Despite many Liberals’ claims, Conservatives believe that a college education is not what it used to be. Good-paying jobs are getting harder and harder to find with young adults graduating with useless or soon to be obsolete degrees like anthropology or psychology. Conservatives believe that many people should consider starting their own business, building their own brand, or attending a vocational school. These alternatives are not only less expensive but help you gain the skills you need to secure a stable job.
First, it is no secret that student loan debt is a major financial burden on college graduates. According to the Huffington Post, “America now holds $1 trillion in student loan debt. This is more than home mortgages, car loans and credit cards….” 1* To add insult to injury, college tuition prices are skyrocketing. In fact, “the cost of college has gone up 1,000% in the past 40 consecutive years.” 1* This growth rate has far surpassed the inflation rate. Those who are college-bound need to be prepared to pay an average of $920/month to $1,840/month of student loans for ten years. 1* Let those numbers sink in for a minute before you decide to earn a degree that will leave you grossly unqualified for the real world job market. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, there is only about 56% percent chance that students who start college will finish earning a degree within six years. 2* Many college students who do not finish their degrees only have large debts in exchange for their trouble.
While Liberals claim more and more jobs are requiring their employees to have college degrees, Conservatives argue that college no longer provides graduates with the skills required for today’s job market. While an annual study conducted by the consulting firm Accenture found that 80% of graduates from the Class of 2014 expected on-the-job training, more than 50% of graduates from the Classes of 2012 and 2013 report receiving no on-the-job training. 1* These statistics demonstrate that employers are looking to hire people with skills and experience: not just those with college degrees.
We are living in a technology-driven world economy. While our technological advancements are amazing, colleges are growing more and more inadequate in their ability to teach students marketable skills. According to Huffington Post journalist Michael Price, “If you obtain a business or marketing degree you will never be anything more than a project manager, and over-time more and more technologies will become available that will automate much of what you do making you completely dispensable.” 1* Colleges just cannot seem to teach the skills that jobs in the real economy require. Price claims, “Millennials are the most educated generation in human history, which is why they are also one of the most underemployed generations in human history… college graduates can’t find meaningful work because there’s too high a supply of the same people with the same credentials and not enough jobs to fill them all with meaningful work.” 1*
These statistics make going to college sound like a waste of time. While this seems to go against everything we have ever been taught in public schools, there may be a lot of truth to this belief. Michael Price claims that, “[a college education] will never be effective or progressive enough to keep up with the growing needs of employers who look to college institutions for their future employees.” 1* Price suggests starting your own business or attending trade schools which will help you gain the skills you need to obtain stable employment.
Trade or vocational schools are a great option for those not interested in starting their own business or creating their own brand. According to The Huffington Post, “There are an estimated 3 million labor jobs available; 90% of them don’t require a college degree and most of them pay more than white collar jobs. They simply require a skill.” 1* However, Price cautions that many vocational schools are more expensive and less beneficial than traditional universities. Price also suggests that we take advantage of the many non-traditional learning methods, including YouTube and other online education programs. 1*
It is clear that a college education is not required in order to lead a productive and happy life. The question is, are the costs of not obtaining a college degree outweighed by the benefits of saved time and money? The answer to this and other important questions will be addressed in my next post.
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