New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has some advice for high-school students who are mediocre students: skip college and become plumbers. Bloomberg said on Friday that teenagers who aren’t in the upper echelon should learn how to be plumbers rather that envision a career starting at a prestigious university and obtaining a college 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. Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College — being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal. You don’t spend … four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income.
Bloomberg also noted that handymen like plumbers and electricians run less risk of their jobs being outsourced, saying: “It’s hard to farm that out … and it’s hard to automate that,” he said. He added that “a number” of studies indicate that those who learn plumbing have less debt and make more money than others who get college degrees.
Mark Kantrowitz, who helps students with college financial planning, agreed with Bloomberg’s assessment of the relative financial statuses of would-be plumbers and college students, but also stated that “college is a good investment” for most students.
He asserted that e schools and less prestigious colleges cost far less. “The only schools that cost $40,000 or $50,000 like the mayor said are elite schools,” he said.