Monday, January 5, 2009

What is a Degree Worth?--part #4

A fair number of the comments on the postings about what a degree is worth have mentioned money. The general consensus seems to be that college costs too much; therefore, anything that can cut down on the costs, such as compressing undergrad studies into a shorter period of time, is beneficial. The same goes for graduate school, which generally charges even more than undergrad programs do.


Yes, college costs today, both undergrad and graduate, are sometimes mind boggling. Costs for an undergraduate college education can run from $6K per year to almost $50K per year, not necessarily including dormitories and food and books and transportation. Pick an "average" amount and a student graduating after four years could conceivably owe $80-200K before he/she even looks at graduate school. Add in graduate school and you could be tacking on an additional $15K to $160K in costs, depending on the length of the grad program. Yes, it is scary to know that on the day you finish your formal education you could be in debt for $95K to $360K.

But the key here is the "could be" part. There are any number of ways to reduce how much you will need to pay in tuition, particularly on the undergrad level. Here's a news bulletin: do really well in your high school classes and really well on your SATS and you put yourself into the running for academic scholarships, both those given by a college itself and those that come from outside scholarship sources. Yes, you''ll have to research those outside sources--you know, do some work. The more prestigious the college, the higher the endowment that college has, the more scholarship money available. As I reported elsewhere, Harvard is going to a model of no tuition for its undergraduate students. Where Harvard leads the other Ivies are sure to follow. Set your academic sights high and you could end up paying less, not more.

Plenty of people will also qualify for tuition reduction and scholarship aid because their family income or their personal income falls low. Become an educated consumer and find out precisely what you are entitled to. Don't assume anything based on what someone else got or is telling you. Student loans, which may be part of a student aid package, come with a far lower percent than traditional loans. Their repayment schedule is also better than traditional loans.

Consider accelarating so that you complete your college courses in three years instead of four. It can be done, but keep in mind that you will need to spend more time concentrating on school work and will have less time for anything else you want to do. And also keep this in mind: presenting a transcript with a "C" average for course work done over three years is not going to get you "points" with future employers or graduate schools. Be honest with yourself: can you handle a more intense schooling experience?

Let's also remember that sometimes it takes money to make money. The first posting in this series showed that college graduates with no graduate school make $1.1 million dollars minimum more over a working lifetime than those with only a high school diploma. Subtract what college costs you and you are still coming out ahead over your working years, way ahead. Add in a graduate degree and you can double to quadruple your lifetime earnings.

If graduate school is also something you are going to do then you need to look at the relationship between your undergrad school and the grad school you want to go to. You may be spending X amount of dollars on undergrad education, but will that college you are going to be an entry ticket to the grad school you want to go to? Check with graduate schools and see just how many students from your undergrad school they have admitted. If you know going in that a graduate degree is going to be necessary, then do the calculations and see how you are going to have to apportion your monies between undergrad and grad school.

Look at the graduates of your prospective undergrad and grad schools and find out what the placement record is for people coming out of the program you might be considering. Which businesses, paying what types of salaries, take the graduates?

In short, an education costs, and can cost a whole lot. But what is needed is a careful evaluation of what you are getting/might be getting by attending one college over another college. When money is limited, how should it best be spent? Yes, debt for an education can be a frightening thing seen as a lump sum figure with no income yet in sight. But the old maxim still holds true: you get what you pay for. If spending less now can still get you what you are aiming for, then spend less. But if spending less now also means that you will make less later, then what have you actually saved? Of all the things that we throw our money at, you could do a lot worse than buying a good education.


Now let me do a demographic cost breakdown, which may explain some of the "panic" in the frum community about the cost of college. Let's look at an average college student, one from the secular cohort and one from the frum cohort. [Information on the secular cohort is taken from US Census statistics.]

The typical high school student in the non-frum cohort graduates high school and goes straight on to college. Graduation from college takes place at about 21-22 years of age. During college that student also typically has some type of part-time employment. Let's say that that typical student graduates with $60K in school debt. According to the Census the average age of marriage for this cohort is from the mid-20s to the mid-30s. If a student graduates college and does not go on to graduate school--and according to the Census this is the norm, since only 1 out of 10 people hold graduate degrees--then that student enters the work world. In the time between graduation and marriage that student has a chance to pay down a huge chunk, if not all, of school loans.

At the point that our student gets married there are definitely long term financial goals that the married couple will have. A house is one of them. Saving for the college education of their children is another. Paying for private school for their elementary and high school children is NOT one of them, since the vast majority of children in the US attend public schools. Parents are encouraged to start saving for college expenses as soon as they can. Any number of financial vehicles for this saving having been established in the past few decades. Many parents do help out with college expenses, if not pay the whole amount. A financially astute person from this cohort does not have to spend decades buried under the debt of college.

Now let's look at our frum student. Please note that it is not pertinent here to discuss what changes should/could be made re yeshiva education; I'm speaking now of the situation that exists presently. The vast majority of those who call themselves frum send their children to religious schools for elementary and high school. Some begin this process with nursery/kindergarten, others with primer/first grade.

So our frum student graduates from high school. There is a community custom that has become prevalent even in the more modern corridors of Orthodoxy to provide a "gap" year or two for the girls and for the boys. For many this gap year(s) takes place in Israel. The start of college is thus delayed by a year or two, if not more, but it is not used for earning money towards college; instead, it takes money that parents might apply towards college and uses it otherwise. For many of the males, even when they start college, they are going only at night and are learning during the day. A few will be working during the day and attending school at night. The number of frum college students with part-time or full time employment is less as a percentage than the number of secular students who work while going to school. The age of graduation falls into the 22-25 age grouping; some students are even older.

Far from waiting to complete college and then get married after they are established, many frum students marry quite young and while still completing their education. Many frum couples are being supported by the wife, if she can already make parnoseh, or by the families or a combination of both. Many of these young married men return to learn for a few years after completing their college educations, again being supported by the wife or the families.
For some of these married couples, at the point where husband and wife are finished at least with their undergraduate education, they are already beginning to pay yeshiva tuition for their children; many students are already paying tuition for their children even while they themselves are still in school. There is no grace period for this group between finishing college and having heavy family expenses. They are paying back college loans at the same time that they are financing a private school education for their children. They are also attempting to pay home mortgages at the same time as they are paying back their loans and paying tuition for their children.

Thus, the cost of a college education can indeed seem formidable to a frum student. Reliance on parents for paying large parts of the college tuition are not a given; these same parents have also been paying yeshiva tuition for years, and thus their ability to save for college has been somewhat diminished.

Yes, college can be an expensive "purchase," but the financial "pain" is worse when repayment of educational loans coincides with other weighty financial obligations.


Anonymous said...

Part time jobs during college are not necessarily a positive thing, even economically. Particularly for students in difficult majors like engineering. My wife teaches engineering at the collegiate level, and is constantly dealing with students dropping and failing courses because they are too busy at work to devote the needed time to study. The result is that they pay tuition for 5 or 6 years instead of 4 to graduate.

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention that the cost for college is more for some frum kids because they will only go to a Jewish college. Tuition at YU and Touro is way more then if you go to City University. Even just two years at Touro cost my friends lots more then my 3 and a half years at Queens. Subtract out my scholarships and their financial aid and I still came out with a bargain. I paid off my loans in 14 months after I graduated and put away money also. I got married at 26, was debt free and had mney in the bank. My friends got married at 20 or so, still in school, are still paying undergrad loans and are paying tuition for their kids. Is going to the Jewish college really worth the debt?

Anonymous said...

Lisa, you're not counting in all the reasons for choosing a college. Money is one. Socialization is another. At Touro and YU you have a larger social group and more frum people around. The schools also work around the Jewish calendar so you're not always missing lots of classes for yom tov. It's like anything else you buy--is the price okay for what you are getting. If you think so then you buy the more expensive item.

Lion of Zion said...


my impression is that for people YU/Touro is a dispensable luxury that could easily be replicated with alternate arrangements. (although touro's tuition is much more reasonable that yu's.)

Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lion of Zion said...


"At Touro and YU you have a larger social group and more frum people around."

if you can make this statement then you've never stepped foot in brooklyn/queens college.

"The schools also work around the Jewish calendar so you're not always missing lots of classes for yom tov."

CUNY is very good when it comes to working with the jewish calendar. (again, you've obviously never attended CUNY). half of the yom tovim days (sometimes more, if shavuot falls out late?) are vacation days. and most teachers were reasonable with making up work for the others. (i did have a problem twice when i returned post-bac, once with a jewish teacher of course.)

listen, you can always buy an alternative product that is better in some way (i do believe that within reason, you almost always get what you pay for). this is true in educational choices as well, whether in kindergarten or in grad school. but do you really think that a (very mildly) more convenient calendar is worth paying ten times as much?

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. Our big expenses? Tuition for the kiddies, our morgage, and student loans. We joke (and it's not funny) that we'll spend the next 25 years paying all three... We need to fix this my friends.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of (the only?) the non-Jewish readers on your blog.

I'm graduating college this year at 20 and will get married the next year at 21. My future husband will be 24 then. This is young for someone in my corner of the world, where most people marry in their later 20s or early 30s.

From what I've seen, marrying early is, in itself, a positive thing to do economically. The reality is, in my early 20s, I'd be living in a one bedroom apartment. So would my fiance. But by living together, we save the costs of an apartment, etc. Two people can't live as cheaply as one, but the marginal costs of adding an additional adult are relatively low.

Marrying early will allow us to save more and I think that, in the end, we'll save more money than two comparable adults who waited another 6-8 years to marry.

Getting married relatively young isn't the issue. The problems are

1. Early and frequent childbearing. Kids are expensive. Even without tuition.

2. Having to live in a frum area. We plan on moving somewhere with a low cost of living to be able to save money. There aren't frum neighborhoods in, say, the Midwest, where it would be easier for a young couple to get established.

mlevin said...

ProfK – I just read your post and have a few problems with what you have written.
1. Merit scholarships are almost gone. A guy in shul has a son who was a straight A student with 23,600 on his SATs (That’s out of 24,000). Ivi league schools accepted him, but no merit scholarship. His father is a lawyer, so as far as colleges are concerned he should be able to pay. He didn’t get scholarship from Harvard, nor Columbia. He did get a full scholarship from Hunter, but only because he went to Hunter High School. He ended up going to NYU with partial merit scholarship. Total cost for this straight A student with 32 credits in APs is $18,000 per school year. And he lives at home. Some of Aps weren’t accepted because you cannot use AP credits towards your major.

2. Once you get your first job, no one cares about your grades. You could have been a straight A student or you could have been the last one in your class with more failures than passes. No one cares. No one asks. Your grades are totally irrelevant. Your performance on the other hand is very relevant.

3. Your statistics about importance of college education are also skewed. Many companies do not care as long as you have experience. Just look at their job requirements, they usually read college degree or specific number of years of experience. One doesn’t even need college to become a lawyer. My tenant is a paralegal. He was offered to go to law school by his bosses on numerous occasions. He just doesn’t want to. He is happy where he is. I looked into it, and law schools admissions says one needs either college or apprenticeship. I looked into medical schools, too. Many medical schools require a passing grade from specific 6 college classes and a good score in MCATS. The main reason why college grads do financially better is not because of that degree, but because many people choose not to go to college because they are lazy or can’t learn, or have other emotional problems. Thus they will never succeed.

4. Your math also doesn’t add up. Let’s compare a young college student with a younger career track employee with a drive. For the first four years a college student is in the negative cash flow, while a driven employee is in the small, but positive cash flow. Four years later, that college student still has no experience and has to start from the bottom, but one with a drive has already gone up through the ranks. I will give myself as an example. After HS I went to NYU. Cost with partial scholarship it was $6,000. After one year in NYU I was offered a trainee position with Touro College. Pay $11,000 per year. After almost two years in Touro I was able to get a decent job paying $24,500. Had I stayed in NYU I would still be going to school and paying money instead of receiving it. In case you were wandering, A college grad with two years experience was hired at the same time as I was with the same company, for the same position, and the same money. Now, 20 years later we are both working for the parallel companies/similar job descriptions making approximately the same money. Had I not been restricted to working 24/6 rather than 24/7, I would have been further up the corporate ladder than him.

If you’re thinking of me as an exception, I’m not. During my career I have seen many people who were offered opportunities to learn on a job, but failed to do so. They found socializing and regular grooming more important than taking a book and asking questions. I also met people who did take advantage of these opportunities and risen all the way to the top. (CIO of the company), without a benefit of a BA/BS.

ProfK said...

The Merit scholarship program is still alive and still available. Re "His father is a lawyer, so as far as colleges are concerned he should be able to pay," applicants for aid are required to fill out detailed forms about family income. It's not the fact of this boy's having a lawyer for a father that decided the issue--it would have been what showed on the income statement filed. And re the AP exams, if he knew what he was going to major in then the APs that weren't accepted are a problem from high school--an advisor should have told him there that not all AP credits would count towards his college requirements. Given NYU's tuition, $18K is a large deduction that he got. I never said that every student gets a free ride from every school, but it is possible to get a reduction through academic scholarships. (And that's 2360 out of 2400 on the SATS) And then again, we none of us know precisely what the story is with that young man and his family's income.

Of course grades stop counting once you've been working, but when you are applying they are certainly part of what employers look at. Keeping a job is one thing and getting that job is another. And of course advancement once in a job is going to depend on how much you know about the field, how much you keep up on new advancements.

Re getting ahead without a college degree, of course it can be done but it is not the norm, no matter how many people one might know who managed it. And it also depends on what fields you are talking about. The "higher" you go in the job hierarchy, the more college will be a necessary item.

Those are not my statistics--they are our government's statistics, and this is an area that the government follows very carefully. We can all point to people who are exceptions, but the "rule" holds true that those with no college degree will not make as much as those with one over a working lifetime.

Re the student who accumulates debt for four years versus the one who goes straight to work for those four years, yes, for those four years there is an income disparity. But the student with a college degree, particularly if he/she paid attention in college and did well, will qualify for jobs that the high school graduate will not qualify for, jobs where the starting salary is much higher than in those jobs where a college degree is not required.

Re law school and medical school, don't believe everything that you hear/read. Check how many of these schools will actually take in non-college grads as a percentage of admitted students. And then also look at which schools will take in this type of student. Tier one schools don't take them--they don't have to since they have an overabundance of applicants that meet the college requirement.

mlevin said...

“applicants for aid” – no we are not talking about aid. Aid implies inability to pay or having lack of funds. I am not talking about poor people. I am talking about MERIT scholarship. MERIT implies scholastic abilities. Personal financial situation does not even enter the picture. Let me give you an example of a football scholarship. A student receiving it gets it strictly based on his ability to play ball. Family finances do not enter a picture. But strict MERIT scholarship today is almost none-existent.

Re APs – How many high school students know what they want to major in? Penalizing incoming students for not knowing their major at 16 by taking away college credits is wrong. These colleges/universities say your AP is acceptable unless you are majoring in this subject. Many high schoolers don’t even know which college they want to go to.

“(And that's 2360 out of 2400 on the SATS) And then again, we none of us know precisely what the story is with that young man and his family's income.”

Family’s income shouldn’t even be discussed with someone with such high scores. It is irrelevant.

“Given NYU's tuition, $18K is a large deduction that he got.”

He is paying $18 Gs with his grades. That’s plain wrong. NYU is penalizing his parents for being succesful and rewarding children of dead beat irresponsible ones.

“Of course grades stop counting once you've been working, but when you are applying they are certainly part of what employers look at. Keeping a job is one thing and getting that job is another.”

Those grades stop counting once you get your FIRST job. For all subsequent jobs your grades are irrelevant. No one cares. They care about your previous job history only.

“And of course advancement once in a job is going to depend on how much you know about the field, how much you keep up on new advancements.”

There is no correlation between how much you know about a field and your grades or degrees. Unless you are in the educational environment, that is. Most jobs hire you from college for trainee positions only, because they know that in college you do not learn anything substantial. Also advancement on a job does not depend on your academic knowledge of a subject, it mainly depends on your ability to be responsible and dependable. Advancement also depends on your ability to adopt to a new environment and your ability to learn and utilize new tools. Advancement also depends on your ability to work with others.

“Re getting ahead without a college degree, of course it can be done” If it could be done, then you are negating your own argument that college is necessary. If it could be done, then college is not necessary.

“but it is not the norm, no matter how many people one might know who managed it.” Norm is overrated. One should not strive to be normal or to achieve a norm. One should strive to be more than norm.
“And it also depends on what fields you are talking about. The "higher" you go in the job hierarchy, the more college will be a necessary item.” I just showed that college is not necessary.

“Those are not my statistics--they are our government's statistics,” Statistics do not prove anything. Statistics reflect the current trend. If statistics showed that people in SI live 67 years, are you going to prepare for your own funeral and wait to die on your birthday? No? Then why act like a lemming about other things in life?

“Re law school and medical school, don't believe everything that you hear/read. Check how many of these schools will actually take in non-college grads as a percentage of admitted students. Tier one schools don't take them--they don't have to since they have an overabundance of applicants that meet the college requirement. ”

I know there are a number of schools that accept pre-med high schoolers where they would end up with a medical degree at the end of 6 years. That’s minus two years of college. Also, please read a small print for medical school like Yale. They will accept you without BS/BA as long as you took certain 6 pre-med classes and got a high score on MCATS. According to you medical schools should be penalizing those smarter students who were able to get a high MCATS scores because they did not waste two years on irrelevant subjects. Why? This is America, we should not be promoting mediocracy.

ProfK said...

Can you make a living without a college degree? Yes. Do some people even make a very good living without the degree? Yes. Are these people the rule? No, the exception. The higher paying the job or industry the more likely that getting in or advancing will require a college degree. Are there any figures that tell us what people with only a high school diploma make as opposed to those with a college degree or better? Yes, the census figures for one. Do college graduates make more over a lifetime than high school graduates? Yes, the vast majority do. For the highest paying jobs in the US is a college degree a requirement to get a foot in? Yes, for virtually all of them.

Re "Statistics do not prove anything. Statistics reflect the current trend." Wrong. Statistics do a lot of things and showing trends is only one small part. Statistics deal with numerical facts. One can challenge how the statistics were gathered and how they were presented. Yes, those numbers can be manipulated if someone cares to do so. The US Census is a gathering of facts about all the people in the US. The sampling size is certainly more than adequate since it deals with almost the entire population (illegal immigrants excepted). They tell us what is. They ask how much you are earning. They ask what education you have. Then they present the figures. Those with college degrees clearly and overwhelmingly earn more over a life time than those without as a percentage of the population.

Do you know why casinos not only stay in business but also make a very good profit? Because people don't want to believe the odds when it comes to winning, or they don't bother finding out what the odds are. They assume that they will be the exception to the rule that the house always wins. Yes, there are some people, a few people, who win despite the odds. The casino counts on their doing so. Other people see that the winners got the money so they too put down a bet and hope/assume they will win too. Now there are some games where the odds are overwhelmingly in favor of the house and some where a modicum of skill can help you even out the odds somewhat. But in the end, most people gambling in a casino don't come away big winners.

In the "gamble" of lifetime earnings getting a college degree can skew the odds to your favor. Over time you will come out a winner. And more college degreed people than those without the degree come out as "big winners."

ProfK said...

Oh, and Mlevin, re "If statistics showed that people in SI live 67 years, are you going to prepare for your own funeral and wait to die on your birthday?" no I would not sit and wait to die, but I would do some in-depth research to find out where the statistics came from, who gathered them, how they were gathered, and I'd find out what other factors could be influencing the outcome. I would neither accept nor deny the statistics blindly.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the informative stuff here!! It gives me a good perspective.

A great alternative is starting off at community college, then finishing at a good state school. That's what I'm doing now - the degree is the same as doing 4 years at state.

Mlevin - I'm not sure what exactly you're saying. NYU is the "price is no object" kind of school - if that student wanted a cheaper deal, he has plenty of options.

About med school, I've done a lot of checking into it the past 6 months, and from the UF website (it's a pretty prestigious state school) the reqs are long, not nearly as simple as it may seem. For the bare minimum: bio, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and then there's calculus, and if you're major is in the sciences then there is more. English is important too. Perhaps Ba/Bs is not 100% necessary, but one would be pretty darn close to one anyway.
Also, grades do consistently matter in this case.....

mlevin said...

ProfK - again, you seem to think that college degree is what gives one jobs and promotions, but the fact is that it's a personal ambition, smarts, hard work and etc.

You also seem to view life as a gamble and college as a way of evening the odds. Although not always predictable there are rules that guarantee one's success in life. Being honest, hardworking, smart, ambitious, detail oriented and etc will make you succeed.

Many ambitious people tend to go to college to form aliances with other people and because they know that it's easier to find that first job with a college degree. If you happen to land that first job without a college degree, you shouldn't bother going to college. If you could get accepted into a medical/graduate school without college degree you should jump to that oportunity. It means less money and less time.

KT - No that student was a straight A stundent with almost perfect SATs and 32 credits in APs. The fact that colleges weren't competing for him in the same way that they compete for football players or minority students shows how skewed the university system is. Isn't there more posibility that he will achieve something more substantial for decades or even centuries to come than some football player whos name is likely to be forgotten within a few short years.

KT about medical school admissions I was pointing out to profK that unlike her believes BA/BS is not necessary for getting into a medical school. All one needs (in cases for many schools) is passing of six specific college classes. During 4 years of college one takes more than just 6 classes. That means that those other classes are not necessary. Imagine someone wants to become a doctor and only takes these specific classes in college. They'd be finished with college classes in 3 semesters and in addition instead of taking other meaningless (for his life) classes would concentrate on improving his MCATS. At the age of 19 he would be able to get a great score on the MCATS, be accepted to a medical school and save on both time and money that would otherwise be wasted.

ProfK said...

You need to read the Yale medical school info better. It says: It is recommended that students should enter medical school after four years of study in a college of arts and sciences. Students holding advanced degrees in science or other fields are also considered. International applicants must have completed at least one year of study in an American or Canadian university prior to application. Students who have been refused admission on three prior occasions are ineligible to apply for admission to the first-year class.

The minimum requirements for admission to the first-year class are:

1. Attendance for three academic years, or the equivalent, at an accredited college of arts and sciences or institute of technology.

2. Satisfactory completion of the following courses including laboratory work:

General Biology or Zoology
General Chemistry
Organic Chemistry
General Physics
(Acceptable courses in these subjects usually extend over one year and are given six to eight semester hours credit.) These courses should be completed in a U.S. or Canadian college or university. Advanced courses may be substituted for introductory-level courses in each of these subjects.

So I emailed the med school and asked how many students were admitted this past September who did not have an actual college degree. The answer? One. Not exactly encouraging.

The six year programs you refer to for medical school are accelerated programs that push into 6 years what would be gotten in eight years. They don't take mediocre students--they skim the cream. Students in these programs are working under tremendous pressure.

Re your top student who didn't get courted by the top schools. Yes, it's possible that somehow the system overlooked him. Or it's equally possible that something else was in his record or in his personal history that caused him to be overlooked. If he wants to know why he didn't get what he felt he deserved, let him ask the admitting offices--they'll tell him.

No one is arguing that a person in the work environment doesn't need to be ambitious, smart and hardworking. But the entry ticket for the "better" jobs in our present day society, for those with higher salary structures, is still the college degree. No amount of wishing is going to change this right now. Any high school that is not telling its students who are aiming for the highly paying jobs that they will need college to get them is doing a disservice to the students. There is no real shortcut if what you want is the "top."

Anonymous said...

Mlevin - Thanks for the insight! :)

But I'm afraid it would be impossible I think to complete pre-med in 3 semesters. One would need several courses -each- in all of those 6 classes, not simply 6 courses alone...At the very least 2 years, and I know very few people who were able to do's extremely tough. Plus, the more time gives one more prep to do better on the Mcat - the more classes in the sciences will help achieve a higher score. Besides, what's the rush for a 19 y/o? G-d willing I'm doing the 4 year pre-med plan; I'm not in a hurry lol!

Anonymous said...

And thanks Profk.

mlevin said...

ProfK - So, Yale accepted one student without a college degree into their Medical school. Had more students been told about the alternative, chances are more would have chose that way.

6 Year programs do not provide medical students with college degree, either. They do make them doctors in shorter time.

I am not advocating short cuts or saying there are short cuts, I am saying that there are lies flying around which make young people think that they cannot accomplish anything without college. Just watch TV family sitcomes. They all have an episode where one of the children gets an one of the life time offers to make it big; be it a high ranking executive (Smart Guy), editor of a publishing company (Growing Pains), or playing professional ball (many different shows) they all agree on one thing, these career opportunities are meaningless and nothing beats a college degree.

That's an absurd message, meant to brainwash young impressionable teens. Even if the worst happens and that dream job falls through, these people could still go to college, but now they have job experience, connections and in case of a ball players, money in the bank to pay for that college.

KT - What's the rush? At the current rate one doesn't finish college until 22, medical school until 26, then there is internship 3 years - 29, but at 29 he doesn't make any money. He is just a regular doctor. I've asked around and an average doctor without a specialty makes between $75K and $125K. (With Obama as president that number could decrease even more) That's poverty pay for all he [new doctor] had to go through. So, to make more money he needs to go into specialization, that's another 3 years of his life (32). So, only at the age of 32 can a person who wants to be a doctor start making money and is able to have a family life. My friend's family is full of doctors, she could write a book about hardships maintaining a relationship with a medical student/resident. By cutting down on college by 2-2.5 years one is cutting down on the time when he could enjoy life and rewards of his labor. Not to mention on two years of tuition...

Anonymous said...

Mlevin - It's funny you keep saying "he".....

Of course there are hardships - but if one has a dream, he/she will be able to overcome them. Plus, being a doctor isn't 100% about immediate money. After a few years, I'm sure (esp. w/a certain specialty) he/she will be able to provide a very nice income for their family. But even as a resident, he/she is still a Dr. & with that comes a personal satisfaction and respect.

Also, the 6 year programs are called Bs/Md so yes, they do get their Bachelor's through the program.

But thanx for the advice.

Anonymous said...

Also, the specialization is included with residency, so 29 would still be the year of completeion in many cases

ProfK said...

It's not about a student's choosing Yale med school while not having a traditional degree; it's about Yale's choosing to admit that student, and they chose to admit only one.

Heaven help us if television sitcoms are being used to show our children what the world is really like. Re becoming an editor without college, one of my children is a senior editor at a major publishing house--there are NO editors working there who do not have a college degree at minimum.

Re "an average doctor without a specialty makes between $75K and $125K," that still puts that doctor in the top 5% of earners in the country. And as KT said, the three years of residency include specialization for the majority of doctors; only a few need more training.

Once a doctor starts a residency program he/she is being paid for that study. UCSF (San Francisco) says in its report on residency salaries that it is the lowest paying in the UC system and also the lowest among top rated medical programs nationally. Their pay scale for residents goes from $38,100 to 51,600. The payscale is higher elsewhere. So no, once med school is finished there is no more tuition being paid and residents are compensated.

mlevin said...

Re: Admitting only one student without a college degree – Did you happen to ask them how many applied without the college degree? Chances a lot fewer proportionally to how many got accepted. Meaning, they would accept more, if only more applied.

Television sitcoms for kids are geared towards establishing social norms. Remember in the 50s when government wanted women to stay home and husbands to work, out came out sitcoms of women happy vacuuming in pearls. Reality was that many women did not want to stay home after tasting the freedom of being a breadwinner in the forties. Then for the next two decades sitcoms portrayed only wholesome families, stressing the fact that even if a tragedy comes (i.e. missing parent) things could always work out for the family as in “My Three Sons” or “Brady Bunch”, or “Eight is enough”.

I could go on and on with how TV is intentionally influencing American society, but I think you’ve got my point. If TV is advocating going to college versus taking a great high paying/high profile job, then young impressionable minds will be swayed in that direction. Why is college promoted by the government, (and I just showed how TV’s influence is government controlled)? There are various reasons. 1. More thought control. 2. More people are employed; colleges/universities provide jobs, too. 3. More money in circulation, students need to borrow, they pay interest, pay for books, etc. 4. At the time when there were too many baby boomers graduating from high school all at once, colleges (and military draft) provided a way to ease into the job market. Otherwise the influx of workers would have been too great. 5. We were in the race with Soviet Union (cold war) and arms wasn’t the only thing we competed about. Cold war touched Olympics, space and which side has the greatest amount of college grads.

Now, tell me the truth, if your 18 year old was offered a prestigious job of being an editor at the publishing company would you insist that she decline an offer and go to college, or would you encourage her to take that offer and hope it would not be short term. After all how often does an opportunity like that knocks on one’s door.

Re doctor salaries. Imagine going to school for 8 years and then giving up three years of your life to residency, borrowing $150,000 + worth of students loans only to receive $75,000 per year of a salary. That’s means working for 4 years just to pay off that student loan. And one doesn’t live in the vacuum, at 29 he wants to have a house, a wife and children. You may think $75,000 as a high salary, I on the other hand don’t think it’s worth the sweat and sacrifice.

Amount paid to doctors during residency are laughable, especially if you count number of hours per week that they put into their residency. You can’t call that a salary. And although there is no tuition, that loan is not getting smaller.

KT – sorry for not saying HE and not HE/SHE, but I’m just too lazy to include both genders.

mlevin said...

About a straight A student. I know that family well and father was very surprised when he learned from a guidance counselor about "No more merit scholarships" As a lawyer, he found a specialist (or two) to help him with it. Specialist checked father's income and confirmed "No more merit". When asked why, he said that universities would rather spend money on minorities and promote diversity.

ProfK said...

I have to leave for work but do want to answer at least this part of your last statement. Re"
Now, tell me the truth, if your 18 year old was offered a prestigious job of being an editor at the publishing company would you insist that she decline an offer and go to college, or would you encourage her to take that offer and hope it would not be short term. After all how often does an opportunity like that knocks on one’s door," let's get some facts straight. I worked for many years in the publishing industry and still work as a free lance editor. My daughter has been employed for many years by one of the top publishing companies. There are NO prestigious editing jobs offered to 18 year olds. The publishing industry requires a college diploma to become an editor. The last publisher I worked for full time required that its secretaries have a college degree. Any business chasing 18-year olds to be editors is not prestigious by any definition of the word,if you could find one doing so.

In point of fact, I'd challenge you to name any company that offers an 18-year old a "prestigious" job.

And no, I would most certainly not tell my child to take the job and I would encourage that child to go to school instead. Over the course of a working life we now estimate that people will have from 10 to 18 jobs. Many will change fields, in affect starting all over again. The one given that will travel with people over a lifetime is their college degree. And yes, all my kids have college degrees, there are two graduate degrees already earned and a third on the way.

mlevin said...

1. - It was a hypothetical situation.
2. - Being an editor of the publishing company is a very coveted position. It looks a lot better on a resume than any university.
3. - One could always go back to get that degree after holding that editor's position.
4. - I find it hard to believe that people have between 10 to 18 jobs in the life time, unless one counts high school/college part time jobs. Based on your data people change jobs every 2-4 years. How fickle? How irresponsible? One of the first things potential employees look for is the length of employment at anyone company. If you jump from place to place, than that degree is the only thing you can depend on.

When I look for a job, it has 6 yeas at one company - left because company closed. Then I have twice of 3 years where in first one I left because my job was being eliminated and in the second one I was layed off because they were eliminating my position. Now I am working at the place for over 8 years.

No one asks me about college. It's irrelevant. When I applied for this job they wanted to know how familiar I was with their system. Which projects I worked on and we did some name throwing. Do I know so and so, and if I remember so and so. The only reason I got hired because this guy from the place I worked for 6 years remembered me and praised my work. I was told if he could be satisfied by your work, you must be good. So, you're hired.

Anonymous said...

I hope maybe I can wrap this up lol....

Mlevin: trudno seychas, ogromnaya nagrada potom. I've just gotta say this because it's personal for me. Majority of docs (esp specialty) make *well* into the 6 figs. Surefire way to become wealthy if there ever was a way. Nothing laughable.....
And no, no years of my life will be considered wasted - Residents already have the battle behind them so to speak, and are already "Dr."s. They are laying a foundation for an extremely profitable future. I'm very thankful that my parents are so encouraging in my decision, even though they know it'll be pretty darn rough at first.

Besides, there is indeed life after 30! And it's typically a very profitable one.....

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Thanks yall!! A lot of interesting stuff here. Profk and Mlevin you both have very interesting (if not opposite!) views.