Colleges still actively recruit those kids, and eight years later, many of those students find themselves with no degree and lots of debt. They think of themselves as failures.
"And the immoral thing about it is that the colleges do not disclose that!"
For many kids, career counselors told us, it's often smarter to acquire specific marketable skills at a community college or technical school, or to work as an apprentice for some business. That makes you more employable.
Vocational education pays off for many. Electricians today make on average $48,000 a year. Plumbers make $47,000. That's more than the average American earns. But some people look down on vocational school. A degree from a four-year college is considered first class. A vocational-school degree is not.
"More people need to realize that you don't have to get a four-year degree to be successful," says Steven Eilers, who went through an automotive program and then continued his education by getting a paying job as an apprentice in a car-repair center. He's making good money, and he has zero student-loan debt.
Eilers story is no fluke. In the past year, while hundreds of thousands of white-collar jobs vanished, the auto-repair industry added jobs.
Self-serving college presidents and politicians should drop the scam. Higher enrollments and government loan programs may be good for them, but they are making lots of our kids miserable and poor. For many, the good life can be lived without college.