University has been the ticket into the white collar world since the inception of capitalism. Of course – there are other, normally more difficult, ways to gain entry into this world, but needing the ‘checkbox’ of a degree is still becoming ever more prevalent in the industry.
Student loans are too expensive, even with tuition fees rising by three times in 2012, you still need that little 3-word line on your CV that says; University degree – achieved.
I don’t plan on paying for my kids to go to university, why? Spending money on your children is the wrong way to distribute your wealth, for one. But there are other, more specific reasons why I’m against the notion.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Growing Up
I’m grateful for my university degree. Whilst living away from home, not only did I meet my beautiful wife to be (in the first week), I also earned a degree in ‘growing up’.
University halls are kind of like unconventional boot camps for teenagers. You live your first year in squalor, eating nothing but bacon sandwiches made in the most unhygienic kitchens, wandering aimlessly around the crack-den-esque hallways and listening to non-stop drum and bass by your resident DJ, whilst completely decimating your own sleep cycle.
But, somehow, you realise that you can’t live like this forever and in the process, you learn; how to wash your clothes, do your food shopping, socialise in a normal way, and interact with other people.
You eventually (kind of) learn how to be a functioning member of society.
Your Entry into the Club
I’m grateful that getting a degree gave me the ‘entrance stamp’ into my white-collar job as a software engineer. Without it, I wouldn’t have landed the job which I currently have, it’s so corporate that they simply reject anyone without a degree. It’s a requirement, not a nice-to-have.
I would have undoubtedly still been able to land a general software engineering job at some point, I just would have had to climb the corporate rungs a lot slower. I’ve known very few colleagues in my career who haven’t got at least an undergraduate degree, and I know they worked extra hard to get to where they were.
Pure Selfishness, or Liberalism?
Even though I am thankful for my degree, I don’t actually believe in them. I gained more relevant technical skills in just 2 weeks on my first engineering job than I did in a whole 3 years at university.
What I do believe is that degrees (most of them) are actually a disguised form of tax for the white collar worker. A way for capitalism’s gears to keep on turning. Revenue from Universities in the UK for the year of 2016/17 was a staggering 44.27bn. It’s no wonder that they want corporations to insist on you needing one.
The most beneficial skills I learned from my ‘degree’ were how to live independently. However, these same skills could have been gained from any number of other expeditions, ones that don’t require the burden of a lifetime debt.
Do you Really need a Degree?
You can still earn a very good salary at home with matched betting and other entrepreneurial pursuits. As technology advancements continue, the entrepreneurial mindset will undoubtedly increase. And if there is one thing that an entrepreneur doesn’t need, it’s a certificate stating where they studied. Entrepreneurs care about determination, being good at what they do, and getting results, not superfluous pats on the back.
But the world hasn’t changed for the better just yet, unfortunately, for certain careers, you still need to obtain that little (but expensive) piece of paper.
How to get a Degree for Free
There are ways to avoid burdening yourself or your children with huge amounts of debt, and FIRE might help you to do it!
Moving to Scotland can bag you a free degree. Scotland is the only place in the United Kingdom which gives its residents a free education. They also house some of the best universities in the country such as the University of Edinburgh.
All you’ll need to do is move there 3 years before your kids are set to go to university and then they will qualify for free tuition. You’ll also benefit from extremely low house prices in some really beautiful places.
If you’re from elsewhere in the EU (not England, Northern Ireland or Wales), you don’t even need to live in Scotland for 3 years to qualify for free tuition, you can just go there to study!
For the people who are from England, Wales or Northern Island and aren’t able to move to Scotland for 3 years, don’t worry – there are still plenty of options for you.
UK Students can currently go to 11 different EU countries to get a free degree, take your pick from the list below:
You can even pop over to France and study for as little as £158 per year. That’s the cheapest student loan you’ll ever get!
Damn, I’m annoyed that I didn’t know about this back when I was searching for a university, me and my partner wracked up a huge 70k worth of debt between us. We could have had a massive kick start in saving for financial independence if we’d been a little smarter, and we would have got to experience a new culture too.
So, why am I not paying for my kids to go to University? Because they shouldn’t need a piece of paper to prove their worth, but if they did, they should be able to get it for free anyway!
What are your views on paying for your child’s education?