Three Seniors Debate Financing in Higher Education: Is College Really Worth It?

The MSU Spokesman

By Antonio Martin

Going to college is an experience one would never forget. But the price tag attached to it makes anyone wonder if it’s worth getting buried financially.

According to the College Board, at an instate public college a student pays an average of $22,261 from 2012-13. In that same year, a student pays $43,289 at a private college.

Yes, college is exciting and gratifying for anyone who can’t wait to leave the bedroom shadows of their parents, but in the end is it offering anything significant in return?

We would be accustomed to saying that we obtained a college degree.  But in many cases the cost of getting that degree is too steep with a job market that isn’t guaranteeing a stable career. For families who can’t afford to pay for college out of pocket it’s easier to try to achieve your professional goals on your own.

Studies say, “As recently as 2009, 44 percent of college graduates who were under the age 25 were either unemployed or working in an area that did not require a college degree.”

Who would want to go through four to six years at a university, receive debt, and be handed a broom after graduation? That low income job could have been an option fresh out of high school. Not to mention the bundles of weekly mail and phone calls you will receive from debt collectors asking for half of your next paycheck.

“College graduates carry with them an average of $26,000 in debt,” an article stated in the USA Today.

College should be a time where you position yourself for a career. Now, it seems America is in an era where college is awarding students their degrees , not helping them establish their careers and unconsciously soliciting them into debt for their own profit.

A recent article in the USA TODAY, “Columbia flunks relevancy test,” discusses how students at one the most prestigious graduate schools in the U.S are suffering post graduation. Columbia’s School of Journalism is recognized as a school that produces the “cream of the crop,” but their graduates aren’t finding success as quickly as expected.

In attempt to save the “J-School’s” relapse, the school hired a new dean, Steve Coll. However, popular opinion believes the new hire won’t help and there is a larger issue at hand.

“The school takes students’ or their parents’ money to train them for a livelihood that it reasonably can predict will never exist,” wrote Michael Wolff, in the USA Today. “But it is also an intellectual failure: The information marketplace is going through a historic transformation, involving form, distribution, business basis and cognitive effect.”

With all the education tools that are placed online daily, the best bet is to educate yourself through free tutorials and videos most often seen on YouTube.

Some may argue professors are needed to push students, and challenge them. But at the college level, if such is required chances are you’re not going to achieve in the workplace regardless.

It has become popular in recent years with modern technology to practice self-learning and save those bucks.

Through technology and practicing consistent dedication in an interested craft you could be “the” effective teacher. The website is just one of many free software training sites that helps you learn critical skills in animation, writing, business, design, photography and other fields.

Still think you need to enroll at that high priced university guaranteeing you nothing, but a debt slip once you walk out of those halls? I didn’t think so. Think logically. Avoid the headache. If things don’t work out the first few years, you can always go back. Times have changed.

Today, universities need you. You don’t necessarily need the university.


By Nathalie A. Paulin


Being a daughter of two immigrant parents who worked beyond measures to get my siblings and I to where we are today, I have no time to fail them. Having a college degree is something that is extremely important to me.

My parents instilled in us the importance of education at a very young age. I remember my father telling me that education is respected everywhere regardless of whom you are or where you come from.

In the Daily Kos, an American political blog that publishes news and opinions from a progression point of view, an article written in April of 2012 touched on the unemployment of college graduates under the age of 25.

According to the article, about 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years.

Writer of the article, Laura Clawson broke down the numbers even further.

“That means 100,000 waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers with bachelor’s degrees, plus 125,000 cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives and 163,000 receptionists and payroll clerks. That’s a reflection of the job categories that are growing these days.”

Yes, those numbers are scary to me. Seeing those job titles make me furious knowing that I spent four years preparing for a field that has no job opening for me.  However, the 46.4 percent that are employed made the right moves and executed their plan efficiently.  This is a dog eat dog world. There’s no time to look at numbers. If you work harder than the average man, have a focus mindset, know you’re following move and can prove why you deserve that spot than the succeeding man, then you have nothing to worry about. It comes down to how bad you want it.

In life, I was taught not only to have a plan B but a C, D, E and F. Having a set goal and always knowing my next move is something that is dear to me. I live by the saying, hope for the best and expect the worst, and as always expect the unexpected.

I see my degree as something much more than just a piece of paper. To me, it’s a safety measure- an amulet in a way, because I know I’m determined to get a career decent enough to make a living.


By Steven Jackson

For many of us, our idea of the “American dream” has shifted from childhood aspirations of becoming an astronaut or a superhero.  In highschool it is embedded in our minds that obtaining a college degree and landing a job in corporate America is the American dream regardless of what job you land.  When I was in highschool I never fully took advantage of my education like I should have and was discouraged when it came to college due to my low GPA.  Today, being a senior at Morgan State University, my thoughts on the value of higher education have obviously changed dramatically.

Unfortunately we live in a nation where the central role of postsecondary education is linked with employment and financial stability, when in reality that’s not necessarily the case.  During my highschool years I was jealous of those “overachievers” that were eager to read their college acceptance letters to class and receive praise from our peers.  However I have noticed that 95 percent of those same overachievers that went on and became college graduates are unemployed and many of the jobs they do have aren’t worth the price of their diplomas.

In a recent article by the Huffington post, Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee said, “If we do not as a nation increase the number of graduates, then we risk the very foundation of the American Dream.”  But what is the American dream?  Many college graduates carry with them an average of $26,000 in debt and those that attend graduate schools carry $30,000-$80,000 in student loan debt while unemployed.  If that’s the American dream then I’ll pass.

Students today fail to realize that attending college and obtaining a degree is not the glamorized American dream that it’s publicized to be.  A lot of us become content with obtaining a college degree and just getting by without utilizing any of the skills learned in higher institutions to achieve the goals they once set.

When I enrolled at Morgan State University I did so knowing that I had a lot of work to do during and after my matriculation, strongly due to the competitive nature of my field and the struggling economy.  I was forced to think ahead and calculate my investment and what I needed to do to prosper from it.

However, this same drive and knowledge of self-investment is not only limited to higher education. In the era of the internet there are the strong few who have the ability to self-teach and put their dreams into fruition, but it depends on what career path you seek.  You will never be a lawyer without going to law school, but you can become a prominent web developer and business owner without a degree.  The value of higher education comes from the value we see within ourselves in order to obtain success.

By Steven Jackson