In the current economy, we all probably know a few college graduates who took out behemoth student loans and have not been able to find employment to pay them back. (Getting the humor yet?) Some of these folks had no choice; they may come from families that could not afford to contribute financially to their college educations. These aren’t the people I want to mock.
There is another group of college graduates who are deep in debt. Some students just couldn’t resist the allure of an expensive college and had to have it. (The humor is on its way, I promise.) I’m not here to make fun of stupid financial decisions; 18-year-olds are, by nature, prone to make the occasional mistake. But let’s take a look at what happens during four years of college… and I don’t mean beer.
At a lot of private colleges, students end up spending over $200.00 per class hour (even after adjusting for contributions to the college’s administrative and facilities costs). And there are a few precious lines that professors often hear from these students. My personal favorite is “I’m paying $40,000 a year to come here, so I deserve an A.” I’m not joking; students really say this. But as a former college instructor, I pine for the days when students would openly wish for class to be canceled or for a movie to be shown. Really. I wish I could assemble a group of people, charge them $200.00 per hour, and do nothing more than show them a movie or tell them to go home. For what they’re getting out of that education, the kids could just as easily subscribe to Netflix and save a load of money. The only problem with Netflix is that it does not give students a sense of accomplishment. However, Netflix does offer material that students will stay awake for.
Of course, students embark on this debt because they think the expensive college will give them something that the reputable State University will not, and sometimes they are right. The diploma might have some use when trying to impress potential employers, but then how many people sneer at folks who graduated from places like Harvard? And for the honor of holding that diploma and the bump it gives to their precious self-esteem, kids are shelling out the down payment for a house and becoming financially disadvantaged for many years after graduating. And then they start drinking…