I graduated from a community college located ten blocks from my apartment. Then got my four-year degree from a state school in the same city I lived.

I had already started my career by the time I graduated with a bachelor’s. I had no debt.

I attained financial freedom at age 40. I could literally have retired then if I wanted to.

No one ever, not once, cared where I got my bachelor’s degree. Absolutely no one cared that I went to community college. I was once asked in a job interview what my SAT scores were, though.

A fascinating study was done on people who were accepted to expensive schools but instead chose to go to cheap, low-rated colleges. So they had the necessary work ethic, educational background and intelligence to get accepted into top schools, but decided to save their money.

The results?

There was no difference in incomes between students who went to top schools and students who went to cheap schools, as long as both groups of students were good enough to get accepted to top schools.

Work ethic, intelligence and choice of degree mattered. Not the school.

An expensive college is a waste of money. The exceptions are pretty much limited to Princeton, Harvard, Yale and MIT. The connections you can make there are invaluable.

Many kids get pushed into a college track when they’d be better off with apprenticeships, learning a trade. And even among those who really should go to college, most are better off just getting the lowest-cost education they can get.

Parents, stop going into debt to send your kids to expensive schools. It won’t help them. And it certainly won’t help you.

And for anyone in high school considering college education, let me let you in on a little secret. Life doesn’t even start until 40. You aren’t missing anything by not going to an expensive school other than debt. Go after the degree you want, not the school you want. People will often care about which degree you got. No one will care where you got it.