Only a generation ago it was very common for a young person to have a very clear path to success in America: go to high school, get good grades, go to college, get a degree, get a good job, buy a house, start a family, and live happily ever after. For the most part this path was reasonably achievable, with education being relatively affordable and jobs plentiful.
Today however young people are stopped dead in their tracks after high school as they are forced to deal with skyrocketing college tuition that make college unaffordable unless you take on tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt. To make matters worse jobs are scarce, which means there is no guarantee that you will even have the means to repay the massive student loan debts that you incur. In order to negotiate the American dream you have to be creative to get the education and training required to land a great job. Fortunately there are some some people creating programs that can help.
In a recent edition of Dan Rather Reports entitled "College on the Cheap" the host presented two alternative methods to get the education and training required to get a degree and/or job skills. Both methods symbolize a revolutionary change in the way education is delivered and could forever alter the way people think of higher education.
Online Degrees - University Now
Outside of paying for college, getting accepted used to be the most difficult challenge when getting a degree. Today getting accepted is only half the battle - the other half is getting the classes you need once you get there. Many colleges are severely overcrowded and understaffed with teachers, forcing many children to stand by indefinitely on waiting lists to get courses or suffer through classes without desks and or adequate seating.
An alternative that many students are turning to is the online degree where students take internet coursework to complete their degree just as if they were in class. Many major universities are offering this alternative, but unfortunately many of these schools still charge an unbearable price tag for their online program.
Programs like University Now offer a cost effective alternative while still providing the same quality education of its counterparts. Started in 2012 by Gene Wade, University Now combines online technology with innovative teaching strategies to reproduce the college experience of being at a traditional college, all at the cost of a monthly cell phone bill (less than $400/month). To find out more about University Now, click here.
Specialized Training - Dev Bootcamp
If you are not willing to roll the dice on a 4-year degree with the hopes of getting a job you may want to try a specialized training program. In the matter of a few months and at about one-tenth of the cost you could learn real-world job skills in a focused environment and avoid the long-term debt that college offers.
Dev Bootcamp is one of several programs that offers this type of alternative. In an intensive 9-week program at a cost of $12,200 students learn how to become a developer using current development languages, techniques and methodologies. After this intensive bootcamp there is a job fair at which multiple employers meet with students to offer them employment. Last year 92% of the students were hired into jobs with an average salary of $82,000. To find out more about the program click here.
Thinking outside of the box is a requirement for students today. A 4-year college may be right for you, but know that there are other alternatives that might get you where you want to go faster, with less debt, and a higher probability of success in the job market.
Why is it necessary to look at these alternative methods of attaining education and job training? Below are some alarming facts about college and the job market.
In the last 25 years the cost of tuition at private school has doubled. At public universities the cost has tripled.
People in the US owe over a trillion in student loan debt, more than all of the credit card debt in the country combined.
In 2005 people over 30 owed $210 million in student loan debt. In 2012 that number has tripled to $619 million.
The typical student in America today is 27 years old, has a family and is working their way through school.
Since 2007 California has cut 2.7 billion from the Higher Education budget meanwhile the cost of tuition at UC schools has increased by 73%.
In 2011 50% of college graduates under 25 were jobless after their first year of graduation.