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Published on June 4th, 2010 | by Dr. Joel McDurmon

33

Avoiding the College Trap

A college degree guarantees you nothing. It could, in fact, ruin your future.

There was a time when having a college degree almost guaranteed you a “good job,” certainly one that pays better than those not requiring a bachelor’s degree. Parents then determined that the costs involved added up to an investment in their child’s future—an investment that would undoubtedly pay off. The general public soon grew so assured of the value of a degree that it grew acceptable and common to borrow toward that investment. Today, student loans are the rule.

This entire process assumes several things, all of which might have held true at one time or in limited circumstances, hardly any of which remain true today or in general. Yet a blind faith that includes all of these assumptions rules the day for decisions about higher education. The results are disastrous.

Example: meet Miss Courtney Munna. She is 26 years old and has proudly fulfilled her and her mother’s dream of graduating from NYU, a second-tier private school. She is now the proud owner of an interdisciplinary bachelor’s degree in religious and women’s studies. She also owns a $97,000 student debt.

Let’s evaluate the value of Miss Munna’s education: In the job market, a bachelor’s in either religion (from a liberal university) or women’s studies adds little to nothing to her marketability in the real world. An “interdisciplinary” degree—half one and half the other mixed together—actually reduces the value. A degree like this only has value in the academic world, and there it only holds value as a stepping stone to an academic teaching career. But this requires a Master’s degree (at least two more years and more debt) and almost always a Doctorate (three further years in the US, and more debt). For all practical purposes, Miss Munna’s degree has zero economic value.

But worse, $97k in debt has a value of, well, negative $97k; plus interest, part of which is at an adjustable rate (it will go higher). And this, not even for a marketable skill or knowledge, but merely a degree in religious and women’s studies. And what does such a degree provide?… Nothing more than a group of feminists’ assurances that all religions are equal and women should be in charge of all of them.

So Courtney has essentially paid over $100,000 in order to be propagandized with a message she could just as easily have gotten from a $1.25 bumper sticker.

Courtney’s mom helped finance this “education.” She herself now faces a tough time financially. She’s afraid she could lose her bed and breakfast business. And herein is the great joke. This woman owns a business. She should know something about finances. What on earth made her think a dead-end degree like women’s studies was worth selling her and her daughter’s soul? She should have known better.

She should have kept her daughter at home, trained her in the family business, marketed it, taught her how to keep it profitable, and lived a moderate middle-class life.

If after that she had a desire to learn “women’s studies,” she could easily have sated such a perversion without debt. She could have Googled “women’s studies reading list” and then selected one of several links from a major university, like this link: twenty-two pages of women-as-victim and women-as-equals screeds. Forget NYU, forget $97k. The New York Public Library is free. Free public libraries are all over the place. Even major universities will give full access and lending privileges for a small fee (for example, I just bought such at Emory University for $100/year—well worth it for projects I’m currently working on). For hardly any cost at all, Courtney could spend her free time indulging in all the feminism and gender diversity she could stand—and make money instead of borrowing it.

This reminds me of the famous scene from Good Will Hunting: Will, played by Matt Damon, is a genius held back by emotional issues. He works as a janitor at MIT. During a trip to a Harvard bar, Will’s uneducated friend [Ben Affleck, of course], while chatting with a Harvard girl, get harassed by a grad student for obviously aiming out of his intellectual league. Will comes to the rescue, confronting this hot-shot grad student’s arrogance, showing him up intellectually with page number and footnote. The kid had plagiarized everything he said. What’s worse, Will concludes, “You dropped 150 grand on a **** education you could’ve got for a $1.50 in late charges at the public library” [warning: very brief adult language in the clip.]

The lesson should be clear, very few if any jobs require a degree from any of the liberal arts fields. A degree here is nothing much more than a hobby—an expensive hobby. A very expensive hobby. Unless you have a guaranteed career waiting ahead requiring and helping fund such a degree, a wise person would avoid the trap. And even upon deciding to take such a degree, never do so from an upper-tier school because of the exorbitant expense. And never put yourself in debt in order to do so.

A bachelor’s degree in engineering, accounting, hard sciences, or as a stepping stone to med or maybe law school makes much more sense, but even then you can do it without debt.

Most business and economics courses are taught tenured academics who have never run a business.

Gary North has offered seven steps to getting a bachelor’s degree for around $15,000. I personally completed my undergraduate a few years before he published this list. I was pleased to see that I anticipated six of his seven tips, finished for well under $15,000, and had no debt. Since I was awarded a full scholarship for seminary, I can say I actually spent less than $15k on all my higher education including my M.Div.

There are hidden costs, of course, such as lost income during periods of working part-time (in order to take a full course load, moving your family across country, a feeling of rootlessness, and the price of family stress while living in small apartments as daddy studies all day and works all weekend and sometimes night. These costs add up and must be taken seriously. I dare speculate that many seminaries have produced more strained families than good pastors. But that’s a whole different topic.

I have also found a major international university that will flex some of its doctoral programs to work as “distance” education, though they can’t legally call them that. Due to currency exchange rates, and with some dedication, I can finish a legitimate Ph.D. in Theology in two years and well under $3,000. And unlike American programs, it does not require two years of coursework: rather it’s a full research degree. From start to finish, my entire higher education will have cost less than $15k. That’s not bad. In the future, as more institutions implement online features, I expect it to get even cheaper.

Meanwhile, so few people 1) can see the worthlessness of most academic degrees, 2) exercise the mental fortitude to think critically through the illusions of a college education, and 3) have enough economic sense to do a cost/benefit analysis of the situation.

Besides, even discounting nonsense degrees like women’s studies and many others, college is not for everyone. Many people would do well to go train under an entrepreneur or get a marketable technical skill. When I was in high school I worked part-time at a pizza joint. One of the other cooks was in his late twenties and had not pursued college. “You gonna cook pizza all your life,” I asked. “No. I want to learn how to fix air conditioners.” He skirted traditional college and enrolled in a vo-tech college. Graduated with a B average, no debt, and went from six bucks an hour to about $35k a year. Within a few years, with some experience, he was making more.

Many great jobs come this way, with technical training in real-world careers. Welders, auto mechanics, small engine repair, diesel mechanics, etc., will all always be in high demand. This is true especially during a recession when people quit buying expensive new things and try to make old things keep running. It’s cheaper to repair than buy new, and good repairmen are hard to find. A good skill and a good reputation are far more valuable than nearly any Ph.D.

I remember one of my professors in college. He was in his first year after receiving his Ph.D. in Philosophy from a reputable State University. He was an adjunct in my local community college, maybe making around $2–3k per course. I looked him up out of curiosity. Today, ten years later, he’s still an adjunct but at a different community college, teaching the same few courses, and unless he found some unusual sweetheart deal, still the same low pay.

So what is a Ph.D. in philosophy worth? Not much, unless you’re a shoe-in for a tenured position. Such positions are very rare and highly competitive. Gary DeMar tells me the story of an old college buddy who completed a Ph.D. in Philosophy. He responded to an open position at a major private school. Amazingly, they chose him. There had been 100 applicants.

Do the math: that means 99% of Doctors of Philosophy went home with no job and probably still thousands in debt.

In today’s depressed market, a job at a mere community college is liable to draw that many applications.

Meanwhile, the air-conditioner repairman makes more money than the B.A. in women’s studies, the Ph.D. in Philosophy, and most of their peers. And for now, Miss Munna herself has learned the lesson. She now works in a field that has nothing to do with her degree: she aids a photographer for $22/hour. At that rate, I doubt she will ever pay off her debt; and Federal law makes it virtually impossible to assuage it through bankruptcy.

And it’s not just her. Students all over the US graduate with pointless degrees, no experience, no real training, no job prospects, and thousands in debt. The median, according to FinAid.org, is about $24,000 per graduate today. This only counts graduates, not the 50% who don’t even graduate and still have thousands in debt.

And what’s all this “education” worth anyway? As I’ve mentioned, most degrees guarantee nothing. Many are utterly pointless beyond a personal hobby. Some are a complete waste of time. “Education” comes from the Latin, E (“out”) + ducare (“to lead”), meaning “to lead out.” The question with “leading out,” of course, always involves: 1) who’s leading, 2) “out” of what, and 3) leading “to” where? The educators intend to lead us out of ignorance, ostensibly, but the truth is well known that the university system has long been a bed of leftist indoctrination. Some modern references to “E + duce” worth considering include the Italian version, “Il Duce,” and the German equivalent, “der Führer.” Be careful whom you choose to lead you.

Jacques Ellul considered the point long ago in his book Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes: generalized education rarely produces true critical thinkers. It produces indoctrinated dupes who truly believe they’re critical thinkers but aren’t. Lenin, apocryphally but appropriately labeled them: “useful idiots.” We place a value on literacy, and rightly so. But we fail if we don’t move further. Literacy makes readers, but the exaltation merely of reading leads to an exaltation of the printed word. It takes on an authority, and this leads to a casual submission, or at least intimidation, before anyone who has written anything.(1) “Author” becomes “authority,” and professors and grad students love that role.

Useful idiots believe they’re critical thinkers because they were told they’re critical thinkers and were handed a degree as certification of the fact. But rarely if ever do they think critically. In fact, Ellul notes, the intellectual is the first to fall for propaganda, and this is normal. Why? He answers, “Because he is convinced of his own superiority, the intellectual is much more vulnerable than anyone else in this maneuver.…”(2)

This is one reason I wrote Biblical Logic: I wanted to show Christians the scriptural and theological mandate for being critical thinkers, and how only based on God’s word can we be truly critical (“critical” from the Greek kritikos: “able to judge”). See my article on The Bible and Critical Thinking.

A college degree is certainly no guarantee of this ability, and in many respects is a great hindrance to it. It certainly won’t guarantee a job or even marketability.

So many young people fall for the illusion that a college degree has value. It’s an enormous deception, and parents will do well to insulate themselves and their children from it. This takes discipline and commitment to values, because the deception weighs powerfully on the ego and sense of destiny. It inflates hopes that may not materialize, and it caresses fond hopes of glory that lay in seed form in every depraved heart.

I know the power of that temptation. When I graduated seminary I took a long shot, just for my dreams’ sake. I applied to a single graduate school for a Ph.D. in New Testament Studies. Most aspirants will apply to several hoping one will accept. I narrowed my chances and applied only to one: Edinburgh. I didn’t expect to be selected. To my surprise, I was accepted and was offered a scholarship covering all the main tuition. Problem: the scholarship did not cover the “outside the UK” part of the tuition which amounted, due to exchange rates at the time, to about $10k per year. Add to this living expenses in a relatively expensive city. I figured the total bill at roughly $75k over three years.

It was the chance of a lifetime for a young scholar. It was my dream. I would have studied under a world-renowned and leading NT scholar Larry Hurtado. But $75 grand? Was it worth the price?

I tried hard to raise money. I was offered donations from some private parties, and interest-free loans from others, but in the end would have still had to borrow $50-60k. Nevertheless, the draw of that Ph.D. from a prestigious University of International reputation pushed me to the edge. I almost bit, even knowing it was not the wise thing to do.

I went into the president at my seminary—a man of sound financial sense and thrift (“cheap,” he would say)—knowing he would tell me not what I wanted but needed to hear. I told him, “I need you to tell me, ‘Don’t accept the offer to Edinburgh.’” He obliged: “Joel, I can’t advise you to borrow eighty grand for a Ph.D.” The words still echo like a peal of thunder in my mind and a bolt of lightning in my heart; and I’m glad they do.

Many people should embrace these words even before they pursue a bachelor’s degree, let alone a Ph.D. And everyone should embrace them before going into debt for any purported education.

The library card is cheaper. Go into business, marketing, engineering. Make money, don’t borrow it. Then read some good books on the side. Start with mine. Then, from the thousands you save, you can make a donation to American Vision.Endnotes:

  1. Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, trans. by Konrad Kellen and Jean Lerner (New York: Vintage Books, 1973 [1965]), 108.()
  2. Jacques Ellul, Propaganda, 110.()
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About the Author

Dr. Joel McDurmon

Joel McDurmon, Ph.D. in Theology from Pretoria University, is the Director of Research for American Vision. He has authored seven books and also serves as a lecturer and regular contributor to the American Vision website. He joined American Vision's staff in the June of 2008. Joel and his wife and four sons live in Dallas, Georgia.



33 Responses to Avoiding the College Trap

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  3. Roxanne says:

    LOL, the American education system is such a joke xD.

  4. Ray says:

    I read you article with great interest. However your personal account regarding "your chance of a lifetime" "dream" opportunity to attend Edinburgh really puzzled me. You apply to just one school not expecting to get selected and amazing get selected with a significant scholarship. I would tend to see God behind something like this. Did you consider that God was asking you to step out in faith? If God guides, doesn't He provide? Instead it seems that you focused on the wind and the waves (like Peter walking on the water), took great pride in your use of Biblical critical thinking, and sat down in the boat. Yes, people don't use their critical thinking skills enough, but isn't there is an equal error in going to the extreme in the other way.

    A.W. Tozer: …it is altogether possible to be instructed in the rudiments of the faith and still have no real understanding of the whole thing. And it is possible to go on to become expert in Bible doctrine and not have spiritual illumination, with the result that a veil remains over the mind, preventing it from apprehending the truth in the spiritual essence.

    Unfortunately, I feel that many coming out of seminary are suffering from what Tozer points to here. And I can't help but wonder about your "cheap" seminary president..

    I normally wouldn't be this blunt with someone, but you seem to be the type of guy that likes it straight up. You also may what to consider I Cor. 13:2

    • Seems like Joel’s decision not to go into debt to attend Edinburgh has not prevented him from having a fruitful writing career. He has written more quality books and articles in his young career than most college professors and writers put out in a lifetime. Thanks Joel!

      • Ray says:

        You’re assuming the he would have gone into debt. If God was leading him to Edinburgh, God would have provided a solution. If God was calling him to Edinburgh it would have been best to follow Him.

        I think his article has some very good points, but I am not convinced that his personal story really fits. His personal story is very unique with special circumstances which may have called for a different response.

  5. Martin says:

    Congratulations on a timely and controversial article. The latter based on some of the other comments. Perhaps one of the problems is that colleges and universities all have to pay some of their own way. And as there may well be too many of them they have to compete for students. Not all students graduate in the top half of their high school classes. So the schools know that many are not suited to the more demanding courses. And surprise, surprise they take a somewhat business like approach and offer a dumbed down curriculum to satisfy the dumber demand. Unfortunately the dumbed down courses are only in demand in Academia, to increase the supply of instructors for these otherwise unsaleable courses.

    I have never had an urgent need for a graduate in sociology or womens studies. But I sure have had for a plumber. As a society we shouldn't make student loan money available to those who are unlikely to be able to repay it. After all, loans should not be granted without a high expectation of them being repaid. We are already in the middle of a financial disaster where that has been a major cause.

  6. Matt says:

    You yourself are pursuing Ph.D. You are doing so in order to be seriously considered for a job (albeit of a religious nature) after you receive your degree. This article is a direct contradiction of the actions you yourself have taken.

  7. Around 1970 Western Union decided to enter the job matching field. Employers and prospective employees would register their job opportunities and availability with Western Union who would match them up. It was a colossal failure; they lost millions of dollars. But, their accumulated data base showed that an engineer without a degree earned 5% more than an engineer with a degree.
    If you want to be a practicing doctor, attorney [in court only], professor, banker, or insurance professional, then certification can be very important to your career. Everywhere else, hands down, knowledge trumps degrees. You can learn anything from a public library. Once the hiring management knows you have skills they need, they will bypass the myopic personnel department and hire you.

  8. At the age of 26 I applied for a technical project management job at Radio Corporation of America (RCA). At the final interview the regional manager informed that I was hired, but that I needed to complete the education portion of my job application. I said, "Well, I guess I don't qualify, because I have no degreed education." He said, "Really? The job requires a BS degree….Oh well, we'll waive that requirement." The lesson: Management does what management wants.

  9. Let's not confuse "education" with "knowledge". I went to college and was thrown out with a "D" average because of too much partying during my freshman year. Over the years I made extensive use of the "Poor Man's University" (aka Public Library) and thoroughly studied the knowledge base of whatever life's problem with which I had to contend. I ultimately became expert in electroncs, computers, accounting, law, systems design, alternative medicine, business management & consulting, radio talk show host, and not so expert in a couple of other fields. With no degree I became president of a college and of a small manufacturing firm.

  10. Alex Petros says:

    The Article almost exclusively emphasises the "extrinsic" or "instrumental" value of an edication, a formal degree.
    To repharse a saying, "I'd rather be a Voltaire, or a Leibniz satisfied, than a pig satisfied." It isdiffcutl to put some $$ value (rather $$ price) on certain things, a good eductaion being one of them. Every freshman psychology major (with alraedy some major debt?) knows Abraham Maslow's hierachy of needs: the "lowest" one being the mainatenance needs, the highest the SELF-ACTUALISING NEEDS." Nemo liber qui est corpore servit.

  11. suzyq says:

    IF you want a college degree, or more than one start early, get a trade, a skill, or a certificate in a 'blue-collar' field and/or start your own business. You could start as a shampoo girl, then go to hairdressing school for a year perhaps. Maybe it takes two years in your state but a year if you go live with your cousin. Make the move. That trade, skill, certificate or business can pay for the degree. NEVER BORROW.

    I sewed my way through college, took the cheapest housing possible, walked to class, bought everything 2nd hand. And I took the maximum course load to get through as soon as possible. I never borrowed a penny. Then it took me two years to get an assistantship (tuition plus stipend) for graduate school. I would not borrow, so the 2nd year I applied to 9 graduate schools, got accepted by 8, and spent a lot of money on applications that year (the equivalent of one 3-credit course tuition – best money I ever spent).

  12. WaNetta says:

    When people go to college, they need to take courses that would be practical ; womens, ethnic studies are very impractical. i think enginering degrees are worth the money. Also, auto mechanics arent bad because you can always have work.

  13. smg45acp says:

    The Wallstreet Journal had an almost identical article about a year ago.
    I have three teenagers and have had this type of discussion several times. The high School counselors just repeat like a mantra that a college degree will increase your earnings over the course of your life.
    They were getting pretty upset as I tried to quote parts of the Wallstreet article.
    I have a BSEE. I worked my way through. It took a lot longer, but I only had $1,500 of debt and I shouldn't have even borrowed that.

  14. The Conservatarian says:

    This piece gives me some reassurance. I myself am finishing up my MBA, and I despise the debt I am in for it. My son, who who is nearly 13, wants to take just a few classes and sit for certification in real estate and go to work. This really coincides with what the author is saying here.

    I value education, and degrees, but I think the author is really railing against these fluff degrees that have no meaning in the real world. Half the time, I wonder if my MBA is going to have any meaning.

    One point of concern regarding the piece: these days, the bachelor’s degree is considered to be the modern equivalent of the high school diploma. People will have a hard time finding jobs in technical or professional realms without a degree, because, as another poster said, businesses are looking for that degree on the resume.

  15. Dennis Neylon says:

    How true this is! Just over thirty years ago, I got my bachelors degreee in a field I knew didn't pay well, but wanted to work in. Six years later, after finding no fulltime work in my field, I joined the Navy, which after two years, sent me on a five month course where I was taught everything i had learned in my major a second time. Twelve years later, I got out and tried to keep working in that field. Three years later, after trying my hand at several "new" occupations, I ended up as an administrative professional in health care. The job requires no degree and no skills beyond what I learned using software "on the job" and high school typing class. I am one of seven children, all of whom started college, three of whom got degrees. Only one of us works in the field we studied today. My greatest education has come from reading and listening to those wiser than myself.

  16. callmechristian says:

    Good job – your best article yet, Joel. Where can I get more info on the "distance" PhD opportunity you mention?

  17. Robin says:

    It seems everyone is missing the point. He never said don't go to college. He's saying be wise about investing in education. I have a 4-year accounting degree. I came out of college with $6000 in debt, and have had a very lucrative career spanning the last 20 years. I can get a job anytime I want. Despite the current recession, I managed to find a good job 3 weeks after putting out my first resume. It's full time with benefits and good pay, and I was out of work for over 2 years homeschooling my children. Was my degree worth the money? YES! If I'd majored in philosophy, women's studies, or English literature, could I say the same thing? Probably not without further training in education, business, or learning how to lobby Congress. Dave Ramsey talks about this very topic. So many people go to college without clear objectives. There's the blind promise of something better on the other side, but many just find dead end jobs and lots of debt. Easy access to student loans makes it far worse.

    • Ronaldo says:

      Consider the Obama is now in charge of virtually all student loans. One factor, even before he took it over (buried in the Health "care" act" is that so many grads now are so burdened with college loans, that they can't qualify to buy a house. Yet another factor holding real house values down: the market has dried up, thanks to govt "guaranteeing" college loans of future potential buyers as well as the mortgages of current would-be sellers.

  18. Laryssa says:

    What I get from the article is this; if you're gonna go to college, get a degree you can use that doesn't cost a small fortune! I have a relative that has his masters…he is driving a school bus because colleges prefer the cheapest applicant; it would cost too much to hire him!

  19. ZAlexa says:

    —Part 5 of 5—
    I'm all for tech schools, and know several people who've benefitted from going that direction. I also acknowledge that I learned as much, if not more, outside the classroom on college campus(es), than in. But I wouldn't have been eligible to participate in those outside activities if I'd not been inside the classroom too.
    There's also the immeasurable benefit of the people one meets and builds lifetime connections to/friendships with in a college setting.
    One final thought ~ almost every non-degreed career option you mentioned (and I'm aware of) requires one to do an intensively physical (labor ~ ious) job…and if they manage to get to their 40's without career-ending injuries, age often takes a physical toll requiring them to : *gasp* go to college! (Nothing wrong with this route, but in the interest of full-disclosure, you might add on to your article these truths).

  20. ZAlexa says:

    —-continued from above ~ Part 4 of 5 —-

    The other part of your article that irks me is this: If not for those "lowly" community college professors/instructors (who can teach college without a *costly* Ph.D), most of us could never afford any college courses!
    I have been blessed to take a large number of college courses which applied to my personal life and/or my biz/professional life over the past 23 years ~ because so many people use their God-given talents to do what they love and share their love of various subjects at California Community Colleges (over 107 public Community Colleges in California alone)!
    I *don't* have a degree ~ but am told if I take my Math & Science, I'll have a MINIMUM of 4 Associates' degrees and be well through my Junior Year in at least 2-3/4 MAJORS (not including so-called minors in these numbers).

  21. ZAlexa says:

    —-cont'd from above — (Part 3 of 4)
    Further, I knew that being an entrepreneur, while I've known since childhood was for me (and this is how my friend became a 8-digit multi-millionairre in 25 years, retiring in his early 50's so he can work as a full-time board member for NFL Alumni, giving financial aid scholarships and other financial aid to deserving, under-priveleged high school athletes); however, my time in Corporate America only confirmed that many people are better followers = worker bees, than leaders/entrepreneurs.
    This doesn't even account for the idea & inspiration as to *what* field to start and build a biz in, nor for where & how to get the needed knowledge for carrying out one's idea…Factor in "timing" and the odds are still against success ~ regardless of one's field!
    —-continued (& completed) below—-

    • Full Bible Presbyterian Minister says:

      I appreciate your frustration, ZAlexa. But while I cannot speak for Mr. McDurmon, let me offer an explanation why there are so many people who are "worker bees," i.e. better followers than innovators. Through 12 years of public "education" and then four or more years of college that is what they have been encouraged to do. They have been led to believe that being a good student and sitting still will not only preclude being drugged with Ritalin, it will also assure some future success. In reality all it will secure or assure is the ability to be a good drone. One of the things I think should be undertaken by home schoolers is a new philosophy of education that involves more than learning how to sit still for the equivalent of a work day. Teach children to experiment, to serve, and to take thought-out (considered) risks. Then we will produce a generation of entrepreneurs rather than followrs.

      Worth a try, right?

  22. ZAlexa says:

    —continued from above—-
    About 7 or 8 years ago ~ just as my daughter was finishing high school, during a ride around the Bay with my friend an biz mentor, Ernie, I laid out my concerns and fears for "kids today" In RE: how difficult would be to EVER start out and "make it" (financially) in the Bay Area.
    I had determined that there were only 2 ways: 1 ~ Get a Master's or higher education *AT MINIMUM*; 2 ~ be an inventor &.or entrepreneur (i.e. work for one's self vs. working for anyone else).

  23. ZAlexa says:

    I get the point ~ and agree with some, disagree with other parts…and am frustrated that the article just "ended"!
    It seemed you were about to offer alternative degree suggestions if one IS going to pursue NON-Entrepreneurial Biz.
    Not everyone is cut out for entrepreneurism ~ whether as a mechanic, plumber, B & B ownere, etc…and ALMOST every start-up requires some financial investment, which, if not from loans (at higher % rates than a college degree at the least expensive community colleges + state universities) OR working in some other well-paying job/field FOR SOMEONE else!
    Thus the conundrum you proposed ~ sans potential solutions!
    —continued below—

  24. Ruth says:

    Joel, you have many good points, but large corporations still put a lot of emphasis, and higher pay, into employees with college degrees, no matter the major. Our 3 kids worked in our Alaska oilfields and paid for their own education. Our boys are electrical engineers, which requires a college degree. Our daughter majored in psychology. She gains higher pay and more opportunity for advancement from BP because of her unrelated to oil college degree. This is true of most employees in large corporations. Those entities still reward you for your perseverence in getting the degree.

  25. Debra Miller says:

    Part of me really likes this article, and another part is wondering why the author is pursuing a doctorate himself while encouraging others to not get a college degree. At the end of the day, people still like to see credentials. With five children, two in college, two at home and one pursuing a career without college, this topic is of vital importance to our family. Wisdom is needed to know when to pursue a degree, and when it is not the best use of time and money.

    • Elisabeth Sheats says:

      He's not encouraging others to NOT get a degree. He even said that some people (accountants, lawyers, and nurses) usually (if not always) do need a degree. He's saying to weigh the costs and DON'T go into debt for it.

  26. anonymous says:

    Sorry, but your friend Gary doesn't have a PhD in philosophy.

    • Joel McDurmon says:

      The article doesn't say he does. Gary's old college buddy does, like the article says.

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