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The Death of Higher Education – Episode 1

OK folks – I think this is going to be one of these writing series that you will either love or hate – I kind of doubt that there is going to be any middle ground. So for those I piss off, so be it, life goes on. I would, however, appreciate your feedback and/or commentary – good or bad. I am not offended by opposing opinions or the random “you are an idiot” comment. Trust me, you would not be the first, and will not be the last.  🙂

Anyway, as the title would imply, this series of “episodes” will be a bit of random commentary about the higher education business (the PC term for this is “system”) in the US. It is my opinion that there will be a massive restructuring (the PC term for collapse and rebuilding) of this business in my lifetime. Sure, I wish it was before my children were roped into this scam, but it will not be. Such is life.

And sure, many of you will just say that I am bitter because my kids are going to college now. That is an understandable position. But before you judge me and dismiss any of this, take the time to read a few of them and then maybe form your opinion. If you do that, I promise to be respectful when I read whatever flaming email you send me.  🙂

 

Episode 1 – Let’s Look at the Numbers

Let me start with the following statistics (full credit to Valuetainment, which is a really great YouTube channel done by a super smart dude Patrick Bet-David – check it out):

(I’ll save you some time, click HERE for the article used to create the above chart)

 

Yes, those are 2015 numbers, but I’m going to bet a dollar that the picture doesn’t get any prettier for 2018.

Let me translate this to reality here. Let’s assume that the “average” family has 2 kids that go to college, and I’ll even be generous and double the above average income to about $100K for this example.

  • $100K income is a gross number, so net income maybe $75K
  • I’ll be generous and say they have 15% of that net as disposable at the end of that month, so $11,250 annually
  • Let’s even split the difference in private and public schools and say one kid goes to each kind of school – so that means $40,370 annually
  • That is a deficit of $29,120 annually or $116,480 for the four years

Keep in mind that I doubled this fictitious family’s annual income and put one kid in private and one in public. Even with that, do you have $116K laying around or can save that in 4 years? If you do, then you are most fortunate, and the numbers that follow will validate the fact that you are in the minority.

 

Here are a couple additional interesting statistics:

Americans owe over $1.48 trillion in student loan debt,
spread out among about 44 million borrowers.
That’s about $620 billion more than the total U.S. credit card debt.

(Student Loan Hero – click HERE for the article)

$67.5 BILLION of student loans are in default

(Source: Student Loan Hero)

 

Not really sure much needs to be said following those numbers. And yes folks, that first number is trillion, with a “T”. Just for fun, here’s what it looks like:

$1,480,000,000,000

That’s a big ‘ole number isn’t it?

 

Does anyone really think that this business model is sustainable?!  If the forecast for a business you were asked to invest your life savings in suggested that your customer base would have to manage that level of debt burden and that it would only increase, is that really something you would invest in?

And if you really think that higher-education is a “non-profit”, then you need to open your eyes. There are only two things you need to consider that I think argue against the “we are a poor charity” position:

  1. College athletics
  2. The pounds and pounds (literally) of marketing material that high school kids start getting about their sophomore year

 

Really the point of this episode comes down to some very, very simple math – I will close with this question:

Is the higher education system business model sustainable if the
prices have doubled 17 times while the income of the
customer base has doubled only 5 times?!

 

PS – There are MANY more episodes to come folks, so saddle up!



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