Presidential candidate Rick Santorum accused President Barack Obama of “snobbery” and elitism after the Democrat made a remark saying that every child should go to college. Santorum retorted, “We are leaving so many children behind. They’re not ready to go to [college.] They don’t want to go to college. They don’t need to go to college. I was so outraged that the President of the United States [said] every student should go to college….I have seven kids. Maybe they’ll all go to college. But if one of my kids wants to go and be an auto mechanic, good for him! That’s a good-paying job.”
Could Santorum actually be right? With news that skyrocking tuition costs could mean an over $400,000 price tag for children born today who want a college degree, there is a point where parents, as well as the students themselves, have to begin asking whether the diploma is worth what it costs to obtain it.
It’s a question many graduates are facing currently, as unemployment for youth hovers at about 25 percent. With no job prospects in sight, and repayment on student loans fast approaching, many recent grads are discovering quickly what it’s like to have no money to pay the bills, and are putting off dreams of families, and even just a place of their own, while continuing to live with mom and dad.
Sure, every parent wants their child to go continue on to college if he or she wants to, but does the idea that every child should be getting a degree simply add an extra burden? And does it increase stigma against those who do not have a college degree? Trade schools, community college classes, training and technical classes all provide specified skills as well, and often open doors to positions that are in high demand, too.
With the days long gone where employers seem interested in hiring an employee with no previous experience in the open position, internships and technical training can even be a step up over a four year degree. And without overwhelming student loan debt, an employee can also take a lower salary, having less expenses in the budget to cover.
Anyone who wants to get a college degree should be able to, and the costs of a four year degree have ballooned out of proportion in comparison to inflation and other cost of living increases. An education should not by any means be something that is only accessible to the rich.
But that doesn’t mean that we should also assume that college is in the best interest of everyone, either.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
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