Are College Degrees a Waste of Money? : NPR
His basic argument is that most students who attend college aren't getting their money's worth. He writes:
Today, amazingly, a majority of the students whom colleges admit are grossly underprepared. Only 23 percent of the 1.3 million high-school graduates of 2007 who took the ACT examination were ready for college-level work in the core subjects of English, math, reading, and science.He also notes that only 40 percent of those who enter college graduate in six years. Additionally, he argues that those who do graduate don't get much out of the experience.
A 2006 study supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 50 percent of college seniors scored below "proficient" levels on a test that required them to do such basic tasks as understand the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit-card offers. Almost 20 percent of seniors had only basic quantitative skills. The students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station.Nemko presents universities as scam artists. They're selling their "customers" a faulty product.
This is a harsh depiction of my chosen profession, so, it may surprise you to find that I agree with much of what he said. I've seen many students in my introductory classes who lack the basic skills required to pass. Since these students were not high academic achievers in high school, they are paying full tuition, but have little chance of ending up with a degree. So the university gets their tuition for one to four years and the students ends up without a degree. Additionally, when classes are full of unprepared students, these classes must move as a slower pace, limiting opportunities to explore topics in-depth. This makes the classes less interesting for those students who are prepared.
If you are considering a university education, you should have full knowledge of the risks and costs of doing so. And, you should be aware of the available alternatives (community colleges and trade schools, for instance). Universities need to do a better job of presenting a realistic view of their product. There are some who would still take a chance on a university education even with this knowledge. Universities should welcome these students with open arms.