Investing in the rest of your child’s life
“Due diligence” is lawyerspeak for “caution”. It implies that people will take all reasonable measures to avoid causing injury to themselves or to others. We hear it most often in situations involving large sums of money, significant assets or major undertakings. Where we don’t expect to hear it is in connection with higher education.
Except for acts of nature, nothing has shaped and reshaped the world as extensively, as often or as rapidly as ideas and the technologies that disseminate them. What’s in vogue one day can be out of vogue the next. What replaces it will arrive at the speed of the Internet, stay for a while, then be replaced by the next big thing. Nothing we live with is immune.
The greatest disservice we can do to ourselves and our children is to pretend or assume that nothing’s changing. Marshall McLuhan wrote: ‘Control over change would seem to consist [of] moving not with it but ahead of it. Anticipation gives the power to deflect and control force.’ Choosing or encouraging our children to choose the wrong education for the times could mean putting their life on hold or shattering their dreams.
We founded the Personal Due Diligence Project (PDD) in 2012 to share our insights into where the world is going and how to choose post-secondary education that’s in step with it. We track the kinds of change you’ll find described in articles like ‘Made in China?’ and ‘The log-on degree’. Both appeared in the March 14th – 20th, 2015, issue of The Economist. If we can stimulate thought processes and discussion about preparing your children for the future they’re going to inherit, we’ll have done our job.
For the moment, please consider:
“Higher education is perceived as extremely important, and for most people a college education has become the necessary admission ticket to good jobs and a middle-class lifestyle.” — The White House and the (United States) National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education
Parents are spending less rather than more on it
Tuition costs are rising to the point where parents may not be able to afford the cost of a university education while almost 50% of workers in North America are getting by on precarious employment which Statistics Canada defines as: “employment situations that differ from the traditional model of a stable, full-time job”.
- Participation in Post-Secondary Education: Recent Trends, — Joseph Berger (2009)
- Participation in Post-secondary Education in Canada: Has the Role changed over the 1990s? — Marie Drolet (February 2005)
- Family income and participation in post-secondary education, — Miles Croak, Garth Lipps and John Zhao (October 2003)
Positive return on investment in post-secondary degrees or diplomas is not guaranteed
- In a report published in The Economist on the findings of research firm PayScale, engineers and computer scientists realized a 20-year annualized return of 12% on their college fees. Business and economics degrees returned 8.7%. Not so for holders of arts and humanities degree. In a PayScale example, an arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art netted a negative return of $92,000.
Is post-secondary education a worthwhile investment? Absolutely! Why? Because young people have a habit of doing things that were supposed to be impossible. They also carry the “hope” gene. In his column on the Opinion page of the Toronto Star on March 22, 2015, Bob Hepburn quoted Tom Flanagan, former University of Calgary political scientist, who wrote: ‘Canada really hasn’t had a federal election inspired by hope since Pierre Trudeau campaigned on the theme of the Just Society in 1968.’
There are no longer any throwaway degrees or diplomas. Statistics define groups, but not individuals within those groups. No two families have the same needs, wants, dreams, desires, aspirations and hopes for their children. The same applies to resources. When it comes to making decisions about higher education, one size does not fit all.
Please take a few minutes now to explore our blog. Clicking here will take you to our ‘Must read’ page where you’ll find links to over 78 stories you’ll want to read. Then call us to talk about you, your family, PDD and one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make: the one about education.
F. Neil Morris
Founder & President
The Personal Due Diligence Project
+1 905 273 9880