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College as an Investment?

May 9, 2016


Is College the Investment It Once Was?

Only 64% of Americans think college is a good financial investment.  That’s down from 81% in 2008. At the same time, Americans have shifted their financial priorities to retirement, rather than their children’s college costs.

$uccess Without College – the system is broken

So if the folks aren’t going to pay for it…you have to wonder.

What Does College Give You?

What is done at universities, besides bong hits and Xboxing?

In 2006, a government study found that nearly 70% of college graduates could not perform basic tasks like comparing opposing editorials. In a 2011 book, “Academically Adrift,” researchers studied 2,000 students at two dozen universities over four years and found that 45% of them showed no significant gains on a test of critical thinking, complex reasoning, and communication skills after two years of college. 

Do you need college teach reasoning? We’ve asked this in previous posts, but contrast the findings of the story above to the example of early billionaire Andrew Carnegie, who left school in early childhood

At the age of 13, in 1848,  Carnegie went to work in a factory, earning $1.20 a week. The next year he found a job as a telegraph messenger. Hoping to advance his career, he moved up to a telegraph operator position in 1851. He then took a job at the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1853. He worked as the assistant and telegrapher to Thomas Scott, one of the railroad’s top officials. Through this experience, he learned about the railroad industry and about business in general. Three years later, Carnegie was promoted to superintendent.


Andrew Carnegie – Success Without College

While working for the railroad, Carnegie began making investments. He made many wise choices and found that his investments, especially those in oil, brought in substantial returns. He left the railroad in 1865 to focus on his other business interests, including the Keystone Bridge Company.

By the next decade, most of Carnegie’s time was dedicated to the steel industry. His business, which became known as the Carnegie Steel Company, revolutionized steel production in the United States. Carnegie built plants around the country, using technology and methods that made manufacturing steel easier, faster and more productive. For every step of the process, he owned exactly what he needed: the raw materials, ships and railroads for transporting the goods, and even coal fields to fuel the steel furnaces.


Sounds like a critical thinker, and higher education was not part of his success.  But times are different now.  Right?



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