Chuck Bentley: Is a College Degree Worth All the Debt?

Dear Chuck,

The recent story of celebrities, business leaders, and wealthy parents bribing their children’s way to college has really bothered me. I feel bad for their kids. But it’s also called to light how much emphasis we put on attending college. Most people can’t bribe their way in, or even pay for college without incurring debt. What’s a college degree really worth?

Blue About Varsity Blues

Dear Blue,

Earlier this month, 50 individuals, including 33 parents, were indicted in the largest college admissions scandal to date. Parents paid anywhere from $15,000 to $6 million to alter their children’s SAT or ACT scores, get them on collegiate sports rosters, or buy their spot in the Freshman class at a number of universities. At the center of it all is William “Rick” Singer, who worked as the middleman, accepting bribes from parents and making deals with athletic coaches, standardized testing proctors, and administrators. Many of the students were unaware of their parents’ fraudulent actions on their behalf, but not all.

You’re absolutely right – it’s a heartbreaking case for everyone involved. For a student to find that their parents had gone to such great lengths to cheat their way into a college or athletic program probably feels a lot like they’re saying, “I don’t believe in you.” Not only is it hurtful, but now their admission process to any university in the future will likely be complicated at best.

What’s even worse is the injustice at the core of this scandal. Admission spots that could have been fairly earned by deserving, hard-working students were taken away by dishonest and unfair tactics.

College Education Is Not Priceless

Contrary to popular opinion, I would advocate that not everyone needs to go to college. And the college experience for students who do end up pursuing a degree can vary greatly depending on their desired career path and financial situation. I believe that God designed each of us and each of our kids uniquely, therefore a one-size-fits-all education path is nonexistent. However, in America, a 4-year college degree has been regarded as the “ticket” to a middle or upper-middle class life.

This mindset has put an incredible amount of pressure on students and parents alike to fit college into life plans, regardless of their financial situation or individual design. But as we’ve seen, this mindset of “first comes high school, then comes college, then comes a six-figure degree” can end in disappointment and serious financial burdens.

According to Student Loan Hero,

Among the Class of 2018, 69% of college students took out student loans, and they graduated with an average debt of $29,800, including both private and federal debt. Meanwhile, 14% of their parents took out an average of $35,600 in federal Parent PLUS loans.

Remember that switching majors or trying out different career paths during college can add on years and tens of thousands of dollars of debt. And none of this guarantees a job that will cover the debt upon graduation. If you or your child are considering pursuing a degree, consider using a tool like Crown’s Career Direct Assessment to help you discern the right career path and education plan for your unique design.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley