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Thread: A college degree is a lousy investment

  1. #61
    While taking my kids trick-or-treating, I met someone sending a daughter to Wake (they commented on my Wake hat). I asked how they could afford it, and they said with "financial aid" it was about 26k. Not sure how it was split between loans, schollies, grants, etc. It gave me some hope.


    Also, Christian Lopez, who caught the Jeter ball, is a cell phone salesman with 100k debt. Ouch.

  2. #62
    I don't know how I feel about this. My parents paid for my brother and I to attend Wake and Holy Cross respectively at the same time and then my sister to attend a public university right after. That was from 1999- 2003, when things were good. Today, there is not a chance in hell they could do that, which is what my mom is constantly thanking God for she says. I have a really huge problem with how expensive college has become. I understand the whole "well go to public university sentiment," but even that is no longer super cheap. In my area, public college is about $15,000 a year.

    I have a huge problem with kids who are not as bright, but have rich parents getting to go to "good" schools and kids who are good, hard working students basically being told to go to CC because they can't afford it. No idea how to fix it, although I think the fact that student loan payback is not tax deductible is outrageous. My fiance and I would lead entirely different lives if either of us had student loans. He went to undergrad, grad school and law school at private schools and I went to undergrad and law school. Our parents paid for undergrad and we had a combo of scholarships and loans that we paid off for the others. If we had ever had to take all of that out in loans, we would be flat out broke.

  3. #63
    Quote Originally Posted by WhatUTalkinBout Willis View Post
    On one hand I'd say WFU is far, far too expensive for your return. You could go to UNC in many instances, benefit from the grade inflation, work about half as hard, and take the same path into grad school without drowning yourself in debt. Of course, you'd probably end up a colossal a-hole, so there's that to consider.

    But on the other hand, I only have an undergrad from WFU and somehow that still plays very well with bosses, both current and potential. They know it was a "real" education, esp from a business perspective. They also know I can think critically/quickly and can churn out massive amounts of work when necessary. So in that respect I might say the WFU education has paid off several times over.

    Of course, I only had to deal with about $20k in tuition per year, less scholarships and work-study funds.
    In every job I have gotten, my bosses loved that I went to Wake. We would either talk about the Wake golf, football or basketball. They know it's a good school and I had to work my ass off to get through. Most of the guys who have hired me have been ACC guys (UVA, MD, UNC), so I think that factors in as well.

    I have two young daughters. If they want to go to Wake, I will figure out how to make it work. Same goes with Ivy leagues. If they want to go a lesser private school, I am not sure I will be on board for that.

  4. #64
    Steve Lepore WhatUTalkinBout Willis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deacondamo View Post
    In every job I have gotten, my bosses loved that I went to Wake. We would either talk about the Wake golf, football or basketball. They know it's a good school and I had to work my ass off to get through. Most of the guys who have hired me have been ACC guys (UVA, MD, UNC), so I think that factors in as well.

    I have two young daughters. If they want to go to Wake, I will figure out how to make it work. Same goes with Ivy leagues. If they want to go a lesser private school, I am not sure I will be on board for that.

    Great point here. I'd never be on board with my son going to High Point U without a scholarship. But a top 25 school is usually worth the investment, just like a top 10 law or business school seems to be for most.

  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by WhatUTalkinBout Willis View Post
    Great point here. I'd never be on board with my son going to High Point U without a scholarship. But a top 25 school is usually worth the investment, just like a top 10 law or business school seems to be for most.
    Exactly. I will find the coin to send my daughters to Princeton, but not Syracuse or GW. They will have to be happy with State School U and use the cash for grad school. My daughters are 4 and 1, so I am starting to save now.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by deacondamo View Post
    Exactly. I will find the coin to send my daughters to Princeton, but not Syracuse or GW. They will have to be happy with State School U and use the cash for grad school. My daughters are 4 and 1, so I am starting to save now.
    Syracuse probably has more cache where I live than Wake.

  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by deacondamo View Post
    Exactly. I will find the coin to send my daughters to Princeton, but not Syracuse or GW. They will have to be happy with State School U and use the cash for grad school. My daughters are 4 and 1, so I am starting to save now.
    Quote Originally Posted by awakegirl View Post
    Syracuse probably has more cache where I live than Wake.
    Haha, I was about to say the same thing. One you get above Baltimore, that Syracuse degree will likely hold more weight than a Wake degree.

  8. #68
    my college roommate just finished up a comp sci masters program at vandy and he can't even get an interview. makes you think of stuff like cav's hypothetical of joining gap mgmt straight out of high school and avoiding college debt.

    that being said...college has so many job benefits you never realize while you're in school. general knowledge you pick up in excel from classes and group projects. general cost/benefit analysis and tools...the average joe-schmo worker just complains complains about something incessantly (expecing management to react) but never analyzes the situation or puts a solution on the table supported by data. i'll probably get a few laughs at this one from buckets and the wake finance folks, but MIS put me way ahead in my job. creating queries on the fly in access is huge. those are some of many benefits for me from wake and i'm sure from a college experience in general.

  9. #69
    Steve Lepore WhatUTalkinBout Willis's Avatar
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    Ima be honest right here. Prepare for some #realtalk.

    I've hired and promoted lots of people. A college degree means one thing to me: they can start and finish something. That's good.

    A top 25 college degree means I might just have a smarty pants on my hands. That's good.

    But in IT consulting management, NOTHING trumps a great reference and the ability to carry on an interesting conversation. I'd hire someone without a HS degree if they could take business cases, develop kick-ass solutions, and then translate that IT geekdom into real talk for business minds to employ.

  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by freakadeac View Post
    my college roommate just finished up a comp sci masters program at vandy and he can't even get an interview. makes you think of stuff like cav's hypothetical of joining gap mgmt straight out of high school and avoiding college debt.

    that being said...college has so many job benefits you never realize while you're in school. general knowledge you pick up in excel from classes and group projects. general cost/benefit analysis and tools...the average joe-schmo worker just complains complains about something incessantly (expecing management to react) but never analyzes the situation or puts a solution on the table supported by data. i'll probably get a few laughs at this one from buckets and the wake finance folks, but MIS put me way ahead in my job. creating queries on the fly in access is huge. those are some of many benefits for me from wake and i'm sure from a college experience in general.
    Not saying this isn't true. But are there limiting factors (ie. he's only looking for jobs in certain places?) I find it hard to imagine someone with a masters in comp sci can't get an interview.

  11. #71
    These colleges are a good investment.

    Wake is #6 in south
    Starting: $46,000 Mid-career median: $98,800
    Last edited by awaken; 07-26-2011 at 10:24 AM. Reason: add Wake

  12. #72
    Steve Lepore WhatUTalkinBout Willis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenDeac View Post
    Not saying this isn't true. But are there limiting factors (ie. he's only looking for jobs in certain places?) I find it hard to imagine someone with a masters in comp sci can't get an interview.
    yeah, his scope is WAY too limited. If he's not looking in healthcare he's missing huge opportunities.

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by freakadeac View Post
    my college roommate just finished up a comp sci masters program at vandy and he can't even get an interview. makes you think of stuff like cav's hypothetical of joining gap mgmt straight out of high school and avoiding college debt.

    that being said...college has so many job benefits you never realize while you're in school. general knowledge you pick up in excel from classes and group projects. general cost/benefit analysis and tools...the average joe-schmo worker just complains complains about something incessantly (expecing management to react) but never analyzes the situation or puts a solution on the table supported by data. i'll probably get a few laughs at this one from buckets and the wake finance folks, but MIS put me way ahead in my job. creating queries on the fly in access is huge. those are some of many benefits for me from wake and i'm sure from a college experience in general.
    I'm not gonna laugh, that's a great point. I always thought instead of focusing on Access, MIS could be awesome if it covered basic to medium Excel and Powerpoint skills. Or Calloway should have a real workshop/easy class covering those two programs. Would be tremendously beneficial to anyone going into consulting, finance, accounting, etc.

  14. #74
    Steve Lepore WhatUTalkinBout Willis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckets View Post
    I'm not gonna laugh, that's a great point. I always thought instead of focusing on Access, MIS could be awesome if it covered basic to medium Excel and Powerpoint skills. Or Calloway should have a real workshop/easy class covering those two programs. Would be tremendously beneficial to anyone going into consulting, finance, accounting, etc.
    Definitely. And once you can understand and use Access, you can drop it all together and use SQL, which is even more beneficial in the business world.

    I find most of my colleagues cannot put together a compelling powerpoint. Those who can go the Zen route seem to advance quickly.

  15. #75
    Quote Originally Posted by PhDeac View Post
    Good summary, Cav. The free money pipeline from taxpayers to colleges with students stuck in the middle is the real problem.
    kind of like home loans

  16. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by awaken View Post
    These colleges are a good investment.

    Wake is #6 in south
    Starting: $46,000 Mid-career median: $98,800
    No doubt the education at Wake can be excellent. However, IMHO, mid-career earning are more closely tied to the individual than the school. Smarter people tend to earn more. Lots of smart people go to Wake. However, smart people that go to other schools (even public schools) will tend to earn higher incomes, as well.

    The same study could be done for the local private elementary, middle and high schools. Kids going to a private high school will probably earn many multiples of what the average public school kid will earn. However, the correlation is not causation. I don't believe for a minute that kids going to public school (like my own) will have lower lifetime earnings or lower levels of career and personal success based on where they will go to high school, so long as they get a chance at a solid education.

    While some employers will appreciate a candidate's degree from an expensive private school, it is just as possible that others might look down on the decision.

  17. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by AMCDeac View Post
    No doubt the education at Wake can be excellent. However, IMHO, mid-career earning are more closely tied to the individual than the school. Smarter people tend to earn more. Lots of smart people go to Wake. However, smart people that go to other schools (even public schools) will tend to earn higher incomes, as well.

    The same study could be done for the local private elementary, middle and high schools. Kids going to a private high school will probably earn many multiples of what the average public school kid will earn. However, the correlation is not causation. I don't believe for a minute that kids going to public school (like my own) will have lower lifetime earnings or lower levels of career and personal success based on where they will go to high school, so long as they get a chance at a solid education.

    While some employers will appreciate a candidate's degree from an expensive private school, it is just as possible that others might look down on the decision.
    I also think well connected= well paid. No doubt that there are a lot of Wake students with old family money and businesses who get paid well.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhatUTalkinBout Willis View Post
    yeah, his scope is WAY too limited. If he's not looking in healthcare he's missing huge opportunities.
    So very true. If he is interested in doing some tech work in health care, shoot me a PM and I'll see what I can do.

  19. #79
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    Wake tuition crushes upper middle class families that don't qualify for financial aid and but aren't considered rich. These are just the type of families that Wake grads become with a little hard work. How is the average alum going to be able to send their kids back to Wake?

  20. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Gable View Post
    Wake tuition crushes upper middle class families that don't qualify for financial aid and but aren't considered rich. These are just the type of families that Wake grads become with a little hard work. How is the average alum going to be able to send their kids back to Wake?
    Yup- this was basically my family. I didn't get a cent at Wake. That was from 1999-2003, if it was today, in this economy, I would never have the opportunity to attend.

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