Avoid these schools unless you have at least $400 million in the bank

student loan debt

This poor kid isn't trying to do his elementary math homework with the help of the cash in his mom's wallet: he's trying to figure out how many years of fake photos he'll have to pose in to pay for one semester of college.

The Washington Post Company released some sobering stats about how expensive an education has become. The Chronicle of Education released a similar report last year that showed university prices steadily growing. This is particularly depressing given that, as you can see, a college degree (even one that can provoke impressed oohs and aahs) isn’t really worth that much anymore. And yet, the number of kids taking out loans has been the highest in nine years.

So you can take your US News & World statistics and shove it. In a far more useful ranking system, Gawker crunched their numbers and revealed the top ten universities that will land you in the highest student debt. See the schools to avoid, no matter how awesome their lavish cafeterias are supposed to be, after the jump: Continue reading

Unemployed law school grad goes on hunger strike

ethan haines tee shirt

Each $20 purchase will help support at least one law school grad's Ramen Noodles dinner.

When I was a young overachiever, my parents once hoped that, like all book-smart JAPs with attitude, I would make the family proud and join the ranks of well-paying society with nothing more than my ability to talk fast and memorize hundreds of pages of jargon: I would go to law school.

Years later when I discovered how much work that would be, I dashed their hopes and dreams and instead pursued the lowlier profession of writer blogger somewhat employed web assistant. Turns out, mom and dad, I was right!

In this economy, even lawyers can’t get jobs! And Ethan Haines, an ’09 law school grad, is fed up with it. So he did what any unemployed JD would do: start a hunger strike. Continue reading

Hire my friend: the Spanish lit major stuck in Arizona


This is the wasteland known as Arizona.

Name: Amber

Major: I graduated with High Honors in Impracticality. My specific study area? Spanish Literature. And a minor in Art History, just to round out the irrelevance. I wrote a lot of really interesting research papers, shouldn’t that count for something? I like to think that I “learned to learn.”
What I would’ve majored in 4 years ago had I known the economy was going to hell: I’m not sure majors make any difference these days…I suppose if I could’ve managed triple-majoring in Engineering, Economics and Computer Science (and therefore sacrificed everything interesting about going to college), I may be in a better position. I think of more importance: I would’ve started my job search my freshman year.
Why I decided to waste $160K $200K on an Ivy League education: It seemed like a great idea somewhere along the line. I did get to meet some really amazing people!
Current City of Residence: Phoenix, AZ
Ideal City of Residence: Somewhere on the East Coast, where I actually know people. No one moves to Phoenix after graduating from an Ivy. I’m a pretty big fan of London as well. And Madrid. Actually, I love to travel, so I think I could make it work just about anywhere.
Current job: I’m employed full-time in the exciting industry of Finding a Job. That and learning financial modeling and the latest in social media. Gotta keep improving those marketable skills.
Dream job: I’m flexible. How about you tell me what you have available, and then I’ll tell you what my dream job is. In an ideal world, I’d get paid to travel, tell people about where I traveled, write about where I traveled, and find more places I want to travel to. Being the next Rick Steves would be pretty close.
Resume claim to fame: I wish we still lived in those times when your undergraduate institution WAS your claim to fame.
Greatest achievement I don’t like to talk about on interviews: Well I can’t really afford to be modest these days. I’m competing with several million 35 year-olds who have a laundry list of industry experience and impressive MBAs that stop me from even making it to the interview.

Breaking: a college degree isn’t really worth that much

college degree money

Something tells me it's going to take more than this little piggy to pay 4 years of tuition.

The WSJ reports:

Most researchers agree that college graduates, even in rough economies, generally fare better than individuals with only high-school diplomas. But just how much better is where the math gets fuzzy.

The problem stems from the common source of the estimates, a 2002 Census Bureau report titled “The Big Payoff.” The report said the average high-school graduate earns $25,900 a year, and the average college graduate earns $45,400, based on 1999 data. The difference between the two figures is $19,500; multiply it by 40 years, as the Census Bureau did, and the result is $780,000. Continue reading

The number of college students taking out loans is highest in nine years

woman screaming

This women has just seen her student loan bill.

According to an annual nationwide survey released today, about two-thirds of incoming students said they had “some” or “major” concern about their ability to pay for their education.

The percentage of those with “some” concern — 55.4 — was at its highest level since 1971. The number of students taking out loans was at its highest in nine years, at 53.3 percent. The number whose fathers were unemployed — 4.5 percent — was the highest in the history of the survey. The number of students whose mothers were unemployed was higher — 7.9 percent — and at its highest since 1979.

“What all this points to is that they are going to be graduating with a larger debt burden than students in the past,” Mr. Pryor told the NYT. More fun stats below! Continue reading

“Divorce yourself from thinking you’re so special because you went to an Ivy League school”


From one Ivy league alum to another.

Yesterday, I spoke with Debra Shigley, a Harvard alum and author of The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide: Get What You Want in Work and Life (and Look Great While You’re at It). She had some great advice for those of us using our Ivy League diplomas as place mats.

I think the first thing you should do is divorce yourself from thinking you’re so special because you went to an Ivy League school. Yes it looks good on your resume and it will open doors, but it’s not everything. Now where it is very helpful is your alumni network. An alum is much more likely to call you back than if you’re just cold-calling. I think most people are very supportive of their fellow alumni. So I suggest tapping into that.  I don’t think the Ivy League thing makes that much of a difference otherwise. I think one of the strongest advantages is the network you have from your school. Many of your friends will accomplish great things and your network gets stronger, because you’re grouped with a lot of accomplished go-getter type people. You can’t sit there and think ‘I have a Harvard degree, someone should get me a job.’ Unless of course you’re sitting across a table from someone who also graduated from Harvard. I think people might be more quick to call you back in that case.