The cost of higher education is enslaving millennials and gen-x’ers with a debt burden that is preventing many of them from moving on with their lives. These grads are often forced to live with family members, trapped by the burden of student loans they felt compelled to assume. Few students or their families have the resources to cover the skyrocketing cost of higher education without financial assistance of some sort. A July 2018 article in Forbes magazine lists student loans as the largest chunk of U.S. non-housing debt. Over the years both parents and students have been convinced that the only path to a successful (and profitable) future is by obtaining a college diploma. Unfortunately a considerable number of college grads have discovered that their costly diploma does not guarantee them the job they had hoped for. In many cases it does not even guarantee them an entry-level job. A wise investor picks stocks or other investments based on the anticipated return on investment. A Liberal Arts degree is unlikely to deliver a rate of return that a degree in engineering or health care will deliver. Institutions of higher learning have been able to raise tuition and fees thanks to the greater demand for college admissions. Costs at a public university are currently around $20,000 a year and about $40,000 at a private university. The media and many politicians often attack big business and big pharma for excessive price increases. At the same time they’ve largely ignored the large price increases that have taken place at colleges and universities.
Not only are colleges and universities overpriced, but they are often failing to adequately prepare students for the “real world.” Radical, tenured professors push their liberal philosophies onto a susceptible population. Campuses are not free thinking zones in which students are exposed to all points of view but incubators of socialism. Industrial jobs are returning to America and the trades are alive and well. There is an ever-greater need for machinists, electricians and other skills. There is pride in working “with your hands” and a decent paycheck to boot. It isn’t necessary for everyone to attend schools of higher learning and not everyone is prepared for these institutions. Another option to college is a career in the military. All branches of the military offer training and skills that are applicable to both a military role and a civilian role after discharge. The only way to lower college costs is to provide “alternate” career pathways for young men and women. Success should not be measured by a college degree or which prestigious institution you attended. Each of us has something to contribute and a variety of skills and talents are needed to keep America strong.