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New Doubts about the Value of a College Degree

Home - by - November 21, 2013 - 18:45 America/New_York - 10 Comments

Joey. College graduate

American Thinker

As Americans spend more and more to get college degrees, more and more people are beginning to question the value the recipients and the taxpayers are receiving.

 

Certainly, as a percent of GDP, the U.S. spends more on college education than any other developed country on Earth save one.  At 2.9%, only South Korea ties us.  We outspend Canada (2.5%), Finland (1.9%), Sweden (1.8%), the Netherlands (1.7%), Israel (1.6%), France (1.5%), Austria (1.4%), Germany and the UK (both at 1.3%), and Italy (1.0%).

 

A recent survey conducted by The Chronicles of Higher Education (together with American Public Media’s Marketplace) showed that fully half of all employers report having a problem finding college grads truly prepared for employment.  About a third of these employers rated colleges as being mediocre or worse at producing graduates with the necessary skills for success, such as communication skills, problem-solving skills, and adaptability.

 

Then why do two-thirds of employers demand a degree?  Amazingly, the article concedes that part of the explanation here is that a college degree is often just used by employers as a sorting mechanism.  After all, a high-school diploma often conveys vacuous information, a result of pervasive grade inflation and social promotion.

 

Now, this concession — from the chief publicity organ of the higher education industry, please note — is commendable.  The Chronicles piece goes on to offer some explanations — or excuses — for the poll results.  It suggests that the disappointment felt by employers is in great measure due to their unrealistic expectations that college grads be able to handle the rapidly expanding new technological innovations “straightaway,” and the claim by one professor of management that employers’ complaints about incoming employees being poorly prepared is an old story.  As he claimed, “I understand that those doing the hiring in ancient Greece complained about the same thing.”

 

However, these recent complaints are specific and recurrent: that college grads lack the ability to argue logically and analyze data reasonably, and to read, write, and orally communicate well.  The survey showed that while 69% of employers surveyed rated colleges as good or excellent at producing “successful” graduates, 53% said it was difficult or very difficult to find qualified grads.  Worse yet, only 33% rated grads as more qualified than 5 years ago.

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» 10 Comments

  1. serfer62

    November 21st, 2013

    You want an education…enlist!

    Thumb up +5

     
  2. AvgDude

    November 21st, 2013

    If you received a degree at a US university that is not a STEM degree and, especially, if it has the word “studies” in it, it is probably worth less than toilet paper. And if you got a traditional liberal arts degree within the past 30 years, it’s probably worthless too, because the Marxists ruined liberal arts in the United States, and it’s only a matter of time before they screw up the STEM programs too.

    Thumb up +7

     
  3. Biff Wellington

    November 21st, 2013

    The one thing college prepares you for is…more college.

    Thumb up +3

     
  4. Arlie

    November 21st, 2013

    Find a need and Fill it. Be thankful, respectful, and happy then one thing leads to another….most times it’s who you know not what you know..obama’s an example of that (poor example) but just the same. There are no limits. Most infomation is now on the internet and any one can self teach if they’re self-motivated.

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  5. Carlos The Jackal

    November 21st, 2013

    I would never recommend enlistment under the current CinC.

    Thumb up +5

     
  6. Mark Zist

    November 21st, 2013

    I have witnessed good, hard working employees going to college and coming out lazy, entitled, and less honest.

    Thumb up +2

     
  7. Anonymous

    November 21st, 2013

    Last week’s FSU Syracuse game included the Suracuse PSA with Joe shown as one of their grads.
    FSU 59 Syracuse 3!

    Thumb up +2

     
  8. Anonymous

    November 21st, 2013

    Cardigan, what do you mean by “NEW” doubts of the value of a college degree? I checked the article and I couldn’t find any doubts that I didn’t already firmly have back in 1971. So… what’s new about the doubts?

    Oh, I get it. Everything old is new again.

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  9. Tim

    November 22nd, 2013

    If you come out of college thinking you know everything, you wasted your time and money.

    If you come out of college knowing that you know nothing, you got an education.

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  10. MNHawk

    November 22nd, 2013

    Identify what you want to do in life. If you need a degree to get there, go for it, affordably if you can.

    Never go for anything that doesn’t lead to gainful employment. Hyphenated Studies, Political Science and the like.

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