Hit the books, hit the bank


Daniel Clark and Daniel Clark

Recently, GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum called President Obama a snob for wanting everyone to go to college.  Now, putting aside the fact Santorum has one more degree than Obama, the fact Obama only said everyone should have the chance, and the fact that I disagree with Santorum on the whole; he does have a good point.

According to a report from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown, degree holders can make up to and beyond 1.8 million more dollars over a lifetime than those without a degree.  CBS reports that in the recession of 2007 to 2010, 2 million construction jobs alone are gone forever. With such abysmal numbers, you’d have to be crazy to not want to go to college, right?

Not entirely. There’s no guarantee you’ll get a job even with a degree. Chronicle.com reports that at least 17 million recent college grads and 30 percent of degree holders total are doing jobs that don’t require any degree. Just think about that for a second.

Now that you’ve thought about it, imagine how much debt that adds up to. College prices are rising faster than inflation, and has risen more than 50 percent since 2000. The average college graduate is saddled with $24,000 in debt that bankruptcy can’t make go away. You have to pay it off, even if you get a job that doesn’t require your degree, or don’t get a job at all.

There are other options besides college to make it through life comfortably. One of my friends with a doctorate was recently complaining about people a decade younger than him making more than he does when they don’t even have a degree.

It’s possible for you to do the same thing, too. AOL.com lists many high-paying jobs without degrees that pay at least $60,000 a year, such as air traffic controller or payroll supervisor.

College is best used to pursue a career path you want to do, but things such as market conditions should play into how you handle college. Those 17 million degree holders with non-degree jobs got that way by getting a degree that won’t help them much. I’m not saying to quit college if you have a liberal arts degree or you won’t find a job if you have one, but I am saying that you should be prepared to have debt you aren’t prepared to pay off if you are. Sometimes the investment put into college isn’t worth it.