School is Expensive

Just today, we attended a financial aid information session at the law school. Every year financial office can give their obligatory talk about how student loans. During the session, we all pulled out our loan papers and saw how much debt we had to pay back. The average amount … well let’s just say it was a lot of money. Enough to scare just about everyone into being happy they decided to take big law jobs upon graduation.

The interesting part of the whole scenario is that we feel this way, even though most of us have REALLY great jobs to walk into in the fall.  MBAs that go into banking and consulting firms Law students into high paying law firm roles.  Jobs that not only pay six figures but also provide lifestyles that the average person never even dreams of. But in spite of that, we’re still all a bit nervous about the big $100K+ number at the bottom of our loan forms.

But imagine the student that attends an expensive grad school program but doesn’t have the options we have. Imagine the student that comes out with $100K in loans but only makes $40K per year. Or the student that also comes into grad school with $100K in loans form undergrad Or worse yet, the student with six figure loans who can’t find a job.

The school systems makes it very difficult for some students to get started after graduation. For most of us, it is nearly impossible to pursue our real interests – the ones we talked about in our applications.  And for almost everyone, it also makes it really scary.

Education Matters and we have to do something about this.


** See below for a short blurb about school being expensive from Seth Godin’s recent manifesto: Stop Stealing Dreams


It’s also not very good at doing what we need it to do. We’re not going to be able to make it much cheaper, so let’s figure out how to make it a lot better.

Not better at what it already does. Better at educating people to do what needs to be done.

Do you need a competent call-center employee? School is good at creating them, but it’s awfully expensive. Do we really need more compliant phone operators, and at such a high cost?

Given the time and money being invested, what I want to know, what every parent and every taxpayer and every student should want to know, is: Is this the right plan? Is this the best way to produce the culture and economy we say we want?

What is school for?

If you’re not asking that, you’re wasting time and money.

Here’s a hint: learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do.

Monday, April 2nd, 2012 Law School

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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