Is College Worth It?
Now I work for a college. I've seen people come and go for years, entering the system with bright eyes and high expectation and leave with a degree that may or may not get them anywhere. I've seen many give up before they get a degree (most do for various reasons) and many finish with a look of death in their eyes, as if they've been to the front lines of some terrible war. And I can understand it: from hyper-political teachers who care to only preach their political views (carefully inlaid into their modules and courses), to a low return on monetary investment after years of work and years of debt. But here's the main problem: the value of the degree is depreciating. Like a government printing too much money, more and more people are able to access colleges, universities, and online institutions. From student loans, grants, funds, savings, and entrance programs targeted to specific demographics, overall it is far easier to be accepted into a college. Mostly, because the higher their student numbers, the more grant money they get for their programs from sponsors, government entities, and partners. More students=more money=better reported numbers at the end of the academic year. Better bragging rights. Etc. Even prestigious universities such as Yale and Harvard have lowered their bars for entrance exams (although they would never tell you such a thing). Here's the thing, how often do you see commercials for colleges and online schools? A new one pops up almost weekly, it seems like now. The more the competition, the lower the standards get.
But it depends on what degree you get! ...Kind of...to an extent. Yeah, underwater basket-weaving and women studies with a focus on genealogy won't really get you a job anywhere, but what about engineering? Or doctors? Well discounting the insane amount of student debt, loans, and saved money you'll spend for your 4-12 years of strenuously difficult courses, you must take into account that you and everyone else is going for those degrees. People have gotten smarter. They know what degrees work and which ones don't. And although the statistics say that demand for such jobs are growing in the city you live in, the growth of the amount of people obtaining the same degree is rising at a faster rate.
Here's some stats:
Between 2000 and 2017, educational attainment rates among 25-to-29-year-olds increased at each attainment level. During this time, the percentage who had received at least a high school diploma or its equivalent increased from 88 to 92 percent, the percentage with an associate's or higher degree increased from 38 to 46 percent, the percentage with a bachelor's or higher degree increased from 29 to 36 percent and the percentage with a master's or higher degree increased from 5-to-9 percent.
Now, you could be saying Raf, those numbers do show growth, but it's not really that much... Yeah, but 2.2 MILLION people went to college in 2016. In 2018 for Fall Semester? 19.9 MILLION. Do you see the growth yet??? That's 804.54% growth in two years.
Raf, but jobs are growing all over America...Yeah, 201,000 new jobs were added to the labor market in August of 2018. And yet our workforce decreased from 62.9 Million to 62.7 in the same month (it did the same from August of 2017 to Aug of 2018). Hmm, slow decrease, perhaps even stagnancy, but why not growth? There's more jobs available. Here's the analogy: you had one really yummy cookie. There were four people who wanted it. One got it, the other three complained. The government and economy-savvy companies came in and took the cookie and broke it up into 4 parts. They work, they taste good, but they're now smaller. This is basic economics 101. When there is a higher demand, you have more control over the price of the wanted item. In this case, loads of people want a great job? Well it's easier to break the job up and pay everyone a lot less money. What, you want to be jobless or make minimal wage? But that's not fair! That job paid big bucks five years ago...Yep, it did. But now that company has a bunch of suckers working part time (cause part-timers don't get the good benefits which cost the company a bunch of money) and has them working for crumbs. That company is making a lot more money off of having a bunch of smaller, lower paying jobs instead of a few high paying full-time jobs. Yay 201,000 new jobs added! Yaaaaaaaay (that's sarcasm).
What's sad is that because everywhere we look we see super low-paying jobs or only the exact opposite-super high-paying jobs with qualification requirements out-of-this-world-we tend to think we need a college education, a degree, to put ourselves in a position for success. Thus, the insane growth we see of people going to college. And with colleges sprouting everywhere like weeds, each accepting us in with open arms, we flood the world with hundreds-of-thousands of certifications and diplomas. Now this is nowhere how it was like when we had a surge of number back in 2009 when the economy went down the crap-chute, where colleges everywhere were turning people down. But now colleges have become like McDonald's. And colleges want you to graduate, despite what you may think of them desiring to suck all your money out of your account. High graduation rates makes a college look good, and the amount of funding and support they can get when they show off good numbers, benefits them more than Dick and Jane's debt growing like a tumor on the back of their wallets.
So if a bunch of people have degrees and the job market is growing, why do most people still make such little money and never go into the career field they got their diploma for? Companies have seen the trend. You may have a degree, but so do thirty others who came and applied the same day. Whoever accepts the lowest wage while having the highest talent and ethical views aligning with the company, well they get the job.
In May, the U.S. quit rate, or the proportion of workers quitting their jobs, reached the highest level since 2001. A high quit rate is a sign of optimism, with workers feeling confident they can find a better job (or at least another one).
To that point, the BLS report includes another interesting statistic: Thanks to many Americans’ confidence in the job market, most people quitting their jobs are doing so in order to take more lucrative gigs.
The report also shows that May marked the second time in two decades there were more jobs available than people unemployed. Employers advertised 6.84 million available jobs in April. In May, there were 6.64 million jobs advertised—when there were only 6.1 million unemployed people.
So why is everyone quitting? Cause they can get degrees and find something better (they think)! Because their job has been cut apart to make more jobs and their wage is a lot smaller because their company doesn't care if they leave or stay (there's already more suckers lining up for an interview before you've even packed up your desk belongings). And if no Americans take the job, there's a million Indians, Russians, and Latinos who are willing to do the job. Don't get me wrong, these guys are hard-working, determined, and have insane work ethic, and they'll do the same thing as you for a lot less: especially if the company pays for their living if they're on Visa. Many companies import from other countries.
More people have jobs = The value of the degree is decreasing. There are far more jobs = The value of the job working for the big man is decreasing
And so, why not become an entrepreneur? A writer like you, Raf? If that's your dream, go for it, but guess what? The government caught on to that long ago. Big companies as well. Too many people becoming independent, no longer relying on them? Oh no way! They can't have that! The loopholes and massive taxes you have to pay, the steep level of competition that you have to climb over, makes entrepreneurship extremely difficult-but not impossible.
Overall, what I'm trying to say is that we have a lot of people willingly becoming sheep because its the easy route. (At least they think-if you believe in the stagnant decaying state of life most have now conformed to). And it's harder and harder to become a wolf. (Thus so many people leaving to become homesteaders-which the government is also trying to make it harder to do, but that's a blog for another day).
Maybe people will catch on and stop going for degrees. Maybe loads of colleges will shut down and the value of the degree will increase onse more. Maybe because so many jobs are becoming available and so many people are quitting because they're tired of being underpaid for their work will cause wages to go up once more and qualifications to slacken. But maybe that's a pipe-dream and were soon going to see a large economic collapse. For now, I'll continue working toward my Bachelor's in Business Management. What? If you can't beat them, join them...right?
If you disagree, well cool. Just tell me your point of view without being a jerk about it. I'm tired of arguing with people over the internet. Hmm, maybe that'll be my next blog post.
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