A Damning Review of Higher Education

Still Think It’s For Everyone?

Higher Ed

Higher Ed

Marty Nemko writes at the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Among high-school students who graduated in the bottom 40 percent of their classes, and whose first institutions were four-year colleges, two-thirds had not earned diplomas eight and a half years later. That figure is from a study cited by Clifford Adelman, a former research analyst at the U.S. Department of Education and now a senior research associate at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. Yet four-year colleges admit and take money from hundreds of thousands of such students each year!

Even worse, most of those college dropouts leave the campus having learned little of value, and with a mountain of debt and devastated self-esteem from their unsuccessful struggles. Perhaps worst of all, even those who do manage to graduate too rarely end up in careers that require a college education.

That last paragraph startled me.  But this startled me even more:

Colleges trumpet the statistic that, over their lifetimes, college graduates earn more than nongraduates, but that’s terribly misleading. You could lock the collegebound in a closet for four years, and they’d still go on to earn more than the pool of non-collegebound – they’re brighter, more motivated, and have better family connections.

It startled me because, self-evident as it is, I hadn’t thought of it before.

Sometimes a hard-nosed realism is the most accurate take on a given situation. Here’s the one offered by Nemko, when he discusses what, and how, students actually learn.

Often there is a Grand Canyon of difference between the reality and what higher-education institutions, especially research ones, tout in their viewbooks and on their Web sites. Colleges and universities are businesses, and students are a cost item, while research is a profit center. As a result, many institutions tend to educate students in the cheapest way possible: large lecture classes, with necessary small classes staffed by rock-bottom-cost graduate students.

Emphasis mine.  That fits my experience.

H/T to Instapundit for the link.

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One Comment on “A Damning Review of Higher Education”

  1. sid Says:

    at the very least it would be interesting if colleges, when publishing college grad salaries, would factor into their math the salaries of all students that entered their institution, not just those that graduate. but then that would draw attention to a place where attention is not wanted (at least on their part).


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