From the time we are children in our small, crowded, brightly colored elementary classrooms we are told that there is no other alternative, that we must go to college. "College improves your life" Teachers say to a new batch of snot nosed kids with no higher desires at the time than to go home and watch T.V. Then, moving on into High School, we're simply bombarded with reasons why we must attend college.
Here, if you allow me, I will take a slight branching path from my main ideal. I myself just finished my first semester of college. I was a good student in high school. Slacked off in my senior year simply because I failed to see the point in it. I took a video class my junior year and discovered my true calling. This lead to me becoming a communications major.
Where I come from, a small town in Eastern Kentucky, the test scores were low and ambition was as well. Most kids simply didn't see the need for an education because they could go work in the mines or sell drugs. That was the aspiration for the guys. The girls simply planned on popping out babies, drawing welfare, and clogging Wal-mart up on first of the month, but I digress. My ACT composite score was a 24; I scored a 12 in math, but a 34 and 32 in reading and English, respectively, saving my ass score wise. I only have personal experience with the ACT so I'm going to talk about it next.
Moving on. So you've scored above the national average in test scores, you lucky dog you, so now the next step, application. Here's the kicker most colleges charge an application fee, nominal at best, a paltry 75 bucks. Then they look over your grades, test scores, and, god forbid, your face book page. Then they either reject or accept you. Now I'm just getting to the root of it.
My tuition per year is around 13,000$. Its divided into semesters of around 6,500$. My financial aid from both the federal and state government totals in around 3,100$, leaving me, or I should say my parents, to come up with over 3,000$.
Now back to the point. In order to get a job you need a degree. In order to get the degree if you're not rich you need some else's money; this causes you to go into debt. You can't pay off the debt without a job or more money borrowed from elsewhere. Therefore, you are in debt before you've even earned your first real pay from your degree. It's a vicious circle of debt and more debt. The more debt you accrue the more the system owns you. When you're in debt they can control you easier it's perfect; they have you in their bony clutches from the moment you decide to make something of yourself.
Truth is, in order to be good at what one does you don't need a piece of paper stating you went to a university for so many years in order to do your job. Personally, I think the technical part of a communication degree is not worth paying 50,000$ dollars for 4 years. I'd rather pay 10,000 dollars for a 6 week course. The reason education is so expensive is because the qualifications have been so blown out of proportion. I can run a camera, video switcher, editing software, write for production, and set my shot. I learned this in a few days; most of it I I actually learned in High School. It's not that hard; it's certainly not four years worth of knowledge. In order to succeed in your profession you need the skills of your trade Paper doesn't pass skills to you; first hand experience does. Instead of colleges, I'd prefer to have guilds brought back where you could go and apprentice until you gain enough experience to be set loose to practice your craft and earn your way.
My college, which I will not name for fear of expulsion, dropped 400 applicants because they couldn't come up with the money on the deadline. Now I understand the need for money, but the problem is it's become the only thing people focus on. Now I will attempt some math; it's not my best subject as noted above, but I'll try.
My college requires direct payment on certain dates, installments of 1,100 dollars for three months; if you fail to make even one payment you are dropped, regardless. Sort of like the mob, except colleges just crush your future hopes, while the mob breaks your legs (for the first offense.)
If the average total cost to attend college is 13,000$ a year (sans books, but I'm getting to that) and there were 400 dropped applicants.
13k * 400 = 5,200,000$
Fortunately I'm one of the 7000 paying students.
13k * 7K= 91,000,000