New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told “so-so” high school students to skip college on his weekly radio show Friday. The soda-banning, salt-busting, cigarette-stomping mayor said kids who don’t perform at the top of their class are better off at trade school than going after an undergraduate degree.
“The people who are going to have the biggest problem are college graduates who aren’t rocket scientists, if you will, not at the top of their class,” he said.
“Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College - being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal.”
The mayor’s reasoning is that workers saddled with student loan debt face an even steeper uphill battle when they finish school. Plumbers, he said, make a good living without having to pay off student loans.
“You don’t spend ... four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income,” he explained.
The mayor said plumbers don’t have to worry about being outsourced or replaced with computers. “It’s hard to farm that out ... and it’s hard to automate that,” he said.
He cited a “number” of studies that allegedly showed plumbers begin their careers with less debt and higher wages than kids out of college.
College financial planning expert Mark Kantrowitz told the Daily News that the mayor’s logic is not far off base. While he said college is a good investment “not everyone has to go to get a college degree to get a good job.”
As of April, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 7.5 percent.
He added “The only schools that cost $40,000 or $50,000 like the mayor said are elite schools.”
Bloomberg is famous for a number of “progressive” public health measures in the New York City, including expanding the smoking ban in every commercial establishment and even city parks. He banned trans-fat in city restaurants and made calorie counts on foods at chain stores be posted. He also advocates low-salt diets.
According to the Project of Student Debt, the average college student is $26,600 in debt.