No, Everyone Shouldn’t Go to College

by Shawanda Greene


Response to Wall Street Protesters

I can't say this poster is totally relevant to what I'm about to say, but it's pretty awesome so I'm sharing it anyway. Why is it awesome? It's awesome because it's true.

While studying US News & World Reports rankings of the Best Colleges of 2012, I realized something.

Nation, we’ve lost our minds. There’s simply no other explanation than we’re completely mad.

How else do you defend our blind willingness to go tens of thousands of dollars into student loan debt for a degree that might, just barely, pay for itself?

Look at how many universities charge tuition and fees that exceed $40,000 a year. That’s insane!

I know a large segment of the population believes every American citizen should attend a 4-year university. But you’ve got to ignore them. You see, they’re stupid.

Well, you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to make a good income. You do, however, need skills and expertise that people are willing to pay you for.

Maybe you’re not interested in any degree offered by a traditional college. Perhaps you find the price tag, time commitment, and dismal job prospects upon graduation a bit offputting. In which case, a trade or vocational school may be the perfect option for you.

Personally, I’m not a fan of for-profit colleges like the University of Phoenix or DeVry. Not only are they expensive, but they’re notorious for graduating students with overly burdensome student loan debt. This pisses me off for two reasons: 1) Many of their graduates will never reap the benefits of a degree they invested significant time and monetary resources to acquire and 2) Taxpayers are on the hook for federally backed student loans that can’t and won’t get repaid before these folks die.

For-profit universities and their affiliates have gamed the search engines to appear at the top of any search involving the terms “trade school” or “vocational school”. So, it took a while for me to find a tool that helps you locate two-year, non-profit schools in your area. I kept hunting only because I love ya.

I eventually dug up the College Navigator on the National Center for Education Statistics website. It’s pretty cool. For instance, you can use the tool to filter your search results to only return 2-year, public or private non-profit institutions. The College Navigator isn’t totally comprehensive, but still…I likey.

Who knew? The Department of Education is good for something after all. *shrugs*

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark A. Morales October 22, 2011 at 1:20 AM

I love the picture and what it says! and I completely agree!

I am currently 18 right now and I am in debt and want an iPad, have a smartphone and am saving up for a down payment for a car. I am a full time student and I work over 40 hours a week with 3 part time jobs. I hate paying for gas and always eat out because I'm never home. BASICALLY I AM THE TOTAL OPPOSITE OF THIS PICTURE. haha I don't live comfortably because I'm always wanting more and more. Although I am always working I feel like I never have money. I am paying my first year of college with one Scholarship. In high school I was involved in a lot of school activities; Student Body President, Art Club, Yearbook, AVID, Digital Photo, and I can't think of anymore. I was pretty smart in high school and could get away by just going to school everyday and getting its and bits of what the teacher would say.
Now that I'm in college though I am in complete culture shock. I'm failing my math class and I go to tutoring everyday.

Anywho, I have always had dreams of going straight to a University, ASU perferably but now I am in community college and am okay with it. I feel like I'm venting out to you haha I even forgot what the point of me writing this is about :/

Oh yeah I'm seriously thinking of dropping out of college but just because I hate math, I love every other class. But there is so much I want to learn. I am currently pursuing a career in Marketing and after I recieve my Bachelors in Marketing I want to go back to school for Broadcast and Journalism and after that I want to study public relations and event management. And hopefully by then I will have enough work experience, a good internship and I will have a mercedes with a loft in downtown Phoenix.

Thanks for reading, if you even did read it haha thank you for your post. it was definetly something I could currently relate to.


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 6:21 AM

It's been 2 weeks, but I finally got around to reading your comment. :)

Dave Ramsey says after you do a budget, you feel like you got a raise. I agree with him, because after I did a budget for the first time in my late 20s, I felt the exact same way. It became clear to me that I was wasting money somewhere. If you haven't done so already, prepare a budget.

You'll get that loft in downtown Phoenix and Mercedes a lot quicker and with less stress if you're prudent with your money now. If you decide to stay in college, I encourage you to avoid debt as much as possible. Regardless of how you pay for college, ALWAYS keep in mind what your ultimate career goals are and whether even one additional hour of coursework will get you closer to that goal.

Remember this quote from Jim Rohn:

"Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune."


Mark A. Morales November 15, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Thanks Shawanda! Great advice!

Since my rant I have limited myself to $20 a week to spend for me, not including gas and bills but let me tell you, thanks to my $20 budget I have money in the bank now and am continuing to save.

I'm not even sure what I am saving for it just feels good and stress free to know If some emergency or something comes up that I have money saved.

Great post again and thanks for your reply! Enjoy your holidays!


Steven October 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

I think you're off-base in your suspositions:

But I'd agree that not everyone needs to go to college.


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 6:27 AM

Thanks for sharing the link. I'm curious to see what that chart will look like over the coming decades.

I'm aware that people with 4-year degrees make more money, on average, over their lifetime. However, there are a bunch of people who started college, incurred a lot of debt, and don't obtain the college degree that'll help them pay all that debt back.

All degrees are not created equal. My accounting degree, among other things, has paid off handsomely for me. A degree in women's studies probably wouldn't have performed as well.


1step October 25, 2011 at 2:37 PM

i agree, only wish i would've known more about finance and college debt before embarking on this journey. grant it I had scholarships as well, but I think the glow of "new" college light just shone too bright and blinded me from the truth as well.


Shawanda November 8, 2011 at 6:30 AM

I graduated with about $16K in student loan debt even though I had scholarships. It wasn't too bad, because I was able to command a decent salary in my career upon graduation so it was manageable. But still, I wish I hadn't accumulated so much. It was completely unnecessary. I think at the time I believed student loan debt was good debt. Now, I know better.


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