Ok, you may hate me for this, but I think a LOT of university degrees are overrated. People take expensive education only to never use it in their jobs (I know a lot of Arts majors who made this mistake). So that in my mind is NEVER “good debt” unless you can make more money with a degree than without one.
While I accept the idea that not all education has to be useful, but when you getting into massive debt to get the education I can only really defend that if you use it to get a better paying job. Otherwise…it’s a nice luxury item, that whole lot of people really can’t afford. It’s hard enough saving your first $100,000 in life, but adding an negative $60,ooo to $80,000 before that is just screwing over young people. You end up with 10 years of negative compounding interest prior to actually saving much of anything.
Of course now degrees are so bloody common that they are basically meaningless in a lot of cases, so what is a good solution? Well I don’t know, but one idea that come to mind is stop subsidizing universities so much….keep supporting the research, but let the tuition levels go up. Pardon?!? Yes I would like to see tuition levels keep rising so people actually think for a minute about what they are doing (apparently the current $40,000+ per degree isn’t sinking in).
Yet I would also like to see more development of practical applied skills training (even in high school). There is nothing wrong with learning a trade…heck I’ll encourage my own kids to take one if they have an interest towards any of them. The money is good, the training is often less expensive and shorter. Not the mention switching to another skill set is easier if the labour market shifts on you. I’m not saying reading Shakespeare is useless, but no one needs to read three different plays and study sonnets during the teenage years, perhaps instead might we actually give kids some employable skills.