Skip to comments.“Education Is The Key?” Assessing The Value Of A College Degree In A Tumultuous Economy
Posted on 01/06/2013 3:28:36 AM PST by Kaslin
Half of recent college graduates cant find employment. Those who find a job often settle for something less than a college level job.
So what good is a college education, anyway, in our very unstable economy?
As 2013 launches with more federal government debt and American businesses guessing when the next punitive regulatory show will drop, most Americans are ignoring an area of societal upheaval that is poised to get more intense. Increasingly, Americans are wondering how essential it is for one to possess a college degree.
The upheaval transcends what youll read in the occasional top paying and worst paying college degrees articles. In fact, the presumption that a particular college degree will land one in to a particular job with a particular salary is actually part of our problem (such presumptions dont adequately allow for the fact that our economy, and, thus, the relative value of skills and services, is always subject to change).
The most obvious manifestation of this problem is found in the pain of ever-rising tuition costs, and student loan debt. This isnt anything new, but the recessionary conditions of the past five years have brought college degree price tags, and the debt they engender, under the microscope.
President Obama has spoken to this concern over the years, and-not surprisingly- he has proposed more free and reduced-rate student loans (all to be subsidized by taxpayers). His main challenger in last years presidential race, Mitt Romney, campaigned on policies to spur job creation as means of putting young graduates to work. Yet both candidates ignored the real problem: no matter how the economy performs or what the labor markets are doing, the price of a college education always moves in one direction-up.
So, why does this happen? Why, when the prices of other products and services either remain flat or decline, do tuition rates steadily rise? At least part of the answer is found in one very important fact. It is a consistent agenda within institutions of higher learning to offer as many low cost, and even free tuition programs as possible. Whether youre examining state run colleges and universities, or private institutions, look in to the details of their budgets and the agenda becomes clear. It is a point of pride when, year after year, college and university leaders can report that they issued more scholarship programs that were doled-out according to financial need.
This is to say that colleges and universities are often set up to function like their own little economic re-distribution systems. And while the goal of getting lower income Americans enrolled into college is noble, the cost of it is usually balanced on the backs of middle class students and parents who are trying to earn their way through life. If a student isnt poor enough to qualify for needs-based assistance, then the student will face ever-rising tuition rates.
The less obvious component to the college education dilemma directly involves changes in the nature of our American economy. Although it doesnt fit conveniently in to the various narratives of our national political dialog, the fact is that our country may very well be believe it or not on the verge of a manufacturing renaissance (gasp!). And it may be happening without the permission and blessing of the AFL CIO (gasp again!).
For most of the past forty years, the U.S. has been a place where great things are invented and designed, but the actual building of those things has happened on other continents. Yet last year, the General Electric Corporation began once again to build refrigerators and dishwashers in the U.S., reversing a nearly two-decade long trend. Last fall, the Deloitte global consulting firm published a report suggesting that nearly three-quarters of a million jobs in the U.S. manufacturing sector remain un-filled, because employers cant find workers with the correct skills. And Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric, even suggested that the U.S. is poised for a sizeable in-sourcing boom the opposite of out sourcing where manufacturing jobs that were once sent overseas return home.
This scenario also challenges the importance of a college degree. It suggests that we may be on a trajectory where people who know how to weld, operate a lathe, and run a drill press, could one day be in higher demand than those with accounting, engineering, and computer science degrees.
An in sourcing boom. A manufacturing renaissance. Some would call these things wishful thinking, yet the beginnings of such phenomena are here, right now. Americans should be preparing for it and we should all be asking the leaders of colleges and universities why their prices only go up.
Mainly today the ownership of a sheepskin merely says that you have been brainwashed by liberal college professors.
In Taiwan, high school freshmen are put on 1 of 2 educational tracks. College bound students must take college bound classes. The 2nd track is for learning trade skills. On the trade skill track, you can graduate high school with the necessary skills for working in a factory, garage, or many other blue collar positions.
Not to mention it is very competitive to get into the high schools that gear toward the college bound students ( and those are even ranked ). Just because you live in the district doesn’t mean you can go to that high school.
Bingo. A kid with a degree in “ Peace, Love and Defense Studies” ( no joke, UNC ) is going to flip hamburgers until he is thirty and then he gets to be assistant manager - not that there is anything wrong with that!
Like everything else liberal, a liberal arts education raises the cost of college significantly with no visible means of usefulness.
An engineer needs college. So does a doctor, lawyer or any professional field.
Problem today is women’s studies program, minority studies programs and other programs that do not prepare a student for the real world, except to work at Starbucks.
Texas has thousands of jobs. We need professionals, not baristas.
Most European countries are similar to Taiwan.
Germany does the same....after 9 years of primary school...you go either to a trade school to learn a skill...or go to a Gymnasium...not to work out, LOL...but these are the college prep type of secondary school
The biggest problem we have with our colleges and universities is that we send people to college
/university where such an education was not needed in the position years ago....or where in other nations they are not sent to University (primary school teachers are an example...they usually go to “teaching schools”, not universitites)
Also, years ago businesses acually taught and trained their employees, even in the professional ranks. Our current college/university system is really just an extended welfare program for Multi-National Corporations. 60 years ago my uncle started with GM, and worked his way up to an upper management position, with GM training. Now, they would not consider you for any management position without an MBA
There are reasons for college degrees. If you want to be an engineer, you need requisted training you are not going to get in the local vo-tech. Same with medical degrees, science, etc. If you want to build houses, you could get a degree in construction management, but then you might not need those skills until you are building dozens of houses. What you really need is carpentry skills to begin with, and those can be gained on the job or in a vo-tech.
For me it was a means to a dream. You needed a degree for Air Force pilot training. That same dream still requires a degree from an insitution of higher learning. O’vomit’s opinion that everyone goes to college, is an astounding pronounement blowing a degree out of proportion to it’s value to a dream, and watering down the entire concept, so what’s new, just one more in a long logn long line of disagreements with the ONE.
Basic concept of supply and demand applies here....
Having earned a college degree is a "marker" for reasonable intelligence, diligence, and academic skills. They could test for intelligence and use other factors to judge diligence and academic skills, but it would be much more complicated and perhaps not correlate as closely with success in pilot training as does the degree requirement.
The four year ‘sleep away’ liberal arts college is dying. Online education and practical skills-oriented advanced education will replace it. Thank God.
It amazes me how long and how well bricks and mortar institutes of higher learning have held on to their monopoly, with escalating costs.
Eventually, you’d think the old university/college paradigm would give way to more satellite campuses and online learning options. Not for all courses of study, but for a good many.
The cost has gotten far out of reach for a middle class family and current student loan indebtedness is approaching $1 trillion. Default rate is jumping as well because many graduates with a lot of debt cannot find well paying jobs.
“Assessing The Value Of A College Degree In A Tumultuous Economy”
We still have a ways to go before we can accept that some knowledge isn’t as important as other knowledge.
Universities very existence depends upon this obvious truth being kept from a vast majority of students so they will continue to fund University bureaucracy and perks.
Universities and Governments are cannibals that feast on the souls of the young. They assign doom to whomever they choose and tell them its a privilege.
Both will perish in flames when the doomed decide not to exist in the roles assigned to them by the elite.
Someone who can make a living on a single college degree majored in engineering, accounting or something with real world application, therefore they live and work in the real world. Those who majored in the soft sciences like sociology are little more than brainwashed imbeciles.
Not quite.... The current need to for a college degree is based on the SCOTUS case Griggs v Duke Power. In it Duke Power could no longer administer tests to prospective and current employees seeking employment or advancement and that those tests were discriminatory. Hence, to get around the Griggs case companies substitute a college degree.
We need to do more to support the middle 60%, the kids who aren’t college material but are not “slow”. They need to finish school with either a vocational degree (like hair care, phlebotomy, carpentry, childcare, first level IT certifications) or have the skills for a low skill job but more education (financial literacy, know how to fill out job applications, understand identity theft).
So that's what Steve Wozniak, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla, Guglielmo Marconi, did wrong. Someone should have told them.
Those noted are but a very very few.
One of the most common boasts in industry or the construction site is “and I told that engineer yada yada yada”
The capable but broadly uneducated worker boasts of superior knowledge while revealing inferior intellect.
The vast majority of engineers NEED college, to learn the limits of materials, the correct way to calculate stresses in loads, to document the logic behind the code they write.
College is not always necessary, especially for the first two years’ worth of courses.
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