8.10.2009

High Cost Degree Can Be A Gamble

There is a story that circulated the Internet last week about a Bronx girl who sues Monroe College, NY for $70,000 tuition reimbursement because she can't get a job in the IT field as she was led to believe she would. I think this girl is ridiculous as most seem to agree. You go to college and you put out the money to do so with hopes that it will lead to a good job and higher earning potential but that is not always the case. Neither the college or anyone else can guarantee it. You weigh your options and you decide just how much money you are willing to invest in the possibility of that correlation being true and you hope for the best. I was conservative and I am so glad that I was.

I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do so I wasn't about to spend excessive amounts of money on College if I didn't have too. My 4 year degree in Sociology cost me about 16k in loans which have since been paid back and will not prevent me from buying a house or ruin my credit. I got into USC. I liked the idea of the ultimate College experience but I didn't like the price tag. I went close to home to an excellent state funded school and cut costs by living in an on campus apartment instead of dorms then commuting the last 1 1/2 years. I took advantage of a semester exchange program where I attended Spelman College in Atlanta GA. I had an amazing "going away to college" and private school experience and didn't have to pay their prices. That one semester away was much richer and way more memorable then all of the other years put together. I will truly treasure that experience forever. I may have missed out on some things by being practical but I got what I went there for-my degree. I worked too, and didn't use my loans to pay rent and subsidize my lifestyle as so many do. I am currently in a job where I don't use that degree and I make less then many people who have not earned a college degree yet. Although it has been helpful in my job endeavors the cost would not have been worth the benefit if I'd spent 70k. A degree was a goal I wanted to accomplish so no matter what, I'm glad I did it. If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer you know it costs but you also know that you will make an extremely high income once hired and that there is always a need for those professions. I am not sure exactly how much difference it makes to get a Liberal Arts degree from Harvard or a no name besides the price tag. Perhaps it is advantageous because it's such a prestigious school. Again, it's a gamble.

A particular school just might have a great program and/or prestige that could open doors in the field that one wants to pursue or it could simply be a goal to go to that kind of school. I am not knocking anyone who shells out the big bucks to pursue a degree. I just think that when you do that you should be aware of the possibility of not gaining on that return and don't blame others if you don't.

Read Article about Trina Thompson suing Monroe College.


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