kitchen table math, the sequel: The growing distinction between 'meaningful' and 'worthless" college degrees

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The growing distinction between 'meaningful' and 'worthless" college degrees

Today, the dominant distinction defining socioeconomic class is between those with and without college degrees. Graduates earn 70 percent more than those with only high school diplomas. In 1980, the difference was just 30 percent.
Soon the crucial distinction will be between those with meaningful college degrees and those with worthless ones. Many colleges are becoming less demanding as they become more expensive: They rake in money — much of it from government-subsidized tuition grants — by taking in many marginally qualified students who are motivated only to acquire a credential and who learn little.
Today's "college students are learning less than they used to".
Lindsey reported that in 1961, full-time college students reported studying 25 hours a week on average; by 2003, average studying time had fallen to 13 hours. Half of today’s students take no courses requiring more than 20 pages of writing in a semester. Given the role of practice in developing expertise, “the conclusion that college students are learning less than they used to seems unavoidable.” Small wonder those with college degrees occupying jobs that do not require a high school diploma include 1.4 million retail salespeople and cashiers, half a million waiters, bartenders and janitors, and many more.

(Previously posted at Cost of College)

1 comment:

Crimson Wife said...

The last paid position I held had a minimum requirement of a bachelor's or higher, but I could've done it straight out of high school. There was nothing inherent to the job that required anything I learned in college. The degree requirement was just a "gatekeeper" and proxy for having decent reading/writing/basic math (pre-algebra/easy algebra level) skills and work ethic. I could've done the job straight out of high school, but lots of people walking around with high school diplomas wouldn't have been capable of doing it.