Discussion in 'Politics, Philosophy, and Religion' started by VG_Addict, Dec 31, 2016.
As you know, college students being in debt is a problem.
How do you propose we fix it?
burn everything to the ground
Make education free across the board. It's in everyone's best interest
what ur suggesting sounds awfully like communism son
Communism is an entire system. Making certain necessities free is common sense.
It should be viewed as an investment. College graduates may have to face a large debt load, but their earning potential is much greater than their non-graduate counterparts. If the return on investment is satisfactory, having to pay it back even for many years should be a reasonable expectation. If the return on investment is not satisfactory, I would question why it is not.
Earning potential doesn't mean too much if there just aren't jobs in your field/area.
I got a STEM degree and have nothing to show for it. I have multiple friends in the exact same position. We all got here for different reasons: some planned to do a PhD; for some, the job market was great when they started the degree. A lot can change in four years.
As for what can be changed: maybe steer kids towards degrees that have direct employment opportunities. Growing up and in my early years of college, I heard the "Underwater Basket Weaving" narrative. I also heard "STEM always has jobs!" and I picked a STEM degree. Of course, by the time I was too far in to change (my scholarship had run out), I realized that my particular degree was useless.
Or, better yet, maybe we shouldn't be putting these life-altering decisions on kids who are already at an extremely difficult time in their lives (emotionally speaking). I mean, how can you expect someone to simultaneously decide what they want to do with the rest of their life while they also have to ask permission to go to the bathroom?
I wish gap years were more acceptable. It would give you time to figure yourself out and decide if college is right for you. Socially, there was incredible pressure on me to go straight to college. Same financially; all of my scholarship offers would have been rescinded if I took a gap year.
There's no easy solution. College costs (tuition, books, fees, etc.) are creating a vicious cycle fueled by guaranteed loans. Cut loans and you keep kids from poor families from going to college. Keep loans and student loan debt just keeps mounting. Somebody always loses.
The STEM narrative is a bit misleading because people throw around graphs like this one:
Spoiler: Excel lets you resize graphs, CDFL
...which mask the unfortunate reality that that's overwhelmingly from the T, which most people don't get the opportunity to explore until college:
...and that STEM isn't even close to the best "field" for getting a job in your major as a result of that:
There's too much focus on "college = money" and "STEM = job" without preparing people for the realities that even focuses within a single major are not equal, that your choice of school matters a lot and some universities are practically worthless, etc.
That said, all of that comes from fundamental problems with our education system, and there's not going to be any simple or easy fix for it. It's also not the most immediate problem if we're just concerned with debt:
We can take out a massive chunk of this problem just by dealing with predatory for-profits.
(which is all for-profits that I've heard of, but maybe there's a decent one out there somewhere)
I do think most people at age 18 are too young to be making such decisions that could impact them for the rest of their lives, but the government considers them adults. They let people vote at that age, too, and some are pushing to drop that age down to 16. Although to be fair, I'm not sure their parents are much help either, despite their added age and perhaps experience. I wouldn't trust my parents to make major financial decisions for me. People aren't really considering it a lifelong decision or understanding the implications and just rush into the process because that's what everybody else is doing.
If you're against 18-year-olds voting, blame the draft.
And remember, "I'm-a Luigi, number one!"
I'm all for lowering the voting age to 16. Let's give a voice to the people who will actually be around long enough to see the long-term effects of the decisions being made.
I don't generally think 18 year olds have the experience or knowledge to handle most of the rights/responsibilities they are granted. Yet I don't get either why they get to do all that stuff but still can't drink or in an increasing number of places smoke.
I'll throw in my 2¢ that high school drastically ill-equipped me for my decision in university. I happened to considerably luck out in that department by getting a high-paying job because of my interests, but that's largely because my parents helped nudge me the right way for quite a while and less because my school nudged me in the right direction. I'm still wondering if my parents were dang lucky in their nudging of me, too, but that's a question for another day.
I have a job in software engineering, but high school practically offered me zero support in that department without me pushing against them. There were, effectively, two classes offered dealing with computers in my high school; the first of which was, more or less, "typing." It wasn't called typing, of course; it was "Intro to Computers," but said introduction was "how to type a letter," "how to use a spreadsheet," "how to type slightly faster," and so forth. It was all in MS-DOS, which I suppose for 1995-1996 was still rather prolific, but even that era saw Windows 3.1 as a common thing. I was bored off my butt in that class and finished the entire workbook weeks in advance, so much so that most of my time was spent playing Nibbles and Gorilla. Essentially, the teacher of the class really didn't teach and really didn't care.
The other course offered was "Intro to Computer Programming," but that class was taught in Microsoft QBASIC. Which, okay, fine, BASIC probably had a small bit of support back in 1998 when I took the class, but by no means is it a profession programming language. At least that class was super fun and invited creativity (and a healthy dose of competition) to make truly stellar applications. But even then, it wasn't really super advanced. We didn't even learn about "functions," which is more or less the mainstay of modern programming. We could have learned C(++), FORTRAN, or... hell, something practical, but we didn't. High schools rarely have the educational resources or budgets to spend on things like that.
I had to push my school to offer a "special" "advanced programming" independent study course that two of my friends and I took during my senior year. What was supposed to be independent study (and indeed we were all learning different languages and teaching each other) ended up being the school asking us to work on constructing their official webpage. So we learned HTML. Also rather useful as we bought our own books. However, after presenting our preliminary work to the school faculty, the board of education started in-fighting over who should be credited for this great idea of getting kids to build their website for free, and thus we were forgotten about. And so we did only a little bit of learning after that point... and a lot of playing Diablo after circumventing our school's security system.
I doubt the situation in schools today is as... hmm... "dire" as it was in 1999. However, the adage that I heard throughout university (by which, yes, uni was pushed at my school as "the only path" if you wanted to make serious money, which is completely ridiculous as the world needs plumbers, electricians, heating/air-conditioning repairmen, and they make serious cash too) is that, "if you can't do, you teach." All of the (ahem) decent computer programmers get jobs in the industry, which means that only those who can't end up settling for teaching. It's all about the money; there's just not that good of money in teaching compared to actually being in the field. So high schools lack behind.
Student debt, by no means, is a "simple" matter where the whole concept of "return on investment" is assured. Just waving your hands and saying that the invisible hand of capitalism will fix all things is idealistic. I don't think, necessarily, that it's a bad start. However, the fact of the matter is that, very akin to the whole subprime mortgage crisis, student loans are being "freely" offered without true consideration as to the return-on-investment potential in paying them back. It's easy to get a student loan, perhaps too easy. How are you going to pay back that student loan for a B.A. in English at Harvard University?
It's still pretty dire. I was fortunate enough to go to a (charter) school that had two teachers with CS degrees, so we were able to hold classes that basically covered freshman year of college. I know of a handful of other public/charters that with similar or even more advanced offerings, but the overwhelming majority of people I met were lucky to even have an intro Java class. Plenty didn't have anything beyond basic computer usage, so they either had self-study experience or (seemingly more often) just picked the major by sound. I know there are some organizations trying to make classes more available, but there's obviously all sorts of funding issues with getting teachers trained or buying equipment.
^Harvard's default rate is a little over 1%, so that person is probably good. Compare to Phoenix/ITT/Kaplan/Devry, some of which have higher default rates than graduation rates.
Okay, I'm no historian, but this is how I see things.
What we consider service jobs was always once more highly regarded in a previous generation.
Take a tailor. A tailor now is nothing. But my grandfather was a tailor and he made a lot of money, and a tailor back then was a big deal.
More technology has opened more complex jobs. More complex jobs means you need more education to hold them.
But I see that in the far future, even jobs that we today would consider hard to achieve because they require a bachelor's degree will be nothing. I am a quality control technician for a biotech company, and while that may seem like much to a layman it's really not. In the near future I can see my job becoming akin to a waiter at a restaurant. By that time, we may not even have waiters anymore, but instead have a completely automated system. We are already seeing the beginning of that with those ziosk things you see at Chili's and other franchise restaurants. More technology will deem my job rather useless.
More technology ultimately demands that more people know more things. College is the new high school in the sense that people drop out all the time. It's a normal thing. High school is the basic level.
I know a couple people who are against college being free because then if everyone can get a bachelor's degree then it won't be special anymore. I get what they're trying to say theoretically but practically not really. But the other thing is - a bachelor's degree is already not that special anymore in many jobs. Nowhere near all of them of course - but many, especially in science. You need to carry on to get a Master's or a PhD to really get something good. I expect that in the far future more and more jobs will require Master's or higher. If we haven't done something about college by then, we're screwed. College at some point probably has to go down somewhat the same way high school did. Then maybe grad school will go the way of college, and then after that - well, who knows? In the far, far future we may have to totally reinvent how we learn.
Not just despicable, also illogical. Not everyone who goes to college graduates. Not everyone gets into a good college. A bachelor's degree will still represent a certain amount of study & success & wise choices, both before & during enrollment.
And remember, "I'm-a Luigi, number one!"
I can see why someone who dropped $100k on a college education would be concerned by it becoming possible to obtain it at no charge and with no risk. A college degree would never become valueless, but it would become less valuable if the pool of graduates were to increase and/or the quality of education were to decrease. Of course, cost is perhaps a main reason why people don't attend college, but it's far from the only reason. More college graduates would help to put those who still choose not to attend even free college further behind than they already would be otherwise. The only way you can make college the new high school is to make it compulsory, which doesn't work because adults aren't as easy to push around as kids are, though more people graduating would lead toward a bachelor's degree, particularly in an unrelated field, becoming less impressive.
Here's the thing. Right now, a bachelor's degree is relatively "valuable" at LEAST partially due to its relative inaccessibility because of how GODDAMN EXPENSIVE higher level education is (despite more and more entry level jobs requiring a BA). It's valuable because it's disproportionally more accessible to people who can ****ing afford it. Complaining about degrees losing their value because making that education free opens them up to more people is akin to complaining that poor/disenfranchised people might actually get a truly fair chance to earn them? It won't take away the hard work and education of people who went to college, but it will make it more economically fair and accessible.
Especially since, like I said, practically all jobs require a BA now. I was a receptionist right out of college and they said I needed a BA for the job. 4 years of Uni to answer your phones? Are you serious? Like, it worked out for me specifically, but that's an UNNECESSARY hurdle cutting off nice jobs from people who didn't go to college but otherwise probably have the skill set.
(also, my friend - who had to drop out of college because of mental health reasons the school was unprepared to help her with - is still repaying her debt to that very school which screwed her over and failed to provide her with the resources to succeed, while I'm debtless because my parents could afford me to be. This **** is backwards and it hurts the wrong people. Student debt is despicable, access to higher level education should be universal, and the choice to attend or not to should be personal and not financial.)
Anybody can get a student loan, regardless of financial background. They're easier to get than a mortgage under Clinton/Bush. They can't be discharged under bankruptcy, meaning they can give them out to basically any idiot that wants one. That may incentivize people to lend them to people who have no business getting them, rather than trying to counsel them on doing the right thing.