Author discusses student debt and solutions
HOUSTON – Why did you spend time writing this report?
Student debt is a big problem in the United States. Total university debt stands at $ 1.4 million, every second more than $ 2,800 of student debt is accumulated, and the average student debt in 2017 was just over $ 37,000. For 98% of Americans, the cost of a college education is a huge burden.
Why is it such a burden?
From 1989 to 2019, wages increased only 26% after adjusting for inflation. In contrast, tuition fees have skyrocketed. 178% for four state colleges, 108% for two-year colleges, 103% for non-private colleges, all inflation-adjusted. According to a recent NBC News Challenge Success survey, 56% of parents cite tuition and financial aid as a major concern when choosing their child’s school.
Has the student debt problem worsened over time?
Yes. Student loan debt increased from $ 260 billion in 2004 to $ 1.4 trillion in 2017; average debt has grown from $ 18,650 to $ 38,000 over the same period, and the number of people over age 60 with student loan debt has quadrupled over the past decade, from 700,000 to 2.8 million. This group’s share of debt has skyrocketed from $ 8 billion to $ 67 billion, and many are seeing loan repayments deducted from their Social Security checks.
So what do you propose to combat this problem?
Well, I proposed an education reform 10 months ago called The Every Advantage Plan. Several years ago when I was working on a telephone canvassing campaign for software sales at my first job. My prospects were colleges. I became the relationship between ACT / SAT and the acceptance rate. If you were to ask me what the ACT scores of the top 100 or 200 colleges are, I could probably name them all. A few years later, I coached the sales team at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Morehouse is where MLK Jr. went to college. A few years later, I worked in a Walmart in a store. I was writing a case study for the company and wanted to see if ACT / SAT scores could determine if a worker could do a certain job. In the process, I asked two of my former students what they were doing on their ACTs. When the first said 16. A 16 is in the 22nd percentile for the country. Not very well. I was very surprised that he scored this low because I knew he could continue to make six-figure software sales in his mid-twenties if he wanted to. I then asked another student. He also rolled a 16. I couldn’t believe it. I knew I had very powerful raw data that no one had ever analyzed before.
What happened after you discovered this connection?
Initially, nothing. But I knew I had this data that could change the way the US views education / people entering the workforce. I just sat on it for a few years. Then when a brother in the fellowship announced that there had been a drop in the number of people applying for student loans due to the pandemic, I posted that it might actually be a good thing because I thought that the university was overrated.
What happened next ?
I decided to write a report, a case study of sorts. A lot of people talk about the value of trade schools and so on, but the study I focused on was about getting white collar jobs without a college degree. I contacted Lizzie Fletcher, who is considered a moderate Democrat in Houston. I sent him a report, wrote a supplemental report, and got a call with his teacher.
What are the gist of the reports?
A quote I use in the book is from a movie called The Big Short. âPeople want an authority that tells them how to evaluate things, but they choose that authority not based on facts or results. They choose him because he feels bossy and familiar to them. Basically I’m claiming that Americans have been brainwashed into believing that in order to be successful in life you have to go to college. I claim that is not true at all. One thing I am focusing on is when most students drop out of college and why? Is it after a year, two years or three years. If college is used to filter students, could we assume that fewer people drop out in second and third year than in first year? Do people give up because they can’t afford it?
The report also takes a look at the fact that many college courses don’t actually teach us the skills we need for our jobs. Personally, I have learned more about fundraising for my high school than in any of my college courses combined.
Coming back to the relationship between SAT / ACT scores and worker readiness, how often do students who might excel in white collar jobs not get the chance because they score too low? to their standardized tests?
I also compare the cost of mediocre or even good colleges to elite private high schools, which arguably do a better job of getting someone into the workforce at a fraction of the cost. Normally people think that elite private schools are very expensive, when in fact compared to what you get from a mediocre college it’s actually good value for money.
You’re obviously talking to a Democrat about this. In your opinion, is the Every Advantage Plan a liberal policy?
Absolutely not. This plan is about as bipartisan as it gets. 70% of people who end up going to college have to take out a college loan. So many people don’t even try to go to college because they don’t want to take out a loan. As I said earlier, only the top 2% don’t have to worry about tuition fees; almost everyone is affected by the cost of a college education. I think it might help the top 2% as well. I claim I had such a good education in high school that I could have gone straight to Emory or University of Georgia Law School. Instead of someone paying $ 70,000 a year for an Ivy League degree so they can get into finance, they could just do a one-year boot camp at a fraction of the cost. Additionally, in June 2020, President Trump signed an order prioritizing professional skills over college degrees in government hiring.
Why not give everyone a free college like Bernie Sanders suggests?
If everyone got free college, not only would it lower the value of the college, but taxpayers would have to pay for it. A double whammy.
Talk about your own college experience at Samford University in Birmingham, AL
To be brutally honest, I deeply regret going to college. Like I said earlier, I learned more through fundraising for my high school than in my college classes. Despite the fact that my books that I interviewed with you deal with classical literature, history, psychology, and the Bible, not only did I not take any of these courses in college, but I haven’t even taken a single course in them. My father spent $ 100,000 for my studies at Samford University. Come to think of it, if he just put it in mutual funds, that money would be worth $ 400,000 today. I have also seen the success my mentor Bill McDermott has had in life, growing up in poverty and now worth 9 figures, and in his Winners Dream biography he does not attribute any of his successes to what he learned. at University. , but rather on-the-job training. I was the same way. I did a D + in Finance in college, but when I learned the same subject when I was working as an entrepreneur for investment banking, I learned it right away.