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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Be a careful consumer when it comes to college

Uploaded: Dec 4, 2012
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Did you catch during last weekend's selection of football games that Dr. Pepper was running a toss the football competition with a $100,000 in tuition award to the winners? Very generous and, in historical terms, an amazing amount of money for tuition.
Two items:
1. $100K—that's merely the down payment at most of the absurdly priced universities in the United States. For instance, the average price to attend at your average private university is now well north of $200K.
2. Yes, college educations have been the traditional way to middle class or better for graduates particularly those raised in modest circumstances or worse. College debt, which cannot be discharged by going bankrupt, now is in excess of credit card debt in this country. That's frightening.
Has someone been sold a bill of goods? Yes, and yes and yes.
Certainly, a college degree can be a pathway to economic success—if it's in a field that is employable such as computer science, engineering, health sciences. History, women's studies, African studies, philosophy, psychology, sociology (my degree from 40 years ago)—good luck.
What you study at the university/college level correlates directly with what you will earn during your post-graduate career. If you are in a technical field or most professions (be careful about medicine, the economics are much better for dentists or vets), then borrowing significantly may pay off. Although, you may want to chat with newly graduated lawyers over the past few years for how they feel about their education vs. debt equation.
The scam of the higher education system is that you need an advanced degree—yes, it's true for educrats and bureaucrats—but meaningless in the private sector after five years.
For those thinking they have to attend a top-tier university as a freshman, please check your math. Where you finish matters for a few years—it is irrelevant after that. Consider the cost—several times.
Remember, other than you and your parents and maybe grandparents—nobody is looking out for you but you. The universities are in it for your tuition and your gifts once you graduate—remember that.
Consider carefully the costs of the higher education and the opportunities that come with it in the field you are studying. I know a few guys who plumb for a living—they take no worries home at night, earn six figures plus as much as they want on side work and are pretty relaxed and enjoying life.
The same is true for others in the trades.

Comments

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Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

BobB is a registered user.

"The scam of the higher education system is that you need an advanced degree—yes, it's true for educrats and bureaucrats—but meaningless in the private sector after five years."

I don't know where this comment comes from or why you feel qualified to make such a blanket statement. Advanced degrees are prized by and sought after by many employers (just check some of the job listings at Intel, Boeing, or Genentech). In fact a former employer fully paid the cost of my MS degree in electrical engineering. Plenty of research jobs in various scientific and engineering fields require doctorate degrees. Where does this "five years" number come from?

Where are you getting your figures? Care to site any statistics or studies?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School,
on Dec 7, 2012 at 1:51 am

Daniel Bradford is a registered user.

"The scam of the higher education system is that you need an advanced degree—yes, it's true for educrats and bureaucrats—but meaningless in the private sector after five years."

So my doctor and my lawyer both wasted their money and time earning their degrees? An M.D. and a J.D. both qualify as "advanced degrees" and both of those people work in the "private sector".

The figures on the cost of a university education are also vastly inflated. A California resident who attends community college for the first two years and completes AP courses in high school (which count as college credit), might only have to pay for 1 or at the most 2 years of university and can graduate owing little or nothing.

But calling higher education a "scam" reveals your agenda from the get-go. Seems you're running your own "scam" and you really should pack it in. Nobody's buying it and you shouldn't be selling it.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by BobB, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 7, 2012 at 8:40 pm

BobB is a registered user.

Mr Hunt,

Please say that you didn't mean to say that advanced degrees are a "scam". It was a mistake, right? Kind of like me spelling cite as site? ;-) You were kidding again, right?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School,
on Dec 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Daniel Bradford is a registered user.

BobB, I wouldn't look for any "facts" from Tim unless he gets them from FOX "news".

Here's something from that untrustworthy source, the left-wing radical scandal sheet known as The New York Times:

"According to rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Berkeley at No. 21 is the highest-rated public university in the nation, in the same tier as private institutions like Harvard, Stanford and Yale. State residents attending the University of California pay a small fraction — as little as 25 percent — of what students pay for tuition at similarly ranked colleges and universities.

Seven other University of California campuses are also ranked in the magazine's top 100, making them a relative bargain compared with most of the nation's other top-quality schools."

Web Link

That's some "scam" UC is running there, giving students a world-class education at the fraction of the cost of universities elsewhere. It's no wonder Silicon Valley giants like Apple, Google, and Yahoo packed up their entire operations and moved them to the free-thinking, low-tax state of Texas so many years ago.

I got the last paragraph from FOX "News". How's that for fair and balanced?






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