The college issue is slowly creeping up on my husband and I; we’ll have two college-aged kids at the same time in six to seven years. In the meantime, like everyone else, we’ve personally heard many nightmares:
- Parents using home equity loans to pay for college tuition.
- Kids living at home after attending a prestigious college.
- Students leaving a prestigious school one month into their first semester.
- A daughter switching majors twice and her frazzled parents who have taken out huge loans for a top-tier university.
- A friend’s nephew can’t figure out what he wants to do career-wise after attending an expensive four-year college (and his friends are experiencing the same phenomena)
- Same nephew–has a friend who has $120,000 in student debt.
Though I went to college a long time ago, I did so somewhat creatively. I went first to a two-year college, switched majors, then ended up at New York University. But as this writer says in this new article, “How to Burst the College Bubble: Stop Pretending Your Alma Mater Matters,” sometimes it really doesn’t matter where or if you went to college. Just look at all the responses that one article received; obviously, it touches a raw nerve.
When the time comes, we plan to pay for two years of a community college each for our kids in hopes that they will discover what they want to pursue. After that, they can get creative and pursue more schooling without taking out a loan.
In the past, we’ve had some odd reactions to our preference for community colleges. Stone silence, for one. But now that the economy is flat, the school loan bubble will burst one day soon, and attending a traditional four-year university for outrageous amounts of money with no guarantee the graduate will even stay in that field, seems utterly ridiculous to say the least. Consider the following points about community college:
- Large numbers of graduates start studies at two-year colleges and finish at four-year colleges according to a new study by Student Clearinghouse, a research center.
- Community colleges offer smaller classes (a huge benefit); for more info on the benefits of community college from a graduate, see this article from Studenomics. However, now more students than ever are applying to community college which means there isn’t enough space at some of these schools across the country (see Community Colleges’ Crisis article link below).
My thought is this: unfortunately, my kids have already had to endure a school career that is “achievement-based,” which means, they are taught to test well (which they don’t because that’s not where their talents lie). The last thing I want is for them to feel that they “have” to go to a college for more testing and more boring achievement-based classes. I want them to be happy and joyful in finding what they want to do with their lives, and I believe starting off at a community college could be one of the most freeing ways to begin finding their true paths in life. And, I don’t want them mired in debt, which hangs over graduates’ heads like a wrecking ball. Luckily, we have excellent caliber community colleges here in Fairfield County, CT and I’ve only heard good things about them. In fact, one of my acquaintances told me that her son switched from a state school to a community school and he thought the professors at the community college were superior to the first university he attended.
TFF will have more on this subject in coming months. Stay tuned!
- Community Colleges Will Have A More Important Role In The New Normal Of Higher Ed (keptup.typepad.com)
- Data show key role for community colleges in 4-year degree production (insidehighered.com)
- Community colleges’ crisis slows students’ progress to a crawl (latimes.com)