Getting A Real Education May Exclude Ivy-League Sensibility

Cost And Success Are Not Synonymous


Don’t think because some school has a $70k/year price-tag attached to it that it will deliver that value in education. Unless you have resources requisite to cover such an expenditure directly, it actually is advisable to avoid going this once venerated route in pursuit of higher education. Community college after high school—and throughout later life—will serve you better.

Loan Scams

College loans? No. Get a scholarship, get a Pell grant. Going the loan route is just going to put a monkey on your back. The only real way around this is to have someone you know locally co-sign on a loan with the local bank, then pay that back in rent-like installments with a pre-negotiated end-date set.

You can get within a few months of this date and renegotiate the terms, you’ll only pay a negligent amount more. Going such a route will make paying back higher expenses much easier; but here’s the deal: you can get a community college associate’s degree for under $10k, if you’re smart about it.

Throw in scholarships and pell-grants, you might be able to get away with it for under $5k. A $1k/year scholarship to such an institution comes to $2k over two years. If tuition is $3,440 a year, that means you got through for $4,880.

You can probably get dormitory housing for less than $20k over two years, meaning you’ll bag your degree for $12,440 a year. If you’re pulling in $2k a month, you can practically pay for school while you’re being educated, and come out debt free with a degree.


But if you go the college loan route, they’re going to saddle you with a debt that increases over time based on APR. Most students take this to get into that big, prestigious institution. Then they come out with a degree that won’t get them a job, and a massive loan weighing them down.

An Open Secret

Here’s the reality: primarily, after college, you’re not immediately going to get hired in the occupation you studied for. Unless you’re going into something very specific, like chemistry, biology, law, medicine—something that requires a high degree of specialization and long study—you’re going to bounce around a while trying to find employment.

Even if you go after a specific discipline, post-collegiate employment is by no means guaranteed. But here’s the crux: many employers at jobs where you can make $2k+ a month require a college degree. What’s the way around this?

Community college and trade school. You don’t have to have dormitory housing, you don’t have to take all the classes at once, you don’t have to take two years to obtain a two year degree. Going this route allows you to flexibly arrange your education in a meaningful way that will definitely lead to gainful employment.

What Are You Going To School For?

Don’t think you’re getting sold short by not going to a university, either. Here’s what you’re missing out on: a bunch of drunken kids running around in their underwear making dumb decisions in order to become some sorority/fraternity automaton who care more about curing a hangover with milk thistle than earning a degree.

Educationally? The best universities are often rivaled by common community colleges. In fact, sometimes a community option is better because the educators don’t have an over-inflated opinion of themselves, and so give a more practical education.

With community college, you can set your own speed and continue your education perpetually. According to Chesapeake College, a Maryland community college, “…personal enrichment courses give you the chance to explore a full spectrum of lifelong learning opportunities.”


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