the college education bubble

Since I had no prior knowledge about the concept of a college education bubble, I thought this video was very clear and informative for an introduction of the topic:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2012/06/28/glenn_harlan_reynolds_the_higher_education_bubble_is_going_to_burst.html

After watching the video, I felt like this article did a good job going more in-depth about the issue:

http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/16/education-college-bubble-opinions-contributors-jerry-bowyer.html

The Forbes article was addressed to parents who have children in college or about to be in college.  However, I think the video could have been addressed to anyone concerned about this issue.  I could not find anything that solely targeted current college students as the audience.

Higher Education Bubble

I find this video to be both informative and entertaining.  It seems to target ‘college students’ as the recipients of the message, that in this economy, the cost of a college education may not necessarily be “a ticket to future prosperity.” The video clearly articulates the meaning of the ‘higher education bubble,’ its potential to ‘pop,’ and reasons to pursue alternative plans.

Below are a few quotes I found particularly ‘seductive’ towards the video’s target audience.

“Degrees do not necessarily provide you with the skills necessary to repay how much debt can you sanely amass”

“36 percent of students did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning over four years of college”

“7/10 fastest growing jobs in the next decade will be based on the job training rather than higher education”

“People pursuing these (hands on) careers will have greater job security in today’s economy and they will be free from crushing debt amassed by their peers”

Is higher education worth it?

The Higher Education Bubble

After doing some more research on both well-respected and not so well-respected websites, it seems that the general consensus about the education bubble today is that going to college will only be worth it if you are aiming for a professional degree. The emphasis at most 4-year universities is not only to teach necessary job skills but also to teach critical thinking and the general “college experience”–including broad academic growth and life skills such as time management. All of those extras obtained at college are certainly worth it for pre-professional students–who will ultimately need these skills to succeed at the next level–but not for someone just going for a 4-year, liberal arts degree. In short, universities now aren’t teaching enough raw job skills to justify paying so much more for tuition; it would be much more beneficial for those without aspirations of a professional degree to attend community or vocational schools and learn the other necessary skills as they go–certainly not ideal, but very practical in the midst of rising tuition and student loan costs.

As a college student who is finishing up his second year of “gen-eds”, I can definitely see the wisdom in this recommendation; if I were to drop out of college right now and start looking for a job, I feel as though I would be less prepared now than I was after high school…the value of practical job skills in this economy seems

infinitely more beneficial than the value of knowing organic chemistry. Obviously, having taken these gen eds will eventually pay off, but for now I’m left wondering what I have really learned how to do in college thus far.

The video which helped inform me about the economic repercussions of a non-professional college education was found on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAwBN2Q8L14) and the article appealing to college-aged kids was found on Forbes (http://news.yahoo.com/bursting-the-higher-education-bubble–why-college-shouldn’t-matter.html).

What are We Waiting For?

2/3 of college graduates face the world armed with debt.  Student debt in the US has exceeded a billion dollars.  Jobs are not awaiting us either.  To make things worse, some of the wealthiest US colleges are pressing legal charges against students who have defaulted on their loans.

http://rt.com/usa/news/us-colleges-suing-students-539/

We see the fight for equal education. We experience the fight to succeed within the institution.  What about our right to reasonably afford education?  What about our right to earn our way beyond the confines?

Chelsea, The Right to Work 1977

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Anq3qJ0w-wo

Higher Education Bubble shown through info-graphics

The most informative piece of information I found was actually a video from Education News. The website has a series of info-graphics about the higher education bubble that explain what is going on and why. While I found a lot of other links interesting, especially a Yahoo News opinion piece that imagined a world without college degrees, this video specifically spoke to incoming college students, rather than addressing (what seems to be) society at large. This video asked prospective students to assess the cost of school compared to their degree’s potential earnings, while still acknowledging that a college education is valuable in today’s society. Although I’m in college already, this was still the closest I have found to someone addressing me. It invites even current college students to investigate their motives for going to a certain university instead of pursuing an alternative.

Link to info-graphic: http://www.educationnews.org/higher-education-bubble/

Link to Yahoo News opinion piece: http://news.yahoo.com/bursting-the-higher-education-bubble–why-college-shouldn’t-matter.html