Here’s an alarming article by Jack Hough from the New York Post that states:
“The four-year college degree has come to cost too much and prove too little. It's now a bad deal for the average student, family, employer, professor and taxpayer.”
It tracks two 18 year olds who both save the same amount of money (about $16,000) for college. One gets accepted to a college, the other does not. Both spend their lives making average incomes for their respective conditions; one with, and one without a college degree. Both set aside the same % amount of their respective salaries for their entire working lives. The grad uses the set aside for 12 years to pay off the loans and then starts saving at the same rate as the non-grad (who has been saving already for 16 years). The high school grad has all the saved up college money and a 16 year head start on investing a lesser amount of money each year.
At age 65, one person has accumulated savings of $1.4 million, the other just $400 thousand. Read the article to find out who the millionaire is.
Lest you think it’s just about money, read on…
“It's crass, you might think, to reduce education to a financial decision. An educated citizenry is healthier, more tolerant, more politically engaged and more fulfilled than an ignorant one. But I refer above to degrees, not education. The two are not the same, even if policymakers talk as though they are.”
Employers want a degree because it indicates to them that applicants have learned the “foundations of human knowledge” but here is a sampling of what passes for courses that fulfill core degree requirements at major universities.
“History of Comic Book Art (Indiana University), History and Philosophy of Dress (Texas Tech University) and Campus Culture and Drinking (Duke University)”
Couple meaningless core courses with grade inflation and you’ve got degrees that don’t mean anything. Employers are being suckered. Hyperinflation of tuitions in an age where knowledge is incredibly accessible for free, means students are being suckered. And last but not least, colleges spend huge amounts of time now doing remediation so parents too are being suckered for the 13 years preceding college.
The article proposes a fascinating concept, the ‘knowledge transcript’ to replace degrees. It’s sort of a tree diagram that describes all of the branches of knowledge components that a student has mastered as certified by standardized tests. It doesn't say a thing about how you got the knowledge, only that you've got it. Such a system would crush the elite college's ability to deliver crap at hyper-inflated rates.
I’d like to see knowledge transcripts in K-12 too. Maybe this is too much transparency to hope for but wow, does it make sense!