A problem that has existed for far too long is one where people look down with disdain on individuals that work with their hands. This problem began in the 60s and 70s when it was said that for a young person to get ahead and to do well that they must go to college and get a degree. This was perhaps true in that time, but with the skyrocketing cost of college today this situation deservers a serious review. 

Let us examine the situation as it exists today in Maine with regards to tuition, room and board, books and supplies, as well as personal needs for in-state students 

University of Maine 

Tuition$11,170Room & Board$10,418Books/Supplies$1,200Personal$1,300Total$24,088 

Husson University 

Tuition: $18,180; Room & Board: $9,830 Books/Supplies: $1,200; Personal: $1,300; Total: $30,510 

Thomas College 

Tuition: $26,900; Room & Board: $11,250 Books/Supplies: $1,200; Personal: $1,300; Total: $40,650 

These costs are certainly significant, however when you consider the costs of more elite schools they appear mild. Consider the tuition costs of Bates ($53,042), Bowdoin ($51,344) and Colby ($50,890).   

Another factor to consider is the average percentage rate of graduation. This is not favorably impressive for the following three collegesUniversity of Maine58%;  Husson42.5%; Thomas: 42.6. 

However, the elite colleges in Maine have graduation percentage rates much higherBates88.5%;  Bowdoin: 93%; Colby90.5%. 

Regardless of the strata of schools listed the financial load a student incurs is exceptionally burdensome.  When the student debt accumulated is added into the equation it makes the ability of young people to marry, build a home and start a family almost impossible. Likewise, the individual that does not finish more than a year or two is also faced with a heavy debt. With only limited potential to service the obligations, these dropouts have little more than a menial job to repay the debt. Six years after graduation the average University of Maine graduate has an average salary of $36,700, and after ten years only $46,700.   

Consider the following information that I received from the Midcoast Institution of Technology regarding the income potential for hands on trades. Machinists are in very strong demand and can earn within a short time after graduation can earn salaries of $50,000 annually or more. Welding is another major skill offered by MIT and now has 14 areas for training. Job opportunities for this trade are available at $20 to $25 per hour or $41,800 to $50,000 per year. Still another trade available is graphic arts. If a young person completes this program and continues for two years of community college the potential salary ranges are between $40,000 and $100,000 predicated on their level of skill. The new Midcoast Tech offers training in seventeen areas for individuals to choose from. 

Midcoast Tech has excellent training in plumbing, electrical, and carpentry.  The state of Maine average figures are as follows for these tradesPlumbing$50,000 (average), $100,000 (master); Electrician   $64,900 (average); Carpenter: $45,355 (average).     

When you consider the potential earning power of these trades which are available at Midcoast Institution of Technology that are offered to students of our local high schools as compared to the potential income of a 4 year graduate of college, it merits a long hard look as to where the best options are available. It is important to consider that these are available without incurring the heavy debt burden of tuition and other college expenses. 

Another View is written on a rotating basis by a member of a group of conservative Midcoast citizens that meet to discuss issues they think are of public interest. 

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