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Having recently graduated with a Masters of Information Systems Management, I'm still holding high the torch of a plethora of available possibilities to me. However, with little "real" experience per-se, I'm wondering where on the ladder I'm able to start at. While technically, I'm 4th rung up from the bottom at my work, I don't have any real world experiences of what I actually went to school for. Since graduating though, I've been applying to essentially everything at my work that applies to my experiences and education that I feel matches me and am still waiting to hear back from HR to see if I can be placed on a qualifying candidate list for promotion.

While I'm still in this euphoria of my educational accomplishment, I'm unsure if I can take it within my employer. I say this because my employer doesn't seem to care about anything past a bachelor's degree and anything else above it, is just icing on the cake. I know that I also have many more opportunities with other employers, however, living where I live, those possibilities are very slim to work out for me as they would require an average one-way commute of 2hrs+; something I don't want to do again.

Basically, I feel as if my education may have been an over-achievement that will not apply to me if I want to stay with my current employer. I know I can move out, but I don't plan on doing that any time soon for a multitude of reasons, lengthy commutes being one of them.

All this being said, is your guys' education - be it Doctorate / PhD, MIS / MBA, Bachelor, Associate, Trade School / Certificates - worked out for you? Like, are you in the career you studied for and are you where you want to be at? Or, are you in the career you studied for, but still have a ways to go before it works out the way you imagined it would work out for you?
 

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Having recently graduated with a Masters of Information Systems Management, I'm still holding high the torch of a plethora of available possibilities to me. However, with little "real" experience per-se, I'm wondering where on the ladder I'm able to start at. While technically, I'm 4th rung up from the bottom at my work, I don't have any real world experiences of what I actually went to school for. Since graduating though, I've been applying to essentially everything at my work that applies to my experiences and education that I feel matches me and am still waiting to hear back from HR to see if I can be placed on a qualifying candidate list for promotion.

While I'm still in this euphoria of my educational accomplishment, I'm unsure if I can take it within my employer. I say this because my employer doesn't seem to care about anything past a bachelor's degree and anything else above it, is just icing on the cake. I know that I also have many more opportunities with other employers, however, living where I live, those possibilities are very slim to work out for me as they would require an average one-way commute of 2hrs+; something I don't want to do again.

Basically, I feel as if my education may have been an over-achievement that will not apply to me if I want to stay with my current employer. I know I can move out, but I don't plan on doing that any time soon for a multitude of reasons, lengthy commutes being one of them.

All this being said, is your guys' education - be it Doctorate / PhD, MIS / MBA, Bachelor, Associate, Trade School / Certificates - worked out for you? Like, are you in the career you studied for and are you where you want to be at? Or, are you in the career you studied for, but still have a ways to go before it works out the way you imagined it would work out for you?
Following this thread as I am in a really similar place in life. I am in my final semester of an MBA program and should be finished in December. By that point I will have been in my current job for 3.5 years. I work at a Chevy dealership doing GM parts along with running an ecommerce site for parts and accessories. I hope that this sales experience compliments my MBA but I have no idea if it will. I know my opportunities for advancement are rather slim at a dealership, but I don't have any other idea where to go. I'm considering talking to the career center people on campus and attending a few job fairs, since I'm not against relocating. It just happens to be a pain in the ass when I have three cars and a house full of stuff. :tongue:

I admire the people who went to school because they had a certain goal in mind, be it engineering, medicine, politics, social work, or whatever. Personally, I just took the classes I liked (political science) until I got my BA, and kept going to school because I had no idea what I wanted to do. This was the reason for pursing my MBA, but now that I will have it, I'm in much the same position.

I've been working full time and attending school full time since I was 18. I'm half tempted to just cruise at the dealership for another year or so while I figure things out. I like my job and the people I work with. Unfortunately if I stay I'd be wasting my MBA, as the opportunity cost of staying at the dealership is high. I could do much better nearly anywhere else, I'm just not sure where that is.
 

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All this being said, is your guys' education - be it Doctorate / PhD, MIS / MBA, Bachelor, Associate, Trade School / Certificates - worked out for you? Like, are you in the career you studied for and are you where you want to be at? Or, are you in the career you studied for, but still have a ways to go before it works out the way you imagined it would work out for you?
I started with a degree for Business Administration, and worked my way up the ladder with that for a while - wasnt really my thing because I was more about the administration but it always turned out to be performace based on sales.

Along the way Ive always been working on cars and got my degree in Automotive Powertrain / Engine performance with all of the ASE certifications, etc .. with the business admin experience I was able to combine the two and run my own jobs which turned out to be more profitable with all of the certificates to back it up.

The last few years I have switched over to work in the trade, still have a couple more years of school left - but with the 20+ years of mechanical background, and the business admin side .. plus everything else ive picked up along the way, fitting into the trade has been a pretty good transition for me but I see myself running projects not long after I finish the school portion - so yeah its heading in that direction, and everything else from the past is a good foundation to move forward.

I would weigh your options carefully .. if youre not willing to move or commute, you're not going to get too far even with all of the school. My buddy not too long ago finished his degree in IT admin at the 4 year college and now works at NASA, driving a Mercedes.
 

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You can pull down a comfortable living at a dealership...if you're into that sort of thing...it's not all bad, depending on the kind of place you find...that degree could come in handy later on anyhow- you just never know...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I would weigh your options carefully .. if youre not willing to move or commute, you're not going to get too far even with all of the school. My buddy not too long ago finished his degree in IT admin at the 4 year college and now works at NASA, driving a Mercedes.
The long term plan for me is to move back to the area I grew up in, or a little bit further west than that area. While commuting to work would still be the norm, my commute to any potential employer from that area will be 1.5hrs or less instead of the 2hrs + from where I live now. And I'm well aware of me limiting my options by not doing the commute or moving, but between the commute and moving, moving would probably happen first, lol.

It's funny you mention that your friend works for NASA. I remember growing up as a kid, as early as 4th grade all the way through my freshman year of high school, I always told myself that I wanted to work for NASA or JPL. It's still kind of a kid dream of mine to fulfill, but I don't think that it'll ever happen. At this point, I'd be happy if I can go on a JPL tour in Pasadena and go on a NASA tour at Cape Canaveral, lol.
 

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I got my bachelor of science in economics with a minor in business and a business economics certificate from Texas a&m. I am still doing what I did before college, working on cars at my family's shop/full service gas station. It's practically all I did in my spare time at a&m too. I believe I use the things I learned during college every day. It's my actual experience that makes me worth something at what I do for a living though.
 

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I'm double majoring with a BA in Homeland Security and BS in Criminal
justice from VCU. I've already noticed the difference my education has made, and at my current job I make a very high wage due to my education and FEMA certs (I work hotel
Security). Once I graduate it's off to the Navy for me to put these degrees to use and pursue a retirement and do something exciting.
 

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It has taken some 11 years for my degree to have actually mattered A.S.--and I'm not evening using it. Between it, previous experience and technical certificates--unrelated to my current position--I have finally been allowed to be a Tool & Die/Machinist. My education IMO did nothing but prove I can be taught and am willing to learn. My education did push my resume to the top of the pile.

Though in your situation I suggest leaving your current employer, for me this has been one of the best way to better yourself If your employer is not compensating you as you feel they should. Remember to factor in your commute when thinking about your compensation, I wouldn't go for a 3+hr commute each day, especially considering that makes for 11hr days at least.

This is not where I saw myself when I went into college but after a truck/brain damage ending my Engineering plans, and my business management was not meant to be I am more than happy with my Career--I will stay a Machinist my next goal is to get back home.
 

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It's funny you mention that your friend works for NASA. I remember growing up as a kid, as early as 4th grade all the way through my freshman year of high school, I always told myself that I wanted to work for NASA or JPL. It's still kind of a kid dream of mine to fulfill, but I don't think that it'll ever happen. At this point, I'd be happy if I can go on a JPL tour in Pasadena and go on a NASA tour at Cape Canaveral, lol.
Both my friend, and my neighbor work for NASA - doing IT related stuff they arent allowed to talk about. Matter of fact, the job I am currently working at across the street from Moffet Field .. NASA is here, AMES and Lockheed Martin. The job I am working at is another Google Building after we just got finished with the last Google tech lab. Its expensive to live here ( unless you commute of course .. ) but there are TONS of jobs right up your alley up here in the SF Bay area.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Though in your situation I suggest leaving your current employer, for me this has been one of the best way to better yourself If your employer is not compensating you as you feel they should. Remember to factor in your commute when thinking about your compensation, I wouldn't go for a 3+hr commute each day, especially considering that makes for 11hr days at least.
I've thought about this, believe me. The thing that keeps me at my current employer - and a large reason why I don't think I'll be leaving any time soon - is the fact that it allows me to qualify for a school loan waiver on any remaining balance after 10 years of repayment. So basically, 10 years from now, whatever I have left that I owe, I won't owe. The downside though will be that the balance waived will be seen as income so I'll be taxed pretty high on my income taxes 11 years from now, lol. Maybe 12 years from now, haha.

Both my friend, and my neighbor work for NASA - doing IT related stuff they arent allowed to talk about. Matter of fact, the job I am currently working at across the street from Moffet Field .. NASA is here, AMES and Lockheed Martin. The job I am working at is another Google Building after we just got finished with the last Google tech lab. Its expensive to live here ( unless you commute of course .. ) but there are TONS of jobs right up your alley up here in the SF Bay area.
That's really cool. The fact that you know two people, one of which you know personally, that work for NASA :).

Isn't Moffet Field where Mythbusters do some of their tests? I wasn't aware that Moffet Field was a part of NASA until just now. NorCal is a place to live and all, but the cost of living up there are incredibly high compared to here in SoCal. Even my part of SoCal is real cheap compared to the Inland Empire where I grew up at.
 

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I took a course at a Jr. College/trade school, to build a house.

I finished the course #3 out of 35.

Then joined the carpenters union, as a apprentice, and completed that and became a journeyman.

I was on the board to the union for 28 years, and then became the president over 2 of the biggest locals in my area.

I retired on February 1st, 2015 with a good pension and insurance.

IMO, it paid off for me !!!!!!
 

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Well, I'm finally using mine. I graduated with my Bachelors in Maritime and Supply Chain Management, which is a Business Administration type degree. I'm now a full Parts Manager at my job I got while I was still working on my degree. It took me two years, but I have it now. While I was still in school, I also did a minor in Management. I'm now an over glorified babysitter that makes sure we still have parts to sell. Paid time off and full time benefits are a nice change. Monthly bonuses are a plus. Still not making good money, but at least I'm now making enough to start building a savings account.
 

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That's really cool. The fact that you know two people, one of which you know personally, that work for NASA :).

Isn't Moffet Field where Mythbusters do some of their tests? I wasn't aware that Moffet Field was a part of NASA until just now. NorCal is a place to live and all, but the cost of living up there are incredibly high compared to here in SoCal. Even my part of SoCal is real cheap compared to the Inland Empire where I grew up at.
I have no idea, I dont watch myth busters. I used to go to Moffet every year for the air shows back in the 1980's but they havent had that for a long time - I just see all of the C130 airplanes flying directly over my house because its in their flight path. NASA has their hands up here, but many many other companies also - they build the satellites and then ship them off to russia from Moffet. Cost of living is incredibly high, but if you have a good job thats not a problem. Im just saying, if you're in the computer field, this is the place where it all came from and there are a lot of jobs in that field here.
 

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I have no idea, I dont watch myth busters. I used to go to Moffet every year for the air shows back in the 1980's but they havent had that for a long time - I just see all of the C130 airplanes flying directly over my house because its in their flight path. NASA has their hands up here, but many many other companies also - they build the satellites and then ship them off to russia from Moffet. Cost of living is incredibly high, but if you have a good job thats not a problem. Im just saying, if you're in the computer field, this is the place where it all came from and there are a lot of jobs in that field here.
I haven't watched many mythbusters shows but of the ones I've seen, most of their really destructive stuff is done at the Alameda Naval Station. It's closed as a station but there are seriously wide areas of concrete that they can get into all sorts of trouble with -- it hosts a very large antiques sale the first Sunday of every month and there are all sorts of hangers that companies like St George Spirits run their distillery out of (makers of Hanger One Vodka).

OTOH, Moffett has a long-term tie up with Google since it's next-door to their campus. They used to just use it to park their plane fleet (including a fighter jet they bought for "weather studies") but they just did a long term lease to run all their Google X projects.
http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_27823009/google-takes-over-aging-moffett-field-and-its

-g
 

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To answer the OPs question, I'd say absolutely yes, my degree (BS Electrical Engineering) helped me out a lot even though I don't use any the specific technical knowledge I learned in school for my actual job now (West Coast Sales Mgr for a company that licenses IP -- aka designs -- for custom semiconductors). For most of my friends that went into actual design work, they absolutely used the SW or HW skills they learned in college for their jobs. For me, I knew I wanted to go into sales so I was recruited by a company that trained me to sell custom semiconductors. My first employer found it was easier to find a technical enough person with the right personality to do sales and teach them how to sell vs. find a natural sales person and teach them enough technical details to close deals to do custom chip designs. Even 15 years ago when I first started, these designs weren't cheap as a company would need justify an R&D budget $5M+ for a custom chip program (the alternative being to buy merchant silicon off the shelf OR expensive field reprogrammable chips -- FPGAs). For me, the EE degree was a credential to show that I could be capable of understanding the problems my customer was trying to solve and what my company could bring to the table to help them.

Looking at what my other friends have done, very few of them outside engineering and accounting/finance learned anything useful in school that they could actually use for their career. For them, the degree was mostly a credential of varying value (for example: all of the engr majors I personally know ended up having to go to get masters, JDs, or PHDs in order to earn a living OR they stayed doing the jobs they had while in college). I personally have no idea why anyone would go to an expensive top tier school to get some a BS/BA in liberal arts, psych, or sociology. The ROI just isn't there.

As far as graduate degrees go...

While I have considered getting an MBA, I ended up deciding not to do because I've found a career that is personally very interesting to me and economically viable. Here's what I see from several of my friends who went back to get MBAs:
- If I was to go back to get an MBA, it would be to grow my contact networks. Therefore, a top tier university (ex: Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Columbia) makes sense.
- Besides the $100-150K that degree is going to cost you, there's also the opportunity cost of the money you won't be earning during that period. Most of the top schools are looking for students who have worked for several years and some something interesting -- this is the potentially $$$ you are walking away from while you are getting this degree.
- It is possible to do a evening/weekend MBA but that really does suck. In addition to taking more time (3-4 years potentially) vs 2 years going fulltime, it kills your time. Depending on where you are in your life (ex: if you have a wife or kids), that is honestly time you'll never get back.
- Several of my friends have used the MBA program as a way to switch careers (defense engr to web for example) successfully. My wife did something similar by going backs for a chemical engr masters as a way to transition out of inkjet ink development to pharmaceuticals. If you are already in a field you like, why move?
- I do know some folks who needed an MBA to move up the ranks into management. If that's what it takes, do it.

- I have several friends with law degrees. The ones that make the most $$$ are the ones that do patent law (which often requires a technical/science undergrad in addition to the JD). IMO, this stuff is painfully boring. The others went into law because they weren't making squat with their undergrad degrees. Sure, they make a living (better than Saul Goodman), it beats digging ditches for minimum wage, but unless you are able to get a specialty that's in demand, it's just a job.

- One final comment: in some fields, having a master's isn't enough. For my wife in the world of big pharma, there's basically not much more room to go higher in her corporation's R&D org without a PHD. This is OK with my wife since her priority is our son but if you are more career oriented, you should be aware of any glass ceilings in a field BEFORE making the jump.


PS. I recognize that some of the fields that I mentioned above require work that not everyone is cut out to do. I do highlight them though b/c if you can do it, it's still worth it because while you might not strike it rich, you will still have a comfortable middle class life for you and your family.

PSS. ONE addition here: while I state that I didn't use any of the specific technical knowledge from my BSEE, the "engineering mindset" of breaking intractable "big" problems into solvable smaller ones and applying scientific method to figuring out root causes of observable effects is something I that comes as second nature to me now. I still find it amazing when people are unable to start solving problems because they are overwhelmed by the big task or try to draw conclusions based on crazy assumptions (aka "chicken little = the sky is falling"); a friend of mine who was also an engr says this is one of the key differentiators he saw in people in medschool. The folks with scientific/engineering mindsets could easily understand dosing formulas and could understand why some symptoms would occur while others relied on formula charts and mass-memorization to get through.
 

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I would rather have a post high school education than not have one.

I didn't graduate high school, and I went into the military. My ASVAB score was high enough that I got into a technical job, "data system technician" which is USMC speak for computer hardware tech.

That lasted 5 years, and I did come out of that with some computer knowledge (80 tech, as in paper tape and card reader tech, tape backup, etc). I tried to go to school (I got my GED mid way through a 2 year military tech school) after but it just didn't hold my interest.

I got a job as entry level phone tech support. It was fun, but wanted more, so every time I could I applied within the company for another job. Fast forward 21 years and I am still there, doing what I want. Most of my peers have advanced degrees, and that would have sped up the process, but it worked for me.

I just signed up at the community college, going to take some placement exams, and think about either an Associates in what I currently do, or in something else all together, not sure.

My daughter just started at the university, I have 4 more years before my son does, so if I can get an associates in the next 4 years I will be happy. Hard to fit in school with 12-14 hour a day job but gonna try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
To answer the OPs question, I'd say absolutely yes, my degree (BS Electrical Engineering) helped me out a lot even though I don't use any the specific technical knowledge I learned in school for my actual job now (West Coast Sales Mgr for a company that licenses IP -- aka designs -- for custom semiconductors). For most of my friends that went into actual design work, they absolutely used the SW or HW skills they learned in college for their jobs. For me, I knew I wanted to go into sales so I was recruited by a company that trained me to sell custom semiconductors. My first employer found it was easier to find a technical enough person with the right personality to do sales and teach them how to sell vs. find a natural sales person and teach them enough technical details to close deals to do custom chip designs. Even 15 years ago when I first started, these designs weren't cheap as a company would need justify an R&D budget $5M+ for a custom chip program (the alternative being to buy merchant silicon off the shelf OR expensive field reprogrammable chips -- FPGAs). For me, the EE degree was a credential to show that I could be capable of understanding the problems my customer was trying to solve and what my company could bring to the table to help them.

Looking at what my other friends have done, very few of them outside engineering and accounting/finance learned anything useful in school that they could actually use for their career. For them, the degree was mostly a credential of varying value (for example: all of the engr majors I personally know ended up having to go to get masters, JDs, or PHDs in order to earn a living OR they stayed doing the jobs they had while in college). I personally have no idea why anyone would go to an expensive top tier school to get some a BS/BA in liberal arts, psych, or sociology. The ROI just isn't there.

As far as graduate degrees go...

While I have considered getting an MBA, I ended up deciding not to do because I've found a career that is personally very interesting to me and economically viable. Here's what I see from several of my friends who went back to get MBAs:
- If I was to go back to get an MBA, it would be to grow my contact networks. Therefore, a top tier university (ex: Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Columbia) makes sense.
- Besides the $100-150K that degree is going to cost you, there's also the opportunity cost of the money you won't be earning during that period. Most of the top schools are looking for students who have worked for several years and some something interesting -- this is the potentially $$$ you are walking away from while you are getting this degree.
- It is possible to do a evening/weekend MBA but that really does suck. In addition to taking more time (3-4 years potentially) vs 2 years going fulltime, it kills your time. Depending on where you are in your life (ex: if you have a wife or kids), that is honestly time you'll never get back.
- Several of my friends have used the MBA program as a way to switch careers (defense engr to web for example) successfully. My wife did something similar by going backs for a chemical engr masters as a way to transition out of inkjet ink development to pharmaceuticals. If you are already in a field you like, why move?
- I do know some folks who needed an MBA to move up the ranks into management. If that's what it takes, do it.

- I have several friends with law degrees. The ones that make the most $$$ are the ones that do patent law (which often requires a technical/science undergrad in addition to the JD). IMO, this stuff is painfully boring. The others went into law because they weren't making squat with their undergrad degrees. Sure, they make a living (better than Saul Goodman), it beats digging ditches for minimum wage, but unless you are able to get a specialty that's in demand, it's just a job.

- One final comment: in some fields, having a master's isn't enough. For my wife in the world of big pharma, there's basically not much more room to go higher in her corporation's R&D org without a PHD. This is OK with my wife since her priority is our son but if you are more career oriented, you should be aware of any glass ceilings in a field BEFORE making the jump.


PS. I recognize that some of the fields that I mentioned above require work that not everyone is cut out to do. I do highlight them though b/c if you can do it, it's still worth it because while you might not strike it rich, you will still have a comfortable middle class life for you and your family.

PSS. ONE addition here: while I state that I didn't use any of the specific technical knowledge from my BSEE, the "engineering mindset" of breaking intractable "big" problems into solvable smaller ones and applying scientific method to figuring out root causes of observable effects is something I that comes as second nature to me now. I still find it amazing when people are unable to start solving problems because they are overwhelmed by the big task or try to draw conclusions based on crazy assumptions (aka "chicken little = the sky is falling"); a friend of mine who was also an engr says this is one of the key differentiators he saw in people in medschool. The folks with scientific/engineering mindsets could easily understand dosing formulas and could understand why some symptoms would occur while others relied on formula charts and mass-memorization to get through.
Thank you!!

While your reasons for not pursuing an Master's degree are warranted, I pursued mine in order to get into what I want; upper / senior management of an IT department. I know that getting there will take some time for me as I have to get through the ranks and such, but I know it will pay off for me in the long run. I've set various time-line "minature" goals for myself in order to reach my ultimate career goal. Even if it doesn't work out here at my current employer, I know that by then I'll have the experience leading small teams through various projects that I can put down on my resume that will give me additional recogition elsewhere.

I did my MIS in 2 years going 3/4 time while having a family (wife and kids), bought a house (which is a part time job in and of itself!!), worked full time, and completing various projects throughout my house (sewer line, windows & insulation, painting etc.) as well as work on the T-Bird (which I'm still working on, lol). You are definitely right that these 2 years for me is time I'm not ever going to get back on the things I've missed out on. However, I feel that it's better that I miss out on it now while my kids were still real young instead of miss out on it later when my kids are older and needing help on their homework, going on family trips, doing other in-depth home projects.

I recently found out that if I go back for a second Master's degree to the same school I graduated from, they will apply my degree towards it and I'll only need to take between 6 - 8 classes depending on the program I would choose. This will be anywhere from 9 months to a little over a year. I'm leaning towards doing this and go for an MBA in Project Management. However, between my undergrad and graduate school, I'm burnt out on school for the time being, lol. I'm thinking of doing this in 10 years or so, if I do it. Doing it now though would be more affordable instead of 10 years from now considering how the cost of education keeps going up.

wise man once said, "no one ever complained about having too much education, but you can always find someone who will regret about not having enough education."
Very true......except when it comes to student loans associated with too much education, lol.

Oui!
 

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wise man once said, "no one ever complained about having too much education, but you can always find someone who will regret about not having enough education."
Very true......except when it comes to student loans associated with too much education, lol.

Oui!
While the sentiment of "not complaining about too much education" rings true conceptually, in reality no education is free (either in opportunity cost or actual expenses).

I'm willing to bet that the majority of people who have gone to for profit schools (ex: Devry, Culinary Institute of America, or Art Institute of SF for example) regret the decision -- just look at the default rates for people attending such schools (presumably, if they got decent jobs post education they'd have been able/willing to pay their exhorbitent fees back).
http://ticas.org/sites/default/files/legacy/pub_files/CDR_2014_NR.pdf


I'm also willing to bet that a significant of folks who went for liberal arts educations at super premium schools using borrowed money would have been happier/better off getting the same education from a cheaper public institution.

I'm very lucky in that I went to a public school (UT Austin) with a good reputation and graduated without any debt (thanks for the oil money that funds the UT system, school was very cheap for my cohort -- I think it was $2.5K/semester when I left and the statistics showed they spend $60K+/yr per undergrad EE student -- and I was able to pay for it with my parttime SW dev job). I hope that I'll be able to help my children do the same because I see how much of a strain it's taken for my friends who in their mid/late thirties and are JUST NOW paying off their college debts.

-g
 

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As someone who is writing checks to a state public university, it isn't cheap! Unsubsidized loans have a pretty high percentage rate of 4.3% and UNsubsidized means that my daughter starts accruing interest now, not when done with school. It is going to be a significant amount, and that is only borrowing 1/5 of what is needed (guess where the other 4/5ths is coming from...).

I don't want her to have a significant amount of debt, but I want her to have some...to have a financial stake in going to school. I am going to try to pay the interest accrued until she graduates.

She is debating on staying for Masters, or work a year or two and do Masters evenings or going back after some experience.
 
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