Visualizing The Public Vs. Private College Debate

Tyler Durden's picture

While attending a private college and being trained in the mystical art of CTRL->C / CTRL->P might leave you strangled by a debt-load larger than Spain's, it is empirically true that salary-upside remains (almost $10,000 per year more); the following infographic lays out why the public vs private college debate continues.


Public vs. Private: How College Quality Can Impact Your Future
Brought to you by:

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
dolph9's picture

No matter if you went to a public or private university, if you have debt and are working at just another crappy job to support this enterprise called America, what makes you think you are anything other than a debt slave?

AldousHuxley's picture

just another crappy job?


how about no job? college = overqualified for crappy job and the community college grad manager douche has chance to play power game to reject you for smug factor.


private or public or foreign or job = living with parents.

in that case your quality of life depends more on whether your parents have private housing or public housing.



AldousHuxley's picture
I'd like to share a valuable insight once shared to me...



The Humbling of the Harvard Man By LOUIS UCHITELLE
Published: March 06, 1994

Another Round of Humbling for the Men of Harvard; Women Have Been There Published: April 03, 1994

FEDbuster's picture

"private or public or foreign or job = living with parents.

in that case your quality of life depends more on whether your parents have private housing or public housing."

College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

Paul Ryan

sm0k4's picture

How about don't get a useless degree? I have a degree in electrical engineering and while paying my debt sucks, I am paying it and it will take about 20 years, I realized this BEFORE I went to college. I came from nothing and had no help. I needed college to get this degree to work in the field of electronics design. No degree = no engineering job.

I think people have to assume some responsibility here. Why spend a crapload of money at an overpriced college when a degree from any cheap state university will suffice for the job?

If you want the game to change, don't play it unless you have to. For me I needed college, for others, its a waste of time to get a 4 year degree when a 2 year or on the job training will suffice.

For lots of us, its damned if you do, damned if you don't. At least I only have 20k left to pay off. $1200 a year in interest is the only shitty part while making minimum payments.

ForTheWorld's picture

To me, the fact that it's going to take you 20 years just to pay off your student loans is a little more than slightly troubling, and if anything else comes up that requires extra funding, it's going to take even longer.

Papasmurf's picture

Paying a student loan for 20 years as an Electrical Engineer sucks way worse than not paying any student loan while flipping burgers at Mickey D's.

insanelysane's picture

Exactly.  I was thinking about this a while ago when some talking head was saying how college is a lifetime investment like a house.  So the scenario is that you take out a student loan for 20 years.  After graduation, get married, have a kid or 2.  The kid is going to graduate high school before your college student loan is paid off.  That is crazy.  I had a 10 year student loan and that was a crazy long time.

FEDbuster's picture

$20K in 20 years?  You should have that paid off in two years, come on!   A friend of mine who is a surgeon paid off his $200+ debt in five years after residency.  Lived in an $800/mo rental house, drove a used Camry, lived very modestly.  Paid off the debt, and at the same time saved money to pay cash after six years for a very nice home close to the hospital.  Still drives a Camry, but it is a newer one that he paid cash for.

I had $8K in student loans when I graduated back in 82, paid it off in four years $200./mo.

pavman's picture

$20K in 20 years?  You should have that paid off in two years, come on! 

It doesn't make sense unless you look at rates for colleges now.  While I had a scholarship for tuition, I still had to pay room and board and books, etc.  I think the tuition itself was about $2600 a year, give or take... so for me, a four year degree would have cost essentially $30,400 from a good public university.  Which is dam cheap in retrospect.  I should have gotten two!

The current reality is that now-a-days even local junior colleges are charging $500 for a four hour class (or $80 / credit hour, which is ludicrous).  Hell, its highway robbery and exacerbated by the artificial price increases of every moron going to college thanks to the federal and private student loan assistance programs.  Not that I'm saying poor people shouldn't be helped to go to school, but because its all readily available to everyone, and almost a friggin' right these days (stafford loans or w/e they're called), the prices are artifically inflated as the number of students increase across the board.  For some perspective, 10 - 12 years ago or so I went to Northwestern for pre-graduate classes and they were charging about $1000 / class.

Its the same problem with easy credit, which raises ALL prices because more people can afford to buy more of everything than they normally would not be able to w/o having to *save* for it.  In the end, it hurts savers the most because they have to pay more for everything than they should have to pay for being responsible.  And this is why one day soon the music will stop and the people left standing will be the creditors.

One nice least KMart has brought back layaway.  WOOT!  Now I can get me one of them Mapple Mypads!

Sudden Debt's picture

makes you wonder how our economies actually grew in the 60's, 70's.... almost nobody had a grad. and they all learned on the job.
if you where a hard worker you stepped up the ladder.
I'm blessed with 2 university degrees and it didn't cost me anything after school because it wasn't that expensive.
but if I would have had a 200k loan on my ass when I left school, I think my life would look totally different. just imagien your wife also is sitting on a loan like that and poof you both own 500k even before you get started....
that's just crazy. yeah... 10000 a year more.... 25 years of downpayments.

Missiondweller's picture

Excellent point.

Almost no companies teach "on the job" anymore.

Withdrawn Sanction's picture

 I realized this BEFORE I went to college. I came from nothing and had no help. I needed college to get this degree to work in the field of electronics design.

You might not realize how unusual you are.  Many students I encounter can not articulate a specific reason why they are in college, other than a vague reference to a better-paying job.   They're not there to pursue a career that they love.  They're just chasing the almighty dollar.

Well, if that's your goal, dont go to college. Your doing yourself and your future a disservice. Go to a vocational/technical school instead, or simply become an apprentice.  A few years ago an electrical apprentice billed us for work at $75/hour, while the master electrician billed at twice that rate.  The plumber's rates were slightly higher.  A key reason for these high rates is the relative few entrants into these positions, with so many thinking college is the only route to riches.

But even better, spend some time figuring out what you truly want to do with your lives and THEN pursue your career, degree, or whatever it is.

pavman's picture

And folks in trades can make a ton of money working for themselves.  My cousin, after about 30 years of mechanic experience, finally got around to opening his own shop.  I think he's pulling in around $80k a quarter from the local area.  2 employees and himself.  Net take is probably somwhere around $47k a quarter.  And that's after he pays himself.

Confused's picture

Even more interesting. Student loans, even though they cannot be forgiven in bankruptcy, in some cases need to be co-signed. Think about that. 


Graduates may have nothing to lose and want to walk away. But the person who co-signed their loan might feel a bit differently. The whole situation is fucked. 

AldousHuxley's picture

parents should never co-sign anything.


co-sign = co-dependency of parental welfare




monad's picture

You brought 'em into the world, they're yours. I'll take care of mine, you take care of yours.

uncle_vito's picture

The interest rates on student loans was so ridiculous, I just paid for my kid's tuition out of my savings.  No way am I going to pay that ridiculous rate!

AldousHuxley's picture

interest rate is ridiculous because chance of your kid getting a job to pay it back after graduation is ridiculous.


financial hardship is the best teacher for your kids to understand personal finance.


interest rate can be written off in taxes.



BoNeSxxx's picture

I took my college savings account for my two sons and blew it on a farm which I gave to them.  

They are happily thriving debt-free, experimenting with organic farming, learning how to make an honest living, bartering, getting to know their neighbors, brewing their own beer, and seem as happy as they have ever been.  They are independent and bring me fresh produce and eggs daily.  And they continue to educate themselves in the subjects that genuinely interest them.

If everyone did this, the world would be a far better place.

MisterMousePotato's picture

I am genuinely impressed.

Think your children will adopt me? (And my wife?) (And daughter?) (Oh, I have several cats, too.) (And ...

monad's picture

Barry, the American taxpayers are already on the hook for all that. You already got theirs, don't be so greedy.

cherokeepilot's picture

Good choice!!  I got divorced at age 51.  Ordered to pay 12,000 per year for 10 years to the ex.  I was dead broke with thoughts of suicide.  Bought small farm in Kentucky for $100K, money loaned from good friend, paid loan off in 15 years even with puting  many buildings on the farm (just a dumb carpenter before becoming a farmer). It was a lot of work but 20 years later the land alone is worth over $200k, with the buildings that are on it, it is valued at over $750K.  I own it free and clear along with the county (real estate taxes). It provides a decent income, house is appraised at $450K.  Farm equiment cost an additional $100K (not included in farm value).  Not bragging, but if one wants to work instead of sitting on their ass, you don't (as they say around here) need no college degree to make it.  Have horses, llamas, alpacas, donkeys and lots of cats and dogs. Oh! by the way forgot to mention my $80,000.00 airplane.  So much like your sons, I found heaven on a farm.

killallthefiat's picture

16% vs 18%...quite conclusive.  Worthless infographic.

HardAssets's picture

an 'info' graphic with 1986, 1992, and 2002  figures at that

Do they actually think tomorrow will be like yesterday ?  Are they that desperate ?


centerline's picture

+1.  Normalcy bias.  LOL.  Shit is changing fast now... pendulum starting to swing the other way now and picking up speed.  What does it mean?  Who knows for sure.  But, one thing is for certain, tomorrow won't look like yesterday.

Also easy to see that emphasis is all on academics... the acquisition of degrees, credentials, etc. at a furious pace.  Meanwhile, mental and social health be damned.




JackT's picture

It's not about the's all about who you know that makes the difference

LMAOLORI's picture



Simple solution then don't go to college but if you do you should pay back your loans because my grandchildren shouldn't be expected to pay them back for you with interest.

q99x2's picture

It should be all public colleges. The young women are easier.

AldousHuxley's picture

low barrier to entry for not just you but all....


easy = public toilet = everybody gets to use it = dirty

otto skorzeny's picture

stupid me- I thought that going to a high-priced private school already implies that you are juiced in to the system- thus making you automatically eligible for a top-notch job no matter what your actual intelligence may be.

nmewn's picture

I love the theoretical weight "a Harvard study" tends to enjoy.

The last "study" I looked into was done by was for health care. They sampled some people asking if they had health insurance or not. Years later they came back to see how many had died with & without health insurance at the time of death.

Now, if you had no insurance and died in a plane crash, got hit by a car or hung yourself masterbating or ate too many tacos and your guts exploded, it didn't died without health insurance...ergo...people without health insurance die at a higher rate than those who have it.

Made no difference (because they didn't check their personal histories) how they died (crashes, suicides, murders or health issues) OR if they had health insurance from the very start of the "study" until the week before they died.

It just was...they died without it.

Very scientific, our best and

Meesohaawnee's picture

and i even like it better on a daily basis in a story on economics etc lets say in the WSJ. .. its always "professor so and so of buttfuck university said that supply and demand..etc" like professor knows a damn thing about the real world. Hes hole up in a bunker all his life gawkin at coeds  and if its in economics trying to keep his field relevant

nmewn's picture

Thats about right...whats the last real un-tenured job Krugman ever had?

He wouldn't last a day in the real world where ones worth is measured in results...not theory.

Slightly Insane's picture

You rang the bell on that one.  Krugman couldn't even get a job cleaning toilets at Walmart.  I'm guessing that his real title would be "shill" for everything put out by the statists.

AldousHuxley's picture

when high IQ nobel prize winning brain has to get a job cleaning toilets at Walmart while some douchey celebrity nomorals bare all gets job selling shit to stupid for millions, society is ill and capital is not being allocated correctly.


perhaps stupids have to much money.....little hunger would make stupids appreciate non-stupids.

brettd's picture

Enron, I think.

Not kidding. 

brettd's picture

Enron, I think.

Not kidding. 

nmewn's picture

Yeppers, at the pinnacle of every bubble, you'll find Krugman & Co.

nmewn's picture


The "ethic" (lack thereof) is happening way before they ever get to the college level...Atlanta...basically the whole damned district...pardon the Huffpo link, its just the latest.

Its a crime syndicate up there really...this thing with Atlanta goes back years. This is the future and we're paying for it and will pay a higher price down the road.

And yet...I say again...I will never live to see the day a teacher or politician will come before the nation and say...our education funding is fine, we don't need anymore...vested interests.

AldousHuxley's picture

well, she wasn't lying when she said she had to help Students Cheat On State Exam because they were dumb as hell



She teaches at Dobbs Elementary...


99.5% African Americans

99.5% free lunch

"dumb as hell" kids


why do they need to learn math when they get free lunch?


it isn't all teacher's fault either. this is where government needs to cut off welfare and teach the kids the "real life" free lunch just because you are black.

nmewn's picture

The point is not skin color...the point is, they are not being taught and we are paying for them to not be taught, in more ways than one.

The teachers (not all) are more interested in where their salaries will be next year than where their students will not a teacher...THAT is a greedy fucking criminal mind in charge of class rooms full of young impressionable minds who don't have any idea what is happening to them.

Its criminal...and its going to stop.

AldousHuxley's picture

good luck trying to educate decendents of slaves who were picked form africa for physical talents not mental. rapping and basketball may be the only ticket for low IQ high physical talents folks. because cotton pickers lost jobs to machines long time ago.


sure teachers can be more effective, but come think bright young teacher wants to work in a fucking ghetto school with ghetto parents and ghetto kids with ghetto culture?


it is not teachers' fault for poor for having kids they don't want or afford because no parent who cares about their kids' education to a school with 99.5% free lunch. fuck, that's even worse than some california schools full of illegal mexicans!



nmewn's picture

The Atlanta school district is majority black teachers and administrators as far as I can tell. Its not happening because of skin color.

Its simple greed...they're more concerned with their salaries, Lexus cars and pensions than with the kids they're screwing over for life. I hope you're not really sittin around thinking a black child can't learn the basics. Theres a lot of adopted kids (all skin colors) with white parents and mixed race families who can demonstrate otherwise.

RichardP's picture

Whether and how a child can learn is often determined before they are born (how mother ate; whether she drank and/or smoked and/or used drugs while pregnant; oxygen deprivation before birth; etc).  That pre-birth prejudicing can be mitigated somewhat if the newborn spends the first 3-5 years in an enriched environment - the type of environment that an adopted child often receives.  For those children whose mental capabilities are stunted before they are even born, continuing on in the same family that gave rise to their stunted pre-natal capabilities is likely to make their mental capabilities even more stunted.

For learning to take place, a student must have an innate ability to learn.  If that innate ability is missing or stunted by things that happened before they were born, no amount of teaching is going to overcome that.

The scenario just described does not apply to everyone who comes from a poor home life.  But it does apply to more than a few.  To pretend that these children are capable of the same level of achievement as children whose synapses are well-nourished by proper nutritient and being cherished is unrealistic and cruel.

Our nation has had a serious policy failure by those pretending that all children are capable of the same basic level of academic achievement.

AnAnonymous's picture

good luck trying to educate decendents of slaves who were picked form africa for physical talents not mental.

Your contempt for negroes is showing. Ummm, wrong person again. 'Americans' are exempted from this consideration.

By the way, slaves were not handpicked for their physical talents but for their craftsmanship. That was the type of people in demand.

But 'Americans' would not be 'Americans' if they were bothered with facts.

AnAnonymous's picture

Considering US citizens and their eternal nature, I am enjoying this, I am enjoying this (same tone as 'American' middle class Thatcher on her last day in the house)

BooMushroom's picture

Their craftsmanship? like how well each of them was built? Or you mean their skills in craftsmanship, I.e. their physical talents?

I think you are implying that this group of people should be excellent at carpentry, sculpture, art, masonry, yes? You are agreeing with OP, and you don't realize it.

LucasATX's picture

Exactly. And you did not even need to speak the truth with a bunch of pretty graphics and numbers.