My husband and I both grew up in lower middle class families. We were the first in our families to attend college – my husband went to MIT and I went to Babson. My husband earned a degree in electrical engineering with a concentration in software development. I earned a degree in business with a concentration in marketing and communications. We have never been without work in our lives.
We both own our own businesses and our student loans have long been paid off. Neither one of us could afford to get a degree in a major that did not lead to gainful employment. In fact, I took college classes through the summer and during winter breaks to finish my 4 year degree in 3 years, while working, because I would not afford to take out loans for a 4th year of living expenses.
It astounds me the amount of student loan debt people are willing to accumulate for degrees that do not lead to jobs that will help them get out of debt, buy a home and support a family. A friend recently told me about his niece who earned a degree from Boston College and went into debt over $200,000. She has been working as a nanny for the past 7 years, since her graduation. She lives at home, and she has no prospects for using her degree to help her launch a life independent of her parents. This is sad, but unfortunately not uncommon today.
I am also a firm believer that college is not for everyone, and there are some well paying jobs that can be achieved through the trades or other pathways that do not require a $200,000 degree.
We have a student who recently was admitted to Harvard. He was looking at over $73,000 a year in student loans to obtain his degree. He was also accepted into the Coast Guard Academy. His education through the Coast Guard would be free (in return for his service). He opted to go into the Coast Guard, and I applaud his decision. Taking on $300,000 in debt for a Harvard degree does not guarantee that he will be a millionaire some day.
The decision to finance a college education should always include careful consideration about what the return on investment will be.
Below is a link to an article about local colleges that pay off.
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