The common mantra of American student life that states one must “go to college” has been ingrained into many students. However, college has shown many times that the investment is often not worth the value returned from it as it brings students to bear a lifetime worth of debt and misery, preventing them from assuming other burdens such as home ownership or starting a family. This has led many students to see college not as an investment, but an undesirable burden created to harm rather than help them.
This opinion may be more correct than it has been admitted to, for according to a recent study put out by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and reprinted in the UK Guardian, it found that twenty percent of students do not benefit from a college degree and do significantly worse than before they had it.
One in five students would be financially better off if they skipped higher education, according to groundbreaking research that compares the lifetime earnings of graduates and non-graduates.
Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found while 80% of former students gained financially from attending university, about 20% earned less than those with similar school results who did not attend, highlighting how some subjects, such as creative arts, offer negative financial returns.
The IFS research – which uses tax data to measure the earnings of those who went to university from the mid-90s onwards – found that after accounting for taxes and student loans, men gained on average £130,000 and women £100,000 over their careers, compared with their peers who didn’t enter higher education. (source)
These numbers are high, and it is likely that if further research was conducted, these numbers would be a lot higher.
There is nothing wrong with a college education. However, 2 + 2 is the same whether it is at Harvard for $70K tuition a year or in a book online available for free. Teachers and degrees are good things, but they are not an end into themselves, and one should not hedge one’s financial success for the rest of one’s life over attaining a piece of paper in a four-year duration from a university with a fancy name on it.
The college model will continue to exist as it does, but as poverty continues to increase, it will be forced to change, most likely by lowering tuition prices and eventually having smaller “building projects”, tighter budget, and finally, staff layoffs or reductions. This has already happened with professors as full-time professors have been replaced largely with part-time non-tenure positions offering very low wages. The next step will be to target administrators, who often earn very high salaries.
No matter what happens, the current system of debt and the inability to find work cannot continue because it is destroying the economy and the people who make up society. If Trump fails to address this and he is re-elected, and it is likely that both will come to pass, then this reason will likely bolster reasons for economic decline around 2023 as well as propel a Democrat candidate to office who, noting the plight of these people, exploits it for his (or perhaps her) own political gain.