College Degrees Are Like Carrots on a Stick – and we’re the Jackasses

By Sam Flynn on November 4, 2012

College tuition.

It is the classic problem when it comes to higher education. It’s certainly not an original idea that college is ridiculously overpriced. And it is fascinating to think that part of the origins of the middle class in America began with the famous G.I. Bill in 1948 that allowed veterans good education to flourish the economy. Now, we live in an America where many middle class families cannot afford the education and are thus squeezed out, sometimes to poverty. While families’ incomes have decreased over the years, college has inversely skyrocketed by over 70 percent.

We live in a world where not only is Social Security disappearing at an alarming rate, but we are expecting the next generation to shoulder also the debt of their college loans. Last year, they surpassed $1 trillion for the first time, which is more than is owed on credit cards and car loans combined. In the past, so much of loans and debt has been footed by the previous generation. Now, we are asking the next generation to pay out of their future earnings; earnings that, in this economy with low job security and opportunity, may not even exist.

From flikr, by thomastoons

The high cost of a college education contributes directly to the income equality in the United States as well. It is yet another way of inhibiting social mobility and widening the gap between the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated at the expense of the middle class. Occasionally there will be an individual who breaks through the titanium roof that the wealthy and the government have built – and that person will then be held up as the “rags to riches” standard that those in power use to keep the less fortunate fruitlessly chasing their ambitions. It takes extraordinary luck, genetics, talent, willpower, and fortitude to be one of those people. And the most important trait among those? Luck. Somebody can have all the good genetics, talent, will power, and fortitude but if they are never afforded a chance, if they miss that opportunity that maybe they didn’t even know existed, their dreams are smoke in the wind.

College is not just an experience anymore. It is not something that you can even live without. College is a carrot held in front of you. And you chase it and chase it, because that’s the incentive: that college degree. If you can get that college degree, you’ll be safe, in employment, in finance, and in life. But when you finally reach it, that carrot is rotted. It’s dead or even nonexistent. You were chasing a figment. Reality tricked you. The carrot was just a thing. Like a degree.

The irony is that people will continue to pay. I know I will, because I fear more living in a world without a college degree than I do being debt free. When those are the two options presented to a person, that of ultimate job insecurity or crushing personal finance, it makes one wonder what kind of ideals our society is promoting.

By Sam Flynn

Uloop Writer
It takes a real asshole to sum themselves up in a few words. So I will. I am a sophomore journalism student at Ohio University with a minor in creative writing. I am copy editor at the InterActivist magazine, secretary for Theta Chi fraternity, and columnist for Rascal magazine. I love books, film, tattoos, MMA, motorcycles, rapping, and blazers. My idols are George Carlin, Kevin Smith, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, and Hunter S. Thompson. I am also now officially an asshole. Cheers!

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