College debt a necessary evil?

Every good businessman will tell you that you must spend money to make money, so investing a hefty amount of cash in return for an invaluable education is the responsible, even clever, thing to do.

It used to be that an American would have a pretty good chance for a sound life with just a high school diploma under his or her belt and a good work ethic. Today, that is hardly the case.

College is no longer just an option. It is almost a necessity. The general demand for higher education has risen, but so have tuition costs. The question that plagues those who suffer in the present economy must be: Is the gross cost of a college education and resulting near-debilitating debt worth it?

Pulling together the money to send a child to college is a difficult and stressful process for those families who have not been able to save up the money. The FAFSA forms are long and tedious, and, after they are completed, some families find that they do not qualify for financial aid.

Many times, it seems that the families who need financial aid the most do not qualify. Furthermore, families that can afford to take out loans and pay the expense often receive financial aid. Besides this somewhat messed-up side of the system, there remains the simple fact that many who want to attend college are not receiving support from their families and must take out massive loans on their own, thereby placing themselves in debt before they’ve taken their first class.

From a pragmatic standpoint, this is a terribly inefficient model. In this day and age, a bachelor’s degree is more of a hindrance than a help. A student may enter college upon graduating high school and, assuming he or she follows through, graduate from a four-year program. After that, the student will have a bachelor’s degree, a load of debt and a slim chance at getting a job in his or her field of choice.

The present economy makes getting a job an even more competitive process than it may have already been. For this reason, that student will be stuck in a difficult quandary: Get more education and more debt or rough it out?

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