Signs College Tuition Bubble Is Ready to Burst
Companies are dropping their requirements for applicants to have college degrees. Good.
There are signs that the hyper-inflated college bubble is ready to burst. Glassdoor, an online job-recruiting site, recently reported that tech giants Google, Apple, and IBM have joined other major companies like Home Depot, Costco, and Bank of America in dropping their requirements for applicants to have college degrees.
With the Trump economy continuing to heat up, and unemployment at record lows, the job market has tightened for employers. In the moribund Obama economy, which saw high unemployment and the lowest workforce participation rate since the Carter malaise, employers could afford to require college degrees of all new hires. But in an economy with more job openings than workers to fill them, that is a luxury most companies can ill afford.
And that is a very good thing.
In recent years, too many have adopted the mentality that college is a necessity for career success. As Democrats, led by socialist curmudgeon Bernie Sanders, declared “free” college to be a human right, we saw an explosion of federal grants, student aid programs, subsidized college loans, and tax credits. This further expanded the demand bubble, and we saw a correspondingly rapid rise in tuition costs.
From 2001 to 2017, college financial aid rose by an astounding 93%, and as an unsurprising result, college tuition rose by 72% over that same period. Essentially, colleges and universities took the new federal spending and added it to their tuition rates, creating a new baseline. This has created a debt crisis, with 44 million Americans collectively owing a staggering $1.5 trillion in student loans, more than owed on credit cards and car loans, and second only to mortgage debt. This disproportionately affects women, who make up 56% of college students, borrow more for college, and pay higher interest costs due to slower repayment of loans.
To make matters worse, these loans are often held by students who are not prepared to go to college, and/or receive worthless degrees in fields where no one is hiring.
As George Mason University economist Walter Williams points out, only 37% of high school graduates are proficient in reading, and only 25% in math. Yet colleges eagerly lower admissions standards to enroll more than half of these unqualified students and, of course, the fat tuition checks that come with them, despite being fully cognizant that most of these students can’t perform at a college level.
When you start with unprepared students and then have them major in societally worthless subjects like [insert sex/sexual orientation, race, or ethnicity here] Studies or Lesbian Dance Theory, they are bound to fail. After all, there are only so many “associate deans for diversity, inclusion, and belonging” faculty positions (seriously, it’s a thing) to go around at universities and left-leaning tech companies. If you don’t snag one, you’re out of luck with one of these silly degrees.
Unless you are majoring in the hard sciences, college is a very expensive, increasingly risky gamble. At the same time student loan debt is at record levels, an increasing number of students are dropping out (which does not, by the way, make their loans go away). According to an analysis by the American Enterprise Institute, less than half of all students who started a four-year college program in 2010 had earned their degree by 2016. This means students are racking up massive debt while not acquiring the knowledge, skills, or credentials necessary to earn sufficient wages to pay off their debts.
Skilled tradesmen like plumbers, electricians, HVAC techs, ironworkers, and pipe welders can make from $60,000 to $90,000/year and pay a fraction in education costs compared to those getting college degrees. However, when factoring in the serious and growing shortage of skilled laborers, those wages will continue to rise accordingly.
In a society that is increasingly focused on getting in touch with your inner self and chasing your dreams (even if your dream is doing Shakespeare in the Park), George Mason University economics professor Bryan Caplan warns of the dangers and pitfalls of such a mindset.
In his book The Case Against Education, Caplan argues college has become a giant scam, and students would be much better served in the long run to major in fields where jobs are being created, rather than chasing dream careers that won’t pay the bills.
Or, as Mike Rowe of the show “Dirty Jobs” points out, the “dirty truth” is that “Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it.” Rowe notes that “dream jobs are usually just that — dreams.” He tells of all of the skilled tradesmen he’s met who “followed opportunity, not passion, and prospered as a result.”
With most colleges and universities today having become little more than centers for leftist propaganda and progressive indoctrination, a bursting of this bubble would be a welcomed occurrence, forcing institutions of higher education to turn out graduates with skills society needs, rather than hordes of unemployable left-wing philosophers.
Start a conversation using these share links: