Feb 2, 2015
See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you’re gonna start doin’ some thinkin’ on your own and you’re going to come up with the fact that… you dropped 150 grand on a f****n’ education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!
Those are the wise words of the self-educated Will Hunting spoken to a cocky Harvard student in the classic 1997 movie, Good Will Hunting.
The Harvard student counters with, “Yeah, but I will have a degree. And you’ll be servin’ my kids fries at a drive-thru on our way to a skiing trip.”
There is a lot of talk lately about the value of a college degree. $150 grand will no longer cut it for a Harvard degree. Incoming students without scholarships or aid will shell out over a quarter million dollars for four years at Harvard. That’s one degree (or, if you want to be less cynical, education) that might just be worth it. The average Harvard University graduate starts out making $55,300 per year and makes about $120,000 by mid-career. But in many cases, according to a recent article in the Economist, students would be better off investing in 20-year treasury bills than in a college education.
Studies often compare what college graduates make compared to high school graduates. For example, this Pew Research Center article points out that college graduates ages 25 to 32 who are working full time earn about $17,500 more per year than high school graduates of the same age. What these studies do not tell us is how well those college graduates would have done if they had decided not to go to college. In other words, is it the college education/degree that leads to higher paying jobs or is it that people who choose to go to college have more going for them, whether it be intelligence or drive or connections, already? And it is whatever that more is that leads to better paying jobs whether or not they go to college.
What if, for example, instead of going to college some high school graduates spent four years studying at the public library? Could they do as well as they would do at a four-year college and come out with a lot less debt – $1.50 in late charges vs. a quarter million dollars?
I don’t know the answer, but at Webucator, we are giving libraries another tool to help their patrons learn valuable job skills. We have made all of our self-paced courses available for free to all libraries across the country.
February is Love your Library month. Please give your library a little love by telling them about this program. There are no strings attached. The program is free for libraries and the courses are free for their patrons. Join Webucator (and Will Hunting) in loving libraries! Spread the word.