Why College Degrees Are Becoming Useless

by Robert Carbery

Why would one go to college these days?
 
College degrees are becoming close to useless these days as young Americans continue to rack up debt with little to no hope of paying it off. Our universities today have become liberal utopias where the students run the show and can get away with whatever they want in their never ending search for that safe space.
 
Jonathan Newman recently compiled some stunning revelations of the current state of college in America today in the Mises Wire.
 
First of all, graduates are not learning how to think better in college, so what is it they are doing nowadays?
 
According to The Wall Street Journal, “At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table”. The outcomes were the worst in the biggest flagship schools: “At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years.”
 
That undergraduate degree is not as necessary in today’s workforce. Skills are more vital than degrees. One example of the free market adapting to a college degree’s devaluation is Google not caring if potential hires have one or not. They look past academics and focus on other characteristics that better predict job performance.
 
Another reason college should be steered clear of is the fact that shouting matches by students with nothing else better to do have invaded campuses nationwide. And they are silencing any conservative who dares speak their mind.
 
In nearby Evergreen State College here in Washington, student protests hijacked classrooms and essentially took over the campus. The college president’s response to it was laughable as protesters took over the administration offices last month, disrupting other classes along the way. The threats of murder led to the campus closing for three days. The students call a very progressive educator a racist and a white supremacist. Their madness knows no bounds.
 
Trade schools and self-study are also proving to have better outcomes for many young men and women in the U.S. Dropping out of college is not the end of the world. Many successful business owners left school to pursue their passions and turn their dreams into reality. Trade schools require less time and money and the graduate ends up with a very specific set of skills that employers are looking for. Many times, these well prepared trade school graduates far outearn their four-year degree peers.
 
And the final reason why a college degree is useless is that it is simply not worth the cost. Tuition has been skyrocketing along with student loan debt, but future earnings are actually decreasing as more Americans are earning less than their parents as the American Dream fades from reality.
 
A recent WSJ article, dug into the consequences of this financial reality. Tuition keeps climbing nationwide, but prospective earnings are far from keeping up. There are differences in different schools and across other majors, but the overall trend shows that the returns to a four-year degree are decreasing.  
 
Students are borrowing and not putting any collateral down. They are also not making enough money to pay back these massive loans. Total student loans have now reached $1.3 trillion here in the U.S. Guess who will be stuck with this bill when it comes due?
 
You got it… the oblivious taxpayer.

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28 thoughts on “Why College Degrees Are Becoming Useless

  1. I completely disagree with this article. I don’t know who benefits from this kind if misdirection but its very wrong to give young people this kind of advice.
    If you have ever taught college students you realize how important college is to their growth. They come into college completely unaware of history, the arts, politics and working knowledge of math and science… this kind of maturity is important for everything, including simply raising children. This is where someone learns not to just work for someone… they learn how to create things that employ others.
    The ‘trades’ as this writer puts it are disappearing in this country, unless you are talking about waiting on tables, keeping accounting books, and medical fields, and even the medical fields are slowing down. So you are talking about jobs that either don’t exist, or are ‘outsourced’… so you offer no alternative…
    Not to mention the fact that, if you have ever seen employment ads lately, any job worth responding to requires a college education.
    College education itself is the problem. Everyone should have access to it and it needs to be de-weaponized,de-federalized and cleaned out of foreign interests and bad actors. That is where the problem is.

    • I agree that the best thing to do is fix college education — but the article is also right in saying that college education the way it is right now isn’t worth its price.
      I work at a tech company (not one of the big 5, but certainly a desirable work place that pays up to $200k/year) and I’m involved in the hiring process. We get a number of applications from people with college degrees – some with very good marks – who fail even the simplest test questions.
      Many can’t answer “what does strcpy() do?” – which, to a C/C++ programmer [which is the job they’re applying for], is roughly like asking an English major “what is a dog?” where a simplistic answer like “an animal that says woof woof” would be accepted.
      This has lead us to essentially ignore college degrees (this wasn’t always the case). These days we ask applicants the same types of simple filter questions (that would have been considered insulting not too long ago), and we look at previous contributions to Open Source projects, e.g. whatever is in the applicant’s github account.
      The degree or the grades aren’t much of a concern anymore. A lot of people these days learned what they need to know elsewhere (e.g. teaching themselves on the net).
      Some employment ads do say “requires a college education” or similar, but if you apply and give them a good reason why you don’t have one (e.g. “I didn’t want to go into debt, so I decided to teach myself instead”), you’d be surprised how many companies will ignore their own requirements.

      • College is now free in China for their citizens. As the math whiz on TED Talks will show you on population and greenhouse gas growth seminar the math cannot catch up once Chinese begin graduating with professional degrees. There will be no room for Americans and that is a mathematical certainty.

    • Anyone who is completely unaware of history, the arts, politics and working knowledge of math and science does not deserve to be in college and only waters it down for those who do deserve to be there.
      The reason college has become a joke is because the people who are interested in scholarship and academic pursuits are put in classes with idiots who have never done any real work or labor.
      Also, saying the trades are disappearing in this country is to ignore the thousands who are coming in to take those jobs. I have multiple degrees in Mathematics and Education. I have worked in fields that require my degree, and I have worked in fields that do not require my degree. The pay was higher in positions that did not require my degree. That does not mean I regret getting my degree. I love mathematics, but the point is anyone who does not love learning, for learning’s sake does not deserve to be in college. College is for scholars who don’t care if they get paid more and the greatest universities historically never sold themselves on being able to better their scholar’s incomes.

    • What for morons are attending the college you are referring to? Most kids learn nothing from their parents about life skills let alone art, politics, etc. I blame the parents for this non education…..the public high schools just graduate kids who can barely read or write English.
      You have to have a college degree to just work at freaking McDonalds now a days…..that shows just how little they value a college education. Most college educated folks I met over the last 50 years have been morons with no common sense who have been brainwashed by whatever college they attended.
      The college professors are too bigoted and too marxist in their thinking…..and too libturd and demand that their students obey them mindlessly.

    • “They come into college completely unaware of history, the arts, politics and working knowledge of math and science.”
      This is because American primary schools and high schools are rubbish.

      • Amen RoHa! I have had college grads from the US come into my lab with an undergraduate degree in chemistry who didn’t know what a pH was. With the lowering of the bar on all levels in the US, our little special snowflakes (especially those who identify as female) go to college to find a husband among the 10% alpha males and to amass a ton of debt. Recently, I had some trees in my back yard cut down and the stumps ground by a guy who was 42 years of age and who had his own house paid for, along with paid for items such as large chippers and remote controlled stump grinders. He never went to university and laughed at the useless degrees acquired at the american academy His dance card was also quite full if you know what I mean.

    • ” They come into college completely unaware of history, the arts, politics and working knowledge of math and science..”
      But they get taught by leftist, socialists verging on communist values, ending up anti-white democrats who want open borders, “inclusion,” and all the rest of that meme.

    • Uhhh, as somebody with a BFA and an Associate of Applied Science degrees who has spent 30 years in building maintenance let me say you would not be on the internet without the skills of an HVAC tech keeping that server room cold. The entire data center, all the phones, computers and communications for the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis is propped up by one Trane cooling tower, I’ve worked on it. Trades aint goin nowhere doll 🙂

    • By trades they mean blue collar skills which are being enhanced and supported in every growing nation but ours. It is only a matter of time before these countries realize that they can dump all their inflation on American consumers because we cannot do anything anymore. It is already happening in textiles, meta-materials, engineering and mechanical trades.
      Pretty soon a water heater or car starter are going to wipe out your entire years’ savings. The government-bailed out/supported housing market is way out of whack and costs are insane in the construction trades. Wait until Chinese and Indians decided they want more money every year…you are going to be paying those raises.

    • Some good points.
      Trades for now remain good opportunities.
      Yes, the trades are going to fade – some far quicker than others – but so are many of the professions and higher-end careers. .
      Everything from financial advisor to engineers and even to doctors and lawyers is slowly on its way out with AI.

    • “The ‘trades’ as this writer puts it are disappearing in this country”
      Really? Where do you live, in a cave? Did a degree get you this kind of “knowledge”? Who works on your car, your plumbing, your electricity? Who built you house? Those jobs aren’t going anywhere.
      On the other had, do we really need another liberal arts major? What do they even do?
      Or a journalist? What a joke. I’d rather my kid be a used car salesman.

    • Your arguments represent the demise of public education in the United States. Oh, the irony.
      “They come into college completely unaware of history, the arts, politics and working knowledge of math and science… this kind of maturity is important for everything, including simply raising children.”
      These subjects are taught for twelve years. If a college student doesn’t have the first bit of knowledge about history, science, math, or the arts, he/she isn’t ready for college. It means he/she wasted 12 years of education. Let this person go to a community college so he/she doesn’t waste anyone else’s time on remedial skills.
      One doesn’t need a college degree or be proficient in math or science to raise intelligent, compassionate, thinking children.
      I have a Master’s Degree. As a business owner, I will hire the person without a degree over the one with a degree if everything else is equal because the one without a degree knew what a waste of money a piece of paper is in the real world. Colleges and universities are useless unless you are going for something specific, like math or science.

    • What a load of ignorant gibberish. I think you meant to say that they come into college completely unaware of economics as they amass useless degrees in “why I hate cis-gendered white males” and bankrupt their parents. Further, you don’t have a HVAC in your yert or even wiring that may need to be tweaked? The trades are disappearing? You Go Girl…LOL.

  2. This article lost me at “silencing any conservative who dares speak their mind”. Really? GlennB is this you? The “Liberal” Colleges argument just doesn’t cut it anymore. ALL College Diplomas regardless of College leanings, are becoming or are worthless. There is NO divide between the Two where it counts. Graduation & Diplomas.

    • Name a non-liberal college. I can think of only about three and they don’t just pass people. A four year college degree is equal to or less than an eight grade education of around 1950. The kids aren’t learning anything in school from one grade to the next and haven’t for many years and the tests show it.

      • Only 3? That is a pretty limited sample of Educational Institutions. There are quite a few, do your own homework. Start with the one you attended and work your way out. Typical Conservative, wants work done for them. TTFN.

        • Why don’t you name them, if you know of so many. I attended a Leftist university and have taken classes at Leftist junior colleges. I have no personal experience involving conservative colleges, but three are often mentioned as being conservative and one of them is Hillsdale College. Not too bright are you?

  3. Spending thousands of dollars on a useless piece of paper is a thing of the past…..but most parents think their little snowflakes deserves 4 years of more playtime until they have to go out into the real world and earn a living.

  4. Read about the Federal OPT program that allows corporations to hire foreign students out of college and not pay any SS or Medicare taxes on them – saving them 23% plus keeping wages lower all around .., where’s Trump on this issue ? This us why the tech firms and others all wanted Hillary for open borders and keep this anti American student program going ..,!Universities love it because they are able to “sell” these promises of work to foreign students … 330000 students last year alone …American born students are shut out of hundreds of corporations this way …

  5. “Why College Degrees Are Becoming Useless”
    It just ain’t so.
    Some college degrees are useless for sure, but not degrees in general.
    The useless ones for the most part are obvious, such as most BAs in English or journalism or history or education. They are useless simply because there are ten of them for every possible job, and the institutions use virtually no discretion in continuing to admit people to such programs.
    Then there is that whole class of “created” subjects for which there is virtually no job market: women’s studies, black studies, aboriginal studies, film studies, etc. Perhaps, the first people “out of the gate” got jobs as some other institutions started up or experimented with such programs, but after that it is pretty much a dead end.
    American education has created an entire industry in manufacturing degrees to please young people’s egos and to fill their own coffers.
    Grade inflation in public schools, vague parental dreams and expectations, over-generalized talk about the value of an education, truly second- and third-rate institutions created by state and local governments as political measures, and a kind of artificial democratization of the whole idea of higher education – these all contribute to the situation.
    Hard-nosed academic studies have never been democratic. They are, if you will, just naturally the domain of the more able, although even our highest-quality institutions have always admitted and graduated some who do not belong,
    George Bush being a perfect example. Such people are called “legacy” admissions because the whole cynical intention of admitting them is to earn the institution a nice pot of money in gratitude from a rich family. Of course, once you admit a George Bush, you must graduate him regardless of what he does. Ditto for the Royals in Britain at places like Cambridge.
    Of course, the American tradition of sports being used as financing tool by colleges is very corrupting. Young men with sports talent are given free places regardless of academic ability because their contribution to the team will bring in alumni donations.
    But that is a totally cynical practice. These young men should be paid money for their effort, not given admission. It is the pathetic “Hoop Dreams” phenomenon.
    The American military, too, plays a role with its education benefit there to entice a flow of recruits, who, in many or even most cases, are not truly college or university material. It is a kind of force-feeding of colleges in order to fill uniforms.
    Higher education today has a great deal of cynicism and corruption built into it, but it remains the responsibility of each potential student to exercise the old caution, “Buyer beware.”
    Failure to do so yields a lot of debt, little or no prospects you could not have had otherwise, and a sense of frustration.

  6. This not true. A degree in invaluable in identifying snowflakes that will need a safe place during work. Yeah there are a few that go to school to learn (I’ll take a guess they are they ones who are paying for their education), but the sjw movement is ruining any respect college grads used to have.

  7. There is a difference between ‘education’ and ‘indoctrination’.
    The only thing K-12 teaches anymore seems to be where to pick up your ‘participation trophy’.
    Sad.

  8. Inflation in the price of getting a 4-year degree from a brick-and-mortar college has outstripped the CPI for decades. The government & universities also lie to college-bound teens telling them it’s okay to pile up student loans because there will be a great job at the end of that gauntlet to pay them off. Bull! This is just the big banks and government creating a new generation of debt slaves who will never be able to pay off those loans.

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