Wednesday, May 8, 2013

29 Shocking Facts That Prove That College Education In America Is A Giant Money Making Scam

Michael Snyder
Activist Post

College education in the United States has become a cruel joke.  We endlessly push our high school kids to invest tens of thousands of dollars and at least four years of their lives to get a college education because they won’t have any sort of a “future” without it.  So they sign up for decades of debt slavery and spend years listening to pompous windbags fill their heads with utter nonsense.  The sad truth is that most college courses are a total joke and they do very little to actually prepare those students for the real world.

I know – I attended public universities in the United States for eight years.  Most college courses are so easy that the family dog could pass them.  When they finally graduate, our young people discover that they were lied to all along.  The promised “good jobs” are not there for most of them, but the huge debts that they committed themselves to will follow them around permanently.  When you are just starting out and you are not making a lot of money, having to make payments on tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt can be absolutely crippling.  This is why I say that college education in America is a giant money making scam.

Our young people are seduced by the idea of college being a five year party that will provide an automatic ticket into the middle class, but the reality is that the only guarantee is that it is a ticket to serfdom unless you have wealthy parents that are willing to foot the bill for you.  And bankruptcy laws have been changed to make it incredibly difficult to get rid of student loan debt, so once you have signed up for student loan debt slavery you are basically faced with two choices: either you are going to pay it or you are going to die with it.

Yes, college graduates do make more money and they do have a lower unemployment rate.  But most of them are also burdened by absolutely suffocating levels of student loan debt that will haunt them for decades.

So who is really better off?

If you can get someone to pay for your college education that is great.  Because otherwise you are probably getting a rotten deal.  The following are 29 shocking facts that prove that college education in America is a giant money making scam…

#1 In 1993, the average student loan debt burden at graduation was $9,320.  Today it is $28,720.

#2 In 1989, only 9 percent of all U.S. households were paying off student loan debt.  Today, 19 percent of all U.S. households are.

#3 Young households are being hit particularly hard by student loan debt.  In America today, 40 percent of all households that are led by someone under the age of 35 are paying off student loan debt.  Back in 1989, that figure was below 20 percent.

#4 According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, Americans owe more than a trillion dollars on their student loans.

#5 According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of student loan debt has increased by a whopping 275 percent since 2003.

#6 Approximately 65 percent of all student loan debt is owed by those under the age of 40.

#7 The delinquency rate on student loans is currently 14 percent and it is steadily rising.

#8 The delinquency rate on student loans for students that attended a “for profit” college is an astounding 23 percent.

#9 Today, 34.9 percent of all student loan borrowers under the age of 30 are at least 90 days behind on their student loan payments.

#10 Since 1986, the cost of college tuition has risen by 498 percent.

#11 The cost of college textbooks has tripled over the past decade.

#12 The average cost of a four-year college education is projected to soar to $120,000 by the year 2015.

#13 Back in 1952, a full year of tuition at Harvard was only $600.  Today, it is over $35,000.

#14 According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, approximately 167,000 Americans currently have more than $200,000 of student loan debt.

#15 At most U.S. colleges and universities, the quality of the education that you will receive is very poor.  Just check out some numbers about the quality of college education in the United States from an article that appeared in USA Today….

- After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.
- Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago.
- 35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.
- 50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages
- 32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.

#16 One survey found that U.S. college students spend 24% of their time sleeping, 51% of their time socializing and 7% of their time studying.

#17 Federal statistics reveal that only 36 percent of the full-time students who began college in 2001 received a bachelor’s degree within four years.

#18 27 percent of those with student loan debt said that they moved back in with their parents after college.

#19 14 percent of those with student loan debt said that they delayed marriage because of their student loans.

#20 Real earnings for young college graduates have fallen by 15 percent since the year 2000.

#21 If you think that you will be able to “beat the odds” and land the job of your dreams once you graduate from college, perhaps you should consider these numbers….

-In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.
-In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
-In the United States today, there are more than 100,000 janitors that have college degrees.

#22 The federal government has begun docking the Social Security payments of elderly Americans that are behind on their student loan payments…
According to government data, compiled by the Treasury Department at the request of, the federal government is withholding money from a rapidly growing number of Social Security recipients who have fallen behind on federal student loans. From January through August 6, the government reduced the size of roughly 115,000 retirees’ Social Security checks on those grounds. That’s nearly double the pace of the department’s enforcement in 2011; it’s up from around 60,000 cases in all of 2007 and just 6 cases in 2000.
#23 According to a survey of 4,900 recent college graduates, more than half of them regretted choosing their major or their school.

#24 One poll found that 70% of all college graduates wish that they had spent more time preparing for the “real world” while they were still in school.

#25 48 percent of all recent college graduates have not been able to find a job in their chosen field.

#26 During 2011, 53 percent of all Americans with a bachelor’s degree under the age of 25 were either unemployed or underemployed.

#27 According to the ABA, only 56 percent of all law school graduates in 2012 were able to find a full-time job that requires a law degree.

#28 The median student loan burden for medical school students that graduated in 2012 was $170,000.

#29 Close to half of all recent college graduates are working in jobs that do not even require a college degree.

When you are overwhelmed by nightmarish student loan debt that you can never get away from, it can literally take over your life.  A recent Businessweek article shared some real life examples of this…
If student loans are good debt, how do you account for the reaction of Christina Mills, 30, of Minneapolis, when she found out her payment on college and law school loans would be $1,400 a month? “I just went into the car and started sobbing,” says Mills, who works for a nonprofit. “It was more than my paycheck at the time.” Medical student Thomas Smith, 25, of Hamilton, N.J., is $310,000 in debt and is struggling to make ends meet even before beginning to repay his loans. “I don’t even know what I eat,” he says. “I just go to the supermarket and buy the cheapest thing I can and buy as much of it as I can.” Then there’s Michael DiPietro, 25, of Brooklyn, who accumulated about $100,000 in debt while getting a bachelor’s degree in fashion, sculpture, and performance, and spent the next two years waiting tables. He has since landed a fundraising job in the arts but still has no idea how he will pay back all that money. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s an obsolete idea that a college education is like your golden ticket,” DiPietro says.
What about you?

Do you have student loan debt or do you know someone who does?

If you would like to share a student loan debt story, please post it below…

This article first appeared here at the American Dream.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.


This article may be re-posted in full with attribution.


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Anonymous said...

I dont give a shit. ur fault

Anonymous said...

I know a bunch of folks who have degrees and huge debts (30k or more) with no way to pay them off. The jobs they can get are low level work as in less than $20 per hour.

I burned out during college and didn't graduate. But I did learn how to study and got into stock trading. I take it easy all day and do research / long plays while the vast majority of degrees I know struggle to make ends meet in jobs they didn't train for.

Jaws drop when I tell people that I kept studying after dropping out of a Clinical Psych degree and eventually earned a lot of money doing research on the stock market. I'm working on more right now as we speak.

Way too many kids have been sold a bill of goods on the college path. You can't stray too far from Business or Hard Science if you want to have a real chance at big money. Even then it is still hard, but possible.

One more thing... I was privileged enough to not have to take on any debt while in school.

Anonymous said...

Job skills prep and career market demand analysis should be the first prerequisite courses demanded prior to being able to declare any major.
At least it would give these kids a fighting chance of understanding how to get on a decent income path before burning through their future life savings.

Anonymous said...

Great post...When I was in High School, I had a great government teacher who taught us there were four basic political stances, liberal, conservative, libertarian/anarchist, and authoritarian/totalitarian.

I went to college and was required to take a course in political science. It was so dumbed down the teacher insisted that their were only two basic political distinctions, left and right.

I had just returned from Europe where people aren't brainwashed into believing the must choose between two parties, so I was shocked to see a teacher actually pushing the idea that there are only two basic ideologies and that you are either one or the other.

I raised my hand and said that dividing people into left and right is only appropriate in certain contexts and that most people in America only choose their political affiliation out of a sense of group identity anyways, so we shouldn't merely divide everybody into two groups.

The professor literally looked at me, said "I'm not sure how to respond to that," and moved on.

I am glad a got a degree in math and science. As far as I'm concerned anyone with a doctorate in "Political science" has as much brainpower as it took for me to get my bachelors in Mathematics. Most of those who can't find jobs after college can't find them because they took a bunch of feel-good classes in a pretentious major anyhow.

I don't really feel sorry for anyone who can't find a job after college. If you studied like I studied, someone will hire you. The other memory of college I had was of a bunch of young yuppie kids talking about how racist working class people were. Obviously the reason college kids are so eager to talk about how "oppressive" and "dominant" the working culture is, stems from the fact these kids never had to do any real work or survive the kinds of conditions working people put up with.

Its sad because I truly love learning, but universities and colleges in the US are just hives of parasites. Very little learning happening outside of the science departments.

Anonymous said...

undergrad and law school put me 300k in the hole. when i pay it all off in 30 years, it'll be over 600k. the undergrad degree got me nothing except into law school. so far, that hasn't panned out either since the legal job market is trash. why is it trash? because law schools promise undergrads high paying jobs upon completion. the degree has been so devalued that its not worth the paper upon which it was printed.

I have constant arguments with my father about how bad an investment this was. he insists it'll pay off in the end. well, im graduated, i have two degrees, i've reached the end. where is the pay off?

Anonymous said...

Whether college education is money making scam or not, depends on the student. The author is right, if the agenda is five-year party and expectation of automatic ticket to middle class, then yes, you are up to a surprise. If the agenda is actual education and profession, then that's what you will get.

Our daughter got into Stanford right after the high school, where she worked very hard, and was calculating the right courses and right hours for the college. Our out-of-pocket total cost of her 4 year college was about $2K, the rest came in grants. Immediately upon graduation, she had a choice of several attractive offers; once she made the choice, her starting salary was higher than ours - which are 5-digits ones.

But sure, it's a free country. If one's agenda is to take the loan and then have the party for 5 years, then that's what one gets.

Anonymous said...

Last Semester my friend paid a 1,000.00 for books. Welcome to the United States of Debt

Steve Macintyre said...

For Profit Schools are a scam, especially the Art Institute where I attended online. I was promised a top-quality education and finally getting the dream job in cg/animation when I graduated. But first I had to get their associates degree in graphic design that I had no interest in, but I figured what the heck, the knowledge can only help me become a better artist right? I spent the next several years spending most of my days locked away in my room mostly reading textbooks and even more textbooks. It was a very pedantic education with very little hands-on training in the craft of art. In the end, I hadn't really improved and felt like it was a massive waste of time since almost over half the classes felt like they spent a ridiculous amount of time going over the differences between raster and vector and not enough time helping students become better artists. Then came the game art and design degree, hooray! I felt like I had finally overcame the graphic design hurdle in flying colors with a 4.0 gpa. I certainly earned it. To my chagrin it was the same sub-standard teaching methods of learning solely from textbooks and interacting on forums that seemed to have been written in the 90's. I dropped out several years ago because the student grants and loans didn't pay for the entire course as I was promised by the recruiter. I've been underemployed and mostly unemployed. I owe over 300 thousand dollars in debt and it will probably rise to double that in fees and penalties. I am not dumb. I am not lazy. I was hoping to learn and be mentored from knowledgable people in the industry as promised in their advertisements. As such, while they do have some 'big names' teaching online, my experience is that it didn't really mean anything since they were mostly forum moderators and with ONE exception, didn't really care to help students improve.

EDMC and its schools are a racket and legalized fraud where they rip hopeful students off by providing sub-standard education at exhorbitant prices paid for via guaranteed loans they know that students will be carrying for the rest of their lives no thanks to them. They will win if the student somehow pays the loan back, and they win if the student defaults via derivatives. It's the mortgage loan crisis all over again and its no surprise since Goldman Sachs has their greedy criminal tentacle in the stew.

America can stop it now before Goldman sachs bursts another bubble. Put bankers in jail like Iceland did. Forgive student loans and give Americas future back!

Anonymous said...

While I was at the Univ. of Michigan in the 1970's, I remember seeing a book in the original Borders Books titled "Is College Worth It," or something like that. The thesis was that money spent on college will not get you a higher paying job, in general, than if you saved the money and went to work at an entry level job and worked your way up.

Anonymous said...

In today's economy it would be better to get a 2 year degree and then a corporate job. Most corporations will pay for college if one keeps their grades up. Another path is military and college on the GI bill.

Anonymous said...


Undergraduate education was never about "preparing you for the real world" like a seneor survival class in high school. Undergraduate education used to be about formalizing your ability to use critical thinking to solve problems. At this level the specific information you may or may not acquire was secondary. As you moved on to the graduate level you applied that new found abilities in a focused area of interest.

Today's Public School educational system has essentially made critical thinking and questioning authority and its sources a crime. The problems at the undergraduate level are merely an extension of that control and manipulation. People, nothing scares the crooks running the show more than a person who has the ability to think outside their box. And a person that can apply reason and logic to question the confines of that box are now called terrorists...........

Anonymous said...

Schooling and education are two different things. You need to pay for schooling, but a first rate education can be virtually free. I have educated myself with very little schooling, and I am a scientist making well over six figures without a college degree.

Research John Taylor Gatto and Charlotte Iserbyt to learn what schooling is really about. Then go educate yourselves on any subject you want. We are all our own teachers.

Anonymous said...

I finished college in the 90s. This is a different world now. Completely different. Didn't take long, did it?

I agree that it is a scam. College has to be a tool. Kids today have got to figure out what they want to do and THEN decide whether college will help them do that. As a TOOL.

When I was growing up I heard the same thing - get good grades in high school so you can get into a good college and then get a good job.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Unfortunately, that isn't necessarily good advice today.

Today, in 2013, skilled trades might be the way to go. Plumber, electrician, contractor, etc CANNOT be outsourced and many people today have no idea how to do any of those things.


Isn't much demand for underwater basket weaving and other worthless degrees.

I have a buddy who got a degree in forestry management - because that's what he wanted to do. Unfortunately, physical limitations made the non-stop hiking portion of the job impossible for him. Then, the catch-22 of "cant get a job in the field without experience, cant get experience with out a job in the field" screwed him over the rest of the way.

Anonymous said...

I refer to the comment above regarding teaching that there are now only two political ideologies taught.

There are but they are:

You are White and you are evil and responsible for every failure every other race has faced.


You are non-White and you have been a victim of Whites since birth.

Anonymous said...

To the poster who suggested people go into the trades....

I think you are absolutely correct in the case of plumbing. When people's pipes break, they must fix them, even if they have to go in debt. The plumbers we know are doing great.

My husband has been a state licensed contractor for 44 years, specializing in trim carpentry. He dropped out of college because he realized he would rather die than wear a shirt and tie and sit in an airless cubicle all day long. He is an old fashioned craftsman, who works alone and does all the work himself, and he used to have long waiting lists and had so much work by word of mouth alone that he could turn down anything he didn't want to do.

Now he is averaging two days per week of work and has lost over 45% of his income, despite paying for advertising now, and giving himself a $10 per hour pay cut, so he can compete with all the people doing the work illegally. This year looks to be another 50% loss of what income we have left. People are not fixing their homes anymore. Homes here in Florida have been devalued so much that it is not cost effective to even keep them up,and people do not have any money.

Our own home has been devalued by 72% at the same time our property taxes continue go up each year, despite that. We need new floors and our home needs painting, but it's not going to happen. It would be throwing money away.

Florida has 3 million homes sitting empty and a 60 year glut of housing before we'll need any new homes. The unemployment rate of carpenters is 24% and that is the official rate, so you know the real rate is much higher.

Despite that, 800 people per day move here, most because they think they will find a job. Many of them are illegal immigrants, who drive down trade wages even further. Contractors love to hire them, and they have taken away most black construction jobs. We live in a sanctuary city, where they even get city construction jobs with good benefits.

Contractors drop their licenses and go underground as "handymen" doing the same jobs illegally for much less than legit contractors can afford to charge, since the legit ones are still paying for all the licensing, continuing education, payroll, federal and other taxes, including double unemployment, even though they can't collect unemployment since they are self-employed.

There is also an attitude I've seen, even by parents with kids who are high school drop outs, which are 34% of kids here, that their kids are "too good" to have to do physical work like the trades. Because of this mass delusion and pampering, there would be a shortage of people in trades, if it were not for the massive amount of illegal immigration.

Not everyone is suited for college, but letting anyone with a pulse and tuition get in is one reason college has been so dumbed down. I attended a "tough" University and graduated in 1972, and it was too easy even back then.

So, in a normal economy I would agree with you that more people should be going into trades, but except for plumbing, I can't agree given what is going on. You are totally right that trades can't be outsourced, which is probably the only reason my husband has any business left at all!

Also, trades are not a life long job. My husband failed to face the fact that this kind of work would destroy his body and that he needed another career after age 40, 45 at the latest. He loves what he does and did not want to leave it. He is now in horrible pain and collapses at the end of the day.

Colette Spivey said...

Great article. Our education system is designed to provide workers and soldiers to the bigger players. It wasn't this way initially. And, yes, things have changed BIG TIME since the 90's. Dumbing down the masses and making them servitude is the goal! Next article should be about how big most university's endowments are. INCREDIBLE!

Hide Behind said...

Read what the Proffesor President, Woodrow Wilson's thoughts were in regards to educational system; Better yet read those who opposed and supported his ifeas.
What words they used and those upon techmiques amd fimancing are impprtant but look behind the words to where the thpights upon part governments roles versus individual and personal enterprise and initiative.
When being interviewed in front of cameras after a large meetimg between union hovernment snd corporates having to fp woth aodomg the ear Carnagie was asked to what personal characteristic he most owed his success too he replied,"I ALWAYS HIRE THOSE I KNOW WHO ARE SMARTER THAN I AM.
Takes a bit to sink in and one point is a degree does not mean you are educated. The man who hires you most likely is. But that rule dpes not apply in todays hov or cprporate whete mifdle level management are no more than dimb as rocks tradesmen nothing more

A trade is not an educatoon it is just a fn skill level. Its what upu do beyond the skills of yhe job that detetpmine omes education.
On the average euro centric middle class are over paid underworked and as no more tjan well trained animals of burden dumb weighters they carry the dirty amd the good and don' t lnoe the difference.

Anonymous said...

Be ware (DEVRY) is a big rip off and never help their students find real jobs in their field.

Anonymous said...

Education is merely INDOCTRINATION.
Read 1984 and you'll understand. Indoctrinating us from early on from what to think, wear, what our role is as a male and a female, how to talk, how to be, how not to think, how not to question authority, how to be "good citizens" starts from the cradle to the grave. We live in a world ran by criminal banking Rothschild Zionists, who are the real government who runs the circus government in front of our eyes, who are just following a script from eons ago to control the population, render us dumb, and demonize any information that goes against their script (official stories) as conspiracy theories, and use us to blow other people up in other countries and in return WE the people, believe it hook, line, and sinker, like good little brain dead zombies, so ill-informed, ignorant, entertained, distracted, and sole bent on praying to some imaginary being in the sky in hopes it/he/she/them, save us from the system these people created, who also wrote the Bible. INDOCTRINATION.

Anonymous said...

Unless you have high technical skills, in engineering and are a professional, you are expendible and will be part of the surplus industrial army. All the good jobs in manufacturing have been outsourced off shore to countries that pay slave labor wages. Eventually even those jobs will be repalaced with computerized industrial robots that work for nothing. The agenda of the elite globalist of the NWO is population reduction through euphanasia by having a justifiable gencide war.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Despite knowledge of the second law of thermodynamics, schools and universities continue teaching evolution as a scientific fact and the overwhelming majority is glad to hear that because it releases them from accountability to God.
There is no greater evidence of dumbing down education than contradicting true science (concept of entropy) in order to parade and popularize a religious idea (Darwinism) as science.
"Darkness covers the earth and gross the people."
The shackles of religious dogmatism had to be broken by the study of the Bible after being translated to common languages in Europe before the renaissance could ignite the flame of innovation and progress. Take away the authority of the Bible and the population is certainly dumbed down. The line between faith and science must be kept clean because the two, though complementary, are not equivalent. Darwinism has continually blurred the line.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me, or are there several comments here by people with high levels of educational debt, and a total lack of ability to use things like standard sentence structures, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, et al?

If I'm observing that correctly, it might, just might, explain at least part of the problem.

enlightenmeplz said...

... all for the 10/hr job on Craigslist that requires a bachelor degree, 5 years experience and a late model insured vehicle.

Hameed H. said...

Top Civil Engineering colleges in Bangalore, Karnataka providing quality education and placements in Brand Engineering companies.

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