Columns, Jobs, Lifestyle

Death by Degrees – the spiralling cost of education and what to do about it.


n+1 has a good article about the spiralling costs of education and encompasses all the things that History, Future, Now. likes: – a reference back to education in  7th Century China, the issues with contemporary education and what we might do about it in the future.

One of the main issues about higher education is not just that the costs are getting greater every year and are increasing significantly above inflation, but rather that it still remains relatively easy to finance that education, through borrowing.  What young people and their parents are being persuaded to do is to get a degree because the job that they will be able to get will be higher paying than if they do not get a degree.

It is hard as a young adult to know what decision to make.  There is a lot of pressure from your parents and from your peers to go to university.

The problem is that the numbers don’t necessarily stack up.  First, even graduates are experiencing high levels of unemployment.  For them higher education is a disaster: they can rack up over $100,000 in tuition fees and living expense costs, with no income to pay for it.  In the US that debt burden follows them for the rest of their lives – they cannot get out of it by declaring bankruptcy.   Second, even if they do get a job, the income that they generate from that job could be significantly lower than what they need to live a decent life AND pay for the debt.

It is hard as a young adult to know what decision to make.  There is a lot of pressure from your parents and from your peers to go to university.

But how about an alternative:  use the $100k that you were going to spend on higher education on setting up your own business.

But how about an alternative:  use the $100k that you were going to spend on higher education on setting up your own business.  You can continue to live at home, which will dramatically cut your overhead expenses, team up with like minded people and use the combined money you were going to spend on education to create new value.

If you are successful you will have made back your invested money, helped to employ other people and would “graduate” having learnt far more useful business skills than if you had gone to university.

Admittedly your business could be a flop and you could have lost the $100k as well!

Admittedly your business could be a flop and you could have lost the $100k as well!  That is why the decision is not an easy one.

To read more: n+1: Death by Degrees.

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