College isn't worth it ... the cost, the time, the effort, at least for everyone.
And that is the point here: there is now a tremendous amount of governmental and cultural pressure on our youth to go to college, but what they really need is more freedom and alternatives for building productive and fulfilling careers.
So, if you are a high school graduate and your passion is to become, for instance, a veterinarian or an accountant or a scientist, then by all means go to college. However, if you are done with high school and want to be a master carpenter, or an artist, or a motorcycle mechanic, or a real estate agent -- then apprenticeship programs, real work experience and self-education should be as equally esteemed and encouraged as the college-degree pathway.
A good deal of the "worth it" question arrives from the monetary cost of what a college education requires -- let's face it, the pricing is out of control. Anyone who has attended college in the past twenty years, or who has children and/or grandchildren contemplating going to college now, understands that something is terribly wrong with the cost of higher education.
It is this realization as reported in the results of a new public opinion survey that precipitated this post: most Americans believe that indeed "a college education isn't worth the price" (see the link below). Yet despite its unaffordablity for most individuals and families, and the dubious career value, high school kids and their parents are bombarded constantly with the notion that only acquiring a college degree will signify real success in 21st century America.
The "go to college" mantra has become the politicians' latest marker in proving their commitment to "the future" ... and, honestly, for many middle class parents a college-degreed child is as much a social status symbol as a tony house in the suburbs and/or a European holiday.
Nevertheless, as the links and video below demonstrate, in the real world, the economic value of a college degree accompanied by tens or thousands of dollars of student loans is fast becoming more burden than promise.
What this leads to are three items that Americans need to consider.
First, continuing education after high school is valuable for the personal quality of life it brings beyond mere financial gain. Depth of knowledge and understanding of history and how things work makes us better, more fulfilled human beings -- in other words, money isn't everything.Presented here are news reports and opinion articles further exploring the question of whether or not college 'is worth it'. The first video is an hour long documentary produced by a group with libertarian leanings and based on the notion that the U.S. economy is inevitably faced with hyperinflation -- I do not necessarily subscribe to that economic premise (we may stay in a prolonged deflationary condition); nevertheless it presents good points and arguments on this college issue.
Secondly, obtaining eventual job or career success doesn't necessarily mean that one must go to college, must get a degree, or must participate in the "college experience" ... indeed, becoming a wage-slave because of student loans may mean disappointment, frustration and near impoverishment. For the well-being of our children it is time for some push-back against the politicians and the higher education industry -- let young Americans be liberated to find alternative ways to find meaningful work. We surely need fewer college educated waiters and cashiers and more experienced-trained artists, mechanics, writers, videographers, small business proprietors, etc. The stigma associated with "she doesn't have a degree" needs to be a thing of the past in this new century.
Third, for those who really want or need to go to college we need serious reform in our higher education system in the United States. Unfortunately, the college and university system has become corrupted and corporatized like so much else in our society. Between taxes, tuition and fees hundreds of billions of dollars are spent every year on public institutions of public learning -- yet university and college leaders are in a massive national whine about inadequate funding and students are dunned with annual double digit tuition increases. Something is clearly wrong ... and something has got to change or colleges will simply price themselves out of existence (which might be good, there are probably too many four year colleges already competing for limited revenues).
Recommended is the eight minute video below that is visionary ... the Congressional testimony of TV personality Mike Rowe; watch it.
Higher education fails to provide students “good value” for the money they and their families spend, more than half of U.S. adults said in a survey. ... In the poll, 75 percent of U.S. adults said college was unaffordable for most Americans, and almost half said that student loans had made it harder to pay other bills. ...
The report included a separate survey of 1,055 college presidents that was designed by the Pew Research Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education. That survey, conducted March 15 through April 24, showed concern about diminishing higher education standards and quality.
Some 58 percent of college presidents said public high school students arrive at college less well prepared than their counterparts a decade ago, according to the survey. Just 19 percent said the U.S. system of higher education is the best in the world, and 7 percent said they believe it will be the best 10 years from now.
The National Inflation Association - http://inflation.us - today officially released the most comprehensive documentary ever produced about higher education in the U.S. NIA's hour-long documentary called 'College Conspiracy' exposes the facts and truth about America's college education system. ... The U.S. has been experiencing 5.15% annual college tuition inflation this decade. Despite this, 70.1% of high school graduates are now enrolling into college, a new all time record. 2/3 of college students are now graduating with an average of $24,000 in debt. There is nothing special about getting a college degree if everyone else has one, and it is certainly not worth getting $24,000 into debt to camouflage yourself into the crowd. ...
The real unemployment rate in America is now 22% and 60% of college graduates who are lucky enough to find a job, are receiving low skilled jobs where a college degree isn't even required. In fact, 70% of high school graduates who didn't go to college, were able to get these very same jobs as the average college graduate. The main difference is, by the time Americans who went to college get their degree, those who went straight into the work force after high school will already have 4 to 6 years of valuable workplace experience. Instead of having $24,000 in debt, these experienced Americans will be working their way up to a higher paid position or a better job at a different company. ...
Mike Rowe’s Oral Testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee: Transcript | MikeRoweWorks.com