Skip to comments.Will: The subprime education bubble
Posted on 06/10/2012 8:50:41 AM PDT by SignalmanEdited on 06/10/2012 9:06:52 AM PDT by Admin Moderator. [history]
Many parents and the children they send to college are paying rapidly rising prices for something of declining quality. This is because "quality" is not synonymous with "value."
Glenn Harlan Reynolds, University of Tennessee law professor, believes college has become, for many, merely a "status marker" signaling membership in the educated caste, and a place to meet spouses of similar status — "associative mating."
(Excerpt) Read more at vcstar.com ...
Let’s put this into prospective.
First, Up until the 1950’s...if you went to college....you studied math, science, engineering, medicine, history, or philosophy. Today, you have the core subjects, but we’ve added around forty additional topics which are mostly worthless in nature. We aren’t even ashamed to admit that they are worthless in nature.
Second, no one in high school is educating kids on economics. If you went to a 16 year old kid and laid out the problems of assuming $60k of debt at age 21 (or for that matter....$100k of debt)...how would you pay this off over twenty years? The 16 year old kid would come back with his project, and be utterly shocked as to what he has to give up for twenty years....to pay off the debt. He’d likely agree that two years at a community college was more than sufficient to accomplish his goals in life.
Third, we have an entire generation of professors who are completely wasted and overpaid. If the college came up today, and laid Professor Watson off at age 55, with his background in diversity....he’d likely be working as a shift manager for McDonalds within two years. There just isn’t a real occupation for diversity....in life.
Fourth, no state legislature is willing to walk in and clean house. No one cares if tuition at the state-run college runs around $18k a year, and it’s killing the future of the state by creating a massive wave of debt within twenty years. Most state universities would forbid state legislatures from even opening their finance books.
Fifth, and final....if we were turning out one of every three students to be an engineer or scientist...the investment might be worth the effort. But we are lead to believe the vast number of folks with degrees coming out today....have no engineering or scientist value. Heck, there’s probably two thousand sports management kids graduating this summer, and hoping to get some job related to sports...after four years at a college.
There is something wrong here, but we just aren’t willing to fix it. And this balloon is likely starting to bust within a decade.
Philosophy does not have to be a "subprime" degree. Sometimes it is, but in even a modestly rigorous program, the study of philosophy (more than most other majors) requires that someone genuinely learn how to read, think, analyze and write. Those skills are priceless (and rare) in the workplace, regardless of what work you do. I'm not suggesting that the study of philosophy qualifies you to be an electrical engineer or a doctor, but even engineers and doctors need to think, read, analyze and write well.
And yesin the interest of full disclosureI do have a degree in philosophy. Cum Laude.
Part of the problem is that "we" can't fix this. "I", as in each individual, must fix it by making the choice to learn employable skills instead of "lebianism and how it relates to ethnicity" studies.
There are options such as trade schools, or even employable skills in college. Unfortunately, those who choose to learn trades are going to have to bail out those who chose Liberal Ideology Education Studies (LIES).
In my parent’s generation, it was not uncommon for people to quit school to go to work and a high school education was worth far more than it is today. After WW2, a college education became a ticket to the middle class, helped along by the GI Bill. My Mom & Dad were the first in their families to get a college education and it served them both very well - all of us Boomer kids did the same. Everyone got a healthy dose of hard-core subjects like English, Math, Science. If you couldn’t pass College Algebra, you could forget about getting a degree.
Nowadays, my grandchildren major in stuff like “communications” (talking) and other useless junk which gets them a job as a telemarketer working in a boiler room with their peers. The Asian kids do well because they have a good work ethic and are not afraid to tackle the difficult subjects like Math, Physics, Chemistry, Biology & Computer Science, but any kid with ambition can do as well.
If I was just starting out again, I would not go to college: I would go to trade school like DeVry, pick up some basic computer skills and learn some plumbing, electrical, and welding skills and go right to work. Nowadays, chances are good you will not end up with the same kind of job you started with - things change so rapidly - so you want to stay flexible.
An artist friend of mine once told me, “If you want to make a living as an artist, it’s also a good idea to pick up a few janitorial skills to tide you over until you make the big time!” Good advice!
As far as I'm concerned, this 'education bubble' isn't the same as a 'housing bubble' etc. UNLESS the government is going to step in and bailout all of these HS college wannabes with a worthless degree. These people should have to pay for their loans (e.g., the free money they thought they'd never have to pay back)....
It all depends what you study in college.
If you major in nursing, accounting, one of the other business related fields, one of the science fields, as examples, you are getting education which will qualify you for employment in such fields.
If you major in women’s studies, black studies, etc. you are not getting an education which qualifies you for particular job fields after graduation.
As far as the cost is concerned, students and their families really have to have conversations about all of this. They have to talk about the cost / benefit of going to a private university vs. their state colleges. They have to talk about going to community college, then transferring to a four year university, and look at costs/benefits of that. They have to talk about how much the family is able/willing to spend, vs. what will have to be borrowed.
They could even discuss having the student take more than four years to get through, by working their way through college.
They have to talk about the real world impact of a student having tens of thousands in debt at the end of the line, and how does it get paid back. It’s one thing to talk about borrowing to get a degree in nursing or a business field, for which you can get a good paying job after graduation with which to repay loans. It’s another altogether to get loans to get a degree in women’s studies.
My uncle was one of the top executive recruiters for Texas Instruments for many years. His remarks to me back in the 60s on the value of a college education may be instructive.
He said, “Many college degrees aren’t worth a damn in terms of practical value in the job market, but you are damned if you don’t have one.”
The college degree, any degree, has become the easy way for HR people to separate and winnow out job applicants. The problem is that with the universal requirement to have a degree to get a ‘good’ job, eg, a white-collar job, the educational system has been forced to accept any and all students whatever their aptitude for higher education.
The result has been grade devaluation, dumbing down, and the proliferation of “______ studies” degrees whose primary educational value is feeling good about PC values.
The educational lobby of institutions of higher learning and teachers have gone along in the scam because more students equal more money to spread around, especially when the government steps up with loans despite the fact that the loans will saddle millions of graduates with crushing debt they will be unprepared to repay.
Therefore we see the graduation of millions of students who couldn’t have qualified for a degree in previous years sporting degrees.
One son has a BS in geology and is making a living as a musician. The other got a degree in communications and then tech school certification and is using all the skills he has acquired throughout life. There are a lot of ways to get educated.
As long as there are enough foreign students willing to fork over the escalating tuition costs the bubble will not burst in the near future. The greater danger will be the level of defaulted student loans born on the backs of (who else) the US taxpayers.
Philosophy is quite powerful
It teaches how to look at the human condition
It begins to explain the “Why”
Generally an older persons pursuit, as
the young are often too bound by “The Web”
as a Hindu might see it
My young friends who study Philosophy generally become confused,,,
If you have time google Griggs vs. Duke Power Co.
As for us ‘Boomers’ our post-Depression era WW2 parents drilled into us the value and necessity of education mostly since they had it so rough. In general although College education helped we were still in that front wave of post WW2 economic expansion and America was still producing many products. We didn’t have an overabundance of third world immigrants nor outsourcing so many jobs nor so much claptrap class warfare carpola from Washington, DC.
But, just out of curiosity, what kind of job does a Philosophy Degree land you ?
Philosophy, along with history, is often the undergraduate degree of those who go on to law school.
I have always said that with a degree in philosophy I was unable to find honest work, so I wound up in advertising.
Been making this point on all these college bubble threads. Anyone who understands mathematics knows that as you increase the participation rate, the average intelligence of college students decreases. This forces the schools to lower the difficulty level. All of you saying that all these kids should be going into science and engineering aren’t quite getting it. The people getting degrees in bitter lesbianism could not pass calculus.
So how does one make money on this? Who is holding the paper on these debts? Who to short?
and if they don't, how many of them simply turn out degreed navel gazers???
and i like to think i had to really read, think, especially analyze and write while learning engineering...
but you obviously learned much more than the rest of them did by graduating Cum Laude and i say to you Sir Kudos for that!!!