In the process of advising my two cousins who are in college now and third who is preparing to get into one, I have learned a lot. The one thing that has shocked me is the cost of getting the degree (Avg of $40,000/year, it costs $160,000). For those, whose parents can foot the bill, it may not seem like a big deal but for an average American, it is a lot. Assuming that you are able to earn $50 – $60k after graduation and you are able to pay $10,000/year, it will take 16 years to repay the principle (incl. the interest, it will be a life-long ordeal or worst-case need to file a Chapter 7 to get out of it).

For the minority, who end up in decent careers (which may not even be closely related to what you studied in college), the ROI may justify the degree in some way. But for a majority, especially those who are in unrelated careers that hardly pay anything, a college degree perhaps is not a good investment at all –

Here are some statistics for 17 Million Americans with a college degree (from the article in the Chronicle)

– Obviously, 17 Million are in a job that does not require a college degree
(if you include people in careers not related to their college degree, this number will be higher)

– 5,057 janitors in the U.S. with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees

– 317,759 Waiters and Waitresses (over 8,000 of them have doctoral or professional degrees)

– 80, 542 Bartenders

– 49,452 Postal service Mail carriers

More occupations are listed below:

This is something that administration and policy makers who emphasize on education as the solution to Jobs should ponder about. Moreover, since many employers seek experience over a degree (unless you are from an ivy league school or in the tech industry) should the emphasis be more on vocational training and practical experience instead of theory in a random subject.