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It would be fool-hardy at best to improve ones education simply for financial gain.  Similar things can be said about "...the earning potential of a degree versus the cost should be considered when choosing your potential college and career field."  Really?  If you are the best, or better than most, in your field, you will be comfortable financially, I guarantee it.  Yes, there are fields with disproportionate income-to-education levels, believe me, I'm living it.    

The purpose of a degree is to make money.  You can kid yourself about being a better person, having the college experience and so on but the degree is needed to get a job.  Otherwise, you could educate yourself for free at the library and use your college money on hookers and booze.

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The purpose of a degree is to make money.  You can kid yourself about being a better person, having the college experience and so on but the degree is needed to get a job.  Otherwise, you could educate yourself for free at the library and use your college money on hookers and booze.

The "Good Will Hunting" scholarship program.

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The purpose of a degree is to make money.  You can kid yourself about being a better person, having the college experience and so on but the degree is needed to get a job.  Otherwise, you could educate yourself for free at the library and use your college money on hookers and booze.

Crap,  I've dedicated my professional life to the wrong thing.

Here I have spent a good portion of my life trying my best to figure out ways to help college students become educated, and good "critical thinkers" in particular.  When it turns out they already have those skills.  They could just pick up some books and be educated.

I guess my job is not to instruct students after all, but to merely certify that they know what they already know?

Here I thought that college graduates generally do better because college actually changes them in ways that they could not (or generally would not) change on their own.  I thought universities were actually suppose to change people.   Instead they are merely to serve as gates put stamps of approval on people to recognize their pre-existing greatness.

sigh.

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I pick up their tuition, which is about $5,000 a year each.

How many hours are they taking?  I just looked at my alma mater here in TX and it looks like $2500 for a 12 hour semester.  Add on campus housing and meals and it brings the total up to $6000 per semester.

Universities in Canada are subsidized by the government.

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Crap,  I've dedicated my professional life to the wrong thing.

Here I have spent a good portion of my life trying my best to figure out ways to help college students become educated, and good "critical thinkers" in particular.  When it turns out they already have those skills all along.  They could just pick up some books and be educated.

I guess my job is not to instruct students after all, but to merely certify that they know what they already know?

Here I thought that people who went to college generally do better because college actually changes them in ways that they could not (or generally would not) change on their own.  I thought universities were actually suppose to change people.   Instead they are merely to serve as gates put stamps of approval of people to recognize their pre-existing greatness.

sigh.

I'm stuck in a business environment mindset and I'm probably being simplistic.  

I enjoyed college and encourage everyone to go.  I do think that people need to consider the cost and benefits of the total choice - degree and college.   I've seen people in my professional life who have spent six figures on education with an earning potential that will never pay it back.  Earning potential should be a consideration between state and private schools. If your going to be a librarian, I'd argue you're better off with a degree for a lower cost state school than $80k or more for a private school.  And on the other hand, if you want to be a doctor or and executive, a private school degree may be more beneficial when you try to get into graduate school.  

It'd be hard to quantify how college environment changes people above the education aspect.  It happens, but I think a lot of it is just growing up.  Boot camp will also do that in a hurry.

As for the sigh, no Eric, you haven't wasted your life.  People are better educated in a classroom with an instructor than reading a book.  I'm not suggesting for people to stop going to college and to get a library card.  I am suggesting that they make better financial decisions in regards to college and degrees so that they can live better financial lives with less debt.

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ambition, common sense, work ethic and the willingness to take risk will offset and often out perform higher education.

I've known many well educated people that earn less than well motivated hard working less educated people, in my life.

I had a 3.8 GPA in general business applied for got accepted and then dropped out of my masters program at UWM to go to work and never regretted it, never felt like the decision hurt me financially.

I think most kids would do well to work for atleast 3-4 years after high school and grow up some before running off to college, most have no idea why they are there IMO.

I have 3 in college all good students, two of the three freely admit they have no idea what they want to do professionally.

My oldest  one, that went to a trade school and is already out and working making very good money. He just bought a house and is on his way into the world he will do fine. Hes not a great student but hes got more than his share of work ethic, ambition and common sense.

Guess which one I am not worried about.

My point I guess is that education is only one component of life with ambition, common sense, work ethic,  all needed to be successful. If you lack any of the four you better have enough of the other three to compensate.

I cannot imagine have 100K in debt to over come coming out of undergrad school.

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I went to college at the age of 27 and it took me 6 years to complete, I did not borrow any money to go and worked full time to pay for it.  I have always wanted to be a scientist or do something science related, and I realized at 27 it is impossible to get employed in that industry without a college degree.  I do have friends with a high school education who make millions in their chosen career path (they own their onw companies and work VERY hard).  So, in some cases I think college is over rated, but I owuld not be employed without the degree and I am very happy in my job as they are in theirs, albeit with much more money!!!
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I was the oldest of 7 kids and just 17 years old when I graduated high school my dad shook my hand and told me I had to go to college or join the army but one way or the other it was my time to go out in the world on my own.

I joined the army (during the Vietnam war) to get the GI bill and then worked night shift in a furniture factory while going to school and came out of school with no debt and enough money to be comfortable until I got a "real" job.

I never had the luxury my kids have about what I "wanted to do". I was better off with the "pressure on" fear is a powerful motivator :D .

My dad was smart enough to know that I needed to find out things the hard way and I'm better for it.

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The purpose of a degree is to make money.  You can kid yourself about being a better person, having the college experience and so on but the degree is needed to get a job.  Otherwise, you could educate yourself for free at the library and use your college money on hookers and booze.

I don't think I could disagree more, with any of the statements you have put forth.  Erik has done so more eloquently than I, so I will leave it at that.  In fact, I feel rather sad, truly, that that reflects your view of education.  

But as I can only speak for myself, but yes, University, post-grad experience (in academia) and finally my tertiary degree are done solely for the purpose of furthering myself, my field, and humanity.  As grandiose as that sounds, its 100% true.  Its certainly not for the money, I assure you.  

Now, your assertions as to which school to attend, in respect to being fiscally responsible do hold merit, but not in the light you present.  A good friend is a high school science teacher, who is Ivy league trained.  Another was a barely-passing student at a VERY passable state school, and makes north of 7 figures.  Did they (or anyone else that I know of) choose those schools because of earning potential?  Nope, they just went to the best that they could afford at the time.  

In fact, in all of my years after college, including my position now, never have I thought my choice of school (and even my specific degree) made any tangible difference.  I know this isn't always true, but I would hedge it happens vastly more than not.

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My oldest daughter graduated from Colby Sawyer in NH with a Graphic Design degree. I'd like to say the monetary help we provided and the loans were worth it but I taught her more about graphic design when I saw her on weekends then she did there. Regardless that degree and some freelance projects she did for me while in college got her her first job. She now runs the small newspaper art dept. I think the degree gave her a great deal of confidence.

My youngest is a sophomore at UNH. The out of state tuition is a serious hardship but we do what we can and she is piling up the loans. This kid is studying biology and other premed type courses.  She has maintained a 3.7 GPA in one of the hardest majors. She took EMT courses all summer and was certified as an EMT while holding down two jobs. The kid deserves everything we can do for her and not going to college would be a waste.

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I divide college degrees into two categories - the trades and the rest.

By "trades" I mean accounting, nursing, MD, engineering, dental, law etc.  These professions require the degree or you don't get to play.  Often they are professions that are licensed by the state or some certifying board.  Typically they are difficult to the point that many students simply don't make the cut.  Scarcity in the field results, and pay rises accordingly.  Like it or not, that's how it is.

"The rest" falls in the a gray zone where people say they're in it to be enriched, for the experience, to grow as a person, etc.  Fine.  However, the inference that the degree will result in gainful employment is often a false one.  That's the lie that wastes a lot of time and money.

I say, when you go in, know why you're there and what you hope to accomplish.  The rub comes when some kid gets a degree in ancient musical history and then comes out and can't get a job and is shocked by that fact.

If you're in it for a job, fine.  If you're in it to be enriched, fine.  You can even do both.  Tailor it accordingly.  But go in with your eyes open and understand it for what it is and don't expect anyone to owe you anything just because you got the sheepskin.

Now, as a homeschooler, I already know that my kids will be able to think critically and able to educate themselves on ANY subject when they graduate.  College, trade school, going right to work, the military, etc., will all be options.  Whatever they choose, you can bet I'll be in their face making sure they know and can articulate their plan and their goals and that they understand what they're doing.  

As an aside, I have two "trade" degrees (engineering and business) and they have paid wonderfully.  I was fortunate enough to have aptitude in an area that pays well.  That didn't excuse me from a lot of hard work to get the degrees, but at least I was gifted to do that sort of work.  Not everyone is blessed that way, including my kids.  But they will all have an education in reality by the time I'm done with them, and college will one of many options they can choose.

I do not subscribe to the theory that college will open up their lives in some way that isn't possible at other points in life.  I will have already opened their eyes to the world long before they get there.  If not, I haven't done my job.  My goal is for them to discover and grow educationally for their entire lives.  Anything less is just getting by.

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I've always believed that a liberal arts education prepared one for most of life.  My feeling is that if you know the theory behind how something works or is done you can easily pick up the specifics.

My son attended the university oy Minnesota in Minneapolis.  It cost us about 12,000 per year for tuition and room and board.  he worked in the summers for his berr  etc....money.  When he graduated with a degree in Communications and a minor in business it took him a year and a half to find a job in the advertising field that he was interested in.  He moved around a little in the Minneapolis job market and then was the last "non-partner" laid off at his agency during the current economic debacle.  He is again "looking" but also rethinking what he really wants to do.  Has the degree helped him, I think so.  Has it kept him employed? No.

My daughter graduated from a smaller local South dakota school, Black Hills State University with a degree in Political Science and minors in International relations and Business.  Her schooling was significantly less expensive, about $5,000 per year as she lived at home.  

She applied to and was admitted to Law School on the first go around.  During the orientation period she decided that Law School was not what she really wanted.  She is now searching for a job while again living at home.

Both are extremekly well educated and I'm sure they will do fine but to have both unemployed is somewhat unsettling.  We were fortunate to be able to pay their college expenses out of cash flow so to speak and neither have any outstanding college loans.

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I think the benefits of higher education are many but not necessarily of a financial nature.  I spent a small fortune on the education of my two sons and never will regret a dollar of it.  That said, the education alone will not give them the "leg up" to make them excel financially.  As it turned out the motivated one has done very well, the unmotivated one less well.  In the end I think I got what I wanted, and that was for them to be better educated than their parents.  I think their degrees will serve them well in life but it won't mean easy riches.

Actually, the two or three wealthiest people I know personally have no formal education beyond high school, but they are motivated.

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