In the Lakeland Public Television Debate Night 2014 – MN House 2B Debate - David Sobieski and Steve Green, the candidates were asked about whether they support a tuition freeze.
Incumbent Steve Green suggested that new graduates are looking for jobs paying $100,000 or more, that the University of Minnesota is moving toward becoming a two-year school, and that rather than having the legislature address costs, students should enroll in two-year trade degrees.
The problem with covering the debt is that it's still debt and it still has to be paid for. You--it's like forgiving the debt.
School tuition, school debt for college has gotten way out of hand, but we continue to push our kids into four year college, when the jobs that are out there would be way better satisfied with a two-year degree in the trades.
I think we have to move toward the trades. Even our bigger colleges, the University of Minnesota is acknowledging that and they're moving their curriculum to two year degrees which would lower the amount of debt.
The people who are coming out of these colleges need to remember that if they are the fortunate ones to get the jobs that they're seeking, the $100,000 a year jobs and above, then whether their debt is forgiven or not, they're still going to pay it because it's going to come out of their wages in the form of taxes.
And so it's a misnomer to make these kids believe that they can rack up this debt and somehow it's going to go away. Somebody has to pay it. Debt doesn't just vanish. So we need to act more responsible. We need to get these kids into two year degrees, if that's their vent in life, and get them working in a job that will sustain them and their families.
Here's the clip:
Bluestem hasn't heard much about the University of Minnesota switching over to tech school status, but it's possible we missed that one.
We're also puzzled about those $100,000 entry level jobs for those just graduating with a two-year or a four-year degree from a public post-secondary institution. While people in the trades can make 100K plus, like those with college degrees, usually it takes years of experience, as well as an associate degree or technical certificate, according to a 2012 report in USA Today.
More accurate figures may come from Liz Fedor's article, How a new state website is helping students make college pay, reprinted in MinnPost:
Minnesota high school students now have the ability to expand their power base. When they are agonizing over technical school and college choices, they can now look at marketplace data that show which academic programs have high placement rates and what recent graduates are being paid.
For the first time in its history, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is making this information available to the public on its website.
The data reveal a pattern of underemployment among recent graduates. For the Class of 2011, among those completing programs ranging from certificates to graduate degrees, by their second year out of school, only 42 percent had full-time jobs that they kept for a whole year.
But the most intriguing statistics are the wage breakouts among academic programs. Here are some of the highlights for the Class of 2011 two years after completing their education:
- Among students who earned bachelor’s degrees in marketing, 52 percent had full-time jobs and 31 percent were working part-time. The median annual salary for full-time employees was $35,373.
- Among bachelor’s graduates with general business degrees, the median annual wages for full-time employees were $57,227. In this major, 59 percent were employed full-time and 21 percent were working part-time.
- Those with special education and teaching degrees at the bachelor’s level had annual median earnings of $35,312.
- Technical education translated into good-sized paychecks for people who completed certificate programs or associate degrees. For example:
- Annual median earnings were $44,196 for full-time workers who obtained associate degrees in electromechanical instruments and maintenance technology. In this program area, 60 percent held full-time jobs in their second year out of school.
- Plumbing program graduates also saw high job placement. Among students who completed certificate programs for plumbing, the annual median earnings for full-time workers were $41,229. Forty-five percent were working full time and 42 percent were employed part time in the second year out of school.
Some tech graduates earn more than some graduates with four-year degrees, but we're not seeing the $100K jobs for either category of new graduates that Green mentions.
Moreover, the premise that young people are only encouraged to get four-year degrees runs counter to another data set shared in a recent Joe Nathan column, Four students help explain community college enrollment gains in Minnesota:
A 2014 publication of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, “Minnesota Measures,” found that enrollment doubled in Minnesota’s two-year institutions from about 60,000 in 1980 to about 120,000 in 2012.
This helped Minnesota have one of the nation’s highest rates of adults with at least a two-year Associate of Arts degree. According to the MOHE, Minnesota ranks fourth in the nation with 46 percent of people ages 25-64 earning an A.A. degree or higher. Fifty-one percent of Minnesotans ages 25-35 have at least an A.A. degree, second only to Massachusetts, with 55 percent.
The tuition freeze that Green laments applies to students in public community and tech college programs (generally far less expensive that those in for-profit schools) as well as those seeking bachelors' degrees.
Shuttling students into technical programs, rather than addressing costs, seems to impose a one-size-fits-all choice on young people.
As Bluestem has noted in earlier posts including MN2B: in epic rant, freshman Steve Green stirs gun rights, immigration, terrorism & Ebola fears:
According to a report by Catherine Richert Wednesday on Minnesota Public Radio, DC group plays offense in 3 MN House districts:
The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has named three Minnesota House races to its watch list.
Those races are among 69 the group, which works to elect Democrats to state legislatures, believes have the best chance of flipping from red to blue.
Targeted Minnesota races include:
- Minnesota House District 01B – Democrat Eric Bergeson is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Debra Kiel of Crookston.
- Minnesota House District 2B – Democrat Dave Sobieski is challenging Republican Rep. Steve Green of Fosston
- Minnesota House District 14A – Democrat Dan Wolgamott is challenging Republican Rep. Tama Theis of St. Cloud.
Kiel and Green won their races in 2012 by less than 4 percentage points. . . .
- See more at: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/#sthash.gRBJSbjj.dpuf
Screenshot: Steve Green proposing trade schools as a solution for the high price of college.
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