Did you know that the amount owed on college student loans is over $1 Trillion and two thirds of the graduating seniors (in 2011) owe a little over $26,000 when they walk out trying to find a job? (Source: http://projectonstudentdebt.org/ )
The amount owed for student loans is more than what is owed on the total amount of credit card debt. The big difference is that you cannot declare bankruptcy in order to avoid paying back the student loans.
Many recent graduates today are serving tables at the local Red Lobster or Capital Grille. Some say, that’s if they are lucky. Unemployment for recent grads is high with some saying it is over 16%. Some articles try to low-ball the number of unemployed by using Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers and when they do, you read the readers’ comments after the article saying they are WAY off. How many are underemployed? 50%?
Young careers are stuck in the mud.
If one year’s tuition at a “good school” is $31K (DePaul University) to $35K (Northwestern U.) and this is WITHOUT room & board (and books & booze), a price-tag of $125K to $140K is hefty for a degree.
If they took out loans, grads could easily be in debt for $60K-$80K, so no one is looking at buying that brand-new BMW 3-series just yet. They probably moved back home with Mom and Dad.
You cannot do much if you are making $9 an hour and have a $1,400 a month student loan payment. Many want their student loans forgiven, but they don’t understand that someone else has to foot that bill of “loan forgiveness”.
Maybe a real alternative is to buy an 18-year old a business franchise and tell them to “run it” for four years and get real experience under their belt to understand the elements of business.
For $125K-$140K, you can buy a halfway decent franchise operation. Some say that no bank would ever loan an eighteen year-old that type of money. But, think about it. The Bank of Mom and Dad does. Plus, there ARE banks that will let an eighteen year-old sign for a student loan.
Why? Because once they sign, they are “in debt” to the bank and they cannot weasel out of it by declaring bankruptcy.
Giving someone an opportunity to see all facets of a business from a hands-on basis is valuable experience. Maybe blending that experience with some older workers (mentors) working alongside of them would make it even a richer experience and have more success.
This strategy may not fit everyone, but it IS a viable alternative to what was once thought to be the “universal strategy” for everyone: Go get a college degree.
BE ALL YOU CAN BE – Well, MAYBE
Another route which many might not find appealing would be to go into the military for 2-3 years. That is a place where you can grow up fast and actually be a lot more mature than your equivalent junior in college.
You would be surprised to see some 18-25 year-olds actually opting for that after seeing some of their friends wind up with no progress in college. I know of a girl going into the Navy after getting her AA degree and a son of a friend who was waiting tables (and making about $40 an hour in tips) but felt there was no future in it. He had about 3 years of college, and was 25.
He is now in the Coast Guard making good money and benefits while working in Homeland Security in Washington, DC. He scored really high on their tests and they have given him a great opportunity.
They are sending him to finish his degree (and PAYING for it). In a couple of years, he will be in a much better position to either get a civilian job or stay with the Coast Guard.
I thought he made the right choice in the situation he was in. Serving a couple years in the military is good on the resume.
Another 21 year old is working part-time at a health club and also working with an artist in publishing and promoting a collection of his paintings in a book. This is great practical experience for him and I told him that he should somehow get some type of college credit for it and go back to school. Right now, he is learning the ups and downs of book publishing, marketing, and general business dealing with real world issues. You don’t get that in a classroom.
What worked before in positioning for a good job doesn’t necessarily guarantee success today. You must have skills focused on flexibility, adaptability, creativity, and technology in order to be marketable in today’s economy.
CARLINI-ISM : College degrees are not the universal solution anymore to a good career.
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Copyright 2013 – James Carlini