Every year for the past five years my wife and I have dutifully put money into our son’s 529 college savings account. Not long ago, we started doing the same for his younger sister. Our assumptions, of course, are that (a) a college education is valuable, (b) everyone needs one, and (c) it costs a lot of money to get a college-level education.
But what if those assumptions are flawed?
I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel on college or the 529s yet, but it is hard to ignore the mounting criticism of higher education that has emerged over the past several years. While college graduates still tend to do much better economically than non-graduates, it seems clear enough at this point that a college degree is no guarantee of either initial or ongoing employment.
Perhaps more importantly, college is far from a guaranteed way of finding the right path in life, and it’s an awfully expensive way to try. For a lot of people – maybe most – it makes sense to wait, or possibly to never go to college at all. In my opinion, that’s one of the key points Blake Boles makes in the video above (click through if you don’t see it), and it’s one that clearly inspires his new book Better Than College: How to Build a Successful Life Without a Four-Year Degree.
You can read an excerpt from Better Than College on the book web site, and if you happen to be a student or a teenager, you can get the book for free. I also encourage you to check out Blake’s learning community for self-directed learners, Zero Tuition College.
Enjoy, and when you have a minute, let me know what you think. Is college still worth the investment? Are you socking away money for your own higher education or for your kids? Are you worried about whether it will be worth it? What else could you do with $20K?
posted on June 25, 2012
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