My awesome daughter, young Galadriel Tanqueray Onassis, graduated from high school this year.
All of her friends will be going off to college this fall. But she won't.
Part of it is my fault. I suck as a parent. I didn't start a College Fund for her as soon as she was conceived and pump steady, regular contributions into it for the last 18 years. I should have, but I didn't.
But it wouldn't have mattered if I had. Personal savings can't cover the cost of college. At least not for a payday-to-payday working stiff like me. Even if I had been a Good Parent we would still needed grants, loans and scholarships to pay for a good school.
There was a time when Higher Education for all Americans was considered to be such an economic and national security priority that there were tons of Federal Grants and interest free loans available to anyone who wanted to go to college.
The Republicans fucking HATED that because it meant poor and middle class working people who tend to vote for Democrats could become the educated, socioeconomic equals of their ignorant, spoiled, Trust Fund brats.
So the Republicans started getting rid of Federal money for higher education and reducing Federal subsidies at the State level.
Without Federal subsidies, States had to reduce the money they made available for local grants and loans.
In return, private colleges and public universities had to raise tuition rates to make up for the lost State and Federal revenue.
To fill the financial gap between the reduced tax payer subsidies and the higher college tuition rates, private companies stepped in to provide student loans for profit. The end result is that the average student graduating from a 4 year college degree program will be shouldering anywhere between $25,000 to $60,000 in private student loan debt with no jobs available.
I don't see how this is giving these students a head start in life and putting them on a financially viable path. Just the opposite.
GTO explored what I thought was a much more practical alternative. She found a Career College, what we used to call a Vocational School, who offered a Dental Assistant program. Total tuition was $15,000 (less than what you would pay for 1 semester at a 4 year college) for an 8 month course that covered EVERYTHING from classes, to scrubs, to materials, to text books, to parking. The only the thing it didn't cover was the OSHA Mandated shoes. It even included an apprenticeship with a dentist and a job placement program. Sounded like a pretty solid alternative to a 4 year college program! We were pumped!
But my BFF strongly suggested that we ask some ACTUAL DENTISTS what THEY require of newly hired Dental Assistants before spending that kind of money. Apparently she could have saved about $30,000 in student loans to become a Paralegal if she had done the due diligence she was recommending. Good advice!
So GTO sent out a shotgun blast of emails to every dentist in the Blue Springs/Independence and asked "Training/No Training? What's your preference?" Every single one of them said "Don't waste $15,000.00. We can train you."
She had an interview with one of those Dentists tonight and she starts training/work in September.
By the time her friends graduate college buried in debt with no work experience and no job prospects, she will have 4-5 years work experience as a Dental Assistant, be well trained, debt free, and can pursue what ever educational or career path she chooses on a pay as you go basis.
Sometimes, the path less planned leads to the greater reward.