February 28, 2012

ARLUCK: Our Higher Ed Bubble

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The practically-minded have long derided those majoring in the arts and humanities – and the data shows that they have a point. As the number of science majors has remained largely flat over the past several decades, ever more students have graduated as arts and humanities majors. In response, critics point out that “practical” majors already do make up the majority of America’s college majors, when you factor in public health, social work, education, and many other vocational degrees.

However, the problem is not the quantities of people getting different degrees — it’s the declining rigor and quality of a college degree relative to its exploding cost. At schools deemed the very best, freshmen will enter college this fall with the prospect of spending as much as $250,000 to learn things which they might have just learned for free with a bit more self-direction).

Whether one promotes “practical” degrees or “artsy” degrees, it should be hard to defend that every college major have the same quarter-million dollar price tag. And like the last bubble, the eventual implosion of higher education may bring a collective groan, followed by social and political unrest.

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Original Author: Jacob Arluck