The Wall Street Journal has a report on how an honors student is giving her back to college and choosing to go to trade school instead. But the very fact that this kind of decision makes the news says something about how much importance we attach to higher education all while ignoring the several other well-paid careers that do not require a college degree.
In the article, the author explains that as anxiety takes over, students and families begin to realize that paying for a four-year college education isn’t all that doable. After all, living a life of debt management in a world where college degrees aren’t worth what they used to is finally starting to look less appealing.
But what the article fails to explain is that this very college-centered culture was fueled by government involvement in education in the first place.
With taxpayer-backed subsidies always in place and government figures repeating the mantra that all American kids have a “right” to an education, the demand for higher education is the highest it’s ever been. But as demand is artificially inflated, so is the cost of college tuition and, as a result, the final cost of education to the student.
In other words, if the government hadn’t been so heavily invested in making college affordable, more people would actually be able to afford college. For now, however, college remains expensive and people continue to leave with debt loads that they could take a lifetime to pay off. In addition, most end up working jobs that are not even related to their majors. Of course, young and intelligent men and women will begin to rethink their future in light of this information, especially if they feel they don’t really have what it takes to just focus on studying for four years in order to obtain a degree they might end up not using.
Unfortunately, major magazines and news outlets reporting on high school students choosing to avoid college debt seldom discuss why higher education has become so inefficient and expensive.
While they will talk about how expensive a four-year college can be, these publications will often editorialize the problem. In the end, these reports will often call the government out to “do more” to make college affordable so that even more Americans have access to degrees not all of them need.
When will we finally get to a point of no return, forcing us to completely ignore the pressure from public officials and media know-it-alls?