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Student Loan Blues


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#61 Stargrunt6

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 1845 PM

One thing I've often wondered about attending 'Elite' colleges and universities is how much of a boost do they give to a middle of the pack graduate?  I'm just wondering if all things being equal graduating top of your class at east bfe U is better than graduating in the middle to lower part of say Harvard.


Depends on what you are getting into. If it's something where class rank is a factor, yeah, go land grant Uni. If you need connections though or want to be hired by elite firms, ivy league.
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#62 Skywalkre

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 1907 PM

One thing I've often wondered about attending 'Elite' colleges and universities is how much of a boost do they give to a middle of the pack graduate?  I'm just wondering if all things being equal graduating top of your class at east bfe U is better than graduating in the middle to lower part of say Harvard.

Still better to have that Harvard degree even if you're last in your class.

 

The reason is simple - Ivy League schools are about networking, pure and simple.  Networking with your peers, with your peers' parents, and with professors who are the top at their respective field in the world.  What you learn in class isn't anything special.  Hell, many of those elite schools actually have most of their classes online for anyone to watch... for free.  Doing that won't get you on a personal name basis with everyone sitting down in that class and the person leading it, though.

 

I can highlight this with a buddy I went to high school with.  Went to Harvard.  Got an English degree.  Thought he was going to write.  Went to some state school down in Florida to get his PhD.  Lost his mind trying to deal with the students there when teaching.  Lamented to a buddy of his from Harvard about his situation.  A year later he was running a Mutual Fund somewhere up in the NE, making gobs of money, and posting on FB about his hundred+ foot long yacht he just bought.

 

My brother is also one of these folks.  Went to Princeton.  Went engineering.  While he's good at what he does at least two of his recent career bounces (and he's bounced pretty damn high) were due to connections with Princeton alums.

 

This is why you're seeing all the lawsuits about the admissions process to these elite schools.  It's simply about getting your kid into 'the club'.  Once they're in, they're set.


Edited by Skywalkre, 06 March 2020 - 1952 PM.

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#63 Skywalkre

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 1930 PM

I told an employee to reconsider her future with regards to her career path and college.  I laid out in pretty stark terms the impossible financial burden she would face.  Based on the numbers she provided I came up that she'd have more income with a future at McDonald's than as a teacher.

She didn't like my analysis but her guidance counselor wasn't able to refute the math either.

Last I heard she's a full time college student living on a gov't loan.

Kudos for trying, Tim.


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#64 Skywalkre

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 1934 PM

young people are foolish.  It is one of the qualities of being young.  If someone is going to loan you a LOT of money for a debt that is non-dischargable  for a product of uncertain utility then I can see where someone might fall for that but where are the parents?

Does no one have the sense to see how risky this loan is from the borrower's point of view?

Rick posted this article over in Democratic Demolition Derby, Redux thread that partially explains the issue - the parents don't have any basic financial literacy themselves.  Couple this to the wrong notion that you "only have a future if you go to college" and it's easy to see why so many kids (and they are kids when they enter college) are getting screwed.

 

As I mentioned in my last post in that other thread, kids don't raise themselves.  We need to stop pushing them into a shitty situation and then blaming them.  It's time for the adults to fix the situation so future generations aren't also screwed.

 

Where we going to find these adults... is another matter... :glare:


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#65 Nobu

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Posted 06 March 2020 - 2000 PM

This is why you're seeing all the lawsuits about the admissions process to these elite schools.  It's simply about getting your kid into 'the club'.  Once they're in, they're set.

 

Give those elite American institutions their due, they have spent upwards of a century or two developing their elite brands and perpetual income-generating mechanisms, and they seriously take care of their own, regardless of the ranking one graduated with. They are not part of the problem, they are part of the solution.

 

It is the mass-market higher education product that does not provide value.


Edited by Nobu, 06 March 2020 - 2002 PM.

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#66 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 07 March 2020 - 1852 PM

 


One thing I've often wondered about attending 'Elite' colleges and universities is how much of a boost do they give to a middle of the pack graduate?  I'm just wondering if all things being equal graduating top of your class at east bfe U is better than graduating in the middle to lower part of say Harvard.

Still better to have that Harvard degree even if you're last in your class.
 
Largely agree with the rest of your post, but have to disagree on this one -- if you're planning on going for an advanced degree (not sure how it works with med school, but definitely for the rest) being top-ranked at Whatever State can definitely be an advantage over having crappy grades at Harvard, assuming the applicant has great test scores as well -- most postgrad schools make at least feeble attempts at economic diversity. For example (am not a lawyer personally) I know plenty of people who went to nondescript schools for undergrad and got into l33t law schools based on excellent grades and killer test scores, and most law firms really only care about who law school you went to, and what you did while you were there. 
 
I don't think that the Ivies necessarily give you a better education than other universities -- the job market for professors is so tight that pretty much every college has amazing profs now, and the Internet makes all knowledge widely available now anyway. Having an Ivy degree is basically a signifier that you were smart enough (or to be cynical, well-connected or "diverse" enough) to get into an Ivy school. That plus, as you said, the networking potential. 
 
Overall, though, I'd argue that the "go to cheap college, bust your ass, go to great grad school" path is the way to go, really. And I'd add that having an Ivy degree does -not- make you set for life -- I know plenty of f*ckups (or, tragically common, people who committed suicide) who went to Ivies. A lot of the people who get into Ivies are sort of like overly bred Border Collies or something, geniuses with all kinds of issues.

Edited by Brian Kennedy, 07 March 2020 - 1955 PM.

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#67 rmgill

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Posted 08 March 2020 - 1137 AM

Advanced Degree in what though. That's the rub. 


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#68 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 1835 PM

Advanced Degree in what though. That's the rub. 

 

In my experience most people who get advanced degrees from top-tier universities in the "squishy stuff" (French Literature or whatever) are intelligent enough to know what they're getting into (-- i.e. apocalyptic job market for liberal arts professors nowadays, which always puzzles me given that apparently everybody needs to go to college now, but I don't have an answer).

 

But I'd just reiterate that basically every person I know with a liberal arts undergraduate or graduate degree either has a really good job now (which typically has little or nothing to do with their degree) or opted out of the workforce on purpose (decided to be a stay-at-home "freelancing" spouse/parent, work on a cheese farm, etc). and guess what, now they know a lot about French Literature now too. I really think the whole "I majored in underwater basket-weaving and OMG I'm so shocked that I can't make a career out of it" trope is basically a myth, or relegated to a small subset of dumbasses.

 

I've probably posted about this X-nauseum times, but the US university system is not set up to be a vocational thing, it's set up to give you an education. The problem now is that 1) being a college grad has become a barrier to entry for white-collar jobs 2) in return, college has become expensive as f*ck, which is breaking a lot of middle-class families and 3) everybody's trying to put return-on-our-families-investment pressure on colleges, when they were seriously just set up to teach you about Shakespeare and higher mathematics and stuff. 

 

I really do think that's changing -- I work in a weird subset of technology which is challenging and high-paying and most of the (brilliant) people in my field could give two sh*ts about my fancy-pants degrees. 

 

Edited to add -- student loan forgiveness, I'm not on board at all, it would basically be tax relief for rich people.


Edited by Brian Kennedy, 09 March 2020 - 1843 PM.

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#69 Nobu

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Posted 09 March 2020 - 2136 PM

I would agree with the second paragraph. I have seen liberal arts majors hold their own and establish their value in impressive ways in the workplace.


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#70 rmgill

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 0827 AM

Brian, Georgetown's Hard Times report says the opposite. 

hardtime_bettertime-info1.jpg

Other data points:

 

 

EXPERIENCED GRADUATE DEGREE HOLDERS

• Computers, Statistics, and Mathematics (2.9 percent);• Education (2.2 percent);
• Engineering (2.6 percent);
• Health (2.0 percent); and
• Physical Sciences (2.5 percent).

 

RECENT GRADUATE DEGREE HOLDERS

Among recent graduate degree holders, Architecture majors are still experiencing the highest unemploy- ment rate at 7 percent, although this is substantially lower than the 13 percent unemployment this group experienced in 2009-2010.

Six fields of study among recent graduate degree holders had unemployment rates lower than 5 percent:• Biology and Life Science (2.6 percent);
• Computers, Statistics, and Mathematics (3.5 percent);
• Education (2.4 percent);

• Engineering (2.8 percent);
• Health (2.7 percent); and
• Physical Sciences (2.9 percent).

EXPERIENCED COLLEGE GRADUATES

 

Among experienced workers with Bachelor’s degrees, unemployment rates for most majors hovered between 5 percent and 6 percent, though there were notable exceptions. Hardest hit were:

• The Arts (6.7 percent)
• Architecture (7.3 percent)
• Psychology and Social Work (6.1 percent).

In comparison, experienced workers with Bachelor’s degrees had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent.

Those with the lowest unemployment rates included:• Agriculture and Natural Resources (3 percent)
• Engineering (3.5 percent)
• Health (2.5 percent)

• Education (3.7 percent).

Experienced workers aged 35 to 54 who majored in Architecture suffered high unemployment during the recession because the collapse of credit markets took a direct and immediate toll on the building and housing industries. Unemployment in this group peaked at 9.4 percent in 2010-2011 and is still high at 7.3 percent.

Similarly, unemployment rates topped 5 percent among experienced workers with Bachelor’s degrees in Computers, Statistics, and Mathematics. This was mainly due to high unemployment among computer majors that are peripheral to core computer science and computer engineering majors, such as computer communication technologies, computer administration management and security, computer networking, and telecommunications. (These majors are grouped under “Miscellaneous Computer” in Table A3 in the Appendix.) Unemployment among this sub-group reached 7 percent in 2009 before declining to 6 percent.

RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATES

The college population most adversely affected by the Great Recession has been recent graduates with Bachelor’s degrees between the ages of 22 and 26, whose unemployment rate stands at 7.5 percent – only slightly lower than the 7.7 percent unemployment rate for all full-time, full-year workers aged 22 to 54. Yet there are encouraging signs even for these recent college graduates:

  • Education majors, for whom unemployment for new Bachelor’s degrees peaked at 5.7 percent in 2010-2011, have seen that number fall to 5.1 percent.

  • Unemployment among Health majors has plateaued since rising to 6.1 percent in 2009-2010.

  • Unemployment among Physical Science majors, which hit 7.2 percent in 2009-2010, has fallen back to 5 percent.

  • Agriculture and Natural Resources majors, whose unemployment rates spiked to 7 percent in 2009- 2010, have seen that drop to 4.5 percent.

  • Unemployment among Industrial Arts, Consumer Services, and Recreation majors, which rose to 6.8 percent in 2009-2010, has since fallen to 5.4 percent.

  • Engineering majors, who had a 7.5 percent unemployment rate in 2009-2010, have seen that number decline to 6.5 percent.

    Recent Bachelor’s degree holders in other majors have experienced mediocre performance with unem- ployment rates stuck between 7 percent and 9 percent. These include:

    • Biology and Life Sciences (7.4 percent)
    • Business (7 percent)
    • Computers, Statistics, and Mathematics (8.3 percent).

    Hardest hit among the recent Bachelor’s degree graduates – whose unemployment rates exceeded 7.5 percent, the unemployment rate for all recent Bachelor’s degree workers – have been:

    • Communications and Journalism majors, whose unemployment stands at 8.2 percent and is still rising• Architecture majors, whose unemployment rate remains at 10.3 percent
    • Arts (9.5 percent unemployment)
    • Psychology and Social Work (9 percent unemployment)

    • Humanities and Liberal Arts (8.4 percent unemployment)• Social Sciences (10.1 percent unemployment)
    • Law and Public Policy (8.6 percent unemployment).

    By 2011-12, however, the worst seemed to be over; the overall unemployment for recent graduates in these fields has since plateaued or declined, with the exception of Communications and Journalism.


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#71 rmgill

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 0833 AM

Page 6 of the report has an interesting graphic. 

https://1gyhoq479ufd...2015-Report.pdf

The Recent College Graduate in engineering's average salary was $57k. The experienced Graduate Degreee Holder in Arts' average salary is $63k. The comparative engineering Graduate Degree salary is $114k. Biology and Life Sciences, Physical Sciences and Computer engineering are similar, around $57-59k for recent graduates and ~$105k for expereinced graduate degree holders. 

If you went to college and got a post secondary degree in arts but were only making $63k per year, and you paid $400,000 for it all, you probably invested badly. 

Jobs in Education were similarly bad as Arts. 


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#72 Ssnake

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 1540 PM

I can't help but notice that these are data from ten years ago, at the time of a severe recession.


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#73 Brian Kennedy

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 1800 PM

I mean, all I can point to is anecdotal stuff. In my experience it's still more what you decide to do after college than the degree you got in college -- a lot of liberal arts grads are trying to Make It in fields like journalism, academia, etc. that are really gutted right now, so that would probably skew the unemployment statistics. If you decide not to go in one of those fields (i.e, suck it up and spend a couple months learning Python or something), I really don't think having a liberal arts degree is a handicap.


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#74 Ssnake

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Posted 10 March 2020 - 1850 PM

It may not be a handicap but still the question is if it can be considered a good investment.

Of course, if you do it for personality building and fulfillment that's perfectly fine - if you can afford it. But wealthy people attending university for fun aren't relly at the center of this debate. It's about people taking a substantial loan that needs to be repaid eventually, and the question is if for these kids a liberal arts career is a good choice.

 

Now, to the extent that a college degree is the prerequisite to get hired in the first place and if you can't hack it in engineering and all that's left is a course in Expressionist Dance Theory, at least don't spend more time and money on it than absolutely necessary. But it you pick something wretched like Gender Studies, the only career path with that background is to dig an even deeper hole in the vain hope that you could, one day, become a college professor in Gender Studies. Or a career politician in the far-out left field.

Liberal Arts degrees aren't per se worthless. But there are some that are far worse choices than others. If you dig yourself into French poetry at least it doesn't make you dumber. If the degree is cheap and you like words and/or to woo ladies who like words, go for it. But there are courses, like Gender Studies, that actually do make you dumber because they twist your perception of reality to the point where you run danger of becoming non-functional in the job market and every day life. Taking a loan for that is particularly hard to justify.


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#75 Rick

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 0511 AM

For our non - U.S. members, how are your country's university, or maybe "trade school" costs handled?


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#76 Rick

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Posted 11 March 2020 - 0620 AM

Even some liberals get it.

 

https://www.democrat....com/1287656939


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#77 Stargrunt6

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Posted 13 March 2020 - 0555 AM

The courts and now the Senate flip the table on Devos and Dept of Ed:

https://www.forbes.c...eness-rule/amp/
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