High costs, low benefits

Sending the unprepared and unmotivated to college has high costs and low benefits, writes George Leef of Phi Beta Cons. In 1997, the newly elected Tony Blair set a target of 50 percent of students earning a college degree. That hasn’t worked out, Max Davidson in The Telegraph. About the same percentage of students go on to higher education; few low-income students get a degree. Furthermore, those who go in hopes of a secure, middle-class job may be disappointed.

They have been told that higher education will be good for them: they have not been told that it will only be good for them if they want to do it.

. . . A university education can be a joy, a privilege, a stepping stone; but it is not a prerequisite for a happy and successful career.

The Obama administration “will press ahead with their goal of processing more young people through college without regard to the high cost and low benefit,” Leef writes. But if marginal students go to community college, they’ll spend less money and time with more hope of improving their life prospects.

Intellectual confidence is the greatest benefit of a college education for many students, writes Ben Casnocha. But do graduates need to be educated or is it just the placebo effect?

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  1. Tracy W says:

    The telegraph article is weird. I remember plenty of stories from the 1990s about new graduates not being able to find secure, middle class jobs.

  2. If high schools actually did a good job educating students, there would be no push for “college for all”.

  3. You can’t push on a rope–not if you want to accomplish anything, anyway.