Bloomberg Businessweek ran a special report a month ago titled What’s Your College Degree Worth? Less than you think. Exclusive new research suggests most students would be better off never setting foot in a classroom. (See info on Carleton’s #1 ranking (St. Olaf runner-up) in MN: What’s Your College Degree Worth?)
But new research suggests that the monetary value of a college degree may be vastly overblown. According to a study conducted by PayScale for Bloomberg Businessweek, the value of a college degree may be a lot closer to $400,000 over 30 years and varies wildly from school to school. According to the PayScale study, the number of schools that actually make good on the estimates of the earlier research is vanishingly small.
Juxtapose this with a June NY Times column by David Brooks titled History for Dollars.
There already has been a nearly 50 percent drop in the portion of liberal arts majors over the past generation, and that trend is bound to accelerate. Once the stars of university life, humanities now play bit roles when prospective students take their college tours. The labs are more glamorous than the libraries.
But allow me to pause for a moment and throw another sandbag on the levee of those trying to resist this tide. Let me stand up for the history, English and art classes, even in the face of today’s economic realities.
And then later, Brooks talks about The Big Shaggy and takes a poke at blogging and journalism:
The observant person goes through life asking: Where did that come from? Why did he or she act that way? The answers are hard to come by because the behavior emanates from somewhere deep inside The Big Shaggy.
Technical knowledge stops at the outer edge. If you spend your life riding the links of the Internet, you probably won’t get too far into The Big Shaggy either, because the fast, effortless prose of blogging (and journalism) lacks the heft to get you deep below.
Finally, in the NY Times two weeks ago: American Dream Is Elusive for New Generation
For young adults, the prospects in the workplace, even for the college-educated, have rarely been so bleak… The college-educated among these young adults are better off. But nearly 17 percent are either unemployed or not seeking work, a record level (although some are in graduate school). The unemployment rate for college-educated young adults, 5.5 percent, is nearly double what it was on the eve of the Great Recession, in 2007, and the highest level — by almost two percentage points — since the bureau started to keep records in 1994 for those with at least four years of college.
I graduated from a 4-year half-assed Catholic bible college (AKA St. Thomas) but none of our 4 kids went to a 4-year college. So I’m undecided about the issue.