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My son Aaron graduated today from Colorado College. He and his two sisters have four-year college degrees. Colorado College is expensive. Tuition at CC ranks among the most expensive in the nation. Inflation in the United States is the highest it’s been in 40 years, but college tuition inflation has been out of control for years. It begs the question of whether a college degree is still worth the expense.
Before the turn of the century, the value of a college degree was pretty clear. The lifetime earnings of a college graduate in the 90s was substantially more than for non-graduates. Today, the value of a college degree in terms of earning potential is less clear. People like Gary Vaynerchuk and Grant Cardone say college degrees are a waste of time. Elon Musk also does not believe a college degree means a whole lot, and some top employers have done away with requiring a college degree for any position within their firm. However, I’m not sure all of this means college is no longer important. Gary V and Grant Cardone want you to buy their books, so they have an agenda, and Elon Musk mostly hires coders and computer geeks, many of whom are self-taught. I do agree that if someone is over 30, it shouldn’t matter whether they attended college as long as they have the requisite skills and experience to do the job. I am glad many employers are waking up to that.
Like many things, the value of college depends on what you put into it. If you want to be a doctor, lawyer, or CPA, both college and graduate school are required, but there are a lot of lucrative careers that don’t require any college.
If you can get into an Ivy League college or Stanford, go, and make the most of the education and connections that are available there, but I personally think many, if not most, colleges are no longer worth the money. Going to community college for two years and transferring to a state university is a cost-effective way to get a quality education that can set you up for a great career. Taking out student loans to attend a mid or lower-level private college probably does not pencil.
Here is a fact: College or not, people who have strong communication skills tend to be the ones who achieve the highest career success. They are the ones that move up the corporate ladder the fastest and who make the most money. People who can communicate their ideas well and who can persuade and lead others are the ones who do the best in business. With more Latinos than ever attending college, I feel inclined to comment on this. My advice for anyone is that if you go to college and are not pursuing a degree in medicine, STEM, or law, make sure you leave with elite writing and communication skills. Take as many writing classes as you can and I would also recommend speech and debate if you are so inclined. Aaron and my daughter Marisa both attended writing-intensive, liberal arts colleges, and Jaimie was a debate champion at her college. I am confident that they will do well in their careers and because of their communication skills, they will have many opportunities to explore. College isn’t for everyone, but for some people, it can be a great experience that provides the foundation and skills to last a lifetime.
This week, in a brief to the judge of a major antitrust lawsuit known as Nosalek, the U.S. Department of Justice called for decoupling buyer and seller agent representation. If the DOJ gets what it wants, it would mean that listing agents would no longer be permitted to share their commissions with agents representing buyers, and buyers would have to pay out of pocket to have an agent represent them.
I was in D.C. on Friday for the celebration of life for my friend, Dave Stevens. Dave was a former FHA Commissioner under Barack Obama and an icon in the mortgage banking industry. I was lucky to know Dave as a good friend.
If you’re not familiar with the Sitzer class action lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors and several of the largest real estate brands, it centers on how real estate agents are compensated. The lawsuit claims that the practice of seller and buyer agent cooperation or sharing of commissions is an anti-trust violation and has resulted in inflated commissions paid by consumers. While a jury in Missouri has already sided with the plaintiffs, the judge has not rendered a final verdict.