The Diminishing Value of Your University Degree

| August 16, 2019
college student

I graduated from school back in 2004, majoring in Marketing. It took me full 3 years of working odd jobs and jobs that had nothing to do with my degree, before settling in in a job related to my background in Marketing.

I financed my self through school, mostly due to the help of my parents, not financially, but more so due to their values, beliefs and strict rules. My parents made me work my butt off during the summer in order to finance my post-secondary education. I did not value this approach much then, but could not be more thankful for it today.

Yes, I did get a student loan in my first year at York University, simply because it was a lot of money and I didn’t have it saved up. My parents were not able to help me financially due to being a mediocre middle-class family at best.

Yesterday I attended my brothers conformation which  also happened to be at York U. Happy for him in every essence. He got his University Degree and a College Diploma a few years earlier. In September of this year, he’s heading to Teachers College, in hopes of becoming a full-time teacher come September 2012 and finally employed. Finally after a College Diploma, University Degree and a Post-Grad Diploma. I hope it works out for him with his dream of becoming a teacher, but I could not stop thinking about the amount of debt he will be left with, once all is said and done.

Is there Value In Getting A Degree?

Over $30 billion dollars has been lent out to 4.2 million individuals to date from Government Student Loans program. Yes, the positive side is that those 4.2 million students who took out loans, have gotten post-secondary education. But, what about the value of the education they’ve received? Seems like there is very little.

New graduates are finding it harder and harder to land a job period, not to even mention a job within the field they’ve studied in. Furthermore, what about the debt load they facing, when they graduate? The average student, like my brother for example, will come out with student loan debt of $25,000+.

He does have 15 years to pay it back, but who wants to be paying a loan back over 15 years? Very few I think. What about the purchase of a new car or one’s first home? Forget about it or take on a second job.

To add more uncertainty, the state of the current economy makes things even worst. The unemployment rate keeps rising, yet the same number of graduates each year are entering the workforce. There is more supply, than there is demand.

For young graduates, like my brother and the profession he’s after, he is fortunate that it is in demand. Male teachers are more in demand, than their counterparts. Something very similar to the demand of females in law enforcement.

Trades Earn More

University degrees are holding less value each day. Now most journeymen, such as welders, mechanics or electricians earn far more than many of their degree-holding contemporaries.

Most who old degrees of Biology, Psychology and even some Business degrees, have dedicate their lives to getting that major or the double major, yet can’t get even an interview to save their life.

It’s no secret that trades are becoming more in demand, offering higher salaries and easier access to jobs. Does this mean, that one has to alter their dream of becoming a Scientist for example, in order to gain a job? Tough question, that I hope it does not hold the “Yes” answer to.

My Two Cents

I think as a society we’ve been led to believe that holding a University Degree is valuable for it’s own sake, rather than the benefits it holds for the holder. University Degrees have become a joke. What happened to focus on critical thinking, higher reasoning, logical arguments and different mathematical approaches?

There is none. Rather students, like my brother, who majored in Criminology at University, ends up with a degree, which he needs another diploma in order to get a job.

A University Degree does not guarantee a job. In today’s economy, there is no guarantee and far more uncertainty growing daily. Furthermore, what value is built into a University Degree? None! You invest 4+ years of your life and $30,000+ to get a piece of paper that you can get a job at Tim Horton’s with.

If that’s the case, might as well save your self a lot of studying and loads of debt and just get a job at Tim Horton’s and move up through the ranks to get that job as a Store Manager, paying you a salary of $40K, because that’s where you will start after University, except you will carry no debt.

University Degrees are like economics and when it comes to economics, the only thing you need to know is the supply and demand.