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Photo of Blake Boles at Ignite Asheville

What could you (or your kid) do with $20,000 instead of going to college for a year?

For years my wife and I have dutifully put money into our kids’s 529 college savings accounts. 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?

Jeff

About the Author Jeff Cobb

I am an avid lifelong learner who writes and speaks frequently on the critical role of learning in our fast-changing world.

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1 comment
Zarah says

i think putting value on a college degree depends a lot on the culture you grew up in and belong to. where i come from, it is seen as a “fallback” that yes not many people (myself included) can afford. i managed to finish a 2-year associate’s degree in creative writing at our state university no less, but employers still question this and often say they require a 4-year college degree. i have stopped explaining that i’m a single mother and that the 2-year stint (it actually took me four years to finish) was actually very intense as we were taking up almost half the major subjects required to continue to a bachelor’s degree of your choice under the department after you graduate from the certificate course. but all in all, i think that if you can afford it then go send your kids to college. our children deserve the best. whether they fail or succeed is up to them, what matters is we gave them the option to get an upper hand.

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