↪ Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?
The overabundance of people with college degrees, even advanced degrees, who hold jobs for which no college education is required raises questions whether the Obama administration’s insistence that having more college graduates is necessary for continued economic leadership. Does massive investment in higher education really yield a comparable rate of return?
Now it is true that college has a consumption as well as investment function. People often enjoy going to classes, just as they enjoy watching movies or taking trips. They love the socialization dimensions of schooling—particularly in this age of the country-clubization of American universities. They may improve their self-esteem by earning a college degree. Yet, at a time when resources are scarce, when American governments are running $1.3-trillion deficits, when we face huge unfunded liabilities associated with commitments made to our growing elderly population, should we be subsidizing increasingly problematic educational programs for students whose prior academic record would suggest little likelihood of academic, much less vocational, success?