Goldman Sachs has released research data no parent of a college-bound child should ignore. Financial projects indicate the ROI on a college education isn't very good for a sizable part of the student population. And, unless the higher education system changes dramatically, the study shows things will only get worse.
3 Reasons You Might Want To Not Send Your Kid To College
With the cost of a college education sky-high, the ramifications run deep. Here are three reasons why a degree may not be worth if for your child:
1) Your child may live at home (and need financial support) even longer. The crushing debt of a college education turns many students into 'Boomerang Kids' i.e. they end up coming back to live at home AND stay for a long time. Right now, the number of adult children living at home is at an all-time high. Those numbers are about to get higher. Here's why:
As the price tag of a college education goes up, it's taking longer for the investment to pay off. Here's what Goldman projects:
-- 2015 graduates won't break even until age 31
-- 2030 graduates won't break even until age 33
-- 2050 graduates won't break even until age 37
In short, don't turn that bedroom into a craft center just yet. If you send your child to college, they may be back - and staying for a long time.
2) Your child could end up with an over-priced piece of paper. Those four years working towards a degree that's supposed to guarantee them a better future, could end up feeling like a big waste of time.
Goldman's new report indicates many students are better off not going to mediocre colleges -- ones that rank in the bottom 25% of all universities. Why? They earn less, on average, than high school graduates.
Moreover, what students study matters greatly, according to Goldman's. The study cites:
Graduates studying lower paying majors such as arts, education and psychology face the highest risk of a negative return, notes Goldman. For them, college may not increasingly be worth it.
As the owner of an online career improvement platform, I've worked with thousands of recent graduates and can validate this research. Unemployment in college grads is hanging at 26%. Their underemployment, while harder to assess, is estimated to be even higher. Meanwhile, their peers who didn't go to college have been working all that time, building valuable skills - often, in trade jobs earning solid wages.
3) Your child could miss out on learning how to leverage the "new" educational platforms companies are embracing. Online learning is exploding. Students who can't survive and thrive in a digital classroom could suffer. Why? Employers are likely to become more open to hiring people who do other forms of training and education such as Lynda.com lessons (owned by LinkedIn (LNKD, Tech30)) or "MOOCs" (Massive Open Online Courses). In the near future, a traditional degree may not carry the same weight as a certification recently acquired through an online course where the content is constantly being updated and relevant to the demands of workplace.
Don't Assume College Is The Only Path To A Satisfying Career
The big takeaway from Goldman's research is parents shouldn't succumb to society's pressure to send their children to college. Like any major financial investment, the decision should be studied and the risk-reward should be measured carefully. Gone are the days when you graduated with a degree, got a great job, and spent the next twenty years climbing the corporate ladder in both tenure and pay. Today, every job is temporary. In fact, studies show as much as half our workforce will be independent contractors by 2020. Will a four-year degree prepare your child for the need to constantly reinvent her or himself? Right now, the answer for many could be "no."
Work with your child to help them identify their strengths and interests so they can start to see possible career paths. From there, they can start to build a smart gameplan to get education needed to succeed in their chosen direction.