Going to college and going broke

As readers of this column well know by now, I maintain that far too many young people are being wildly oversold on the importance of a four-year degree for a bright future.  The latest news in support of my belief is what is taking place at Baylor University (“How Baylor Steered Lower-Income Parents to Debt They Couldn’t Afford,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14).

Rather than provide grants to cover tuition, Baylor has relied heavily on Parent Plus.  Under the program, taxpayers bear the losses if the loans aren’t repaid.  Such defaults do not hurt colleges because they get the money upfront. With no skin in the game, Baylor and other colleges offer nothing but condolences to parents who can’t repay their children’s debt. Their sympathy, however, has not stopped them from spending millions on stadiums and the like having little to do with academics.

My advice to high school seniors is to go to community college for the first two years to satisfy the general education requirements at a bargain price.  Then decide if continuing on is worth the debt.  I hope they will consider vocational education, which I believe provides the foundation for a gratifying career and life.

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