Frugal Friday: Is a 4 Year Diploma Still Worth it?
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Happy Friday everyone! It’s been quite the week, but a good week nonetheless. Several months ago I wrote a somewhat contentious post which asked, Is A College Degree Worth it. I tend to fall on the side that a college degree, in general, is worth it for many students…assuming they go into it making an informed decision and not looking to take on massive student loan debt for a degree in underwater basket weaving.
That’s why this article on Yahoo Finance stood out to me this week. It asked the question “does it really matter where students go to college?” It argued that unless you’re going to one of the select “name” schools like Harvard or Yale, then the school on your piece of paper really does not mean a whole lot when it comes to securing that nice paying job upon graduation. I mean, is it really worth taking on student loan debt with all of the headwinds that graduates face today if it simply means they’ll be able to get a job at their local coffee shop or string together a few part-time jobs in order to make ends meet? Then there’s the issue of student loan payments. With the rising student loan debt currently cresting at a cumulative $1 Trillion, higher education is understandably on many people’s minds. From parents not wanting to send their kids into potentially tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt to people like me who just paid off their student loans last year, the topic is one battled by many.
The most interesting part of the article, as far as I’m concerned, was its mention of a website that compares colleges and degree programs for students, showing expected first-year salaries of in-state graduates. This website only covers five or six states as they’ve just recently started, but I think it has the potential to be a great tool for prospective students as they decide whether or not a four-year school is for them. Having something like this should allow them to see in close to real numbers what they can expect to make if they are able to land a job in their chosen field and combine that with the assumed student loans they might need to take out.
As the article pointed out though, expected salary should not be the determining factor of what major to choose as it’ll potentially increase the likelihood of not completing the schooling because they’re lacking the passion needed to see it through to completion. In my opinion, this begs the question of ‘is a degree from a four-year university necessarily the only option for students?’ I wound tend to say it’s not, as the article pointed out, as many overlook the community college or technical school route. I know those options are not as glamorous, but glamour should not always be the driving factor.
I would argue that the driving factor should be the passion you have for your chosen field, the kind of pay you can expect to receive and the amount of student loan debt you’ll come out of school with. The article went on to point out numerous students who either went the community college route, or transferred into them from a four-year school and ended up graduating to make more money while accruing considerably less debt. My analytical mind sees this and wonders why more are not considering this. True, you might be able to earn more over a lifetime with a four-year degree, but if saddled with a lot of student loan debt is that still attainable – or do some get more value for their dollar going the two-year school route?
This can certainly be a contentious debate, and won’t be solved today, but it does give food for thought. Meanwhile, it has been another great week in the blogosphere. If you have the time this weekend then check out some of my favorite blog posts from this past week.
Blog Post of the Week
Investing is War on Brick By Brick Investing
Marvin wins the award for my favorite new saying this week – “View your money as soldiers.” This means that you should be viewing your hard earned dollars going out and working for you as “prisoners to bring home” as Marvin puts it. I love this analogy as it’s one that I think is great to implement as you endeavor to grow your wealth and save for retirement. Learning how to invest is not necessarily an easy task, but it is one that can be accomplished by many…especially considering the amount of resources available today. The post was meant to kick off Marvin’s investing series based off of the book The Art of War by Sun Tzu. If you’re wanting to learn more about some of the vital principles related to investing then I encourage you to check out this post and Marvin’s ongoing series.
Other Blog Posts That Ruled
Ways to Find Customers for Your Service Business on Young Adult Money
Churning Credit Cards: Starwood Preferred Guest Card on Club Thrifty
The Experts Can’t Pick Stocks. Can You? on Mom and Dad Money
My Love/Hate Relationship With the iPod Nano on Are You Gonna Eat That?
Religion, Politics and Debt on Money Counselor
How Much Do You Need to Retire 1 Day Early? on Sweating the Big Stuff
Odd Search Terms
How to become rich with no money…robbery (I kid, I kid)
Frugal will rule the world…is that before or after the zombie apocalypse?
How can eating eagle make you sick…I hear the beak is the real killer
It’s hard not to shop at Wal-Mart…And actually shopping there is any easier?!
Sounds weird when people scratch their head…Sounds to me like YOU’RE a little weird
So unhappy I pull my hair out…I heard liquid courage does the trick too
Is it crazy to pay off my optometry loan within 10 years…I don’t know you’ll have to ask Kim on that one!
Can I scratch my head before dying it…No, that’ll just ruin it
What are your thoughts? Is a two-year school worth looking into if it offers a program you would like and the potential of a good salary, or is a four-year school the way to go? What fun things do you have planned for the weekend?
Photo courtesy of: Tobyotter