The Exorbitant Cost Of Getting Ahead In Life

Authored by Michael Scott via,

Some 84 percent of Americans claim that a higher education is a very or extremely important factor for getting ahead in life, according to the National Center for public policy and Higher Education.

So, it’s worth the exorbitant cost, but not everyone can pay, and outsized costs in the U.S. are giving much of the rest of the developed world the higher education advantage.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), people with a Bachelor’s Degree earn around 64 percent more per week than those with a high school diploma, and around 40 percent more than those with an Associate’s Degree. In turn, those with an Associate’s degree earn around 17 percent more than those with a high school diploma.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that college graduates overall earn 80 percent more than those without a degree.

There’s also job security to consider.

Individuals with college degrees have a lower average unemployment rates than those with only high school educations. Among people aged 25 and over, the lowest unemployment rates occur in those with the highest degrees.

From this perspective, it’s no surprise that students are willing to bite the bullet and take on a ton of debt to finance education.

About three-fourths of students who attend four-year colleges graduate with loan debt. And this number is up from about half of students three decades ago.

The average student loan debt for Class of 2017 graduates was $39,400, up 6 percent from the previous year. Over 44 million Americans now hold over $1.5 trillion in student loan debt, according to Student Loan Hero.

According to College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents attending public universities.

The U.S. is one of the most expensive places to go obtain a higher education, but there are pricier venues, too.

If you want a free higher education, try Europe—specifically Germany and Sweden. Denmark, too, doles out an allowance of about $900 a month to students to cover their living expenses. But don’t try to study in the UK on the cheap. The UK is the most expensive country in Europe, with college tuition coming in at an average of $12,414.

In Australia, graduates don’t pay anything on their loans until they earn about $40,000 a year, and then they only pay between 4 percent and 8 percent of their income, which is automatically deducted from their bank accounts, reducing the chances of default.

For Japan—a country that sees more than half of its population go to college—the highly respected University of Tokyo only costs about $4,700 a year for undergraduates, thanks to government subsidies. The Japanese government spends almost $8,750 a year per student because it sees the massive value in having a highly educated citizenry.

For Americans, while student loans may still be a good investment overall, the idea of taking a lifetime to pay off the debt may become increasingly unattractive. And it’s only going to get worse, according to JPMorgan, which predicts that by 2035 the cost of attending a four-year private college will top $487,000.


nmewn snblitz Sat, 07/14/2018 - 08:18 Permalink

Yes, plus one....excellent point!

The anti-MIC's (is that even a word? ALWAYS conveniently leave that part of the speech out, picking & choosing Ike's words for their own given angle of debate, leaving aside the context of his speech. Makes me wonder why they do that, they represent themselves as "smart enough" to know what he said and why he said it so, why would they do that?...becomes the question.

Of course I have my own suspicions but thats off topic of your sound and rock solid point.

It was a speech about cronyism, grant systems, the danger of government sponsored entities (we recognize as communism/socialism/fascism today) and how having the government pay someone or some thing constantly, forever, without limit (thereby transferring their risk of financial loss to the government) ultimately leads to intellectual laziness and a lack of scientific curiosity. 

After all, the only concern of the parasite, it's only real curiosity is, where it's next meal is coming from (if even that, parasites are simple things, not overly complicated at all) and the life or death of the host doesn't factor into it's day to day feedings ;-)

In reply to by snblitz

Utopia Planitia ChaoKrungThep Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:00 Permalink

If your goal is free education like that then move there and get your bonus!  Oh, except it is doubtful you would qualify, since you have to study your ass off and excel at qualifying exams from kindergarten through high school.

If you think "free college" is such a great idea then find some students and pay for their college.  See what you get out of it.  Most likely you will get some youngsters who like to party and get shit-faced and puke themselves silly.  That is what all the "free college" kids did who were there when I was working my ass off to pay my way.

In reply to by ChaoKrungThep

Endgame Napoleon ChaoKrungThep Sat, 07/14/2018 - 08:26 Permalink

In every workplace that I have seen, when a difference in pay existed, the gap between a non-managerial bachelor’s-degree-holding employee and one without a degree was $1 per hour. 

When a woman with a bachelor’s degree and 4 licenses was paid $10 per hour, a woman with no degree and no licenses in the field was paid $9 per hour. In a large corporate building, the pay difference was often $12 per hour v/s $11 per hour or $11 per hour, as opposed to $10 per hour.

This does not count unearned income from spouses, ex spouses or government, including from the progressive tax code, hoisting up the pay of the womb-productive employees, particularly when they stay under the income limits for the programs.

Even such a tiny pay difference causes trouble, especially with resentful, non-degree-holding mommas who constantly let you know that their soooooo smart kids are going to college in the many, many, many mom-gang office jobs, “voted best for moms.”

The essential credential in most corporate office jobs, including call centers and corporate back offices, is womb productivity, not a degree.

It causes trouble for a degree-holding, childless woman to get $1 per hour more, even when she is one of the few employees coming to work every day and meeting the sales generation and account-retention quotas every month, while above-firing, non-degree-holding mommas are absentee for frequent and whole mornings, afternoons, days and weeks, in addition to their PTO and pregnancy leave, getting away with it even when they fail to meet the quotas due to crony-parent managers, doing the same.

Degree or no degree, the flextime-momma managers are calculatingly smart, churning and burning the hard workers who are not “culture fits” after their numbers are boosted by the churn-able employees’ efforts.

Ditto for other paper credentials, like so-called legally required licenses and, in the worst case scenario, being a woman who has not reproduced and is thus not a culture fit with both a bachelor’s degree and multi, state-required licenses.

Big companies hire whole buildings full of non-licensed moms with “somethin comin in” from spousal income, child support that covers rent or layers of monthly welfare that covers rent and groceries and up to $6,431 in refundable child tax credits, adding one or two licensed “signers” who need to be culture fits during the all-important workplace activities, like baby-mommy-look-alike-bulletin-board-decorating contests and tacky Christmas sweater contests. 

I have been asked to see proof of my degree twice: in a government job that paid $12 per hour and in temp job, grading standardized tests, that paid $10.40 per hour.

The salary levels of highly paid and often connected-up crony parents in private-sector professions—and of highly paid and equally crony government employees in jobs that often require degrees—are averaged into the overall numbers, skewing the impact of a degree on the earnings of most job seekers. 

Try just measuring what a bachelor’s degree yields for non-managerial employees in the private sector. 

In reply to by ChaoKrungThep

SilverDOG Lost in translation Sat, 07/14/2018 - 07:38 Permalink

A large portion of the higher education training,

debt addiction.

In order to "fit in" or equal others before and beside you,

one must continue to joyously incur debt.

Such fuel many forms of instability and dependencies.

Vast majority assume the passive aggressive

psychological effect of the debt obligation, is expected

and natural. 

History disputes this assumption, and happiness often is 

the cost.


In reply to by Lost in translation

DosZap Lost in translation Sat, 07/14/2018 - 15:14 Permalink

Yes, FOUR of the wealthiest people I know have only a HS diploma.Started with nothing and did it the American way.No geniuses, just hard work, learned a trade that WILL never be obsolete, and then became the owners of their own companies.

ALL before 50yrs old.Now they just check jobs, and advertise and word of mouth referrals keep them from having to pay for much,if any advertising.

In reply to by Lost in translation

Dr.Strangelove Fri, 07/13/2018 - 21:26 Permalink

When I attended college, I managed to obtain both a Bachelors and a Masters degree without having to take out any loans.  I paid for most of it myself through hard work, and obtained a small amount of assistance from my supportive parents.  That was 30 years ago.

Today I have managed to fully fund both of my kids college expenses out of pocket over the past 6 years. That tells you what a good education is worth in dollar terms, but the life lessons are much more valuable. I hope they can take a clue from their parents. 

I have no problem with paying my own way, but I draw the line with loan forgiveness and free government funded educations. Deadbeats should pay their own way or suffer the consequences of making bad decision to get a worthless dead end degree from the likes of Evergreen State College

Socialism is not in our best interests.  


ScratInTheHat Dr.Strangelove Fri, 07/13/2018 - 22:15 Permalink

With all due respect there are many who could do the same that never got sucked into the system. Today education is not limited to the old system. You can make yourself valuable if you want to be an employee without it or take all the risk going for your own goals. The system is a trap to use all you are for someone else's benefit!

In reply to by Dr.Strangelove

ChaoKrungThep Justin Case Fri, 07/13/2018 - 22:34 Permalink

Your USA is socialist, fool. Want to try REAL Capitalism? No job, starve. Sick, die in the gutter. Getting old, no pension, Loan overdue, debtor's prison where you run on a treadmill 14 hours a day.

Oh, you think food stamps, medicaid, pensions, social security, are Capitalist? Suckers, True Capitalism would kill you in a month. Read some Charles Dickens about the joy of British capitalism (they invented it) in the 19th century. You'll faint before you vomit.

In reply to by Justin Case

snblitz ChaoKrungThep Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:17 Permalink

One of the interesting aspects of Dicken's works is that the poor and starving are represented as simply sitting in the gutter starving with a vacant expression.

No running around with signs protesting their condition or even begging.  They just sit there and die.

Do you consider mutual aid societies to be socialist? Is insurance socialist?  Is a sound pension socialist?

Food stamps, medicaid, public pensions, and social security are not so much socialist as they are theft to the degree that they are unsound (underfunded) by the participants.

Government cannot "commit" charity. Welfare is the forceful taking of the labor of one person and giving it to another. Theft plain and simple.  Unsound public pensions are fraud and will soon be theft.  Social security for those who paid in enough is just, for those who did not it is theft.  Social security is a fraud to the degree that it is unsound.

Social Security is insurance or an annuity.  If an insurance company offers a program that it cannot possible make good on it is considered fraud.  But not when the government does it.

The problem is government in all its forms.

In reply to by ChaoKrungThep

surf@jm Fri, 07/13/2018 - 21:35 Permalink

So whats the answer?......

Socialize the cost for college?.....

I think a better answer is get rid of the socialists running the colleges.....

snblitz surf@jm Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:22 Permalink

You could make the employers pay the cost of the education.

In other words, as a potential student you go out a sell your future income stream to an employer.

The future employer is probably more "invested" in your success than the insurance company (or the government).

If you can't find an employer to fund your education and later hire you it is off to the soylent green factory for you.

In reply to by surf@jm

Delphi_Addiction Fri, 07/13/2018 - 21:35 Permalink

I'm a financial planner. A new prospect came in today. 37, works for VA, over 500k in student loans, for masters and doctorate, on the PAYE and PSLF plans. Google it, 10 years of payments, 120 months, *paying $33/mon* I shit you not. No plans to pay more, walks away in 2037, $1M  forgiven, and doesn't have to even pay taxes on balance because he's .gov. Making $75k in 18, 20% fixed raises for next 3 years.


Guess who pays that. Obama knew what he was doing with PSLF. Wealth transfer to academia to indoctrinate young socialists. I'm still shaking.