Is college worth it?

The short answer is no. The long answer seems to be no* too.

"In the age of crippling student debt and declining enrollment rates, many are asking if it is worth the hassle to get the tassel.

 

According to a new return-on-investment study of 4,500 U.S. colleges and universities conducted by researchers at Georgetown, it just might be. On average, 60% of those who attend college earn more than high school graduates a decade later—meaning a college degree does translate to higher wages for most.

 

That’s not always the case, though. At the colleges with the worst track record for graduate earnings, more than half of all grads actually earned less than those with a high school diploma."

Calling all brainiac-chimp subversives: if you're looking  to spine up and look the world square in the eye, in 1/4 of the time and at 1/20th the cost of college, then the Academy might just be the smack upside the head you need, figuratively speaking, to do it.

*Depending on the college and the degree, of course–engineers and computer scientists fare the best. But the universities are intentionally vague about the results, since they have a vested interest in the carved-in-stone diploma = success narrative.

You can read the full study here.

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Work, by Ford Madox Brown

What are college students paying for?

After paring back the useless majors, ideologies, and gimmicks, the true purpose of college becomes clear.

"My graduating class of 1995 was one of the last to start college without the Internet. The first browser, Netscape Mosaic, came along in 1993, but there wasn’t yet much to browse. Writing papers required finding physical copies of books and journals in the library, as had been done for hundreds of years. Colleges held a monopoly on access to most academic publications, which helped them justify skyrocketing tuition. Professors were among the few who spent much of their adult lives in close proximity—both physically and intellectually—to these rare volumes. They were thought to be uniquely capable of navigating “the literature.” So colleges held a monopoly on access to both the books and the expert guides who knew the books, which further justified jacking up tuition.

Of course, much of this paradigm has been upended by the internet. Today, many of the core works in any field can be found online for free. And many college lectures are available online to anyone. Students can often get much better guidance on navigating the books from the myriad free online sources than from the one person who happens to be their professor. Thus, the monopolies that colleges once had on publications and expertise have largely crumbled.

 

And this begs the question of what remains in the aftermath. If the books and their guides are now at anyone’s fingertips online, what are students paying for when they go to college?"

Read the rest of the article, written by Robert Thornett and published on Quillette.com, here.