A university education is a necessity of life we pay for twice: once when we write the cheque and again when governments use tax dollars to cover their share of the cost of tuition. Tuition costs 40% more today than it did ten years ago and there’s no end in sight to the upward spiral. Some families can’t afford the “new, improved prices” and enrollments are dropping here and in the States. That’s bad news for all of us, especially if we’re going to need a doctor or a dentist.
Those who can will take the additional cost in stride and move on. Some families won’t be able to take it in stride. Personal Due Diligence (PDD) believes that every family deserves a level playing field, and our objective is to deliver one.
To benefit from a university degree, a graduate must be able to sell it as a commodity. When degrees cease to be relevant, employers stop buying them. We saw the evidence in 2012 when it was revealed that 100,000 graduates were working as unpaid interns. Though it’s illegal, the practice continues.
Making the right decision about what education to buy in the world Alvin Toffler wrote about in Future Shock, his 1970 best seller, is no easy task. But we have no choice. INC. reporter Kevin J. Ryan said this in his June 30th tribute to Toffler:
“One of the driving themes of Toffler’s work was that knowledge would become the driving force behind powerful societies—more so even than labor or materials. Toffler wrote that those people, institutions, and civilizations that failed to keep up with the pace of new information would quickly face decline. He predicted the spread of free-flowing information via personal computers and the internet, and brought the term “information overload” into the popular lexicon, a reference to the difficulty people have understanding issues and making decisions because of the overwhelming amounts of data available.”
What’s at stake are dreams, goals and futures. The idea has always been for students to recover their initial investment from the proceeds of selling their education to employers full-time. Only now 48% of jobs are considered to be full-time and employers can afford to be particular about the graduates they hire. They know that (a) By 2020, they’ll have 204 million graduates to choose from; (b) Ottawa is working to reduce wait times when skilled, high-tech workers have to be brought in from outside the country on short notice; and (c) They have access to technology and low-cost geographies and they know how to use them.
It’s not a cliché to say that what our children don’t know about Canada and what it has to offer will come back to haunt them and the country as a whole. PDD helps them acquire that awareness by making it mandatory. That’s how the rewards will flow to them. They’ll learn which degrees are likely to fall out of favour and become irrelevant. We owe them that. We don’t send our best and brightest to university to be unemployed or underemployed in a tight market that makes it hard to repay a loan, or if there is no loan to repay, to start a life. Loan forgiveness, though very noble, isn’t synonymous with young people in well-paying jobs. Knowledge about where the work will be after graduation and how to prepare to compete for it is synonymous with young people in well-paying jobs.
I conceived Personal Due Diligence (PDD) in 2012 to teach parents and their children together what deep market intelligence is, where to find it, how to interpret it and how to use it to decide how to spend their post-secondary dollars. The exercises we set give them the tools to determine for themselves whether the education they’re thinking of buying will bear fruit. We help them identify viable options—just in case. Our job is to ensure the quality and relevance of their research, for everybody’s sake.
I applied those principles to my children in the late 1990s after creating a blueprint for an internet-based system intended to do precisely the same thing but on a national scale. The principles worked but we were 25 years ahead of our time. You’ll find a description of what we do and why we do it by clicking on the tab marked THE PDD PROCESS.
The Millennium Project at the University of Michigan recognizes the need to rethink what a university is. James D. Duderstadt has gone so far as to say that the university as we know it will likely disappear and be replaced by an institution based on a different model. It’s almost certain that there will be fewer of them. The project recognizes that university degrees don’t guarantee jobs. Parents have to recognize it, too.
We all have a deep, vested interest in using our universities and employing our young people wisely. Incurring student debt that can’t be repaid or earning degrees that can’t be redeemed for paying jobs benefits no one. Worse, it puts our future at risk.
We’re all in this together. To learn more and to schedule your no-charge first consultation, please contact me at the coordinates below.
President & Founder
PERSONAL DUE DILIGENCE