College is a scam… and you’re paying for it

From Reason:

A new book makes the case against education. Who would argue against education?

Economics professor Bryan Caplan. He tells John Stossel that “what we need to do is to go back to a world where college is not so accessible.”

That’s because most people don’t learn much in college. Studies find that a third of people haven’t learned anythingdetectable after four years in college.

Yet government pours about $80 billion a year into college subsidies.

“Taxpayers ought to know that they’re getting ripped off,” Caplan tells Stossel.

He says taxpayer money mostly helps more people signal their ability to conform to college expectations.

When people get fancier degrees, says Caplan, “their income generally goes up… but the reason… is not really that college is pouring tons of job skills into you. The reason is that it’s impressive.”

Lots of signaling, he points out, is bad for society.

“Imagine that you were at a concert, everyone’s sitting down and you want to see better,” Caplan says. “What can you do? Well, you can stand up, and of course then you’ll see better. Now, it does not follow though that if everyonestands up, everyone sees better.”

As more people get degrees, more employers demand that “signal.”


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