This article should get parents’ and students’ attention. It essentially forecasts the bursting of the higher education bubble in its opening paragraph:
While most parents think that a college education is a worthy investment, there is an increase in the number of parents questioning the worth and rising cost of a college education, according to a recently released report.
Glenn Reynolds is an expert on the coming higher education bubble. Here’s what he had to say about the importance of a college degree:
Today, many graduates are already jumping the tracks to become skilled manual laborers, plumbers, electricians and the like. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that seven of the 10 fastest growing jobs in the next decade will be based on on-the-job training rather than higher education. And they’ll be hands-on jobs that are hard to outsource to foreigners. If you want your toilet fixed, it can’t be done by somebody in Bangalore. People pursuing these careers will have greater job security in today’s economy and will be free from the crushing debt amassed by their more educated peers.
Think about those last pair of sentences. People who went the trades school path “will have greater job security in today’s economy.” Equally important in many students’ minds is the fact that they’ll “be free from the crushing debt amassed by their more educated peers.” Most importantly, the fastest growing jobs won’t require a collegiate degree.
This information should upset every parent and student:
“We’re a public university,” said Paul Robinson, chairman of Purdue University’s faculty senate, in a Nov. 14 York Daily News report. “We’re here to deliver a high-quality education at as low a price as possible. Why is it that we can’t find any money for more faculty, but there seems to be an almost unlimited budget for administrators?” The cost of attending Purdue has risen 60 percent in the last 10 years.
Department of Education data reportedly shows a 60 percent rise overall in U.S. universities in the number of administrators, “or 10 times the rate of growth of the tenured faculty,” according to York Daily News.
It should upset legislators, too, whenever a lobbyist asks for more money for their university. Here’s the first question legislators should ask: What is the ratio of faculty to administrators? If it’s 50-50 or thereabouts, the legislators’ response should be that they don’t get another penny until there’s a substantial housecleaning of administrators.
Finally, this information is frightening:
But as prices have been going up, learning seems to have been going down. A recent book, “Academically Adrift” by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa, found that 45 percent of students did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning during the first two years of college, and 36 percent of students did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning over four years of college.
The primary reason, according to the study, is that courses aren’t very rigorous. In fact, a recent survey of more than 700 schools by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that many have virtually no requirements. Perhaps that’s why students are studying 50 percent less than they were a couple of decades ago.
There’s no reason to trust these glorified bureaucrats living in ivory towers anymore. In Minnesota, Chancellor Stephen Rosenstone hasn’t shown a willingness to hold MnSCU presidents accountable. Meanwhile, he’s asking for a $97 million increase to MnSCU funding with the promise of holding tuition increases to 3% annually.
As with all things, there’s a catch:
“If funded, the MnSCU system would limit tuition increases to 3 percent — or $145 a year for a full-time college student and $205 a year for a university student. That limit does not apply to fees or room and board. This year’s tuition and fees at the system’s two-year colleges average $5,355. At the universities, tuition and fees average $7,340.
Room and board at some universities is 2-3 times as expensive as tuition per year. That’s before discussing student fees, which frequently top $1,000 annually.
Based on the information in this series of articles, a degree isn’t as valuable as it used to be, partially because the course offerings don’t challenge or train students frequently enough:
Well, meet Cortney Munna, a 26-year-old graduate of New York University recently reported by The New York Times to have nearly $100,000 in student loan debt, debt that her degree in religious and women’s studies did not equip her with the actual job skills to repay. Payments on Cortney’s debt are about $700 per month, equivalent to a respectable house payment and a major bite on her monthly income of $2,300 as a photographer’s assistant earning an hourly wage.
There are too many degrees that don’t help students become productive workers. Courtney Munna is the poster child for those types of degrees.