From Market Watch:
Late summer is when parents bring their children to college. As they drive to campus they’re worried about tuition increases, the burden of student debt and whether their children will find jobs when they graduate.
Some parents and high-school students are beginning to question the value of a four-year college degree in this post-Great Recession world. And you can certainly understand why they have these concerns…
…The job market for recent college grads is grim and incomes are down. The unemployment rate for all college graduates over 25 years old is currently 4.1%, less than half of the national unemployment rate of 8.3%. But a recent Economic Policy Institute study reports that the unemployment rate is 9.4% for college grads ages 21 to 24 (not currently seeking a post graduate degree), and the underemployment rate for this group is 19.1% (this includes part-time workers who want full-time jobs). In 2011, those grads lucky enough to have a full-time job earned an average of $35,000 a year, a 5.4% inflation adjusted decrease from 2000 average income. Finally, it is estimated that nearly 4 of 10 grads are working in fields that don’t require a college degree (the college-grad barista syndrome)…
The article details far more than that about what is wrong with getting a college degree – and then, in typical (for modern times) Alice-In-Wonderland mode, still goes on to claim that getting a degree is worth it. I hold, though, that it is only worth it if you are going for a degree in medicine or one of the hard sciences (I don’t even count law school as worth it any longer as we have a glut of lawyers in the United States). We have, in our higher education system, far too many people pursuing far too many degrees of doubtful immediate utility and the whole thing is financed with a trillion dollars (and growing) of student debt which is increasingly impossible for the college grads to repay. What happened?
Government happened. Government (lobbied by the education establishment) decided that everyone should go to college and so set up education systems designed to feed colleges as opposed to educate kids. Government then set up a student loan program (initially via the private sector under government control, not entirely under government control) which provided easy funding (literally, an 18 year old with no income and no credit rating can borrow tens of thousands of dollars to go to college) for anyone who is willing to put his butt in a college seat. Colleges love this because they get the money up front so it doesn’t matter if the kid ever graduates or whether the kid learns a marketable skill. Colleges additionally love it because by providing loans the government allows the colleges to continually hike tuition rates outside of market variable – the kids aren’t thinking of having to pay that back four years later (four years to an 18 year old is forever in the future) and so aren’t actually calculating the loan cost against possible future returns; they are just told by guidance counselors that a college education will allow them to make more money than a non-college education. No one ever tells them that there are college educations and then there are college educations…and education in medicine will immediately allow you to make a bucket of money per year while an education in post-feminist studies not so much. As is typical whenever government gets in involved a tiny elite profits (in this case the education system) while the people get screwed.
In addition to that, except for those learning a hard science (in other words, those who are really in nothing more than a high-grade trade school), the kids aren’t even being educated. 100 years ago, a college education included learning Latin and Greek, just to tip-of-the-iceberg what isn’t being done in schools any longer. We’ve massively dumbed-down college education to the point where I hold it mostly in contempt – because after all that time and money in the class room, I see no ability of a college graduate which is superior to my abilities. I don’t know Latin or Greek, either…and I’d stack my non-college education knowledge of history, economics, philosophy and theology against anyone who graduated college in the last 50 years. For most kids, it would be better if they went to a trade school rather than college – it would be cheaper and, for instance, if you are a tool and die maker you are in massive demand, even in this down economy.
When Obama talks about how he wants to spend more on education all he’s really saying is “I want to subsidize this massive failure because it provides campaign funds for me”. The Education people know which side butters their bread – they know that as long as they keep the donations flowing to the Democrats the Democrats will keep the money flowing to the education system, no matter how lousy the product is and no matter how many poor kids are burdened with massive debt (nothing like starting out in life as a debt slave, huh?). Its all a crock, a scam and a national disgrace – end the student loan program and you’ll pull the lynchpin out from under this rotten edifice. It’ll collapse in a heap if there’s not a flow of loan money in to colleges – they’ll have to cut staff (and the staff most likely to be cut is the heavily liberal areas, such as the aforementioned feminist studies), cut tuition and start offering a more meaty education program which provides something you can’t get in high school or trade school. We’ll also cut off a huge source of funds for the Democrat party and the larger left. There’s no downside to eliminating student loans – certainly not for the kids who won’t be $30,000.00 in debt for a useless degree.
But, will we? Not yet. We’re still in a cowardly phase where we’re afraid of a Democrat “Republicans hate education” attack line. But the fall of college education proceeds apace and maybe when we’ve got kids sitting under $2 trillion in worthless education debt there will come the will to change.
GIVE IT UP, JAMES//MODERATOR
i will take your bait. I agree with you that there are many stupid degrees out there more on the liberal arts part than the business side. Most of the marketing majors i graduated with have jobs and most of the business majors have good jobs. Also there is a need for computer science majors and many other majors. It is not as bleak as people want to make it out to be. I did not go to an ivy league college and most of us have pretty good jobs.
maybe when we’ve got kids sitting under $2 trillion in worthless education debt there will come the will to change.
Or, more likely, all that debt will be forgiven if the indebted students agree to work for the government. That could be how Obama will man his Civilian Security Force.
My total out-of-state room, board and tuition at Miami University for my 4 years there from 1963 to 1967 was around $7,000. When my oldest daughter looked at Miami in 1988 (same time frame as Paul Ryan, who is the same age as my daughter), the 4 year out-of-state cost was about $48,000. Current out-of-state cost at Miami is $144,000.
I don’t recall student loans even being available in the 60’s — they simply weren’t needed. My entire 4 years cost about twice the price of a new Chevy Impala (my parents bought a new Impala station wagon during my sophomore year). Current out-of-state costs at Miami are about 5-6 times the cost of a new Chevy Impala. Even as recently as the late 80’s and early 90’s, we paid for both of our daughters’ college educations without going into debt. But then both of them received degrees in areas (architecture/interior design and surgical technology) that allowed them to find meaningful and rewarding jobs.
The reason for the rise is, in my view, entirely the existence of student loans. By deferring the cost of education until after the education is received you take away the primary economic consideration as to whether to (a) go to college and (b) what to learn while in college. The whole thing is a gigantic scam designed to provide lavish sums to colleges (thus providing the tenured professors the level of wealth they think they are entitled to) which, in turn, plays a large role in funding the left to the advantage of our liberal Democrats. The education these days outside of the hard sciences is mostly worthless (I include business education in the worthless category – though a degree in business is still an excellent entrance ticket to the corporate world, the fact that they mostly teach Keynsianism and allegiance to usury and fake money makes them worthless to society as a whole) – key in to Obama’s determination to hire a slew of new teachers…of course: it is the only way to employ all these liberal arts graduates; and not only employ them but employ them in a way (ie, government unionized) which ensures continued support for Democrats. While there is a need for more math, science and trade teachers, you can bet that 90% of the teachers Obama is talking about aren’t studying in those areas.
Kill the student loan program and you’ll fix the problem, by and large. it would immediately mean several million less kids going to college next year which would immediately deflate tuition costs (just to keep half the butts in seats colleges would have to cut tuition) as well as slaughtering those areas of study which are not most immediately useful in the real world (once again, feminist studies and the like). Not only would education costs drop like a rock but we’d also gut the liberal bastions in higher education. Its a massive two-fer for the right, and also massively beneficial to the kids and society as a whole. All we have to do is develope the guts to speak the truth about it.
Right, all that money wasted on accounting, human resources, governmental planning, marketing, mathematics, electrical engineering, software engineering, engineering, finance, criminal justice, business management, merchandising, pharmacy, architecture, agriculture, languages and linguistics ….
Hell, we have a fine apprentice program in this country, let the nosebleeds get a job and learn to design buildings on the fly. Or aircraft, we don’t need no more stinking aircraft engineers, too damn much attention to regulations for my money. Wing and a prayer, that’s my motto.
There, fixed it for you – we’re wasting money on the useless things.
Your world sounds like East Germany, Communist China or Soviet Russia. Grey, drab and wholly without culture, art, or philosophy.
Count, do we really “have a fine apprenticeship program”? I think it would be a great idea, but outside some union trade apprenticeships I am not aware of any.
We are considering bringing in a young man who is nearly certified as a welder, as kind of an apprentice in our company, but it’s not a formal “plan” as much as a training period.
That was sarcasm, Amazona.
Damn. We need that sarc font
OK, I got the sarcasm regarding the learning to build buildings on the fly, also for actual flying, but for some reason the first part of the comment seemed to stand alone.
Or, more likely, all that debt will be forgiven if the indebted students agree to work for the government.
I wouldn’t put it past Obama to promise to forgive student debt in general 30 days before the election in a last ditch effort to salvage some of the millions of college grads in their early 20’s who have abandoned him
Harrumph! Broad-brush meet Noonan.
First, “Colleges love this because they get the money up front so it doesn’t matter if the kid ever graduates or whether the kid learns a marketable skill.” This might apply to for-profit trade schools but is the antithesis of the reality of a state post-secondary educational facility (trade school, community college, state college or university). The amount owed to institutions for loans which are in default is astronomical. Private lenders are on the hook for some of this but much of the debt is carried by the institution itself or through funding agencies which put collections on the institutions themselves.
Next, “continually hike tuition rates outside of market variable” as long as we’re talking about state run institutions, since their inception the state has paid far more per student than the tuition or fees. Last year for the first time, tuition and fees exceeded what the state paid to the universities. The costs continue to rise and the state is withholding greater amounts from the universities. (Jerry Brown would rather spend Billions $ on a choo-choo train in a part of the state where no one needs or wants a train)
The state of California has cut over $2 billion from the University system over the past 4 years with another half-billion $ coming, we are now (before the next round of cuts this fall) at funding levels not seen since the mid-1990s while serving 135% student levels.
Simple inflation and salary (mostly union) costs have risen exponentially while our ability to collect has dropped precipitously.
I work at a research facility (all UCs are research universities) meaning we receive the bulk of our funds from grants and contracts. This also means we need to attract the big money research academics and grad students. We cannot collect research money if we don’t get the grants or contracts because we don’t have the facility, staff or faculty.
During times of economic downturn, many high school grads have two choices, sit on mom’s couch and blog or go to school, increase your marketability and be positioned better when the economy begins to turn.
I’m not sure of the value of a graduate of the University of California who can ask Θα θέλατε τα τηγανητά με αυτό?
Just pointing out that if you know Greek then you at least learned something in college that I don’t know.
Main thing here is that you say you work in research – what kind of research? Is it hard science or about how lesbians are developing in the post-colonial world? If its hard science then it probably largely justifies the cost. If you’re working on the next generation of aircraft or developing improved agricultural technology, then I’m not worried about what it is costing us. If, however, you are saddling a kid with $30,000.00 in debt for a degree in Chicano Studies, then you’re being wicked.
Whatever happened to Caveat Emptor? Call yourself a conservative and yet you think mama government should step in and decide to discriminate against certain studies because you don’t see the value?
The study of Classic languages (Greek and Latin) is a liberal art, so is psychology, mathematics, music, philosophy, linguistics, religious studies, communications, literature, science and theater.
A kid sitting about 30’ from me wants to be a museum curator, he’s willing to go into debt to learn what’s required of him as it’s all he’s ever wanted to do with his life. Would it make me less wicked if I were to saunter over there and tell him he’s wasting his money on useless things?
I think we can use more philosophers and fewer economists.
And research is for whatever someone is willing to pay to have it studied.
I wanted to clep some classes when I went to school. Diet and phys ed were two of them. I had just gotten back from Viet Nam and out of the Marines.
I had to go to a “counselor” and discuss why I had no need for those classes.
She was about 35yo, 5′ tall and 5′ WIDE………..explaining to me the importance of eating habits and exercise.
A TRUE WTFX1000??? moments. She would not recommend me to be able to clep those courses my major was business-management.
I knew at that moment they were SELLING courses and the “degree” was about 50% fill classes and 50% real meat classes. which IMHO is a SCAM!!!
Count has done a good job defending higher education in general.
He is a tad wrong on the liberal arts. Those are geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy as well as rhetoric, grammar and logic. Roughly the up to date equivalent of what is needed for critical thinking would be math, music, science, an understanding of language, logic and statistics.
Psychology as currently formulated is navel gazing. Mostly helping students understand why they are completely unique even as they are exactly the same. Outside of academia its main role is to label various behaviors as abnormal and hence punishable, a role traditionally held by religion. The war on drugs is the psychology’s equivalent to the Inquisition. I have hope that people like Danny Kahneman become the rule instead of the exception.
As for faculty salaries, I’m glad my daughter is looking to California for university. Research money is invariably science and engineering with a little for the rest. But keeping research as a goal is terribly important. The large grants allow for the rest of the college to flourish. Even Noam Chomsky admits his department of linguistics and the philosophy department at MIT were carried by the monies brought in by engineering DOD grants.
That said, California is not the USA and at public universities the increases in tuition are more likely to fund special initiatives of the president/provost and sports than big faculty salary increases. Penn State faculty salary increases are small potatoes next to the liabilities the football team has exposed the university to. I also know from experience in my own department that budgets for teaching and research are down over the last decade even before taking inflation into account.
Mark is COMPLETELY wrong about the demand for tool and die makers. The US has been devastated in the area of molding and fabrication. The DOD is actually worried that so many molding plants have been shipped overseas. The European molding industry has been gutted as well, I know from personal conversations. It’s just cheaper to move to China. What Mark sees is that a smidgen of work has returned to the US and there aren’t people just waiting around for those jobs. If more buggy whips were needed there probably wouldn’t be people trained for those jobs either.
Mark is correct when he says that a culture of tinkering, trial and error needs to be restored to the USA. That tinkering might be done at university or not. It doesn’t have to be science and engineering, it could be in Greek or medicine or music or whatever. What it does need to be is original and in areas like education, psychology, economics or other areas plagued by hucksters, it needs to be evidence based.
Finally, I wonder if Mark has a non-ideological metric by which one could challenge his presumptive claim
“I’d stack my non-college education knowledge of history, economics, philosophy and theology against anyone who graduated college in the last 50 years.”.
I would wager even Count Dipstick would run circles around Mark. A Professor of Philosophy at UC-Irvine wouldn’t break a sweat with any honest measure.
Go ahead and bring me one – I’ll even let the good professor ask the first question. If you could get me one of the professors offering the “Feminist Moral and Political Philosophy” course I’d have the most fun. But, you pick (as an aside, picking medieval philosophy would be 2nd most fun but would also be too easy for me).
As for the need for tool and die makers (as well as machinists, etc); the stories are too common of shortages of such workers to indicate anything other than a need for them. Your view that all those jobs are gone may well reflect a college education on your part – where you would have been told that such jobs are gone and ain’t coming back and the only jobs out there will be medicine, law, teaching and computer programming, so you’d better sign the loan documents on the dotted line or you’ll miss out.
The stories that are common for machinists is that most of the jobs left the country and left the workers unemployed. What you hear is whining by a group of companies that have come back and wondering why there is nobody qualified just waiting for their ‘charity’.
NO company has any loyalty to its machinists and people know that. That isn’t a surprise, the goal of a company is to make profits. That is its legal responsibility. What the companies would like is quality US labor at a Chinese labor price. Why on earth are you surprised they can’t find them?
Perhaps if you had any background in quantifiable skills like engineering you might appreciate the current dilemma of students. They are reluctant to work 4-5 years to earn a BS in computer science to watch the job be shipped to India.
If you think I am for pushing college for everyone you are completely wrong. I much prefer a healthy trade school system for construction, plumbing, HVAC and even small business.
Question 1: Explain the influence of Aristotle on each of the following medieval philosophers a) Maimonides b) Al- Ghazal c) St. Thomas Aquinas
There is no delicate way to say this and I realize I may be courting a deletion but bozo the freaky clown shows a need for better biology teaching at least at his junior high level. According to him, millions of babies are aborted every week in his mother’s washing machine.
LOL. Thanks for the morning chuckle.
Count & Bardolf,
I have a question and knowing that you two are in the academia field, to what extent do past and current pension demands play in the rapid increase in the cost of education?
Also, an observation, why do we need job training? What are schools for anyway? Schools should be job training centers. And I don’t begrudge anyone a chance at a philosophy degree, but I will hold them accountable if they whine afterwards that they can’t make enough money to pay back their student loans.
Yeah, several issues there.
The short answer is there is no short answer.
Up until about 6 years ago the University of California was overfunded for Pensions. There are still sufficient resources that we’re not in imminent danger, but there were some costly investments that have caused some long term concern. As a result, we have begun employee contributions which should ameliorate the long term value. Where the State, cities and counties are in desperate shape on pensions, the University system is solvable, but the health care and other costs are not.
Job training? Our primary and secondary educational system is a bad joke with no punch line.
But our primary education system is designed to be a tread mill to put kids in to college – even though most people don’t need it if we have a rational economy (ie, one where most people earn their living by making, mining or growing things). The whole thing is, indeed, a mess – but the cure for it is, still, to end student loans. That will cut the rug out from all un-economic degrees, return rationality to education and revive the development of trade skills in primary education.
OT, but my wife and I and 4 friends went to see the documentary “2016” tonight, followed by a snack at, you guessed it — Chick-fil-A. The film was a pleasant surprise, and extremely well done. It stayed away from most of the controversial aspects of Obama’s life, and dwelled primarily on who and what throughout his life influenced his beliefs. I can’t imagine it changing any Liberal’s mind about voting for Obama, but anyone who hasn’t made up his or her mind should definitely see it.
I plan to see that movie. And I want to encourage everyone to read The Amateur. A well researched and written book that gives an eye opening glimpse into the inner workings of the Obama administration.
Everyone has done a good job stating their position. What no one has done yet, is to come up with a valid reason why the tax payer has to foot the bill when the whole damn system defaults.
Anyone want to give it a shot?
I can’t recall any conservative here advocating that tax payers foot the bill. In fact I wrote a thread a while back on learning how to fail and how failure can, and often does bring about more positive change.
We have bankruptcy laws for a reason, we need to use them instead of putting the tax payer on the hook.
As I write this there are 24 comments, yet none have addressed the use of our colleges and universities as madrassas of the Left.
What I see as the main problem with college “education” to day this that it is less education and more indoctrination.
We have students coming out of high school barely able to read and write, but convinced that Columbus was a genocidal pig who sought out a New World so he could eliminate its inhabitants, taught that the Constitution is a dusty old relic irrelevant to modern times and that anyone who believes in it as written is yearning for the return of slavery and stripping women of their rights, that the attack on Pearl Harbor was a justified response to American oppression and colonialism, that U.S. soldiers purposely gave Indians blankets infected with smallpox–in general a wide-ranging belief system in which the United States is always the bad guy.
This is a perfect setup for college, where they get their indoctrination ramped up to attacks on our political system and praise and promotion for the sub-systems of the Left.
I think if someone wants to spend four years, or more, studying Greek and Latin, that’s great. But I would like to think that somewhere along the line he would pick up a few tidbits that seem to be lacking in so many college graduates today—the fact that a sentence has to have a verb and a subject, for example, or that our Constitution provided a framework for a new nation’s meteoric rise to economic superiority and unprecedented personal liberty.
That is a side-benefit of ending student loan programs – the reason there is so much liberal indoctrination is because of government funding for leftist ideology. The ideology, itself, is not popular – back before we started subsidizing it (ie, during the New Deal) with taxpayer funds the American left was a small number of badly educated cranks who wrote books and magazine articles hardly anyone read and they spent their times lacerating each other over divergence from the party line. End student loans and you’ll dry up the ultimate source of funding for leftism at college which will, in turn, cripple the ability of the left to use college prestige to enforce liberal indoctrination in primary schools. As part of a project to de-fund the left, this is vital.
This has been around for almost a year, but it does show that not all of our young people are ill-educated dummies:
Spook, that is a hint that some young people get it. I like the “conflict of interest” point……..back to Franklin’s comment on what happens to a democracy when people learn they can vote themselves money.
All good stuff but she forgets that we Catholics will never go for the birth control thing. Much simpler to calculate what a person who works 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job would get and then limit non-food-for-children benefits to no more than 66% of that. People stay on welfare because it beats working for a living – even if it is a rather low standard of living, you still don’t have to get up and go to work. Make it so that any job will always provide a much higher standard of living and people will only turn to welfare when they really have to.
They are also depriving students of their proper nutrition, where I live they have downsized school lunches drastically, to the point that it’s not a “meal” per se, but a mere ration.