I will warn you, this post may come across as somewhat of a rant. Ok, to be honest, it is entirely a rant. However, I am passionate about this subject, and hopefully you won’t skewer me for letting you know what I truly feel. This post is somewhat of a follow-up of my post last week about the recent law introduced in Michigan to give out free college tuition.
One of the biggest problems in our country today is the fact that so many people feel entitled. They may feel entitled to a bigger house, a brand new car, a vacation twice per year, a wife, a family, a good paying job, and a college education. I work with students every day who have one goal in mind: graduate from college. They will do whatever it takes to reach this goal. That might mean sacrificing 6 years of their life in pursuit of the degree, taking out more student loans than they could ever repay in a lifetime, or it could even mean endangering their health with binge drinking or lack of sleep while in college.
Some of the most financially unhealthy people I have ever met live on college campuses. The vast majority of these students have a lot of debt and ZERO income. Student loans are structured so students can borrow the funds they need to graduate with the intent that they can then get a job and begin to repay those loans. But what if that job does not happen? Or possibly even worse, what if reality slaps them in the face and they realize that a college degree does not guarantee a cushy office job with a corner window and a fat salary?
Every day I speak with parents and students who are struggling to make ends meet. This may be because the parents lost their job and can no longer pay for their child’s education, because the student’s GPA slipped and they lost an important scholarship, or it might be because a graduate student lost the funding for his graduate assistantship and now his tuition has skyrocketed. All of these situations can be heartbreaking, but in the end my question continues to be: should you go to college if you cannot afford it?
There are many people in both sides of the “go to college at all costs” camps. Some agree, and some reject that train of thought. Whatever stance you take, I don’t think you can deny the fact that many students are obtaining their college degrees only AFTER they have put either themselves or their parents in a precarious financial state. Is it worth it?