On October 19th, my university will hold an event called “Seahawk Saturday.” The event serves as a kind of preview for prospective college students. Parents who are considering sending a child to UNC-Wilmington will have an opportunity to ask questions of attending professors who have agreed to help them make an informed decision about whether and where to attend college. The students will also have an opportunity to ask questions. However, in the past, I have noticed that parents ask most of the questions at such events. I’ve written this column to try to change that.
Put simply, students who are about to incur massive debt in order to obtain a college degree need to know what they are getting into. They need to cross-examine their prospective professors, rather than passively listen to them give a well-rehearsed sales pitch. But it is difficult to know which questions they should ask. Below, I have provided a list of questions each student should ask of each professor they encounter at a college preview event. Here they are:
- Does this university protect free speech?
- If your answer to the previous question is “yes” then can you tell me whether the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (www.TheFIRE.org) has agreed and thus given the university a green light rating signifying that it has no policies abridging free expression?
- Does this university respect due process?
- If your answer to the previous question is “yes” then can you tell me whether the university has a specific policy allowing students legal representation in suspension and expulsion hearings?
- Has this university ever been successfully sued for violating the First Amendment?
- Has this university ever been successfully sued for falsely convicting a student of a crime, including, but not limited to, sexual assault?
- Does this university promote diversity?
- If your answer to the previous question is “yes” then can you provide me the names of some conservative professors teaching in your department?
- Could you also provide the names of some Christian professors teaching in your department?
- What is the average starting salary of students who graduate with a degree from your department?
- What is the average federal loan debt of students who graduate with a degree from your department?
- Would you recommend that your own son or daughter attend this university?
- Would you recommend that your own son or daughter pursue a major offered by your department?
- If you answered, “yes” to either of the two previous questions then would you agree to co-sign on your child’s student loan?
Things were bad enough when parents used to save up money in order to send their kids to college. When they did so they often ended up spending more on each child’s college education than anything they purchased in their lives – with the sole exception being their home purchase. Yet they found that they were punished for their investment. Their children would often leave church and rebel against their parents after four years with their leftist professors. Indeed, many parents would find that the greatest cost of their children’s education was seeing them come to hate everything their parents had taught them – and, indeed, sometimes coming to hate their parents, too.
But there has been a shift in recent years. Today, it is the students who are suffering from the unanticipated consequences of seeking a college education. When the federal government dangles loan opportunities in front of them it is often difficult to resist the temptation. And few are able to resist because the federal loan racket has wildly increased the cost of a college education. Thus, teenagers take out these loans because many parents can no longer afford to put them through college. They just cannot save enough to keep pace with the rate of tuition inflation produced by the federal government’s interference with the natural supply and demand curve.
Given this reality, students must realize that it is now them, rather than their unsuspecting parents, who are most vulnerable. At college preview day, professors and administrators will be trying to sell them a defective product. Their pitch will involve four big claims:
- The university protects free speech.
- The university respects due process.
- The university promotes diversity.
- The university provides a useful degree that will pay for itself.
Generally speaking, none of these claims are true. But in order to expose them as lies, students need to be prepared to ask the right questions. That is why I wrote this column. If you are a student, print it out and take it to your college preview day. If your prospective professors cannot answer each of these questions to your satisfaction, then my advice is simple: Don’t go to their college. Keep looking until you find a college that can answer all of your questions to your satisfaction.
You may fail to find a college that can answer your questions. You may also decide that you do not need a college education. But do not fret. This is America. And there is an alternative. Instead, start a business. And start putting your money in tax deferred investments as soon as possible.
Many who choose to skip college can get a big head start while their friends are spending four years in an amusement park masquerading as an institution of learning. And many of them will be laughing all the way to the bank while their friends are paying off debts to institutions more inclined to recruit students with a lie than to liberate them with the truth.
Indeed, many university mottos contain the word veritas. If they really were truthful, more would include the phrase caveat emptor.