The following story came across my LinkedIn feed: The Biggest Crisis in Higher Ed Isn’t Student Debt, It’s Students Who Don’t Graduate. It’s an op-ed by Michael Crow, President of Arizona State University.
There is a lot of talk these days about student debt and the challenges that families face managing this burden. Rightfully so, particularly at a time when too many families are struggling with flat wages and rising costs. But the discussion of a debt crisis often fails to address what I would argue is the greater crisis: the fact that more than half of those who start college fail to finish.
Think about it: Tens of millions of people in the US are saddled with student debt and have no degree to help pay it off. They won’t get the substantial return on their investment—graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn about $1 million more in additional income over their lifetime than those with only a high school diploma—and they typically have not developed the adaptive learning skills that will help them prosper in a rapidly changing economy.
In too many cases, they may never recover, leaving them feeling frustrated and bitter, disenfranchised and unable to find a way to better jobs and greater opportunity. Too many, saddled with debt and lacking a degree, feel trapped.
According to US Department of Education data, the ability to repay college loans depends more on whether a student graduated than on how much debt they are carrying. The research also found that students who don’t graduate are three times more likely to default on their loans than those who do.
Adding to this sobering picture is the reality that only 15 percent of the bottom half of the US population (based on family income) have earned a college degree and only 9 percent among the bottom quarter. At a time when the majority of new jobs require post-secondary education, this is a national shame. Not only does it limit individual socioeconomic advancement, it minimizes the country’s capacity to make the most of talent that exists at every level and in every neighborhood.
This completion crisis is alarming, but it is fixable.
First, the $1 Million more in salary is a myth. James Altucher, among others, blew that to pieces. If you have kids looking at college, don’t let them be deluded. The myth was partly true a long time ago. It no longer makes any sense.
Even less sense is made from the unGodly debts students pile up in pursuit of an education that really isn’t. There’s a profound reason why the debt is such a concern. It isn’t worth it. College isn’t worth the money.
And those who drop out without finishing their degrees testify to the lack of value. Why stay for something with a low or non-existent return on investment? Why go so deeply in debt for it.
So, these problems are inter-connected and they are all worth considering; they are important. But I disagree with Crow on the graduation rate itself being the main problem.
His solution at ASU is a program that partners corporate employers with schools to cover costs and facilitate continued enrollment. I see that as a scheme to keep more students paying. Yes, more will graduate. But what do they get for their efforts?
By and large, college education in America is a hoax. Colleges long ago threw academic standards and actual learning under the school bus. Now the schools wage a war on men. Students are told that “to me a man” is terrible. They’re told manly fitness is toxic. There’s a war on European-Americans too. Students are told that just to be white is to be racist.
This isn’t education. This is bullsh!t. It’s indoctrination into a failed and useless culture of wimps and communists. Who needs it? Who needs four years of it? Who needs $200,000 in debt for it?
Outside of a few technical and professional fields, there is simply no valid reason to waste time pursuing the college experience. It’s an empty experience where most learning is self-induced and incidental. Real, liberal, classical education is easily obtained via independent study.
And college, the industry’s money-based lies aside, is not for everyone. Maybe 10% should be in higher education. Those who seek honest academic progress should only go if they can go for free or next to free. Even the best education isn’t worth a penny of debt.
Colleges and universities sell a product that most cannot afford and do not need. And the prospective customers are far better off without the debased social justice warrior lunacy. like this:
WTH?? Worse than worthless. ImageFlip.
From an institutional perspective I suppose declining graduation rates would be second in concern only to decreasing overall enrollment. Both mean less money for the schools. The problem for the rest of us is that those schools now peddle expensive dribble that hurts the culture and crushes the individual soul. They are the drug dealers of the Ivory Tower.