10 Dec

I know this is a little bit out of our comfort zone, in terms of the class focus as it has been presented. However, with the end of the semester at hand and for your last QOTW response, I wanted to posit a question that will be near and dear to you as college students. Therefore, here is the premise and the question.

It’s been an honor and pleasure to work with all of you this semester. I hope you enjoyed the course (as much as a Friday evening course can be enjoyed) and that you learned something. In addition, I wish all of you nothing but the best as your OCC academic careers continue.

College tuitions are rising, in large part because states are cutting funding to their institutions of higher education, and the job market remains bleak, if not damn near impossible to navigate. Student loan debt in the United States recently topped a grand total of over $1 trillion (yes, trillion), and more and more students are defaulting on their loans. Recently, there have been glimmers of hope for the American economy, but that doesn’t mean squat to the recent college graduates from four-year universities earning an average of $27,000 annually (2009-10) — a 10-percent decline from the $30,000 they were earning just a few years ago (2006-08). Consider that the average graduate of a four-year university takes out $20,000 in loans for their education, translating into some monthly payments — just for the average student — that dwarf those of a reasonably-priced new vehicle.

“An analysis by The New York Times of Labor Department data about college graduates aged 25 to 34 found that the number of these workers employed in food service, restaurants and bars had risen 17 percent in 2009 from 2008, though the sample size was small,” reads a New York Times report from May. “There were similar or bigger employment increases at gas stations and fuel dealers, food and alcohol stores, and taxi and limousine services.”

What does that mean? Essentially, that college graduates — instead of working in their fields of study, whether it’s mathematics or literature or nursing or business — are bartending, waiting tables, slaving away at gas stations, toiling away in retail stores, all of which are jobs they could have easily gotten without a four-year degree.

So here’s the question: Is a college education still worth it? Argue for your point of view using at least one outside source, and not the New York Times article I’ve linked to in this QOTW prompt.

Respond to this QOTW, your final one for the semester, by the time class starts on Friday, Dec. 16.


7 Responses to “QUESTION OF THE WEEK – WEEK 15”

  1. GInger Minock December 15, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    I absolutely think a college education is still worth it the economy is not going to be grim forever. At some point you are not even going to be able to get that simple job without a college education. I also believe that going to college says alot about you as a person and what you want out of life. I have owrked hard for everything I have done in my life this is he third time going back for another degree and I am glad I am doing it again. Our children need to learn that society is only going to grow and keep advancing and for them to keep up with those advancements they will need an education. Children today learn thing at an earlier age then when I was a child. Eventually you are going to need a math degree to be a waitress or a cashier. Cashiers do not even know how to count change back which by the way drives me crazy… Inteligence is the key to success.

  2. Chad Koenig December 16, 2011 at 2:03 am #

    Even with more competition and a shaky economy, a college education is still worth it. There are plenty of college educated people that are unemployed or have a job beneath them. Articles like the one in the New York Times can be very discouraging to a student. As someone who has just gone back to school after a 5 year layoff, I believe that college is the only way that I will be successful. Not that financial success is the only reason to attend college. College provides an opportunity to find yourself. There has been many a student that has changed majors because they took a class that changed their life. Without college, you don’t have that kind of opportunity. Without an education, work is work, you don’t have much of a choice in what you do. College provides that choice. It gives you a chance to go after your dream, even if it’s a long shot. It provides one with the credentials to get your foot in the door. The article I found shows that college educated people, still on average make substantially more than people with no college education.

  3. Sean Williams December 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

    I believe that a college education is entirely still worth it. Higher education is one of the things that sets certain societies above others, it’s what got the world out of the dark ages. If it’s too expensive then the system should be reformed to allow students to afford education, or instead how about students choosing their school according to what they know they can afford. You can get a degree from some colleges for a fraction of the cost of some other colleges or universities. Besides, a college degree today is the equivalent of a high school diploma twenty years ago. Without higher education you wouldn’t be qualified for a job even if you could find one. Times may be hard now, but they won’t be like this forever. Don’t let a suffering economy and job shortage screw you out of an education. Go to college, accept whatever debt you are willing to handle, and kind trying to find a job to put on your resume that makes you marketable to the career you want. We all have to start somewhere and it takes lots of hard work and perseverance to get what you want in life. No one said it was easy.

  4. Eunishia Hooks December 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

    I honestly think that college education is worth it. Students can choose high-earning such as engineering over low-earning majors such as psychology. Or they can also attend less expensive public colleges or institutions that offer significant scolarships and grant aid. The calculation of a degree value is very different for each student. A college degree is worth it. College graduates make an average of 84% more over a course of a lifetime than those who only attend high school. The unemployment reta for young college grads is under 5% compared to more that 13% for young people with only a high school diploma. A recent Brookings Institution paper showed that the return on a college investment is more than that on almost any alternative, including stocks, bonds, gold, or housing market. Rising college tuition combined with slim job prospects due to the economic recession leaves families with the impression that the risks associated with attending college are begining to outweigh the rewards. http//

  5. Mark Ryan Beyer December 16, 2011 at 9:01 pm # – I believe your college education does still matter in this slow economy… Employers would rather hire someone with an education than someone without. This slow economy will eventually pick back up. Also, most jobs now days require a college education and if they dont I think that they would rather hire someone who does have one. I think it also says a lot about an individual and their goals as to where they want to be in life. With the economy the way it is students need to focus on what’s in demand and not so much their dreams. Although it is nice to live your dream in life but life is not always fair. Education will never hurt you and really can only help an individual. I really hope this poor economy picks back up. I will continue my education praying that I will seek job placement to help provide for my family…

  6. Julie Blattler December 16, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    I think a college education will always be worth it. A college education shouldn’t just be a way to get a better job. Continuing on in education feeds the intellect. Although school can sometimes be a drag and I don’t always have the motivation to go, it’s a chance for me to get outside of the work area and outside of the ‘chill’ zone and learn something, feed my brain. Although the economy may not be at it’s best right now and the job market is a little more narrow, I think that going to college and getting a degree in a field you love will pay off in the end. Eventually, we’ll pull out of this recession and when we do, the job market will open up. I don’t know if anyone really wants to work at a minimum wage job and when that day comes, the people with higher education will have first pick. Plus, continuing in a field you love will make you that much better at it. And according to, which got statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2010, 14.1% of the unemployed population are people without a high school education and 10.3% are people with a high school education and nothing more. Lacking a higher education really hurts your chances of getting a higher paying job and it stunts your intellectual growth.

  7. Matt Knedgen December 16, 2011 at 10:44 pm #

    I still believe it is worth getting a college education. Since nothing in life is guaranteed, it is a risk to get a college education. It is similar to making an investment in a way. If someone never tries to get a college education, then they would more than likely end up getting a job that’s minimum wage anyways. So I believe it is worth a try, even with a decent risk of losing out your overall investment. But the risk can be lowered if you try to go into something that is growing, like computers or reusable energy. Even though thats not what most people want to do, there is at least a decent chance of getting a career in it.

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