“The economy is not demanding the degrees we’re using anymore,” Robinson intoned, referring to a different Bureau of Labor Statistics study estimating that only 3 of the 30 jobs projected to have the most growth by the end of the decade will require a four-year bachelor’s degree or higher. “[And thus the Obama administration’s] push for universal enrollment is a step in the wrong direction.
Put simply, the Obama administration’s “push for universal enrollment” is a code-phrase for making college an entitlement directed to every American. In fact, the White House is publicly pursuing policies that would give the United States the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Unfortunately, as each panelist pointed out, this initiative is merely driving up administrative costs and making college increasingly less accessible to millions of young Americans.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the cost of attending college has increased 475 percent since 1982. Last June, I had the opportunity to speak to Lindsey Burke by phone about this trend. (The interview was subsequently published in Student Groans, an article printed in the July issue of Townhall Magazine, available for purchase here). Here’s an excerpt:
“Part of the reason [government intervention] has led to an increase in tuition and fees is because universities have zero incentive to lower costs,” she said. “They’ll spend as much money as they take in. And so there’s been no outward pressure on universities; they don’t have to worry about their bottom line because they know students can just go back, request more federal financial aid, [request] more federal subsidies, and they’ll have what they need to pay these increases in tuition.”
Given the inflated price tag of college, the panelists suggest Americans should seriously consider whether or not college is (a) needed at all for certain career paths and (b) worth the time and money invested. Bill Glod, a researcher and mentor at the Institute for Humane Studies, went a step further and praised innovator Peter Thiel, an entrepreneur who has long advocated that college is not only a waste of time, but can hinder hard working and industrious young Americans who would otherwise benefit from entering the workplace immediately after high school. His eponymous fellowship gives “20 people under 20” a one-time, $100,000 check every year to start their own companies, effectively encouraging these individuals not to go to college.
In short, a college education is not necessarily a prerequisite for personal economic success anymore. Let’s hope the next generation of Americans figures this out before it's too late.