Recent articles have questioned the benefits of a college degree. Tuition costs are rising every year, while colleges continue to churn out thousands of graduates each year in fields where there is known to be a glut of professionals. This practice is more noticeable during a tight job market, but it’s nothing new.
Although prospective students have a responsibility to weigh the costs and benefits of a given degree, colleges are guilty of admitting students that are obviously not prepared for college and for not being honest about job prospects. Some might argue that students who graduate from college are better off than without an education, even if they don’t find a job in their chosen field. Maybe if they didn’t have to take out mountains of loans to finance it, but most students graduate with significant debt. It’s doubtful that these students would burden themselves with tremendous debt if they were told upfront about their career prospects. Yes, some of these graduates will find work related to their degrees , but many won’t (especially those without connections).
If universities are going to charge such high tuition rates, they need to be more accountable to students, parents, donors and taxpayers. First, universities should be more selective. The drop-out rates at many public universities are shameful. These students likely borrowed thousands of dollars and are no better off for it. Secondly, job placement statistics should be honestly reported and prominently published. Finally, colleges should do more to offer internships and other opportunities that increase graduates’ marketability.
A small percentage of lucky students can go to college just for the experience and don’t have to worry about paying off loans after graduation. However, middle and lower class students can’t afford that luxury. These students invest considerable time and money obtaining a college education and need a return on the investment. It’s time for colleges to put ethics and concern for students ahead of money.