I have long stated I learned just as much in college from the people I met, extra-curricular activities and debating with my professors. As a free thinker, that turned out to be fairly often. I took full advantage of what the university had to offer. Even though it would take me almost 150 semester hours to earn a business degree. If you’re doing the math, that’s FIVE years allotted for a four-year bachelor’s degree. I should have been awarded a master’s degree, but it was all about money for the institution.
I t appeared to me then what a racket the school was running in the name of higher education. Turns out, that was pretty much par for the course with most institutions of higher learning in America. But it didn’t stop at tuition, there were all sorts of little administrative fees. In my sophomore year, there was a push for students to give consent for the State to build a new recreational building. The marketing group hit the club circuit collecting signatures. “You want a new facility, don’t you?” Abject outrage is how I would describe the student body’s attitude two years later, when the gym was built and we all saw an additional $75 a semester to pay for it in our tuition bills. But, there was a shiny new building on campus that was plastered on the front of all the marketing brochures. Again, it was about money.
Ideally, private institutions, many which are older than our nation, would confer degrees as a matter of prestige. State colleges would create graduates to increase the overall expertise within the region by turning out quality workers who would later be taxed. Now, college IS the tax!
The perception of a college degree is losing its prestige. Increasingly, high school graduates are doing what the university has been suggesting for years: Look at the return on investment (ROI). There are thousands of millionaires, primarily in technology who made there money and never finished… or even started college. Vo-techs and other institutions which were once considered less of an education, are now looking pretty good. Electricians for instance, make about $55,000 a year and it is a well respected occupation. They also don’t have near the debt as a college grad once they earn their certificate. Tuition for a 4 year institution has TRIPLED over the past 2 decades. So the colleges have definitely figured out their own ROI.
Universities have themselves to blame. Only when they abandon the notions of being the biggest, having the most enrolled, newest buildings, or best sports programs (yeah, I went there) can they ever get back to what is most important: turning out quality young professionals. But I don’t think that will happen any time soon. In the meantime, all I can recommend is for America’s young people to take off the Guy Fox masks, stop complaining about their feelings and get their butts to a legitimate class. Otherwise, they are accomplishing NOTHING other than building debt.