The game of college

February 13, 2015

College is coming for KHS’ 432  seniors, and the prospect of starting a new chapter away from home is a scary one. According to TKC’s surveys, 97 percent (305/316) of students at KHS plan to pursue a collegiate education, but is going to college really necessary? History says no.

According to collegeboard.org, the average tuition for an in-state student at a public, four-year university is around $18,940 per year. This means that by the time a typical student attending a state university graduates, they have paid nearly $70,000 more than the initial start up investments that would create Dell, $1,000, and Starbucks, $4,050. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer of Facebook, dropped out of Harvard in 2004 to pursue his business idea which went public to the stock market in fall 2012, valued at $16 billion, according to businessinsider.com, and Zuckerberg is not alone. A lesser known Matt Mullenweg dropped out from the University of Houston to start WordPress, which now powers roughly 16 percent of the web, including thekirkwoodcall.com. 

According to educational technology company Chegg, nearly 45 percent of recent college graduates find themselves in jobs that don’t require the degree they received, mainly due to shortages in the job market of their intended major. In short, the job market openings for many of these graduates could be filled by their GED wielding counterparts. The lack of an active job market stifles the amount of money college graduates get, money the graduates intended to use in order to pay off college debts. Chegg also reports nearly 41 percent of recent graduates cannot find a job in the field they want; in essence, their degree is ultimately wasted.

Debt is another aspect in which the college system fails. The average member of the class of 2013 graduated with $28,000 in student debt, according to the Federal Reserve. In addition, around 1 in 8 recent graduates owe more than $50,000 in student loans. This debt is a major road-block in the life of a young graduate who is just learning to live on their own, and the added pressure of college loans restricts the financial growth and independence from parents.

I realize college isn’t for everyone. The debt acquired during college can be crippling to starting a financially independent life, and in a job market where a high school diploma is sufficient, the idea to pay for unneeded education seems ludicrous. Even so, I plan on using college as a way to find my own Facebook or WordPress idea. For those of you who have that idea already, history says go for it.

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