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…
#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 SmartMoney.com, 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.