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Unites States National Debt - How Much And What For

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
My daughter committed the same "folly" - but she had parents who could foot the bill without going into debt, and she quickly learned that her degree would not get her financial security. She is also smarter than the average bear, which was an unfair advantage that gave her a better chance to succeed in both gaining an education and life in general. Along with a privileged background - with one of the most important factors being parents who read to her, and instilled a lifelong interest in reading. My feeling has always been that literacy is the absolute essential skill for getting ahead in life - unless you were born so privileged via wealth, looks, or talent that you can sail through life even if you are uneducated. Or stupid. Or both.
My humanities BA cost the same as any other three-year programme in the UK. It would have equipped me to enter any number of professions, including ones entirely unrelated to my field of study. My current job entails teaching American undergraduates a subject that you and others here would, it seems, deem of little practical value. I would not be doing what I’m doing if I thought for one second that I was disadvantaging the young people whose eduction I’m responsible for, or if I hadn’t seen—time and time again—the ways in which they’ve gone on to forge successful careers for themselves.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
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College was more affordable when you went to school. Today, it’s ridiculous.
That’s a separate issue, though. It is overpriced, but that’s true across the board.
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
HR expectations have changed a great deal in the last 20 years.

Companies no longer want either the time or expense related to further "training" a new hire. 20 years ago companies would take a liberal arts major and teach the more job specific skill sets, the "diamond in the rough" concept. Today companies want the diamond from Day 1.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
HR expectations have changed a great deal in the last 20 years.

Companies no longer want either the time or expense related to further "training" a new hire. 20 years ago companies would take a liberal arts major and teach the more job specific skill sets, the "diamond in the rough" concept. Today companies want the diamond from Day 1.
A liberal arts degree teaches all kinds of broadly applicable skills. Do you have any actual evidence that people with such degrees end up doing badly once they leave college?
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
So here's the problem. Every one cannot be engineers, lawyer, doctors or Indian chief. So what do we do with the rest of the kids that are not STEM bent.
Honestly, just helping my own kids down this path is challenging enough. Not sure I can help others find their answers. Thankfully mine were very good at math and science and could find a career path that both fit their strengths and pays well.

Unfortunately it seems like the popular answer right now is to erase some of the loans and add them to the national debt. I feel incredibly strongly that this would be a terrible direction to go. Rather than make money even freer and easier, the cost curve needs to be bent down. Same as with health care. Unfortunately I don't see anyone in a hurry to work on that with either industry. Every time you have a third party involved in paying the bills, the cost skyrockets.
 

eliza61nyc

Well-Known Member
Honestly, just helping my own kids down this path is challenging enough. Not sure I can help others find their answers. Thankfully mine were very good at math and science and could find a career path that both fit their strengths and pays well.

Unfortunately it seems like the popular answer right now is to erase some of the loans and add them to the national debt. I feel incredibly strongly that this would be a terrible direction to go. Rather than make money even freer and easier, the cost curve needs to be bent down. Same as with health care. Unfortunately I don't see anyone in a hurry to work on that with either industry. Every time you have a third party involved in paying the bills, the cost skyrockets.
I ran into this problem with my kids. My oldest is learning disabled, no way ,no how can he go the stem track, my youngest went the communications direction. He is a brilliant author. So I find it horrible to imply that these majors are now worth less because they are deemed unemployable.
The solution isn't to force every kid into a major they hate just to get a job, the solution is to find out why the heck tuitions have been rising in some years 30-50%
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
A liberal arts degree teaches all kinds of broadly applicable skills. Do you have any actual evidence that people with such degrees end up doing badly once they leave college?
Yes, ever work with job application pre screening software?

If your resume does not have the specific skill sets and wording as found in the job description, your resume will not pass 1st round elimination.
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
I ran into this problem with my kids. My oldest is learning disabled, no way ,no how can he go the stem track, my youngest went the communications direction. He is a brilliant author. So I find it horrible to imply that these majors are now worth less because they are deemed unemployable.
The solution isn't to force every kid into a major they hate just to get a job, the solution is to find out why the heck tuitions have been rising in some years 30-50%
It is not that the author is unemployable, its is that the opportunities to be employed are much more limited.

One factor in tuition rising is that federal student loans are guaranteed by the government. So what does the school care if the student defaults? The government will pay the school.

So if one surmises all students will default and then the federal government pays the school anyhow, why not have the federal government pay for any and all post secondary education in the first place.
 

drizgirl

Well-Known Member
I ran into this problem with my kids. My oldest is learning disabled, no way ,no how can he go the stem track, my youngest went the communications direction. He is a brilliant author. So I find it horrible to imply that these majors are now worth less because they are deemed unemployable.
The solution isn't to force every kid into a major they hate just to get a job, the solution is to find out why the heck tuitions have been rising in some years 30-50%
Absolutely we need to know how the heck tuition, room and board have risen so sharply. But when your kid is making choices, all you have in front of you is all you have in front of you. You have to work with what you've got.

I honestly don't have any more hope for bending the cost curve of college down as I have for bending the cost of health care down.

Kids from families with means will always be able to choose whatever they want. Kids without that financial backstop unfortunately have to give cost a more prominent seat at the table.
 
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drizgirl

Well-Known Member
It is not that the author is unemployable, its is that the opportunities to be employed are much more limited.
This.

And for my engineer and my engineer to be, it was about what degree they could get that would allow them to well employed straight out of undergrad. Putting together the funds for an graduate degree on top of paying for undergrad school is just too much for kids without parents able to foot the bill for a big piece of it.

My daughter seriously considered teaching. And she has wavered back and forth for a couple years. But she didn't want to have to start working on her Master's right away while working full time for not a lot of money.

She actually got very close to considering a change this year, but wanted some time in a classroom to see how she really felt about it, but Covid put the kabash on that.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Yes, ever work with job application pre screening software?

If your resume does not have the specific skill sets and wording as found in the job description, your resume will not pass 1st round elimination.
That isn’t evidence of anything other than that some degrees aren’t suitable for certain career paths, which none of us would dispute. (By the same token, someone with an engineering degree applying for a job in my field wouldn’t get very far.) My question was whether you had any actual evidence that humanities degrees were a poor investment. Because so far in this thread, I’ve seen no data to that effect.
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
That’s a separate issue, though. It is overpriced, but that’s true across the board.
Not everything is overpriced. College tuition and books have experienced more price inflation than everything except hospital services. Healthcare, childcare, and college are the only sectors of goods or services that have risen faster than wages.
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LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Not everything is overpriced. College tuition and books has experienced more price inflation than everything except hospital services. Healthcare, childcare, and college are the only sectors of goods or services that have risen faster than wages.
View attachment 515233
Sorry, I should have been clearer: I meant that the high price of college education is an issue regardless of the degree or major.
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
Sorry, I should have been clearer: I meant that the high price of college education is an issue regardless of the degree or major.
But the higher price of college education has made future earnings (especially earnings immediately out of college due to interest charges) more valuable/important pieces of one’s financial security, putting pressure on students to seek majors that pay more.
 
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LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
But the higher price of college education has made future earnings (especially earnings immediately out of college) more valuable/important pieces of one’s financial security, putting pressure on students to seek majors that pay more.
One can still earn a good living equipped with a liberal arts education. As long as students are making informed choices based on a combination of personal and practical factors, I see no problem.
 

DoubleJ21

Well-Known Member
One can still earn a good living equipped with a liberal arts education. As long as students are making informed choices based on a combination of personal and practical factors, I see no problem.
I have nothing against a liberal arts education. I think they are useful degrees that can teach you a lot about the world and about yourself. But, when it comes to future earnings and what employers are increasingly demanding, a liberal arts education is at a disadvantage compared to some other degrees.

You have to admit that it’s hard for an upper middle class family to justify spending $150,000+ per kid on a liberal arts education. The cost is simply a hard pill to swallow when placed alongside the financial rewards of a computer science degree, for example.
 
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LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
I have nothing against a liberal arts education. I think it’s a useful degree that can teach you a lot about the world and about yourself. But, when it comes to future earnings and what employers are increasingly demanding, a liberal arts education is at a disadvantage compared to some other degrees.

You have to admit that it’s hard for an upper middle class family to justify spending $150,000+ per kid on a liberal arts education. The cost is simply a hard pill to swallow when placed alongside the financial rewards of a computer science degree.
I understand what you’re saying, but I also think that parents should be willing to listen to their children and not compel them to follow degrees or career paths that may not be right for them. That goes just as much for parents who want their children to earn liberal arts degrees (yes, there are such parents!) as it does for parents who push for engineering, computer science, etc.
 

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