College is considered to be a major transition point in the lives of the average American. Regardless of one’s opinions, most people go to college (since it is practically impossible to get many jobs without a degree), and given how expensive the cost is, it is one of the largest decisions one will ever make (and likely the largest, since most people cannot buy homes any more due to student loan debts).
Having noted this, one professor has written an article for Medium.com saying that students, especially incoming freshmen, should not go to college this fall.
The United States economy has suffered a massive shock, and the consequences are ongoing and unknown. Even before this crisis, college students could not be confident they would be able to get a job after graduation that would enable them to repay a six-figure debt. Student loan debt is a huge political issue, and it is possible that the way we finance higher education in this country may change a great deal under a different presidential administration. But this, too, is unknown.
As an admitted freshman, it is not your responsibility to spend a fortune or go into debt to help a cash-strapped financially-mismanaged institution stay afloat. If they won’t be around a year from now without your tuition dollars, you’re better off finding that out without enrolling and accepting the substandard education that will be the best they can do under these circumstances. (source)
It is true that a formal higher education has value, and can serve some very good ends. However, the value of higher education as a whole was systematically destroyed in the recession of 2007 and given the evisceration of the job market that took place in the following five years up to the near-recession of 2012, has permanently undermined the employment potential of millions. Education for a long time has not been about education or even academics, but is a sickening political show in justifying untenable things while sucking as much money as possible out of students with non-dischargable loans and no way to earn back the money put in. Yet the people who were told to take these loans by their Boomer and sometimes older GenX parents did not do this out of malicious or foolish reasons, but because they trusted them.
Who is the fool? The student who trusts in what their parents, families, friends, teachers, guidance counselors, and people in authority inculcated into them since the time they were small children and that if they do not do such they are going to turn out to be ‘bad people,’ or the above groups who, having the knowledge and access to information but simply choosing to either ignore it and wager on credit their livelihoods while saying the same will absolutely persist for their children and not considering the possibility that life changes?
The Millennials have a very legitimate and serious complaint about how they were defrauded of their future by fiscally irresponsible behaviors for which they are being forced to bear the consequences of. They have more responsibility now, but the fact is that most of the damage was done in the 2007 recession, and the recession now induced by the virus would have and should have been allowed to happen in 2007 save for the fact that it was artificially prevented from taking place because of Boomer-backed policies to drive up stock prices. The dollar was going to have a serious crash, and prolonging the inevitable has only worsened the economic situation for all, especially the Millennials, who have had no chance to build up any wealth but have been forced to live check-to-check, and even what little was able to be saved was better spent in the moment because of the rapidly declining value of the currency itself.
To this, it is for the Zoomer generation today in college to learn from what the Millennial experience has been and to avoid college largely all together, and if they must go (an understandable thing due to the nature of the job situation in the US), to do so in a way that is (a) very cost effective and (b) prevents one from going into debt so that (c) one can manage to get a decent job after or change jobs if one desires to.
From the perspective of simple logic, it makes no sense in most cases to go to university this fall, especially for freshmen. Why go to a university, to live in crowded dorms when one cannot, to potentially move across the country to be forced to move back, to go to classes only to have them online, to take out immense amounts of debt only to realize there is no way to it back ever as the economic situation continues to worsen?
This is very clear case of a situation where the input invested in absolutely not worth the output received. One might rather choose to borrow money and throw it into a fire pit, for at least one might get some warmth out of it.
Likewise, do not believe the people who say that this pandemic will be over is a month or so. Indeed, if it were not for the medical models at all, consider this from another position of simple logic- will the US economy recover from twelve years of a fake “bull market” and prior to that, thirty-five years of currency manipulation with expanding debt, in the span of a year? It would be insane to think of such. Likewise, does one think that a disease that, however it spread or came to be, that has become a global pandemic will be over in the period of two months so that the world can return to normal? Just as with the economic situation, it does not make sense. The Spanish Flu of 1918 lasted for almost three years, the Ottoman Plague from 1812 to 1819, the Black Plague of 1347 lasted for six years, the Cocoliztli Epidemic of Mexico that annihilated half of her population persisted from 1576 to 1580, Sheroe’s Plague that wiped out half of Iran’s population (and was during the time when Mohammed was alive) lasted from 627 to 628, the Plague of Justinian that wiped out half of the Byzantine Empire went from 541 to 542, and even going back to ancient times, the Plague of Athens went from 430 BC to 427 BC.
Pandemics are no fun, but they happen. They are not historically abnormal.
What matters is how one deals with them.
For the wise, and young, now is the time to get a good education and prepare for the future, but not by paying a lot of money for a degree with no guarantee of any future.