Why College Grads are Screwed



1 TRILLION DOLLARS. That’s how much red students are bleeding in the name of higher education. 1 trillion is also the amount of money that’s been spent on lies perpetuated by society and our educational institutions. To put it into perspective, 1 trillion is roughly 1/16th of the U.S. national debt. Forget about fiscal cliffs—this is the edge of the Grand Canyon.

We live in a day and age where the only guarantee a college degree gets you is a job as a Starbucks barista. Gross exaggeration? I wish it weren’t. Step into any coffee shop or grocery store, and you are guaranteed to see at least one college grad making your morning java and restocking shelves.

In a recent Forbes article, they talk about how screwed grads really are:

  1. 75 percent of student debtors are over the age of 30 (60 percent are aged 30+, 15 percent are 50+), which has huge ramifications
  2. 6 million Americans aged 25-34 still live at home with their parents
  3. It takes between 19-23 years on average to repay a student loan

It is unconscionable that we continue to deceive grads with misleading statistics, like the one where grads apparently make 1 million dollars more than a high school grad, which turns out to be a myth:
So, what is the likely scenario and outcome for current and future grads?

  • You are stuck living at home with your parents and become the bane of their existence
  • If you have the good fortune of not being at home, you will end up renting for the rest of your life (a complete waste of money). Which also means…
  • You will be laughed at every time you try to apply for a mortgage to buy a home because the interest repayments, lack of good job prospects and other expenses will ensure that you never become a proud homeowner

The education bubble will eventually pop. It is inevitable. But alas, the hallowed halls of Harvard, Stanford and many other institutions will insulate students from any and all outside noise. Business will go on as usual; students will be rolled off the factory line and receive their generic degrees.

My advice to fledgling students?

Avoid college and university at all costs unless your career path really requires it.

Analyze the things that excite you and ignite your passions—you will be amazed at all the potential business opportunities that can stem from doing the things you love most.

Read books on business and marketing. Self-educate yourself. Become an experiential learner by just going out there and doing things. Better yet, join a startup that can utilize your skills. Startups are fantastic places of ideas, creativity and innovation—a place where you really can leverage your talent and gain valuable experience.

Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Paul Stainthorp

About the author: Jay Deng

Jay Deng is an angel investor and venture capitalist. He invested in two companies whose exits topped $800 million. He is also the CEO and founder of Diva For Less.

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