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Schweb's Lounge Forum for general conversation, chit chat, or most topics that don't fit in another forum.

Price of Admission: America's College Debt Crisis CNBC 12-21-2010


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XJ-linux

 
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My wife and I are both looking into going back for advanced degrees in 2011. Though we would like to avoid any debt, that may not be realistic if we aggressively take heavy loads or if my wife goes full-time. Obviously, debt seems to be on everyone's mind these days (or not) so this peaked my interest. Anyhow, I thought others here might be interested and hence, this post...

Price of Admission: America's College Debt Crisis

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We paid my wife's hefty business school tuition up front, but she still had to take some loans. It's part of life and isn't really anything new.


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I'm pretty fortunate to have come into inheritance money that allows me to pay for my Masters degree without taking loans. But I know that's a huge problem for most people.

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There are frequently debates about whether the increased salary that comes with having the debt of education is worth leaving a job for (this implies being unemployed during school). It's something that one should definitely consider and do so carefully. Although I am a huge advocate of individuals getting as much education as possible, it's not for everyone. What ever your choice, best of luck to you financially.

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My wife & I went back to school for advanced degrees after both of us had been working about 8-10 years. I never ever even worried about going into debt for the advanced degree. I just considered it part of the process...and well worth the extra earning potential & upward mobility an advanced degree can offer (in some fields).

I had plenty of debt from undergrad....and I had plenty of debt from grad. school.

Look at it this way:

- most folks don't just slap-down $20,000-$30,000+ in cash when they buy a new car...so you're going into debt with a new car purchase.
- most folks don't just slap-down $250,000 or more in cash when they buy a home...so you go into debt with a home purchase
- and many folks just can't slap-down the cash necessary to pay for grad. school tuition, food, utilities, housing, books, etc. when they attend grad. school...so you go into debt with grad. school.

Basically what I'm saying is...there are plenty of "opportunities" to go into debt in life...so why should something as beneficial as grad. school be any different,

Besides...you're just not a "good American" if you're not carrying a bunch of debt!

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/start rant
Meh a degree is just a piece of paper imo. It's a very expensive piece of paper which doesn't guarantee anything. Sure, you may have a degree, but with no experience you won't get that great of a job (if you can even find any job openings). I would rather do something hands on and actually feel like I'm making a difference. I don't want to go into a huge rant, but not to offend anyone I labeled this as a "rant".
/end rant.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2odin View Post
/start rant
Meh a degree is just a piece of paper imo. It's a very expensive piece of paper which doesn't guarantee anything. Sure, you may have a degree, but with no experience you won't get that great of a job (if you can even find any job openings). I would rather do something hands on and actually feel like I'm making a difference. I don't want to go into a huge rant, but not to offend anyone I labeled this as a "rant".
/end rant.

You may think that, but most companies are looking for people with that degree now. I work in the IT field and we used to disregard the degree for people that may only have certs. Not any longer... If you don't have the paper they won't even bother with you.
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That may be so, but you need experience to go along with that degree.
And what do you do if you slacked off and chose a degree that you have no interest in, and you have a piece of paper that has the world "Zoology" across the top. Say you want to be an accountant but your degree is in zoology. Good luck. And internships don't always work. I have talked to a few friends around here who applied for internships, and got turned down because someone else applied, who had 3/4/7 yeas, respectively experience in that job field. It's the same thing behind credit. You need credit to build credit? You need experience to get more experience.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by s2odin View Post
That may be so, but you need experience to go along with that degree.
Not true.... Companies that higher people with degrees are willing to pay to train them (my company has dumped well over 30K on me in the last five years and I have just submitted for more training). They see the degree as proof that the applicant is willing to learn and grow.

As for the rest of what you posted. If you have a degree in zoology and you are applying for an accounting position you can bet that you probably won't be getting it as you have not met the criteria of posted position. However, if you have been working in that field for 15 + years and have a degree in zoology you will likely be considered. Internships are always a risk and don't equal a job but they do equal some experience.

I used to think just like you until I watched and had to inform (as a hiring manager) people that they weren't qualified due to their lack of education. A degree is worth it and I will always recommend it if you ever want to advance in any position.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just giving my opinion from a person that was (just took a new position) in a hiring role for a large well-known company.
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I find it odd that people complain about a price for tuition, which helps their whole future out, but don't complain about buying a car...which is one of the worst large investments out there. If you think it's worth paying for an advanced degree to climb up the "corporate ladder," do it!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaFlake View Post
Not true.... Companies that higher people with degrees are willing to pay to train them (my company has dumped well over 30K on me in the last five years and I have just submitted for more training). They see the degree as proof that the applicant is willing to learn and grow.
Beyond that, a degree demonstrates that you can commit to something that is long and difficult along with having completed four years (minimum) of schooling where you not only learn the subject matter but thinking skills, methodology, etc. There is so much more to a degree than the name of the program on the "piece of paper."

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
There are frequently debates about whether the increased salary that comes with having the debt of education is worth leaving a job for (this implies being unemployed during school). It's something that one should definitely consider and do so carefully. Although I am a huge advocate of individuals getting as much education as possible, it's not for everyone. What ever your choice, best of luck to you financially.
The salary that comes with it, initially at least, isn't always worth the effort, time and money spent. That's the short term reality. The long term reality is that once you pay off the loans and assuming you got a degree that is worth anything, you will be better off through retirement (and live comfortably when you do) if you have half a brain. even 10 years of paying off loans is a short term problem when you consider you will probably work for at least 50 years after you graduate. From that POV it's a small price to pay for long term security.

College also teaches you important skills like critical thinking, something that should never be sold short if you look at the broader view of life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s2odin
/start rant
Meh a degree is just a piece of paper imo. It's a very expensive piece of paper which doesn't guarantee anything. Sure, you may have a degree, but with no experience you won't get that great of a job (if you can even find any job openings). I would rather do something hands on and actually feel like I'm making a difference. I don't want to go into a huge rant, but not to offend anyone I labeled this as a "rant".
/end rant.
Quote:
Originally Posted by s2odin
That may be so, but you need experience to go along with that degree.
And what do you do if you slacked off and chose a degree that you have no interest in, and you have a piece of paper that has the world "Zoology" across the top. Say you want to be an accountant but your degree is in zoology. Good luck. And internships don't always work. I have talked to a few friends around here who applied for internships, and got turned down because someone else applied, who had 3/4/7 yeas, respectively experience in that job field. It's the same thing behind credit. You need credit to build credit? You need experience to get more experience.
It's not just a piece of paper, at least not if you didn't "slack off" and get a degree in basket weaving or Liberal arts. If you got a degree in Zoology and you make the field a career because you enjoy it, then it's not a bad thing.

Reading your sig I see you are going into the USAF. Here's a story for you. I did a number of years in the USN and one of my billets was i Navy F-14D fighter squadron (yeah, I'm old). One of the pilots I knew got a degree in Liberal Arts. Wasted degree, right? WRONG! That degree allowed him to enter the USN as an Officer vice enlisted, qualify for flight school and fly jets for Aircraft Carriers. It's NOT just a piece of paper, it can get you far in life if you use it correctly.

The military is much like a trade school and can be treated as such, but ONLY if you make the most out of it. It's not a free ride or the answer to all of your problems. It does give you a leg up on others if you choose to go to school and it can be a wonderful career for the right people (it's not for everyone). It can also lead you into a good career when you leave the service, but only if you play your cards right and actually become good at not only your job, but any other one that touches you job (MOS) remotely. Being the go to guy in the military can have it's drawbacks (lots of hard work and long hours) but it can have its benefits in the long run as well.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by baggss View Post
The salary that comes with it, initially at least, isn't always worth the effort, time and money spent. That's the short term reality. The long term reality is that once you pay off the loans and assuming you got a degree that is worth anything, you will be better off through retirement (and live comfortably when you do) if you have half a brain. even 10 years of paying off loans is a short term problem when you consider you will probably work for at least 50 years after you graduate. From that POV it's a small price to pay for long term security.
I agree (being a big advocate of education) but there was an article in the paper here a while ago where they did some statistics showing that for some, not pursuing more education was actually more beneficial because not only did they make money during the years that they could have been at school but they also moved up the corporate hierarchy quicker since they reached the "year markers" sooner (5yrs, 10yrs, etc.). I don't necessarily agree with their conclusions though - education will let you progress further up the ladder but it could be argued from both sides I suppose.

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College also teaches you important skills like critical thinking, something that should never be sold short if you look at the broader view of life.
I couldn't agree more with this statement. Critical thinking is needed now more than ever.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vansmith View Post
I agree (being a big advocate of education) but there was an article in the paper here a while ago where they did some statistics showing that for some, not pursuing more education was actually more beneficial because not only did they make money during the years that they could have been at school but they also moved up the corporate hierarchy quicker since they reached the "year markers" sooner (5yrs, 10yrs, etc.). I don't necessarily agree with their conclusions though - education will let you progress further up the ladder but it could be argued from both sides I suppose.
You may move up the ladder quicker but without that "piece of paper" you stop moving up sooner than your peers who have it. You may make more money earlier but later, when the higher pay is really what counts in your 50s and 60s (and beyond) you are handicapped since you can't rise to those levels. It's a short term gain for a longer term loss and in the end, you lose.


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Meh, it's probably because I'm a firm believer in hands on experience over education. Books and teachers can't teach you everything you might experience in your job, but experience will put you in situations where you can learn how to handle things. You can have all the knowledge in the world and not be able to apply it. I know someone who used to work for Boeing making little mini rocket engines. He has been married twice and is on his next relationship (yes, I know relationships fail. But these were things that he should have seen coming from a mile away). He is one of the smartest people I know when it comes to education, but street smarts, he isn't the brightest bulb in the box. I prefer hands on experience to education as I said, and I'm not stupid either. I had a 3.5 all through high school, has NHS offers, blah blah blah. I scored a 77 on my ASVAB and I know what I want to do with my life. I will eventually pursue an education, yes, but I want real world experience first. It's all well and good to have a degree, but it won't always prepare you for real world situations.

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