Parenting: Is college a waste of money?

Monday, March 19, 2012

The headline is shocking enough, isn't it? The idea that sending the children you love away from home, and spending thousands of dollars all in the hopes that it will help breed success only to find it is a waste.

Steve Olsher actually did go to college. In fact, he holds a Bachelor's degree and an MBA.

Does he think his experiences in higher education were a waste of time? Maybe not, but he certainly doesn't think college is much of a bargain these days.

Olsher calls himself "America's Reinvention Expert." He wrote a blog titled "Why College is the Single Worst Investment a Parent Can Make."

Olsher's reasoning: a 20-year-old is still a child. College is very expensive. Many students fail to find a full-time job right after graduation.

When they do find a job, most don't even work in their field of expertise. College classroom teaching is outdated in today's evolving world. And finally, a typical student forgets most of what he or she learned soon after graduation, then spends more than a decade paying off the loans taken out to go to college in the first place.

Here is what Olsher suggests parents should do.

Take about $5000 of what you would have spent on tuition and give it to your child. Tell them to go do something with it. Innovate. Network. Be creative. Just do something useful.

Volunteer, join the military, take an internship, or just have them go out and see what he or she enjoys doing. Once your child decides on a career path, that's when you start talking about training or education.

Olsher's ideas may be seen as radical, unconventional, and disrespectful to our educational institutions. However with tuitions costs moving way beyond inflation year after year, what's wrong with thinking a little outside of the box?

If you sit on the other side of the fence, in that you advocate sending your children to college, here is a useful calculator to help determine how much you should be saving.

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