Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Seven Reasons to Not Send Your Kids to College

James Altucher has written an article, titled Seven Reasons to Not Send Your Kids to College, for Daily Finance. Altucher writes that "the entire college industry is a scam, a self-perpetuating Ponzi scheme that needs to stop right now."

He lists six financial reasons why college doesn't make sense (and these reasons all make sense). And then he lists a seventh reason, which I find quite compelling:

Alternatives to spending $200,000 per kid [in the US] so they can waste four years of their lives:
  • Give them $20,000 to start one to five businesses. [And it's okay if they fail - the learning will be invaluable.]
  • Travel the world. [If they want, they can go to college afterwards "with a much more mature view of the world".]
  • Work.
  • Volunteer.
  • Do nothing but read.

Regarding that last item, he says, "I'd be happy to support a child that wants to home school a college education."

Yeah. Me, too.

Here is the accompanying interview that's quite interesting to watch:

Update: here's what Pat Farenga has to say about it.

...the message of [John Holt's] that echoes more today than ever for me is this: college is among the chief enslaving institutions of America.

When Holt said this I believe he was thinking about graduates who spent time and money on degrees to work in fields they no longer enjoy but are now trapped by their mortgages and loans into staying. Now this critique is gaining traction outside the circle of alternative schooling, probably because the cost of higher education is so out of alignment with its benefits. Nonetheless, the conventional wisdom is we must send our kids to college so they can make more money than high school graduates do.