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Degrees of Value: Making College Pay Off
Wall Street Journal ^ | Jan. 3, 2014 | Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Posted on 01/07/2014 6:29:39 AM PST by iowamark

In the field of higher education, reality is outrunning parody. A recent feature on the satire website the Onion proclaimed, "30-Year-Old Has Earned $11 More Than He Would Have Without College Education..."

"Patrick" shouldn't feel too bad. Many college graduates would be happy to be $11 ahead instead of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, behind. The credit-driven higher education bubble of the past several decades has left legions of students deep in debt without improving their job prospects. To make college a good value again, today's parents and students need to be skeptical, frugal and demanding. There is no single solution to what ails higher education in the U.S., but changes are beginning to emerge, from outsourcing to online education, and they could transform the system.

Though the GI Bill converted college from a privilege of the rich to a middle-class expectation, the higher education bubble really began in the 1970s, as colleges that had expanded to serve the baby boom saw the tide of students threatening to ebb. Congress came to the rescue with federally funded student aid, like Pell Grants and, in vastly greater dollar amounts, student loans.

Predictably enough, this financial assistance led colleges and universities to raise tuition and fees to absorb the resources now available to their students. As University of Michigan economics and finance professor Mark Perry has calculated, tuition for all universities, public and private, increased from 1978 to 2011 at an annual rate of 7.45%. By comparison, health-care costs increased by only 5.8%, and housing, notwithstanding the bubble, increased at 4.3%. Family incomes, on the other hand, barely kept up with the consumer-price index, which grew at an annual rate of 3.8%.

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: college; survivingsocialism
Mr. Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. This essay is adapted from his new book, "The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education From Itself," published by Encounter Books.
1 posted on 01/07/2014 6:29:39 AM PST by iowamark
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To: iowamark

I was and remain involved in higher education to some extent and I see this quite frequently. Young people need to learn to distinguish between a vocation and an avocation. As regards financing, accruing huge debt to put oneself through a “good” school studying something that is marginally useful in the economy is a luxury most people cannot afford. If they are going to do that, students would have been better advised to do it on the back of the military, which still offers fairly generous support for enlistment or officer training.


2 posted on 01/07/2014 6:40:28 AM PST by MSF BU (n)
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To: iowamark

hard sciences and engineering

anythign else is stupid and only good for government jobs and politics


3 posted on 01/07/2014 6:41:59 AM PST by Mr. K (If you like your constitution, you can keep it...Period.)
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To: Mr. K
hard sciences and engineering anythign else is stupid and only good for government jobs and politics

Pretty much. But a true liberal arts education is worth its weight in gold, since it prepares one for life, rather than a career.

Trouble is, finding a good classical education is difficult.

Still, for $35 you can get a good start with this book on Socratic Logic, and save yourself $50k.

4 posted on 01/07/2014 6:46:08 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: iowamark

Far too many pursue income-worthless degrees following their “passion” rather having their passion as a hobby and getting an education that is marketable. Doesn’t need to be a four-year college degree either.

The two most sought after degrees here at Texas universities are psychology and distributed studies (learn a little about a lot and not a lot about anything.)

I recently read in the San Antonio paper about a young woman that was thrilled to finally get a $15k/yr job in Dumas, Texas, way up in the God-forsaken panhandle. She has a masters in museum science.


5 posted on 01/07/2014 6:47:06 AM PST by MisterArtery
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To: Mr. K

> hard sciences and engineering

anythign else is stupid and only good for government jobs and politics

When my sonwent away to college I told him to do his research and find out whatvtypes of jobs would be in high demand that paid well. I told him to take. Good look into the future because he was going to need to earn a good living paying back those college loans. And he did. He knew engineering was a good bet because they will always be needed. He chose chemical engineering because he was good at chemistry and he loves math. He made the right choice. He graduated several years ago and got a job within the same year earning $60K right off the bat. He now makes $70K and has been selected for management where his pay can climb past $100K. Proud of him and he’s smart as a whip. He also said he doesn’t approve of 0 anymore. A two’fer (he was brineashed for a little bit by the university indoctrination system)


6 posted on 01/07/2014 6:54:14 AM PST by jsanders2001
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To: jsanders2001

When my sonwent away to college I told him to do his research and find out what types of jobs would be in high demand that paid well. I told him to take a good look into the future because he was going to need to earn a good living paying back those college loans. And he did. He knew engineering was a good bet because they will always be needed. He chose chemical engineering because he was good at chemistry and he loves math. He made the right choice. He graduated several years ago and got a job within the same year earning $60K right off the bat. He now makes $70K and has been selected for management where his pay can climb past $100K. Proud of him and he’s smart as a whip. He also said he doesn’t approve of 0 anymore. A two’fer (he was braineashed for a little bit by the university indoctrination system)


7 posted on 01/07/2014 6:55:54 AM PST by jsanders2001
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

In order to actually learn to read Latin and Greek easily, you still need the guidance of experienced instructors. And once you learn, and start reading classical texts, you still need guidance to understand the context and significance of what you are reading.


8 posted on 01/07/2014 7:29:26 AM PST by proxy_user
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
But a true liberal arts education is worth its weight in gold, since it prepares one for life, rather than a career.

True. Such an education teaches a person how to think. I am doing some research right now on the college educations of our Founding Fathers. Fifty percent of them graduated from one of the colonial colleges. They all got a degree in philosophy because that was the only course offered. Their degree in philosophy prepared them for further study in divinity or law. But, the capstone of the education was their precise training in moral philosophy, virtue and ethics. The colleges were expected to prepare the men to be good judges and good preachers. Would that our present colleges took such an interest in the virtue of their students. BTW - those BA's in philosophy are equal to a PhD today.

9 posted on 01/07/2014 7:57:39 AM PST by Slyfox (We want our pre-existing HEALTH INSURANCE back!)
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To: iowamark

Reynolds covers most of the key points, but one he misses is grade inflation - at Harvard, as I recall, the most common grade is an “A”, and the the average grade is an “A-”.

I doubt all those Harvard kids are busting their humps - at schools like the Ivies, admission is essentially a guarantee of graduation, as long as the kids at least show up for the exams - the amount of value added from class attendance is tough to determine.

As regards majors, the fundamental sciences and engineering fields typically do maintain some standards, and often rigorous ones - a student will generally have to put in some effort to get through majors in those areas, and will generally have a leg up in looking for a job after graduation.

And in general, almost any major with the word “studies” in it is border-line worthless (although I was kind of amazed to find out that one of my favorite authors, Tom Wolfe, earned his degrees in “American Studies” - that doesn’t exactly fit in the “victim studies” category, however).

Majors in the fine arts and traditional liberal arts are viable for kids who have a real passion for those fields, as long as they realize they probably won’t be able to make a living in the theater or pursuing history - they need to make sure they develop their analytical and communicative skills (especially writing and communicating orally) so they can sell their talents outside their major field.


10 posted on 01/07/2014 7:58:27 AM PST by Stosh
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To: MisterArtery

All of those worthless majors graduates now comprise a vast and growing constituency to have the Government “make jobs” for them.


11 posted on 01/07/2014 8:04:25 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: jsanders2001
Except that there is massive wage pressure on STEM degrees from overseas.

The market on new engineers is very weak. Science degrees (chemistry, biology, etc) are a dime a dozen, and are also not that high paying unless you go beyond a bachelors.

There are exceptions, and hard work will get you far, but I cringe when I hear people pushing STEM degrees. Your son was driven, many of these kids I have ran into expect a high paying job right out the door and don't think about the soft side of things.

12 posted on 01/07/2014 8:14:43 AM PST by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: iowamark

Someone who can make a living on a single college degree majored in engineering, accounting or something with real world application


13 posted on 01/07/2014 8:15:42 AM PST by Ouderkirk (To the left, everything must evidence that this or that strand of leftist theory is true)
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To: Mr. K
"anythign else is stupid..."

"Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" is also a good investment!

(the above was tpyed...tiped,,,TYPED with my own two fingers....four times, before I got it right)

:-)

14 posted on 01/07/2014 8:45:32 AM PST by BwanaNdege
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To: Mr. K
hard sciences and engineering

anythign else is stupid and only good for government jobs and politics

Not everyone has the aptitude for hard sciences or engineering. My B.S. in accounting and M.B.A. in finance served me well and I was able to retire early and comfortably.

15 posted on 01/07/2014 10:14:46 AM PST by SVTCobra03 (You can never have enough friends, horsepower or ammunition.)
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To: SVTCobra03

oops- real stuff like that I should have included.

I am talking about ‘political science’ or ‘19th century french literature’ and other useless degrees

(just kidding about useless...)


16 posted on 01/07/2014 12:24:15 PM PST by Mr. K (If you like your constitution, you can keep it...Period.)
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To: freespirited; oblomov; Jet Jaguar; wastedyears; nascarnation; Henry Belden; petercooper; ...
Surviving Socialism Pinglist
Stories and tips with a financial emphasis to help conservatives SURVIVE and prosper during difficult times.

To be added or taken off this list, please send a FR mail to RKBA Democrat. FAIR WARNING, I'm one of the worst pinglist administrators on FR. I ping infrequently then I ping a lot. I forget to add people to the list. I disappear for months at a time when I get fed up with politics. But I do try to make sure that the articles pinged are worthy of your time. If you have an article tip, please send me a FRmail. Search the keyword "survivingsocialism" to see previous articles and pings.

17 posted on 01/07/2014 1:45:19 PM PST by RKBA Democrat (Having some small say in who gets to hold the whip doesn't make you any less a slave.)
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To: BwanaNdege

LOL I think Mavis’ business is on a path to extinction.
My 4 yr old grandkids keyboard like little demons already.


18 posted on 01/07/2014 1:50:43 PM PST by nascarnation (I'm hiring Jack Palladino to investigate Baraq's golf scores.)
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To: Stosh
"I doubt all those Harvard kids are busting their humps - at schools like the Ivies, admission is essentially a guarantee of graduation, as long as the kids at least show up for the exams - the amount of value added from class attendance is tough to determine.

What you are failing to understand is that if you make it into one of those programs, you already have a track record of busting your hump. The likelihood that a kid does nothing more than show up for the exams after being accepted is extremely low.

19 posted on 01/07/2014 7:49:19 PM PST by DannyTN (A>)
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To: MisterArtery

The museum in Dumas is really nice, and I believe it is free to the public. Stop by if you are ever that way.


20 posted on 01/07/2014 8:32:49 PM PST by Theodore R. (People in TX in 2014 cheer: Cornball and George P.!)
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To: Slyfox
They all got a degree in philosophy because that was the only course offered.

What most people think is the most useless subject, as I once did, is actually the most valuable subject, along with theology.

The maxim of the supposedly benighted Middle Ages is true, "Theology is the queen of the sciences, and philosophy is her handmaid." --St. Thomas Aquinas.

It's understandable that philosophy has acquired a bad reputation in modern times, since modern philosophy is an incoherent mess. People are wise to reject it. Unfortunately, few have been exposed to good, classical philosophy.

21 posted on 01/09/2014 5:50:51 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: Stosh

My daughter is majoring in biology (pre-med) and dance at a top tier college and getting better than a 3.9 average. She is heart set on going to medical school. I told her to go dance - she will have a lot more fun, wont end up working for the government, and by the time Obama is through will make nearly as much money. Unfortunately she has her mothers hard head and is applying to med school....


22 posted on 01/09/2014 5:58:12 AM PST by Mom MD
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

a degree in modern philosophy allows you to ask why you want fries with that....


23 posted on 01/09/2014 6:00:05 AM PST by Mom MD
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To: proxy_user
In order to actually learn to read Latin and Greek easily, you still need the guidance of experienced instructors. And once you learn, and start reading classical texts, you still need guidance to understand the context and significance of what you are reading.

A solid, formal, classical instruction is of great value, but it's hard to find, and expensive. If you can't afford it, you can go a long way on your own. The Summa Theologica, for example, is available to read on-line for free. But that's the philosophical summum bonum. Fortunately, there are other sites, like the Thomistic Philosophy Page, that provide a good, quick overview of classical natural philosophy.

24 posted on 01/09/2014 6:11:21 AM PST by St_Thomas_Aquinas ( Isaiah 22:22, Matthew 16:19, Revelation 3:7)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

I had more in mind reading literary texts like Aeschylus and Pindar. Their Greek is really tough, you’ll be lost without an instructor. Even Plato can be quite difficult, with a very subtle use of conversational idiom.


25 posted on 01/09/2014 7:24:45 PM PST by proxy_user
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To: iowamark

Remedial English, Remedial Math, Remedial Science, Remedial Reading, Remedial Social Studies... heck some of those affirmative action kids probably needed remedial sex-ed.

lol


26 posted on 01/09/2014 7:27:26 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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To: nascarnation

It is interesting that so few kids touch type these days. They spend hours at the computer but still do the ‘hunt and peck’ method to type. They waste so much time.


27 posted on 01/09/2014 7:34:29 PM PST by ladyjane
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To: ladyjane

wasting time is what yoots do best


28 posted on 01/09/2014 7:38:58 PM PST by GeronL (Extra Large Cheesy Over-Stuffed Hobbit)
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