Why I hate the college scam

As I mentioned in my last post, I am currently trying to convince my sister, a high school senior, that all of her teachers and advisers are wrong and a college degree is not worth going into debt for. I have also been working on one of my brothers, who is a sophomore, and he is listening to ol’ Moose a little more than his sister. I think I have convinced him to take his GED this summer, and start his life as a wage earner while his contemporaries are sitting through two more years of useless propaganda disguised as “education.”

Some might wonder why I am so opposed to something that society in general holds up as a good thing. The answer is simple: society is wrong. I never had any debt before I went to college, but everyone told me that college was “worth” going into debt for. So I worked as much as I could, and graduated with “only” $35,000 of debt out of the $100,000 I spent getting the degree. Simple math shows that had I simply worked the many part time jobs I had in college without going to college, I would have had $65,000 in savings rather than $35,000 in debt at the end of four years. Of course, without having to attend classes I would have had more time to work, and could probably have come out even further ahead. Let’s leave that aside, and assume that I worked the same hours at the same jobs, with the only difference being not paying for college.

After college, I spent almost a year working for a temporary employment agency due to moving out of the state in which my college jobs were located. Despite sometimes going a week or so without work, I managed to work 40+ hours most weeks, and begin aggressive payments toward my loan principle. I then secured a salaried position that does not require a college degree, but is doing exactly what I want to do. Currently I am on track to have my loans paid off a little less than four years from my graduation date. When I finally climb out of the pit of college debt, I will have paid $42,000 in principle and interest. Thus, eight years after graduating high school, I will have $107,000 less money (minimum) than if I had chosen to forgo college. That’s assuming that the saved money sat in a checking account and didn’t even earn any interest–even a tiny interest rate would have added substantially to that amount over the years.

Maybe that $107,000 dollars would have been worth it if I had learned a lot of valuable information in college. I didn’t. Even with my work schedule, which pretty much ensured I never studied, I graduated Magna Cum Laude, and only .01 below the GPA cutoff for Summa Cum Laude (I had a 3.89). I learned much more valuable material from my part time jobs (which were related to my career field) than I did from my actual classes.

When a con man steals a hundred grand from the old lady down the road, the whole town goes up in arms, and the news is flooded with stories on avoiding cons. But when millions of naive 18-year-old kids are fleeced with the college swindle, there is not a peep from society. Crazy old Moose is the only one who seems concerned. Teachers tell my sister and brother “don’t pay attention to Moose, he’s off his rocker. Everyone knows you have to go to college.” Meanwhile, millions of kids sell themselves into a life of debt-slavery in order to purchase a piece of paper as worthless as a forged stock certificate.

College is a scam, and I’m doing my best to keep others from being fleeced the way I was.

5 thoughts on “Why I hate the college scam

  1. While I agree that by no means not everyone needs to go to college (possibly even the majority of college go-ers), I think college definitely still has its place. Personally, I am planning on getting a PhD in Statistics (which you generally don’t have to pay for, there’s enough funding that if you have a strong math and stat background coming out of undergrad you shouldn’t have any problem getting tuition paid for + a stipend). We will always need researchers and people expanding our body of knowledge. There will always be people who want/need to go to college (and easily get their money’s worth from the degree).

    I can sympathize with your experience but blatantly “College is a scam” is missing the point.

  2. Your site is a treasure. Or maybe a vein where more and more treasure can be found.

    I went to College – partly on a scholarship. I actually learned a few things, but it was many years ago and I took mind-bending physics, chemistry, and math courses. But the load was too much (I was 16 when I started). I went to work in computers, and got paid. My father was initially concerned that I didn’t finish college (but took some community college courses – where I often knew more than the “professors” who were usually marginal engineers moonlighting). He was at the top of a union skilled trades pyramid. He was frugal, and there was nothing ostentatious, but we could have afforded a mansion. His concern ended when my paycheck was bigger than his. I had to do contracting, since as a “service” they didn’t care about my degree, and this was when HR had the checkboxes.

    In that era, I had to use the library. With the internet, I’m not sure if there is any practical knowledge that is NOT available to someone disciplined enough to look it up and properly study it.

    The other part is some skills aren’t book-learning. You have to do it to gain skill. I can learn the syntax of a computer language, and the keywords, but it won’t teach me how to write a program. But I just kept writing programs until I was really, really, good at it. And learned electronics. I do need to fill in a gap with FPGAs, but I’m waiting for an FPGArduino. I understand the logic, but just need to pickup VHDL or the equivalent.

    There are some colleges which aren’t a scam, but they are small “liberal arts” (in the medieval sense) colleges. They teach you to think. The classics. AAA – Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas.

    If you can think, everything else is merely a problem to be solved. If you can’t, then every problem is unsolvable.

    The current university – usury – industrial complex has little to do with learning.

    And if the current typical college isn’t a scam, then most of the laws on frauds ought to be repealed. They aren’t being enforced. A car with a defect is recalled, and if bad enough refunded. Colleges produce a far more defective product.

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