This post at RealClearPolicy is pretty sobering:
Only one-third of college enrollees graduate within six years and then get jobs requiring college degrees.
That is the conclusion of my new report in the Manhattan Institute’s Issues 2016 series. Only 59 percent of four-year college students graduate within six years. Those who graduate face an additional hurdle — only 56 percent of recent college graduates work in a job that requires a college degree (though the figure for all college graduates is 67 percent, suggesting some underemployed graduates move up later in their careers).
Multiplied together, these numbers suggest that only 33 percent of students who enter college emerge with both a degree within six years and a relevant job soon after graduation. This is the true crisis in higher education, and one policymakers must address before they offer up more taxpayer money to colleges.
IMO our present system of higher education is targeted with unerring precision at the economic conditions of the 1950s. Then the purposes of higher education were clear. They were
- To prepare professionals for their post-graduate education.
- To pre-select managers for big businesses.
- To function as a place where middle and upper middle class women could meet and marry men of the appropriate social classes.
and none of those are operative today except maybe the first. The system of legal education seems to be collapsing even as I type and Lord knows the system of medical education is in drastic need of reform. How much sense does it actually make for GPs to get the same training as medical researchers?
I don’t think our system makes any sense at all in an environment of mass education. As the stats in the post suggest more than half of the people are guaranteed to fail.
I’ve made no secret that I think it’s a scandal and an outrage that kids are being saddled with debt they’ll never be able to repay. I agree with Bernie Sanders’s goals with respect to education but my tactics would be different. I’ve said it before: the five biggest states should each close one of their non-performing state universities (they all have them), take the money, and create a program of online education they’d be willing to offer an accredited degree for (associates if not bachelors) and in which anyone could participate free of charge.