More than 25 percent of people in their 30s who have attended college at some point have no degree — neither a community-college degree nor a bachelor’s degree. They fare vastly worse in the job market than their counterparts who do graduate (despite all the overwrought commentary claiming that education is overrated).
The media hangs on every word that Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg say about the future of technology. Then they go back to the newsroom and pound out another piece about how college-is-everything and the key to life and the key to eliminating income inequality or whatever. They fail to appreciate the irony that the richest people in the world are often not college graduates.
Today a college degree is worth $365,000 for the average American man after subtracting all its direct and indirect costs over a lifetime. For women — who still tend to earn less than men — it’s worth $185,000. If the decision to drop out or not boils down to economics, all you need is compare those numbers with what you could do with the money you are spending on tuition now.Ouch. Is $365,000 worth borrowing $100,000 to get? Considering the future cost of money? Considering compound interest? And yes, this is an example where opportunity cost kicks in. Could the money spent on tuition be better spend founding a business or buying your first home?
Borrowing huge sums of money at age 18 to get a useless degree is not a good idea, in my opinion. Having the government (taxpayers) fund four-year party schools for everyone is an even worse one. The problem with college can't be fixed by throwing more money at it or getting more people to go or to graduate. That is the problem with college. We've decided to allow "funny money" into the process, encourage everyone to get a college degree, needed or not, and then chained them to a lifetime of debt payments.