Recently I was featured as a local radio talk show's guest speaker on Maryland's 50,000 watt AM radio station. Actually I wasn't the guest speaker, I just called in just before their News Break on my cell phone which almost guarantees you get on because you can't talk too long before the News Break.
Anyway, the subject at the time was the horrendous cost of college tuition in the United States and how student loan responsibilities may far outweigh the financial benefits of a college education. Some graduates (or their parents) may be strapped with government (or bank) loans for most of their careers, if they're lucky enough to even find a job.
When I ride by college campuses, I wonder how those bright-eyed, bushy-tailed collegians are going to fair when its their time to get out into the cruel world of taxes, home ownership, commodity purchases, etc. That's why I suggest to those who plan to go to college that they consider a "Plan B". Even though you want to pursue a direction that let's you express your passions for life, remember that there are areas in society where you might be the only person who thinks your passions are important.
When I was the Athletic Director at a local City Vocational High School back in the 1980's, I had a young man stop by one day and ask me how much money I earned as a teacher. After telling him it wasn't any of his damn business he proceeded to explain that after graduating from this particular high school, with an emphasis in auto mechanics, he was earning $8 per hour as an apprentice diesel truck mechanic...and that after he finished his apprenticeship he would be earning $13 per hour as a certified diesel truck mechanic. This was back in the 1980's! Do you know what kind of money we'd be talking about if that were the case today?
When we had our house renovated a few years back we were told that the Master Electrician on site was earning about $40+K a year and a Master Plumber at the $46+K level. That's way better then most entry level jobs of college graduates who still have 20 years or so to pay off college loans.
I'm not suggesting that kids shouldn't plan or actually go to college, but the University life isn't a perfect fit for EVERYBODY!
KIDS.... realize that when we adults need help with Plumbing Repairs, Electrical Repairs, Car Repairs, etc., we sometimes have a hard time finding someone who is reputable, trust-worthy, and within our budgets to get the problem fixed. What ever happened to the Vocational Schools? We need to tell local authorities that there's a need for more of them again!