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Thread: $200,000 student debt: Is the College Debt Bubble Ready to Explode?

  1. #31
    czb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Penny Lane View Post
    My degree is 'worthless'.. namely my 'bullshit socio degree' and I guess the debt I'll have to repay is all my fault because I chose to go to the school I do now instead of the joke of a school in my hometown. Sorry if this sounds bitchy but man... really uplifting*

    *I partially blame this subjective overreaction on my period so whatever
    i thought you wanted to pursue a graduate degree after you finished college?? *confused*

    i don't have an issue with liberal arts degrees, including sociology. my issue is with where the subject of the article chose to go to college given her lack of funds/scholarships.

  2. #32
    Elite Member Sarzy's Avatar
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    $200k is insane. I can't see how anything is worth that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charmed Hour View Post
    Wait, wait... Are you saying your son is an MD and works as a mechanic? Confused.
    His degree is in in radiography and then he went on to get his lab tech so he could administer ivs/injections/catheters. His pay was $18 per hour at that job, he was working at a hospital. He is working 6 days a week, 65 hours a week. Anything over 40 is time and a half...Crazy
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    Elite Member sluce's Avatar
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    In my experience, people with a degree do earn more over their lifetime than those with no degree. Look at monster.com and see how many positions state yhou must have a degree to apply. It is also my experience that the name of the school you attend does matter when you are a new graduate and looking for a job. There are many articles on line showing that average starting salary is much higher for graduates from some schools vs others. After about 5 years in your field, the name of the school seems to matter less. Then people are more willing to look at what you have done in the work place instead of where you got the piece of paper.

    My daughter is starting college next Sept. She is going out of state so the tuition is double until she can establish residency. Luckily she is getting a scholarship for sports.
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  5. #35
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    Yes, I agree that in some circumstances (ie, career plans) the university you graduated from matters, at least somewhat. My daughter plans to work in international aid and development or public policy and those industries are full of people with Ivy League degrees. She won't have that, but she'll have internship experience. Will it be worth it? I don't know. She almost went to Wellesley, and I wish she had, as I think the ROI would have been better.

    The point I was trying to make earlier, but failed to, is that education is a business. Now, we are taught to look at higher education as a noble, disinterested pursuit, and I do believe that education for its own sake is a wonderful and valuable thing. But higher education is also an industry, and it's in bed with the agencies and companies that make money off of student loans. Most kids and parents will attend all the college information nights at their local high schools and never hear anyone get up and talk about how not every kid needs to go to college or the benefits of graduating with less debt, etc. For example, when I attended these meetings, no one ever broached the topic of how it might make sense to attend a public institution for your undergraduate degree if you are planning on attending graduate school as well.

    It's just marketing, like everything else, and kids don't really understand that, and sometimes parents don't, either.

  6. #36
    Elite Member Jexxifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A*O View Post
    With the current economic/job crisis it's time to rethink the myth that the college degree guarantees you a high salary job. Most of the graduates I've met in recent years, even ones from "good" unis, are the people least equipped to handle a grown up job in a grown up world. They are shamefully ignorant about anything outside their own particular little bubble of "expertise" and have no knowledge (or a desire to know) about politics, culture, history, The Big Picture. I would hesitate to employ any of them. They have zero initiative, zero awareness of their place in the corporate pecking order, zero useful skillz of any kind in some cases. Come back after you've travelled or worked in a homeless shelter or, shock, learned a trade.
    Yes, to all of the above, including a lack of common sense.
    I have had recent college grads work for me who thought it was acceptable to come and go as he pleased (including not showing up at all on one occasion), a new manager who was more worried about being her staff's friend, etc.

    It's not just those with BA degrees who are not working in their field - we have several people with engineering degrees who cannot find a job and are pursuing masters.

  7. #37
    Elite Member MsDark's Avatar
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    My take: "Bullshit" degrees are so because to make them worthwhile (from a financial standpoint anyway) usually requires continuing on to get a masters or phd.

    My own "bullshit degree" was in psych. Worthless? Not completely. But worth much? No. And certainly not 200k! If I'd spent (and owed) that kind of money getting it I think I'd have thrown my ass off a bridge!

    If I were gonna blow that kind of bank on a 4 year degree it would at least be one where I stood a chance of getting job with an income that would allow me the ability to pay it off in my lifetime and not live paycheck to paycheck while doing it. Come to to think of it, does a 4 year degree that would potentially produce a job that allows that even exist? Probably not. It would probably depend more on the 'connections' you made at that expensive ass school than the degree itself!

    If I were wealthy enough not to need a loan for a 200k education I might go to an expensive school to get a bullshit degree just for the fun of it. There's a lot to be said for good schools.

    I spent way less money to become an RN. And got a job right out of school making 2-3 times what I could with a psych degree. Sucks, in a way, but true.
    Last edited by MsDark; December 5th, 2010 at 12:18 PM.
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  8. #38
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    I don't know what it's like in the US but here at least the schools, particularly private ones whose students are their income, put enormous pressure on the kids to go to uni and get that magic degree that will open doors for them and pave the way to a great job and a high salary. The school can then boast in their marketing/sales pitch, err, I mean syllabus, that 90% (or whatever) of their students go on to university with particular emphasis on things like medicine, law, science, etc. Many of these kids (including mine) have no clue what they want to do for a career, let alone what to study at uni, yet the school exerts this constant pressure to make a decision NOW and sign up for the next 3-4 years. Parents get sucked into the trap too and place a huge burden of expectation on their kids who feel that unless they get 99.9999% in their graduation exams so they can go to the best unis to do the best courses they are useless "failures". This is particularly true with immigrant families - probably the same story in the US.
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  9. #39
    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    Im not sure if this should go here but I think it applies.
    Why "Recession-Proof" Jobs Are a Myth


    Rick Newman, On Tuesday November 30, 2010, 2:16 pm EST
    When President Obama proposed a federal pay freeze recently, there must have been quite a few civil servants who thought, "Whoa! This isn't supposed to happen!"
    [See 20 industries where jobs are coming back.]
    In private firms, pay freezes have become as common as Post-It notes. But government jobs, you'll recall, are supposed to be "recession-proof" and far less susceptible to the strains of a weak economy. The government has never said that, exactly, but lots of career experts have, and if the compact was never overt it was at least well understood: Government jobs tend to come with lower pay and prestige, but with benefits and job security that make up for it.
    No longer. As with so many other things, many of the old assumptions about safe jobs and stable careers have been shattered by the grueling economic transformation we're still in the middle of. Yet the ubiquitous lists of best careers and recession-proof jobs continue to propagate the phony idea that some lines of work are immune to economic stress. Here are some of the careers recommended by outfits like CareerBuilder, Forbes, Time, HR World, and Associated Content, along with the more sobering reality:
    Education. Conventional wisdom: Education is indispensable and most teachers get their paychecks from state or local governments, which are less susceptible to recessions than private industry. Plus, most teachers belong to unions, which provide further protection against layoffs and pay cuts.
    Reality: State and local governments are facing severe budget pressures and are starting to lay off teachers. Since 2008, for instance, the number of local teaching jobs has fallen by 157,000, according to the Labor Department. Plus, teachers' unions that refuse to accept pay and benefit cuts are increasingly seen as out of step with the rest of America, prompting a backlash in some areas that could lead to school consolidations and other recession-like moves.
    [See 12 industries still losing jobs.]
    Military. Conventional wisdom: We're still fighting two wars, terrorism is ever-present, and Congress always supports the military.
    Reality: The huge federal debt has to be cut somehow, and the military is one of the biggest targets. One prominent proposal calls for freezing military pay, cutting benefits, and outsourcing many military jobs to contractors. As for Congress, it tends to support big weapons programs more than spending on troops. Plus, the Iraq deployment is winding down and a drawdown in Afghanistan is scheduled to begin next summer.
    Public safety. Conventional wisdom: Police, firefighter, and federal law enforcement jobs will be the last to be cut.
    Reality: Maybe so, but governments have now reached that point. Police and fire departments are now subject to the same pressures as other local government agencies, and cuts in the federal workforce seem inevitable as well, with every agency likely to give up something. Overall, state and local governments have cut 260,000 jobs this year alone, with more cuts likely in 2011 and 2012.
    Utilities. Conventional wisdom: Everybody needs to keep the lights on and heat the house, plus most utilities are regulated, which keeps prices stable and helps smooth out ups and downs.
    Reality: It's true that everybody needs energy, but Americans have cut back on virtually everything, including gas, electric, and water. Labor Department data shows a net loss of about 4,000 jobs in this industry since 2008, with steeper cuts in traditional power plants and minor gains at nuclear facilities.
    [See why every worker needs new skills.]
    Energy. Conventional wisdom: Energy is obviously a staple, so demand will stay strong in any economy, providing job security.
    Reality: Energy is a volatile commodity subject to steep price swings. Energy demand has held up reasonably well over the last few years, with a net job increase in industries like oil and gas extraction. But anybody from Texas or Oklahoma can tell you that an energy bust can be brutal. And "green energy" remains a wild card that could flourish, taking jobs away from fossil-fuel industries, or peter out, leaving a bunch of shuttered startups where people were once hoping to find stable, high-paying jobs.
    Accounting. Conventional wisdom: "Death and taxes are a sure thing," according to one job-advice site, which reasons that tough times ought to force companies and individuals to scour their finances more closely than usual, making more work for accountants.
    Reality: There's a glut of unemployed accountants and bookkeepers right now, thanks to severe corporate cutbacks and weak revenue at small businesses. There are about 86,000 fewer accounting jobs now than there were three years ago.
    Computers. Conventional wisdom: Companies are increasingly replacing people with processors, with no end in sight to the technology revolution.
    Reality: With intense pressure to cut costs at most companies, lower-level IT jobs are being shipped overseas in droves; any job that can be done remotely by a lower-paid worker in India probably will be. The safer jobs involve systems engineering and proprietary software work, which requires a high degree of skill and tireless attention to new technology.
    [See how the middle class is shrinking.]
    Sales reps. Conventional wisdom: In a downturn, companies are likely to hold onto the sales reps who bring in desperately needed new business, while cutting support functions and other jobs that don't contribute to the bottom line.
    Reality: Companies don't always do what's rational, and besides, sales reps don't add to the bottom line when potential customers hunker down and refuse to spend money. No wonder the economy has lost more than 400,000 sales jobs since 2008.
    Federal government. Conventional wisdom: Uncle Sam doesn't have to please shareholders or customers, so it doesn't face the same budget pressures as private companies. Plus, many government jobs have union protection.
    Reality: The federal government has been spending far more than it takes in for a decade, with the national debt ballooning and the day of reckoning drawing near. Voters have now made it clear they want a smaller government, and cutbacks in the federal workforce seem inevitable. One harbinger of coming cuts is the U.S. Postal Service, once thought to be recession-proof itself; its labor force has shrunk by 137,000 jobs since 2008.
    To be fair to the job-advice sites guiding workers toward precarious fields, many of their recession-proof lists predate the 2007-2009 recession that proved them wrong. And a number of them are derived from a 2008 book that could not have anticipated the ravages of a downturn that destroyed more than 8 million jobs. Still, many of those outdated lists pop up high on a Google search for "recession-proof jobs," and readers don't always check the date when doing research on careers.
    [See what could cause the next recession.]
    Practically every list of recession-proof careers also includes a variety of medical jobs, from nurses and doctors to technicians and home health aides. That's valid, since the aging of America's population makes it inevitable that more people will need health care. And sure enough, healthcare has gained jobs in practically every sector over the last few years, despite the recession. But even in healthcare there are a lot of variables that could make jobs less appealing down the road. As more people flee declining industries and flock toward the few that are growing, a glut of qualified workers can develop, driving down pay and benefits. Healthcare reform could produce unexpected changes that make some jobs safer than others. And the complexity of healthcare, combined with relentless pressure to lower costs, is already leading doctors and other caregivers to report high levels of stress and low levels of satisfaction.
    It might be distressing to think that no job is safe from recession, but in a fast-changing economy where old industries are displaced by new ones faster than ever, focusing on safety and stability may be the wrong way to pursue a rewarding career. There's mounting evidence that adaptable skills, creativity, and lifelong learning are the new determinants of success, with the biggest rewards going to people with multidisciplinary experience who can apply lessons learned in one field to another and accept the idea that they're likely to have two, three, or four careers, not just one. Cathy Farley of consulting firm Accenture says that as companies recover from the recession and start to hire again, they'll build a more agile workforce capable of responding to a wider variety of challenges. "Companies will organize themselves more flexibly," she says. "They'll look for people with the ability to adapt to different types of work."
    [See 3 myths about disappearing prosperity.]
    Companies built around a fixed set of skills, meanwhile, may not be hiring for a long time. Industries like manufacturing, construction, telecommunications, and even insurance are still losing jobs, more than a year after the recession officially ended, and many of those lost jobs may never return. A lot of workers in those fields, naturally, are trying to break into different lines of work that offer more stability. But the first move ought to be recession-proofing yourself, by building skills that will transcend the inevitable lurches in the economy. That way, you won't be caught flat-footed when the next pay freeze or technological transformation comes along.
    Twitter: @rickjnewman

    Source: Why "Recession-Proof" Jobs Are a Myth - Yahoo! Finance
    This is something that has bugged me for quite some time. Everyone always says to go to school for nursing, jobs are there. Okay but whos to say that by the time I get out they wont be filled up? Even right now Im pretty sure a lot of people are in it. It seems most people I know are in Nursing or Management. How long until there are no more positions there and they become like every other job? Maybe Im overthinking it but I much prefer to try to get the degree I want then to go to some career I dont want with no promises on a job. And the sad thing is it seems that honestly no matter what you get into there are no promised jobs anywhere.

  10. #40
    A*O
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    Of course you should follow your own career preferences, assuming you even know what they are. But lots of kids have no idea what they want to do yet feel pressured to get a degree, any degree, which they believe guarantees them a job. It doesn't any more, especially now that you can get a "degree" in practically anything.
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  11. #41
    Elite Member SuriCruise's Avatar
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    Holy crap 200k. My loan will be a tiny fraction of that for a double degree. It seems a lot of people go to university now who probably shouldn't but should be studying trades or something like that. I know a lot of people getting bullshit degrees or certificates from bullshit establishments. There's one place here that now offers law degrees so law school rejects from other universities are going there. It's not a money issue here that makes people choose to go to less respected colleges, it's that they couldn't get in to the respected ones. Young people don't always think ahead and it's so easy to get money and loans so they just coast through a degree or two without thinking about the debt they're amassing or whether they'll be able to get a job or not.

    There's a lot to be said for work experience and internships in your field. Most people don't do anything like that and come out with a degree but no real experience, so it gives you a major edge to do some unpaid work or interning while studying.

  12. #42
    Elite Member NVash's Avatar
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    10 Jobs That Offer a Big Bang for Your Buck - Yahoo! Finance
    Im beginning to take Yahoos career advice with a grain of salt.

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