In light of the recent cheating scandal for college admissions that’s been widely reported in the last couple of days, I want to twist it a bit to something I hear all the time and be a bit controversial in the process. When we are talking about bankruptcy or other financial disaster planning, people are always worried about their credit and if they will still qualify for student loans for their kids. So, they are in the middle of financial disaster and trying to figure out how to qualify for…more loans.
Honestly, not qualifying for student loans for someone else’s education is a total blessing in disguise. I am a huge proponent of not taking Parent Plus loans and not co-signing student loans. I cannot tell you how many clients I have in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 80s who are trying to deal with student loan issues, including having their Social Security garnished at 15% for federal loans that are in default.
What will happen if your child (adult child) can’t afford to go to a $60,000/year university on their own? Well, first of all, $60,000/year universities will have to adapt to people choosing less expensive avenues. The huge inflation in college education costs comes from easy money (that can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, how convenient) and from everyone thinking that they have to go to the highest-ranked college to get a decent job.
One of the celebrities caught up in the cheating scandal has a daughter who has publicly announced that she doesn’t want to be in college at all and is more interested in YouTube. Do you know how much money can be made if you have something that other people are interested in? There is an 7 year old kid making more than $20 million a year doing toy reviews on YouTube. Not that I am encouraging everyone to go out and be a YouTube sensation, but parents put so much pressure on the traditional college path that they totally miss out on the creativity and innovative ideas that kids and young adults have. And part of that pressure is trying to pay for really expensive college educations that are mostly unnecessary.
As an employer, I don’t actually care if someone has a degree. I care about their abilities, their drive, their experience, and what they bring to the table. There are a lot of big companies out there that are missing out on the next generation of innovators because they won’t hire someone who doesn’t have the “right” degree. Ask me how I know. I did my bachelor’s and master’s degrees online (back before online was a thing – it was really correspondence school). I’m pretty much blacklisted from some companies as soon as I list those degrees on my resume. Their loss.
Please do not take out student loans for your kids. Please encourage them to find what they are good at, even if it’s something you don’t understand. Oh, and please don’t bribe people so that your kids get higher test scores (I kind of feel that I shouldn’t have to say that, but apparently, it’s a thing).