I've had a lot of feedback about my College Orientation post. It seems that there are a lot of folks out there who have realized that a college degree isn't the meal ticket that it used to be...and that a degree that doesn't provide specific skills--history, sociology, journalism, gender studies, political science--probably doesn't provided enough income to even repay the loans (not to mention the time) that it took to get the degree.
For those of you who are still skeptics, the Republic has noticed the trend as well. Check out the lead article in Sunday's paper.
Parents used to bank on one of the great promises of American middle-class life: Send your children to college, and they'll end up with a higher standard of living than you had. Those heading to college as adults saw the degree as another rung up the ladder of opportunity. But now some are wondering: Is a college degree worth the effort and expense?
It's nice that the Republic is on board. Of course, I've been raising the issue for years now. Here's a snippet from a 2007 Espresso Pundit post.
Degrees that once cost $10,000 made sense for an 18 year old who wanted to avoid truck driving school, but Psychology, History, Religious Studies, Political Science, English Lit, and Journalism to name a few have become uneconomic at $30,000.
It makes no sense to incur $30,000 to $50,000 in debt for a degree that has little or no economic value. Sure, a liberal arts education is a great background if you want to attend law school, but ASU accepts 160 of the 3,500 who apply. That's a pretty big gamble if your undergraduate degree is in Film Studies. Do you know how many Cappuccinos you have to make to pay off a $30,000 debt? So students on the margin have made the rational decision to forgo college.
That post is four years old, which means that the students and parents who are featured in today's Republic article were chosing majors at about the time the post was published--if only they had been Espresso Pundit fans.
Meanwhile, it's great that the Republic is finally looking skeptically at higher education...now if we can get them to cover the Fast and Furious scandal.