college.

So what's the point of your project?

Edit to add: I'm not trying to be facetious, but the project seems to be about making decisions to pay for a particular college, which seems at odds with your statement.

I'm not sure I understand your confusion, but let me point out several reasons why it still matters.  If college prestige doesn't affect earnings (which the NBER report shows), and your goal is to maximize NPV of college, then you want to go to an inexpensive college.  This helps you compare colleges by cost.  Furthermore, if you have multiple majors that you are considering that suit your interests, then this helps you assess which major might be more lucrative.  It then combines these two factors to give you an estimate of your financial outcome.  Most college ranking sites only consider the college costs in isolation, when major choice is at least as important.  On top of all that, it gives you a baseline comparison to 2-year degrees (on average) and high school only earnings to give some perspective by making a relative comparison against other paths a prospective college student might consider.

But your site says it's an analysis of "your prospective college and career path versus alternative," but now you're saying that that just means the cost of that college (not the job and salary development), and you're saying that we can ignore that side of the equation on the basis of a study based on admissions decisions from 35 years ago. Have there been changes in college admissions in the past 35 years? In the economy generally, we read regularly that vast portions of all income gain in that time period have gone to a small group---you're confident that's not relevant?

And regardless of whether it's the student or his or her choice of college that primarily shapes later income, it still doesn't make sense to me to generate a report that reflects an income projection that has nothing to do with either the student or the college and instead just reflects an overall average.

« Last Edit: July 25, 2013, 08:17:13 PM by Undecided »

DrJinDC

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #85 on: July 25, 2013, 09:28:34 PM »
It basically says that earnings depend on the PERSON, not the college.

So what's the point of your project?

Edit to add: I'm not trying to be facetious, but the project seems to be about making decisions to pay for a particular college, which seems at odds with your statement.

I'm not sure I understand your confusion, but let me point out several reasons why it still matters.  If college prestige doesn't affect earnings (which the NBER report shows), and your goal is to maximize NPV of college, then you want to go to an inexpensive college.  This helps you compare colleges by cost.  Furthermore, if you have multiple majors that you are considering that suit your interests, then this helps you assess which major might be more lucrative.  It then combines these two factors to give you an estimate of your financial outcome.  Most college ranking sites only consider the college costs in isolation, when major choice is at least as important.  On top of all that, it gives you a baseline comparison to 2-year degrees (on average) and high school only earnings to give some perspective by making a relative comparison against other paths a prospective college student might consider.

But your site says it's an analysis of "your prospective college and career path versus alternative," but now you're saying that that just means the cost of that college (not the job and salary development), and you're saying that we can ignore that side of the equation on the basis of a study based on admissions decisions from 35 years ago. Have there been changes in college admissions in the past 35 years? In the economy generally, we read regularly that vast portions of all income gain in that time period have gone to a small group---you're confident that's not relevant?

And regardless of whether it's the student or his or her choice of college that primarily shapes later income, it still doesn't make sense to me to generate a report that reflects an income projection that has nothing to do with either the student or the college and instead just reflects an overall average.

I'm definitely not saying that.  I'm not sure if you are only skimming my text, but I said quite clearly that "It then combines these two factors to give you an estimate of your financial outcome." The two factors being college expenses, and career earnings - indicating that it is taking both college choice/cost and career/major into account.

So let me be more clear in case I am not.  You originally indicated that you agreed with TLV that the report may not be taking into account a variance in earnings due to college choice (e.g. MIT grads earn more).  A valid concern which I also shared while developing the site until I found the NBER report.  What the NBER report says is that variance in earnings for a given major is not due to college attended, but that the variance in earnings is due to an individuals characteristics (whatever those may be).  Mathematically, that is: Pr(salary | major, person, college) = Pr( salary | major, person) and thus Var( salary | major, person, college) = Var( salary | major, person).  I.e. college attended is an irrelevant parameter in predicting the variance in earnings given a person (per the NBER findings).

I suppose you can argue with the NBER report findings. Fine.  But if it is correct, you have to realize how incredibly important it is.  The common narrative is that you have to get into a "top tier" or Ivy League school to make higher than average salary for your field, but the NBER report contradicts that, saying that graduates of top tier schools earn more (on average, than the average for a major) because they attract people that have better earning potential, for whatever reason (work ethic, intelligence, etc.), but that the individuals higher-than-average earning potential is present regardless of what college he/she attends.  That's huge because it means if you are really smart/hard working/lucky/whatever you don't need to pay for a top tier degree to have that higher than average salary; you will still get that higher salary, on average, if you go to an inexpensive state school.

As to "we read regularly that vast portions of all income gain in that time period have gone to a small group---you're confident that's not relevant?"  It's possible, although it seems that's largely due to wealth concentration leading to more wealth concentration, and doesn't seem related to college choice.  Frankly, there's a lot of things I can't be confident are not relevant.  GPS coordinates of person's birthplace?  Astrological sign the sun was in when the college was founded?  Years a major has been available?  Frankly, if I could model every possible factor and had the statistical distributions on those factors, I would be doing this on Wall Street and making so much cash that buying a Lambo would be mustachian.  I would probably also hate my life, but that's another thing.

But just so I'm really clear on what's going on, let me give you a simplified version of the model the site runs through to generate the NPV in the report:

NPV = f(College Expenses, Career Earnings, discount rate) and...

College Expenses = f( college tuition and other expenses, increase rates, years in college)
Career Earnings = f( major, annual raise rate, years worked)

Keep in mind all monetary values in the calculation are brought to present value through the discount rate.

Could I improve earning estimates if I knew more about the individual?  Yes, by asking things like IQ score, socioeconomic background, etc., but it's not really feasible, and people tend to inflate those factors when self-reporting.  This is why Section 8 is so important.  Specifically 8.3 - Lifetime Earnings, which shows how your NPV will change if you're an overachiever/underachiever, which I leave the user to judge for themselves.

Hope that is clear enough.

Undecided

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #86 on: July 25, 2013, 11:00:21 PM »
Yes, clear, and I get it, but I don't buy your take on the Dale/Krueger work. Did you see their more recent update (which was still pretty dated)? I don't think it's a stretch to conclude that there's a real "network" benefit of a selective school for people who aren't already in the "network"---if a student's smart and from the socioeconomic class and an ethnic group "expected" to go to a selective school, he or she doesn't need to actually go in order to get the payoff; but if a smart student isn't from that background (is from the wrong socioeconomic class or of the wrong ethnicity), attending a selective school really helps

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MoneyCat

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #88 on: July 26, 2013, 08:52:06 AM »
     College can be worth it if it's a requirement for certification in a skilled field.
     I just hope that young people today can learn not to do what I did.  I went off to college when I was 17 and because I come from an impoverished background with no family support whatsoever I ended up deeply in debt with a useless BA in English.  I had nobody to help me understand what degrees lead to careers, because my family didn't know either and my guidance counselor was uninterested in helping me because I was poor.  Since I was 17 and inexperienced, it didn't click with me that one day I'd have to pay back the student loans, so I did a lot of stupid things like live entirely off the loans without meaningful work, buy frivolous items like a musket for historical reenactment with loan funds, and take out unsubsidized federal loans.
     I eventually managed to also get a Master's in Teaching, which allowed me to have a career, but I've been paying on those student loans ever since.  I still owe $73,000 and I am 34 years old and in a career where I earn about $60,000 a year.

amyable

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #89 on: July 26, 2013, 09:06:18 AM »
I had nobody to help me understand what degrees lead to careers, because my family didn't know either and my guidance counselor was uninterested in helping me because I was poor. 

This is terrible!  I am training to be a school counselor, and I am sorry yours was so awful.

For me, getting my B.A. in English was worth it, because otherwise, I couldn't do what I love (teach English); I would not have pursued a M.A. in Education at full price, but my entire program at an expensive private school only cost about $2000 due to various scholarships and stipends.  I'm working on my M.A. in School Counseling and paying almost full price, but at a very inexpensive public university.  I will make a little more money as a counselor, but this is really an emotionally driven decision--I want to be a school counselor, and I have to go back to school for a certification, so that's what I'm doing.  I have no student debt--I had a lot of scholarship money during my B.A., and my parents were also very helpful.

My husband, on the other hand, is a computer programmer and really regrets getting his B.A. in Psychology.  He doesn't need it for his job, and he had to take out about $45,000 in student loans.



MoneyCat

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #90 on: July 26, 2013, 09:32:18 AM »
     If I could do it all over, I would just get my Bachelor's in English Education, which would have saved me about $30,000 and would have gotten me the same work in the state where I now live.  Even if I had been conscious of trying to keep costs down, I still couldn't have done a very good job of it, because I couldn't live at home to save on room and board due to my family's poverty.  My family were actually relieved when I left because that was one fewer mouth to feed.
     A lot of people don't understand what poverty does to your mindset.  John Cheese on Cracked.com has done an excellent series on it.  Basically, you learn to hate and fear money because the deck is stacked against you to be able to get it and you learn helplessness.  It was humiliating to have to depend on welfare and the charity of others to be able to have basic things like food and clothing and everyone at school knew about it, so I was very depressed from all the bullying, but any money I made from the low-paying jobs I could get (and I started working at age 14) went back immediately into paying for bare necessities.  I was never able to save anything.  I didn't even know how a checking account worked until I was in college.
     I only began to escape from the self-destructive mindset of poverty a few years ago when I really began educating myself about personal finance through Suze Orman books and websites like MyFico.  Learning to set long-term goals, buy goods wholesale and in bulk, using rewards credit cards for discounts, pay in full rather than use installment plans -- these were all new concepts to me.  I live a very frugal life now and my only debt is my student loan debt.

BlueMR2

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #91 on: July 26, 2013, 05:01:20 PM »
There are numerous well paying and dignified career paths that simply don't require college.

There are well meaning efforts to give "every kid a college education," but clearly most 18-year-olds are not suited for that path -- and not because they're stupid or can't benefit from continued education of some sort.

This, for sure.  Most of the people I was friends with in college would have been better off not going.  They're still doing the same types of jobs that don't need the degree, but they're still paying off tens of thousands in student debt.  There just aren't enough jobs that require a college degree out there to satisfy all the debt these kids are taking on.

I got lucky and was able to go to college for free.  I really hate the rigid structure of schools, but love learning.  I came out knowing more than I started with, but it cost me 5 years of my life and didn't change the job/pay range I went into.  It did marginally improve my chances on getting hired.  Knowing what I know now, I'd go for free again like that, but definitely wouldn't pay.

rebel100

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #92 on: July 26, 2013, 05:01:31 PM »
I happen to have something of a higher education hobby going.  I'm part of a couple of groups that use credit by exam (CLEP and DSST exams) to knock substantial costs off the sticker price of accredited degree's...the extreme MMM could even apply these techniques to earn an accredited US degree for well under $10,000.

Would you guys be interested in hearing about this?  There is a lot to it, probably require it's own thread.

Yes! I have a high IQ son that should be able to benefit from AP/CLEP type exams. He is eleven and makes mostly perfects in his standardized tests now....
Hi mom to 5, I put the post in its own thread....http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/share-your-badassity/college-education-the-$6000-bachelors-degree/

Rural

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #93 on: July 27, 2013, 04:39:04 AM »
I happen to have something of a higher education hobby going.  I'm part of a couple of groups that use credit by exam (CLEP and DSST exams) to knock substantial costs off the sticker price of accredited degree's...the extreme MMM could even apply these techniques to earn an accredited US degree for well under $10,000.

Would you guys be interested in hearing about this?  There is a lot to it, probably require it's own thread.

Yes! I have a high IQ son that should be able to benefit from AP/CLEP type exams. He is eleven and makes mostly perfects in his standardized tests now....

You and your son need to start looking at scholarship options soon, as well. I went a much more traditional route, which suited me, for free. SAT scores are central to starting the academic scholarship process, and the test should be taken (the first time) early in the junior year.

Also, if your public school system has an academic magnet high school, start looking into how to get him into that. His preparation will be better, and colleges will take his applications for admission and scholarships more seriously.

rebel100

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #94 on: July 27, 2013, 03:49:29 PM »

You and your son need to start looking at scholarship options soon, as well. I went a much more traditional route, which suited me, for free. SAT scores are central to starting the academic scholarship process, and the test should be taken (the first time) early in the junior year.

Also, if your public school system has an academic magnet high school, start looking into how to get him into that. His preparation will be better, and colleges will take his applications for admission and scholarships more seriously.
Its important to find a path and plan that much is certain.  So much of higher education is still geographic dependent.  In Florida dual enrollment is free, my oldest daughter took advantage of that and between free courses and CLEP exams she graduated HS and College with an AA degree at the same time.  No scholarships, no SAT score.  She was top 8 in her class of 800 at college and they actually gave her a small scholarship when she left.  Being in the Honor Society she tapped funds that are generally restricted to the top students and had her first semester at an Ivy League school covered via academic scholarship (see http://www.ptk.org/scholarships)...all said and done she should wind up with a degree from a top University with less than $10K out of pocket.

I'm not a fan of local magnet schools nor honors classes.  The local school board decided to make the poor performing schools into magnets as a way to attract better students....problem is that all the poorer performing students are still there....unacceptable to me. YMMV

Honors classes may sound good, but experience has shown they can be more difficult and result in lower GPA.   GPA is vital to achieving merit scholarships....its a double edged sword.  I would investigate carefully before jumping in.

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #95 on: July 27, 2013, 05:48:46 PM »
There is one public school we will consider that is nationally recognized and tends to have students that do get accepted to top schools. My brother went there and had 27 AP credits coming out of there. That said, it is like two schools in one building. Honors/AP are the college track and the regular classes are not for kids that choose to go to university. So, if we decide to do traditional for him, he would go there and only do honors. It is in the rough part of town, and there are violence issues o campus with kids that aren't college track.

The other issue, for him in particular, is that he is very studious, and I believe that a couple of the private schools would suit him better for high school. The downside, it's 10-12k for those privates...
If he's very studious, he can learn in any environment. Indeed, if you mean those words the way I would mean those words, you would have a very hard time stopping him. I know I never let my classes hold me back in high school.
(I can recall a conversation I had in freshman science, during the biology unit. I was reading in class, what a sin! I told the teacher what he'd been talking about, and apparently (since I hadn't been paying attention) a few things he hadn't gotten to yet. I'd read an old introductory college bio textbook in gr.4, you see, and back then my memory was a wonderful sponge. I mostly didn't get hassled and coasted through the next 4 years, never letting school get in the way of my education.)

ch12

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #96 on: July 27, 2013, 07:19:56 PM »
There is one public school we will consider that is nationally recognized and tends to have students that do get accepted to top schools. My brother went there and had 27 AP credits coming out of there. That said, it is like two schools in one building. Honors/AP are the college track and the regular classes are not for kids that choose to go to university. So, if we decide to do traditional for him, he would go there and only do honors. It is in the rough part of town, and there are violence issues o campus with kids that aren't college track.

The other issue, for him in particular, is that he is very studious, and I believe that a couple of the private schools would suit him better for high school. The downside, it's 10-12k for those privates...
If he's very studious, he can learn in any environment. Indeed, if you mean those words the way I would mean those words, you would have a very hard time stopping him. I know I never let my classes hold me back in high school.
(I can recall a conversation I had in freshman science, during the biology unit. I was reading in class, what a sin! I told the teacher what he'd been talking about, and apparently (since I hadn't been paying attention) a few things he hadn't gotten to yet. I'd read an old introductory college bio textbook in gr.4, you see, and back then my memory was a wonderful sponge. I mostly didn't get hassled and coasted through the next 4 years, never letting school get in the way of my education.)

humblebrag alert/
I had 53 AP credits and 2 "other" credits coming into school, making me a junior. I was 18 and fresh out of high school. I have never taken CLEP exams, but I will say that I might have if I had wanted to pick up the AP credits that I didn't get for AP Euro and Chemistry.
/end humblebrag

If I had wanted to finish school as soon as possible (for example, if my parents hadn't been lavishing money and love on their college-aged daughter), I pretty simply could've done it in 2 years and 2 summers with 2 majors (Spanish and Psych OR International Business and Legal Studies). Because I was a cosseted and well-equipped student with four merit scholarships, I just stayed and did everything I wanted to.

I will say that I'm glad that I started reading ERE when I was 18, because that's probably worth as much if not more than some people's college educations.

MrsPete

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #97 on: July 27, 2013, 08:45:15 PM »
Was college worthwhile for me?  Totally!  I've been highly employable and have "had back" every penny I spent on college many times over.

Was it worthwhile for my husband?  Yep, even more so than for me.

Yeah, some people will do well without a degree, but those people tend to have 1) a good idea for a new or unique business, 2) a tendency towards business.  These things aren't in my skill set, nor my husband's. 

Rangifer

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #98 on: July 27, 2013, 10:24:25 PM »
It depends on what you are considering as valuable. If you want to know if going to college is the best way to make a bunch of money then the answer is hell no. If that's all you want go ahead and become an electrician. Then go work in one of the very high paying areas like the North Slope oil fields. They'll throw money at you, give you free food and housing, and you always get overtime! Six figures is easy and quick if you are willing to do stuff like that.

On the other hand, if your passion is something like research (and especially in the life sciences), get your ass in a classroom seat ASAP. Even then, you could eventually work your way up on your own, but I can almost guarantee that the traditional route is going to get you there quicker. Lord help you if you want to do something large scale habitat research on your own, though.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2013, 10:27:25 PM by Rangifer »

StarswirlTheMustached

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Re: Is College/University Worth It? Seriously.
« Reply #99 on: July 28, 2013, 08:10:35 AM »
There is one public school we will consider that is nationally recognized and tends to have students that do get accepted to top schools. My brother went there and had 27 AP credits coming out of there. That said, it is like two schools in one building. Honors/AP are the college track and the regular classes are not for kids that choose to go to university. So, if we decide to do traditional for him, he would go there and only do honors. It is in the rough part of town, and there are violence issues o campus with kids that aren't college track.

The other issue, for him in particular, is that he is very studious, and I believe that a couple of the private schools would suit him better for high school. The downside, it's 10-12k for those privates...
If he's very studious, he can learn in any environment. Indeed, if you mean those words the way I would mean those words, you would have a very hard time stopping him. I know I never let my classes hold me back in high school.
(I can recall a conversation I had in freshman science, during the biology unit. I was reading in class, what a sin! I told the teacher what he'd been talking about, and apparently (since I hadn't been paying attention) a few things he hadn't gotten to yet. I'd read an old introductory college bio textbook in gr.4, you see, and back then my memory was a wonderful sponge. I mostly didn't get hassled and coasted through the next 4 years, never letting school get in the way of my education.)

humblebrag alert/
I had 53 AP credits and 2 "other" credits coming into school, making me a junior. I was 18 and fresh out of high school. I have never taken CLEP exams, but I will say that I might have if I had wanted to pick up the AP credits that I didn't get for AP Euro and Chemistry.
/end humblebrag

If I had wanted to finish school as soon as possible (for example, if my parents hadn't been lavishing money and love on their college-aged daughter), I pretty simply could've done it in 2 years and 2 summers with 2 majors (Spanish and Psych OR International Business and Legal Studies). Because I was a cosseted and well-equipped student with four merit scholarships, I just stayed and did everything I wanted to.

I will say that I'm glad that I started reading ERE when I was 18, because that's probably worth as much if not more than some people's college educations.
What is AP? I don't think we have this in my country. From context, I'm guessing these are advanced classes you take in high school that can be counted towards college credits?
I can see how those would be a very, very good thing to have, especially considering what you pay per-credit in the US. Plus, getting out early gets you into the workforce sooner... yes, I can see how that would be a very good thing indeed.
I tried my darndest to get out early, but I did my BSc in a very small program where some required classes weren't (and still aren't) offered but every other year-- so it's impossible to go through in less than four years for the full honours degree.