Mayor Bloomberg gave some advice to students on his radio show on Friday: if you’re not that great at academia, skip it and learn a vocation. He may have a point, but it’s a little hard to take seriously. He’s a billionaire. There is such a financial disconnect between him and the average student struggling how to figure out how to afford college and make a living without being bankrupted by loans.
He said on his radio show:
The people who are going to have the biggest problem are college graduates who arenâ€™t rocket scientists, if you will, not at the top of their class,â€™ he said.Â Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College – being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal.â€™â€˜You donâ€™t spend… four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income,â€™ he explained.
There’s quite a spectrum between Harvard College and plumber – but I think he makes a logical point. I just don’t think it solves the current financial crisis students are in.
I don’t know that the solution is that more students need to explore the more affordable vocational school route. I think the solution is that we have to stop gouging our students with ridiculously high loans and over-inflated tuition.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing a vocational school over a college degree. It can be a very wise financial decision. But I can’t help but feel that his comments are totally classist. Basically, if your family has the money – you can do whatever you want. But if you don’t have the luxury of financial stability – you don’t have the freedom to explore your interests. I get that it’s reality – but it just seems like we’re throwing in the towel. Those that want to explore a vocational route should be supported. But those who want to explore higher education shouldn’t be in a position where they have to put themselves in such a menacing financial state to do so.
His advice just feels like a cop out. Hey kids! I know the state of college pricing and funding is a total travesty and sham, but if you can’t afford it, just do something else. Our students deserve more than that, don’t they? Maybe I’m just a hopeless idealist.