Why Go To College If You Have No Intentions Of Using Your Degree?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by MainerMikeBrown, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    In that case there really isn't any point in going for a Masters in Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
     
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  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think this is more true in the US than in most countries? But even you guys have State Universities, don't you? I don't know how those work, but I assume they're government subsidized, if not totally funded?

    And I checked cutecat's link - most of the courses offered seemed too simple to be full degrees, but I think they are valid fields of study for people who want to work in certain fields. I mean, in Canada, they'd be college diplomas rather than university degrees - I'm not sure how that distinction would be made in the states. But that is the tradition divide, up here - college diplomas for the fields closely tied to ultimate employment (like the turfgrass management course mentioned on the list) and Universities for the more 'academic' subjects. Professional schools mess that up a little, because they're usually part of universities, but they're post-grad, so they're a bit different...
     
  3. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't know what a 'State University' would be over here. Our universities are split into two modes, but they are both businesses, only lightly subsidized by the government.
     
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  4. cutecat22

    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    Very lightly!

    I don't think we have such things as state universities. I suppose the nearest we come to a state uni would be something like the Open University which anyone can use (you still have to pay course fees) but you learn via a long distance method (i.e. through the post and online). Very easy to start a course until you find yourself putting it to one side in favour of life/job/other commitments. I think you have to be extremely self motivated for something like that and despite being able to get my self in gear where writing is concerned, I can't do it for much else where I'm left to my own devices. (I would spend the time writing instead LOL)
     
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  5. Poet of Gore

    Poet of Gore Member

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    because they want to fit in, Evelyn
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Sorry, Lemex, thought you were American. (Just based on the university stuff, not on your personality or anything!)
     
  7. Lemex

    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Good point. The Open University is the closest thing we have (I had actually forgot about it too. Woops).

    B-but I spell colour with a U! And I have an opinion on Scottish independence! :(
     
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  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I am a BAD nationality detective! Sorry!
     
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  9. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    The specialist who treated my wife is one of the top in the world...like, he developed the procedure that replaced open-heart surgery. He's a bit good.

    On the other hand, when explaining to my wife that her problem was, substantially, that her heart was not receiving the correct eletrical input, and she said "Oh, so I just need an electrician, then." he suffered from a sense-of-humour failure and replied "No, it's a little more complicated than that".

    One of the conditions that he deals with is called Sudden Death Syndrome (guess why!)...so when they opened a clinic, he wanted to call it the "Sudden Death Clinic". It had to be pointed out to him that it would do nothing to reassure punters.

    My point is that you can get around people skills if you're good enough at the job.
     
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  10. Chinspinner

    Chinspinner Contributor Contributor

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    Did he look suspiciously like Hugh Laurie?

    In this sort of circumstance I agree with you.
     
  11. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    A state college is just a college that's supported by state funding (in addition to tuition paid by students). So it's cheaper than attending a private college. The University of California school system is probably the most famous example of state colleges; examples include UCLA and UC Berkeley.
     
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  12. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Going to a state school, if you're a resident of the state, is certainly cheaper than going to most non-state schools. But it's still not all that easy, if you don't have the money. (Money for your own food/lodging/living-in-general, as well as tuition.) When I was graduating from high school, my perception was that if you had decent grades and test scores, you could get a loan that covered all of that, no problem. I don't think that's true any more. (Of course, after you graduate, you have to pay the loan.)
     
  13. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    They give college loans to anyone who wants them nowadays. As long as you're accepted, it's very easy to get one.
     
  14. Ben414

    Ben414 Contributor Contributor

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    7.6% interest rate loans for everyone!
     
  15. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It isn't that high, is it? I think it's under 7% for most students. In fact, I think the interest rates have gone down in the past few years.
     
  16. Ben414

    Ben414 Contributor Contributor

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    I'd have to look it up to make sure, but I believe that was my interest rate. You can get around 6.5% if you have already built up a great credit history before applying for the loans. Federal subsidized and federal unsubsidized loans are cheaper (I think even the unsubsidized are around 5.5%), but they won't cover it all unless you are poor or your scholarships make the cost of living/tuition very low.
     
  17. Fitzroy Zeph

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributor Contributor

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    Colleges and universities should be inexpensive. Loans, if necessary, should be available for zero percent for 10 years after graduation.
     
  18. thirdwind

    thirdwind Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Fitzroy Zeph for president!
     
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  19. Ben414

    Ben414 Contributor Contributor

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    The US really does need more Canadian presidents.
     
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  20. Fitzroy Zeph

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributor Contributor

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    Yes, and I will also promise a fully universal, free medical system for everyone. I think I'll call it ZephCare.
     
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  21. Ben414

    Ben414 Contributor Contributor

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    I've managed a political campaign before.

    When do we get started?
     
  22. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    No, but he wasn't being played by an actor!
     
  23. Megalith

    Megalith Contributor Contributor

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    I am not against big government, but it's just really hard for big government to get it right. Utah passed a program to give homes to the homeless. On the street the average homeless person cost the government 20,000 dollars per individual, per year. With this housing project they get a roof over their heads, electricity, water & pluming, and the cost goes down to 12,000 a year. It is actually cheaper to house the homeless than it is to leave them on the street. this is a good step in the right direction. Where as buying things on credit with interest is the opposite of effective and efficient. It allows people to get things they want before they can afford it, which is nice. But it is such a hard thing to manage well. not only for the people taking the loan but for the people giving it. Bad management, fraud, and corruption is what caused the housing bubble which collapsed the real estate market.


    Now is it that those businesses are too greedy? Business is like an individual, and like an individual they strive to survive, no matter the cost. I think that these businesses(ones that loan out money) are finding it harder and harder to be profitable. That is because interest rates can't keep up with inflation rates. This means the dollar I borrow now will be worth less to me and to them in the future. So for me who is purchasing a loan, I find it hard to pay back a dollar that is worth less in the future then when I borrowed it. And the business has trouble using the dollar that is worth less. Too offset this they have to continually make it more appetizing, and by doing so add a greater risk to the investment.(because lower interest rates when inflation continues to rise only helps the loaned, killing a business who’s purpose is to strive.) This risk can be hidden, hard to understand, or set so far into the future the person can't possibly know the repercussions.


    Anyways, to get back on topic. I know everyone here doesn’t have much against colleges in general, but i’m the exception who sees so much potential in something that is dropping the ball, and hard. First we need a better method to assess academic curricular.(To judge usefulness and application) And we need a better way to incentivize the importance of absorbing the information taught. As it stands, more than half of people go to college simply to have the degree. Sure it makes sense to grab a subject of interest then, but now colleges are adding subjects people might find interesting to get people to go their college for their job applications rather than for the purpose of pursuing a career. (A business model for attracting as many customer/students as possible) In short, people are getting degrees based on irrelevant interest rather than application.


    Incentives have turned on their head. Part of the reason is the propagation of the need for college. The second reason is a law which made it illegal for jobs to use aptitude tests to judge their qualification, saying it was a deprivation of their civil rights. These were test designed to weed out applicants who had a higher probability of being less capable and reliable. Instead employers began using college degrees as a proxy to the test. And thus began the mal-forming of the academic and employment market forever.


    The consequences are significant to say the least. Credential inflation is the main perpetrator. using degrees as proxies for qualification is becoming less and less useful to employers as academic quality declines. This is one of the effects of credential inflation, the cause being a higher density of students per capita. This causes problem for the teachers, as they struggle to keep everyone up to par. This puts further pressure on the teachers who are incentivized to use unsavory methods to meet their goals. This directly results in grade inflation.(ex. A term innocently thrown around, 'bell curve grading') Now because more and more people have degrees, more and more employers are deciding to use them as requirements for their jobs. (when half the people on the job already have degrees, it makes sense to make it a requirement at some point.) The only reason this pattern arises in the first place is because most people who go to college are interested in a good paying job,(because of bad college incentives) end up occupying good paying jobs, regardless of their degree. This widens the financial earning gap between those with degrees and those without as more employers add the college degree requirement. And as degrees lose their value due to credential inflation, the guarantee of a good paying job with a degree goes down, even though the average earning for those with degrees vs. without goes up. In the end all sides of the coin are negatively impacted by current standard and structure of college business due to the incentives given to each potential student.


    Most people look at this argument and think, "How is it possible that the chances of getting a good paying job goes down when on average people make a lot more money with a degree than without? Or, If employers can’t value degrees as highly, why are more employers making it a requirement?” Well there are many factors which weigh differently on each part of the problem. To answer the first question, most people look at this problem and say, "you either have a degree or you don’t. If you have a degree you are better off in the employment industry.” This is actually true, those without degrees are impacted more by credential inflation than those without. But a degree now is worth less than it’s ever been, with much less guarantee about it usefulness. The proof is in the number of unemployed degree holders and the percentage of people with degrees who are mal-employed(employed in a job that requires no degree) which are both higher than it’s ever been. These stats prove that the usefulness of a degree is lower than it’s ever been even though now it’s more necessary for a chance at a good paying job. This increases the incentive to get a degree which furthers the problem of credential inflation, further making the degree unreliable. It’s a self perpetuating circle propagated by the ‘standard.' Which brings me to the second question. Because so many people have degree, and those degrees are acquired from the incentive of finding good paying jobs, those people find the good paying jobs whether they require a degree or they don’t. Good paying jobs end up employing more and more people with college degrees, whether they require one or not because of credential inflation. The standard is believing someone with a degree is more qualified than someone who doesn’t. Thus credential inflation ends up turning good paying jobs into jobs requiring a college degree. A standard which doesn’t look at the function of the system, and is ignoring the effects of credential inflation.


    I am all for college, and i’m all for a variety of subjects. It’s when things get turned on their head, as the original usefulness for it’s creation becomes distorted and warped to squeeze value, like a business who is struggling to survive, that I see a need to point it out. The effects of this problem are widespread and powerful which only the ignorant would be excusable in ignoring, up their with global warming etc. I believe the way I worded my argument before caused a lot of confusion because I was trying to avoid being so damn thorough. I didn’t include references but all the references are in previous posts, however if you’d like a reference to something I said in this post then tell me and I’ll give it to you.


    Fifty years by the way. It’s all it took for this problem to get out f control. Just fifty years ago the same system with totally different incentives on both sides worked perfectly and efficiently. That goes to show the importance of incentives in economical matters, it’s fascinating really. I hope that this post was worth reading, containing interesting information. Even if you don’t agree, I hope that my point of view is at least understood so when it becomes more apparent you can think back and say, “Oh yeah, I guess someone did say something like that."
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  24. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I've got no idea why you've branched off into economics, but given that you have... You understand that the rate of inflation is currently really low in most of the western world, right? Like, less than 2% almost across the board, and actually deflationary in quite a few places. So your argument about interest rates and inflation is about as reality-based as most of your other arguments have been. For numbers, see http://www.inflation.eu/inflation-rates/hicp-inflation.aspx

    Would this be a good place to point out AGAIN that there are lots of reasons for education other than future employment? Education isn't all about getting a job.


    Okay. You're using a lot more words to claim a lot less than you were earlier in the thread. Credit inflation is a problem. Okay, maybe, at least at some schools or in some countries.

    But a possible weakness in the system doesn't mean the system itself is bad.

    I think the more education people have, the better off the world is. I don't care if they use their degrees to get jobs or to be more creatively skilled or just to exercise their brains. Education is good for people. And there are a rare few individuals who I think can self-educate effectively. For most people, though, some structure, feedback, and evaluation are useful. That's where schools come in.
     
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  25. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I don't understand your point here. You borrow a dollar now, a 2015 dollar. In five years, you have to pay back that dollar. Assume that there's been inflation all that time. You can use a 2020 dollar, one that has a LOWER value, to pay back the 2015 dollar, which had a HIGHER value. Inflation has an effect opposite to the one that you describe.
     

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