Faith in College Education Has Plunged, and That’s a Very Good Thing


    by Mish Shedlock, Mish Talk:

    For the first time, over half the people surveyed say a college education isn’t worth the cost.

    The Wall Street Journal has an excellent article on Losing Faith in College Education

    A majority of Americans don’t think a college degree is worth the cost, according to a new Wall Street Journal-NORC poll, a new low in confidence in what has long been a hallmark of the American dream.

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    Skepticism is strongest among people ages 18-34, and people with college degrees are among those whose opinions have soured the most, portending a profound shift for higher education in the years ahead.

    “These findings are indeed sobering for all of us in higher education, and in some ways, a wake-up call,” said Ted Mitchell, the president of the American Council on Education, which counts more than 1,700 institutions of higher education as members. “We need to do a better job at storytelling, but we need to improve our practice, that seems to me to be the only recipe I know of regaining public confidence.”

    Dr. Mitchell cited student debt, which has reached $1.7 trillion, and the 60% graduation rate at four-year colleges as two of the biggest problems undermining confidence in the sector.

    Storytelling and Student Debt

    Student debt is not the problem. The cost of college for what you get is the problem no matter how big of a storytelling tale one spins.

    Making college free will not fix the problem. It would make it worse. Student debt cancellation would make the problem worse as well.

    Worth the Cost?

    Is a four-year college education worth the cost

    Over 60 percent of those age 18-34 think it is. And unless you get a degree in a high-skill area, it isn’t.

    Most degrees qualify you to work at a low paying leisure and hospitality or retail job.

    Those earning more than $100,000 a year thought their degree was worthwhile, and it likely was.

    Sad Debt Stories

    The Journal notes the plight of Danielle Tobias, a 50-year-old dialysis technician in Lorain, Ohio.

    Tobias got a degree in equine studies and graduated with $85,000 in student loan debt.

    She got a job in her field of study giving riding lessons, something she could have done without blowing $85,000.

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