Why Top Students Are Being Rejected by In-State Colleges

Their places are being filled by students who pay higher tuition rates.

WSJ has an interesting video short examining “Why Top Students Are Being Rejected by In-State Schools.”

It uses the example of a California high school valedictorian with straight A’s, impressive AP exam scores, and athletic and extracurricular achievements who was rejected by both Berkeley and UCLA but accepted at Brown. Why was he accepted by an impressive—but much more expensive—Ivy League school but not his own state’s “public Ivies”?

The answer was the one I anticipated: Most if not all states have been steadily decreasing the number of admissions offered to in-state students at the reduced in-state tuition rate and instead filling those slots with out-of-state and international students who pay a much higher tuition rate. That phenomenon has accelerated greatly since 2008.

While depressing, it isn’t surprising. The driving issues were already visible to those paying attention when I started teaching at Troy State in 1998. The costs of higher education were going up for a variety of reasons and yet the amount of support from the state budget was declining. Even back then—almost two decades ago—we were joking that we were becoming a “state-affiliated” rather than a “state-supported” institution. While there were some attempts at belt tightening, the main response was a steady rise in tuition and fees passed on to students, which far exceeded the rate of inflation. Even at not-so-prestigious schools, paying for college was suddenly much more challenging than it had been in my day.

Meanwhile, the explosion of the college rankings phenomenon and the related notion that the best way for parents to give their kids a shot at success was to get them into the best school possible has created frenzied competition for limited slots. In my own state, it’s insanely competitive to get in to the University of Virginia or William and Mary, the flagship public university and liberal arts college. Essentially, kids need an above 4.0 GPA and impressive extracurriculars to get in (unless perhaps they’re a star athlete in one of the revenue sports). Admission is like winning the lottery, though, because they provide a near-Ivy League prestige education at still relatively affordable prices.

Given the pressures involved, one would think that as a matter of public policy the overwhelming number of seats at these public Ivies would be reserved for graduates of that state’s high schools, with just enough out-of-state and international students admitted to provide cultural diversity. But the legislature can hardly slash funding while simultaneously making it impossible to make up the difference somehow.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Education
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is what happens when the only thing that matters is money.

  2. Tony W says:

    Libertarianism – the market solves all….

  3. Rick DeMent says:

    Public universities are not “public” anymore in the sense of state funding support. What this article describes isn’t surprising at all. This will only change when state supported school are actually being supported by the states. Unfortunately cutting higher education is relatively easy to do compared to k-12 for cash strapped states.

  4. Crusty Dem says:

    All of these public universities get a significant amount of money from the state, as long as that happens the state should mandate a minimum percentage of in-state applicants. I’m pretty liberal, but having seen the spending up close and personal at public universities, many of these financial issues could be fixed with limiting spending rather than more out-of-state tuition, which generally will provide only a small amount of the money needed to fix budgets.. For example, new and renovated football stadiums costing hundreds of millions of dollars that aren’t necessary should probably be nixed..

    But increasing out-of-state students is a lousy short-term solution to a significant long-term problem..

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    I have to wonder if student loans are in part responsible for tuition inflation. When I attended college in the late 60’s I could easily make enough money in the summer to pay tuition. Tuition has sky rocketed in part at least from increased bureaucratic costs made possible by students loans. This applies to both “state” and private universities.

  6. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    This is what happens when you put people who insist money isn’t important in charge of money.

    Let’s look at some of the factors that led us to where we are today:

    An insistence on how a college degree is essential to success in life (driving up demand).

    A skyrocketing of college expenses far beyond the inflation rate, or any rational justification.

    Pushing young people into committing to huge loans for college degrees where they have little chance of making enough to pay off those loans in any reasonable time (if ever).

    There are a few ideas floating around that would re-introduce the concept of fiscal responsibility on to the college model. Here are a few:

    1) Holding colleges at least partially responsible for student loan defaults by their students/alumni.

    2) Means-testing student loans against forecasted future earnings. STEM degrees have a far higher earning potential than Art History or Women’s Studies or Social Work; it’s idiotic to finance them to the same degree.

    3) Promote trade schools. I’d argue that a good plumber or electrician can do more for the common good than a XX Studies degree holder, and certainly will earn more money.

    4) Take a chainsaw to the existing college administration system. Those are hugely bloated, self-perpetuating bureaucracies that suck up huge amounts of money for no real purpose.

    5) Abolish the Department of Education. Its two main functions seem to be A) providing loans to people who will never be able to repay them fully, and B) promulgating regulations and policies that do no good, but add to the bureaucratic burdens cited above.

    Now if they stop the loans and grants and whatnot, what will happen? Yes, the total will decrease, but most of those lost will be those who won’t be able to repay them anyway. The private sector will step up — and bring a healthy and sorely needed dose of realism to the process. They will be far more likely to means-test the study programs, because they need to have those loans repaid.

    But for those people who want to rack up 200K in loans for a degree that might get you a 40K/year job? Go ahead — but not on my dime.

  7. Stan says:

    @Crusty Dem: I agree in part about costly “improvements”, but the problems are deeper than that. I retired from teaching at The University of Michigan in 2003, but I try to keep in touch. When I started as a faculty member in the 60’s well over half of Michigan’s operating budget was supplied by the state. Now it’s 20% or less, depending on who you talk to. The university administration has responded by increasing tuition to obscene levels and by aggressively recruiting out of state students. I don’t like this, but I don’t see what else it could do. The dominant political forces in the state don’t want to spend money on higher education, or on anything, and in circumstances like this universities and cultural institutions are the first to suffer. This results in sad cases like the one described above.

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Stan: When I started as a faculty member in the 60’s well over half of Michigan’s operating budget was supplied by the state. Now it’s 20% or less, depending on who you talk to.

    I’d be interested to hear about the numbers in another perspective. How much has the state’s contribution changed in 50 years, and how much has the total budget increased? Percentages can be useful information, but some absolute numbers would be helpful.

    I’ll be up front: what I’m suspecting is that the state’s contributions have increased at a respectable rate, but have not kept up with the increases in the total budget, which has grown far faster (and, in my opinion, far beyond justification).

  9. george says:

    I’d be interested to hear about the numbers in another perspective. How much has the state’s contribution changed in 50 years, and how much has the total budget increased? Percentages can be useful information, but some absolute numbers would be helpful.

    I’d be interested in that too. My guess is that the state is giving (in non-inflationary terms) as much per student as they ever did, but the costs (many of which are administrative) have risen – and its unclear to me why they’ve risen. Profs and basic staff (buildings and grounds) aren’t making more than before, so what’s been sucking up the cash?

    As well, I’d be interested in seeing how much the state gives per student to the trades, which, as has been pointed out, are probably as useful to society as are universities (go without plumbing for a week and you’ll see my point).

    Basically, universities have become overpriced. Same education, much higher costs.

  10. James Joyner says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: @george: Steven Taylor and I have written a lot on the topic over the years. Two big things are happening on the cost front.

    First, huge administrative bloat, with an escalation of senior administrative posts and giant accompanying staffs. Some of that’s a function of the need to respond to a lot of external demands from the federal government, the court system, and whatnot. Most of it’s the standard self-licking ice cream cone.

    Second, infrastructure. Schools see themselves as competing for students so are providing world class dining and recreational facilities, plush dormitories, computer labs, and the like in a way they didn’t twenty years ago. Construction and upkeep are massively expensive.

  11. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Money is the only thing that allows one to live in a good neighborhood. If one does not have money, then one is living next to poor people and that makes for a miserable life.

  12. superdestroyer says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    The articles you linked to stated that the stadium was paid for by donations. How does cutting back on athletics help the regular students with tuition. The subsidy by UC-Berkeley to the entire sports program is less than $8 million. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/college/schools/finances/

    I would guess that the expansion in administration and make work jobs haave costs more than $8 million dollars.

  13. James Joyner says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: @george: And, no, the state contribution is decreasing on a per student basis, not just as a share of the cost of educating said students. See my posting from last June, “Rich Kids Go to Elite Colleges, Becoming Rich Adults.”

    State funding for colleges and universities dropped substantially after the 2001 and 2008 recessions. States are now spending 28 percent less per college student than they were in 2008, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the College Board reports that average state appropriations for higher education per $1,000 in personal income have declined from $9.74 in 1990 to $5.63 today. These budget cuts have forced states to raise their tuitions in turn. Over just the last 10-year period, combined tuition, fees, and room and board at public 4-year universities have increased 45 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    State schools once had a mandate to provide education to the citizens of the state. We’ve evolved to the point they have a self defined mission to preserve the institutions and their cushy jobs.

  15. Mikey says:

    @george: I took a look at U-M’s budget reports for the last 10 years or so. Here’s what they have listed for state appropriations to the University.

    2005: $320 million
    2006: $316 million
    2007: $295 million
    2008: $323 million
    2009: $326 million
    2010: $325 million
    2011: $316 million
    2012: $316 million
    2013: $273 million
    2014: $279 million

    I couldn’t find anything going further back than 2005 on the U-M website. The trend seems generally downward, though, at least since 2009.

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @gVOR08:

    When one walks around upper Connecticut or Wisconsin Avenus in Northwest Washington DC, one will see a massive number of University of Michigan t-shirts on adults. The State of Michigan is probably not getting its money’s worth from UM since a huge number of the graduates are living somewhere else. When a school is at the top of the US News list, it is not producing graduates for the local economy unless it is Georgetown or Columbia.

  17. James Joyner says:

    @superdestroyer:

    When a school is at the top of the US News list, it is not producing graduates for the local economy unless it is Georgetown or Columbia.

    While it’s doubtless true that graduates of elite public institutions are more likely to leave the state for work than graduates of regional teaching schools, I’d wager the vast majority remain in-state. Surely, there are more Berkeley and UCLA grads in California and more UVA grads in Virginia than elsewhere.

  18. Another issue to address is the how progressively less and less of most universities’ budgets are going to their core function:

    The Troubling Dean-to-Professor Ratio

    At universities nationwide, employment of administrators jumped 60 percent from 1993 to 2009, 10 times the growth rate for tenured faculty. “Administrative bloat is clearly contributing to the overall cost of higher education,” says Jay Greene, an education professor at the University of Arkansas. In a 2010 study, Greene found that from 1993 to 2007, spending on administration rose almost twice as fast as funding for research and teaching at 198 leading U.S. universities.

  19. @superdestroyer:

    University of Michigan First Destination Profile

    Top Geographical Locations

    Michigan: 44%
    Illinois: 10.3%
    New York: 7.9%
    Outside of the U.S.: 7.6%
    California: 5.8%

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer: You don’t make money in the long term without investing for the future. As a country, we want our money now.

  21. KM says:

    But the legislature can hardly slash funding while simultaneously making it impossible to make up the difference somehow.

    Gablehauser: Let me ask you something, what do you think the business of this place is?
    Leonard (after he, Sheldon and Howard whisper to each other): Science?
    Gablehauser: Money

    They don’t care how they get paid, only that they do. If the choice is between being forced to offer discounts to a specific set of customers or reaching out to get a whole new set at full price, what did you think was going to happen?

    If you think about it, in-state tuition is more of a gimmick then a functioning business plan. The point was you’re from a state, they want you stay in that state so they give you a discount so you don’t add to the brain drain. Brand loyalty, as it were. Except when has someone’s alma mater that ever majorly factored into someone’s decision to take a job and live in a state? Why are you charging “outsiders” more anyway – don’t you want to attract them to your state, let them see what you have to offer so they might stay after graduating? If this were businesses and you were trying to lure more in, you don’t charge them more – they’re the ones who would get the discounts and tax breaks.

  22. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Thanks for the reference. It appears that Michigan would be better off cutting the class size in half and focusing on those students who would actually stay in the state. I would assume that UM has big enough data to figure out what types of students will stay in the state and which will not remain one day past their graduation. Cut the size of the school and leave the funding at the same level would probably leave everyone better off.

  23. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The long term is almost impossible to predict for a business. Eventually every business makes a wrong guess and really hurts itself. What you probably mean investing in the future is actually investing in more government spending and thus, a bigger public sector and a smaller private sector.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer: You don’t have a whole lot of money do you?

  25. Crusty Dem says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Shockingly, I agree with 1, 3, and 4. I still believe the biggest waste is infrastructure – I completely understand the need for additional space (sometimes), but the gold-plated dormitories and pristine administrative buildings are an obnoxious waste of money.

    @superdestroyer:
    I focus on the football stadiums because they are comically expensive and used ~6 times per year. UW had access to a sparkling NFL stadium a 12 minute light-rail ride from campus starting in a year or two. Watching them lament funding issues and excluding quality in-state students while dropping hundreds of millions on stadium construction (that I could watch from my ~60 yr old, barely-functional lab space) was offensive. Money is fungible.

    @Stan:
    I never really understood why they didn’t just expand ~50% – they could do it with minimal pain, take the in-state residents, plus all the out-of-state and foreign students, just make those from far off figure out their own housing… I’m sure there’d be some faculty stress, but there’s no lack of infrastructure or numbers..

  26. grumpy realist says:

    @James Joyner: It seems to be a vicious circle: parents paying a lot in tuition, so they insist on “only the best!” for their little darlings. And then there are the helicopter parents, who want handholding of Jason and Kimberley at every step of the way.

    I always felt that state colleges should be run as lean and mean as possible. And living in cut-rate dorms etc. gave you the opportunity to a) learn how to cook on a hot plate, and b) developing food storage habits to keep the roaches away.

    Learning how to live off lentils and cheap veggies is a useful talent to have.

  27. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. I have the experience of the labs and dining halls of Tokyo University under my belt, so I think I have pretty good bragging rights as to how BAD it can get….

    We’re talking about a dining service where instant raman noodles are a step UP in cuisine…

  28. President Camacho says:

    Colleges have got to get a handle on costs. College shouldn’t be a 4 yr vacation. These luxury dorms with gourmet meal plans are nice but unnecessary. Enough w the nfl/nba like sports facilities.

  29. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Shorter Jenos: “I do just fine with my GED, so everybody else should, too.”

  30. wr says:

    @President Camacho: “Colleges have got to get a handle on costs. College shouldn’t be a 4 yr vacation. These luxury dorms with gourmet meal plans are nice but unnecessary. Enough w the nfl/nba like sports facilities.”

    Republican assclowns demand that universities be “run like a business” — and then when they do run like a business to survive, when they add amenities to bring in more customers, they scream like little babies about how terrible it is that they’re treating their students like customers.

  31. Mikey says:

    @wr: You dismiss his suggestions too blithely. Some of them are pretty good. Sure, the DoE is a cliche’ target for conservatives, but there’s real merit in the suggestion to increase emphasis on non-degree programs like apprenticeships and trade schools.

    America overemphasizes the college degree and underemphasizes the skilled trades. Things have gotten seriously out-of-balance and a lot of people who’d be far better suited to hands-on work feel pushed into degree programs they end up dropping out of with nothing to show for it but a pile of debt.

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: After getting your ass so thoroughly handed to you on the Wendy Davis ad thread, are you sure you wanna start with me again?

    I really hope you don’t. I just finished cleaning off the soles of my shoes from the last time I stomped on you.

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @Crusty Dem:

    Money is less fungible at universities than other places. If people donate to the athletic department (usually a separate not-for-profit corporation from the university) that money cannot be transfer over to some form of operations and maintenance account. It is the same with all of the grants to do research or even the big donations that gets a building named after a person.

  34. beth says:

    @Mikey: Part of that is just a natural human trait to want better for your kids. My dad was,a tradesman and made a nice living at it but didn’t want his kids to be crawling under houses, doing the dirty work he did. It was a point of honor for him that his kids wouldn’t have to get their hands dirty. That may not be true anymore but it’s going to take a while to change people’s feelings on it.

  35. Mikey says:

    @beth: The problem today is the university has become a de facto extension of high school. It was never meant to be this.

    Also, America has far too little respect for the skilled trades. It’s assumed if you don’t go to college you must be a bit stupider than the average. Of course, this is utter nonsense, as anyone who has friends in the skilled trades could tell you, but it’s there and it’s a result of our overemphasis on college as necessary to success.

    Today we have plenty of no-hands-dirty jobs for which a Bachelor’s degree is a condition of employment but shouldn’t be. There’s no reason a network engineer has to go to college. Everything that guy/girl knows is learned through hands-on training and experience. But if you look at all the job advertisements, they all say four-year degree.

  36. Will Truman says:

    One of the great things about the discussion of the universal applicability of college is that nobody can argue against it. If you went to college you’re a hypocrite and if you didn’t you’re ignorant.

  37. Grewgills says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    employment of administrators jumped 60 percent from 1993 to 2009, 10 times the growth rate for tenured faculty.

    That is able to happen because of the rise in much less well paid adjunct faculty.

  38. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Are you Rhymes with Right?

  39. wr says:

    @Grewgills: “That is able to happen because of the rise in much less well paid adjunct faculty.”

    Which is part of the general trend in this country to transfer the fruits of created wealth from workers to executives and owners. We devalue all labor — including now, that of university professors — and give all credit (and money) to management.

    And then we cut taxes for rich people.

    It’s a great system, as long as you’re at the top of it…

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: I think you might not have the cause-effect relationship quite right there. It wasn’t a matter of “let’s cut teaching salaries so we can hire more administrators,” it was more “we have more administrators now, and we don’t have as much money coming in, so let’s cut teaching payroll.”

    Funny how you never hear about Adjunct Deputy Associate Dean for Diversity positions…

  41. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Rhymes provided the context behind Davis’ dishonest and slimy ad. (For which he/she/it deserves much credit.) I just borrowed the club and used it to beat wr and a bunch of others over the head with it.

    I also didn’t care for Rhymes’ comment about breast implants, which is why I tried to deflect it a bit.

    By the way, congratulations. When I reviewed that comment thread to see who had jumped right in on the ad and had proven themselves grossly wrong, you didn’t make the cut. I called out nine specific commenters, and you weren’t on the list.

  42. jd says:

    How does state funding look broken down by red/blue. Its pretty well established that the more educated you are, the more likely you’ll vote Democratic. http://www.politifact.com/georgia/statements/2012/nov/05/larry-sabato/education-level-tied-voting-tendencies/

  43. anjin-san says:

    Most of it’s the standard self-licking ice cream cone.

    Yes. The chancellor of UC Berkeley just has to live in a mansion for free, because fundraising.

  44. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I just borrowed the club and used it to beat wr and a bunch of others over the head with it.

    Have you ever noticed that the only person who congratulates Jenos on his supposed OTB triumphs is Jenos?

    Of course you haven’t.

  45. superdestroyer says:

    @jd:

    Those articles never discuss the type of graduate degree. Since most public school teacher eventually have to get a graduate degree and they are hard core DEmocratic Party voters, it can skew the data. The same goes for social worker, people with degrees in public administration, college professors dependent on federal money, lawyers, and doctors.

    The real question for the future is what do all of the graduate school educated whites get out of politics when the U.S. becomes a one party state and politics is a fight over entitlement spending. Are they going to willing to pay the taxes, the housing prices, the energy prices, etc that will exist in a one party state future?

  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Have you ever noticed that the only person who congratulates Jenos on his supposed OTB triumphs is Jenos?

    I understand now why you take such great pains to avoid saying anything of substance — when you do, you usually say something that is verifiably false and stupid.

    Scroll up — I made five suggestions, and Crusty was “shocked” to agree with three of them. I’d call that a triumph.

    And I’m standing by means-testing college loans against future earnings. What the hell is so good about loaning some college student 200K so they can get a degree that will get them maybe 40K a year? You’re sentencing them to decades of paying off that loan — or the lender to writing off a huge chunk of it. If it’s such a good thing that they get the degree, give them a grant and forget the pretense that they’ll ever have the means to pay it off.

    And make the borrower admit that it’s a gift, not a loan.

  47. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Are you actually operating under the delusion that you have any idea what “substance” is?

    Wow, you actually said something funny – not intentionally of course, but funny nonetheless.

  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Are you actually operating under the delusion that you have any idea what “substance” is?

    Yes — it’s what you lack on this thread so far.

  49. James Joyner says:

    @anjin-san: @Jenos Idanian #13: Gents, this byplay is beyond tiresome at this point.

  50. Gustopher says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I really, really hate the fact that I agree with you on about half of this. No offense, but, you’re generally wrong about everything…

    1) Holding colleges at least partially responsible for student loan defaults by their students/alumni.

    I’ll agree that someone other than the student needs to have some skin in the game, and that it has to be someone with a more systemic view. And, I will agree that people need to be able to default on their student loans.

    The schools are probably not the right choice — but the fact that school X has a default rate of Y% should be in the calculations.

    2) Means-testing student loans against forecasted future earnings. STEM degrees have a far higher earning potential than Art History or Women’s Studies or Social Work; it’s idiotic to finance them to the same degree.

    A problem with this is that we have a lot of lower paid jobs that are absolutely essential. Teachers and social workers, for instance. You either have to significantly raise the salaries, or subsidize the education. And, we are getting into social engineering here, which is likely to make some people very, very jumpy.

    But, loans and financial aid should be tied to the student’s major (and continuing to maintain a good GPA — if the student isn’t ready for college, its not doing him/her any favors to let them get further into debt)

    3) Promote trade schools. I’d argue that a good plumber or electrician can do more for the common good than a XX Studies degree holder, and certainly will earn more money.

    Yes. With the caveat that as you add more plumbers, the wages of plumbers slowly decreases, etc.

    4) Take a chainsaw to the existing college administration system. Those are hugely bloated, self-perpetuating bureaucracies that suck up huge amounts of money for no real purpose.

    It’s not administration that is the problem (administration has been cut again and again) — that’s like the “waste and fraud” boogeyman with the federal budget (you can always find some, but you need to balance the costs of protecting against it with the costs of actually cutting it), but college has grown much more expensive than the costs of classrooms and teachers would suggest it should.

    5) Abolish the Department of Education. Its two main functions seem to be A) providing loans to people who will never be able to repay them fully, and B) promulgating regulations and policies that do no good, but add to the bureaucratic burdens cited above.

    No. You need involvement by someone with a systemic view of the problems. The free market is not going to solve all problems on its own.

    But for those people who want to rack up 200K in loans for a degree that might get you a 40K/year job? Go ahead — but not on my dime.

    Who needs teachers? Or are you willing to have your property taxes go up so we can pay elementary school teachers 80k/year?

  51. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer: “Those articles never discuss the type of graduate degree. Since most public school teacher eventually have to get a graduate degree and they are hard core DEmocratic (sic) Party voters, it can skew the data. The same goes for social worker, people with degrees in public administration, college professors dependent on federal money, lawyers, and doctors.”

    You’re right about social workers, and maybe about teachers. But when I started teaching at The University of Michigan College of Engineering back in 1964, a majority of the engineering professors were apolitical conservatives. I’m pretty sure that a majority of lawyers and doctors in Ann Arbor and nationally were also conservative. This has changed, and the reason, I think, is that the Republican party decided in the 50’s and 60’s to appeal to middle and lower income voters on the basis of social issues. Joe McCarthy and later George Wallace showed the way, and Richard Nixon followed in their footsteps. It worked in terms of attracting white working class men. It had the opposite effect on more highly educated voters.

    What I’m saying here is that self-interest isn’t the only reason why people vote Republican or Democratic. Values also play a role, and liberals have them just as conservatives do.

  52. Will Truman says:

    @jd: No, it’s not. Romney won people with bachelor’s degrees and Obama won high school dropouts by a huge margin. Obama won among the most and least educated and Romney among those in between.

  53. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And make the borrower admit that it’s a gift, not a loan.

    I’m curious, who are these people who think student loans are gifts that need not be repaid? Just try defaulting on a student loan, they will follow you into your grave to collect.

    or the lender to writing off a huge chunk of it.

    Where is this coming from? The only way to to get a student loan written off is to have a doctor certify that you are so severely disabled that you will never be able to work again. And they do mean never. In any other circumstance, the lender will not even discuss writing student loans off. They won’t even discuss settling the loan for partial payment.

  54. anjin-san says:

    In any other circumstance

    I will amend this a bit. There are a few, highly unusual bankruptcy scenarios that will get a student loan written off. It’s pretty rare.

  55. Crusty Dem says:

    @Will Truman: Romney won college grads (no postgraduate) by a nose, but if you look at overall college graduates, including those who went on to a higher degree, Obama still won. Obama won those with graduate degrees by the largest margin (13%)..

    The “high school dropout” you claim as Obama’s biggest booster was a mere 3% of the poll, far below that required for any realistic breakdown of statistical margins..

  56. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “The schools are probably not the right choice — but the fact that school X has a default rate of Y% should be in the calculations.”

    The Obama administration has been trying to go after crooked for profit schools — the ones that basically lure poor people in, suck up their loans and then send them away with no real education. But of course these businesses are highly profitable, and they use chunks of that profit to purchase (mostly Republican) legislators who block any restrictions on them…

  57. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “But, loans and financial aid should be tied to the student’s major (and continuing to maintain a good GPA — if the student isn’t ready for college, its not doing him/her any favors to let them get further into debt)”

    I thought we were supposed to hate it when the government “picked winners and losers.” Now we’re going to say “we’ll only help fund your education if you study the fields we choose”?

  58. superdestroyer says:

    @Stan:

    George Wallace was a Democrat and high school drop outs are some of the most loyal Democratic Party voters around (about the same level as PhDs). What the education really shows is that politics in the U.S. is the elites and poor against the middle. The poor are no threat to the elites and the poor can be used to hamstring the middle class enough so that they do not directly compete with the elites.

  59. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Gustopher: I’m going to skip the whole quoting part, partly because I’m tired and lazy, but partly because I think I can make this more conversational and less adversarial if I do so.

    Let me elaborate on “abolish the federal Dept. of Education” part. I don’t think there’s any particular reason why the federal government should be involved in education at all. So here’s my suggestion: abolish the department entirely, then take its budget, shovel 25% into the general fund, and the remaining 75% to the states (and DC), proportioned in some way TBD, and let them handle the whole mess. Just because the feds aren’t doing something doesn’t mean it isn’t a role for government — I’m a big believer in the 10th Amendment.

    For teacher education, two ideas come to mind. First, inform the colleges — especially the public ones — that they have an obligation to their profession, and they need to come up with ways of reducing the cost of getting a teaching degree. Second, I suggest a forgiveness program that gives incentives for teachers. Just to get the ball rolling, how about loan repayment is deferred for five years for those graduates who go into teaching. Then, after five years, forgive 5% of their original loan amount for each year they continue to work in teaching. Third, ask the NEA to show their concern for their profession by setting up a fund to go into this forgiveness fund — say, 1% of their dues.

    OK, I’m gonna break my promise about “no block quotes” because I believe we have a misunderstanding, and I’d like to clear it up:

    But for those people who want to rack up 200K in loans for a degree that might get you a 40K/year job? Go ahead — but not on my dime.

    Who needs teachers? Or are you willing to have your property taxes go up so we can pay elementary school teachers 80k/year?

    I wasn’t thinking of public service, but the classical “worthless” degrees — the “art history” degrees, the “XX Studies,” and the interdisciplinary “make your own major” types. The only one of the last group I can think of that’s actually made a highly successful career with their degree is Will Shortz.

  60. Will Truman says:

    @Crusty Dem: JD said that the more educated a voter is the more likely they are to vote Democrat. If that were true then Romney would have over performed among high school dropouts, then high school grads, then some college, etc. Instead, his highest performance was in the educational midrange.

    Romney lost both groups, but performed (very modestly) better among college grads then non grads. Even accepting the difference as insignificant, the claim that more education makes you more likely to vote Democratic is only true at one level (grad vs postgrad). Which is to say that it isn’t actually true.

  61. anjin-san says:

    @Will Truman:

    You are only looking at a single sample, the 2012 presidential election. The overall question is actually quite a bit bigger than that one election.

  62. anjin-san says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The poor are no threat to the elites and the poor can be used to hamstring the middle class enough so that they do not directly compete with the elites.

    The elites own the board. No one is directly competing with them. The question is how are the crumbs they leave behind distributed.

  63. Trumwill says:

    @anjin-san: 2008 had the same dynamic. McCain’s support peaked among bachelor’s grads and in the middle and Obama did better at the top and bottom. In 2004, Bush peaked among “some college” but still overperformed among bachelor’s while Kerry did best at the top and bottom. The details change, but the overall dynamic holds. Democrats do better among the most and least educated, Republicans do better with those in between.

  64. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    the classical “worthless” degrees

    Considering that the lack of a bachelors degree is a bar to entry for a great deal of the white collar world, I am not seeing it is “worthless” regardless of what field it is in.

    At this point in my life, I would give a body part for four years to get an art history degree.

  65. anjin-san says:

    @Trumwill:

    It would be interesting to break this down state by state and see how much the red/blue dynamic plays into it.

  66. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Ron Beasley: Skyrocketing tuition is part of it, but I suspect that the bigger factor is stagnated minimum wage over the past 30 years. While you were going to school, the minimum wage had the highest purchasing power that it has had in our lifetimes (I’m only a few years younger than you).

  67. george says:

    @James Joyner:

    Thanks. Also interesting that the subsidy per student is dropping in real terms. I wonder how long that’s been going on – the figures show what’s happened over the last decade or so. Perhaps its been going on a lot longer than that.

    There’s a real difference between not providing great gyms/beautiful campuses etc, and not providing adequate basic funding. It appears they’re cutting the basic funding as well – that is not going to turn out well in the short run or the long run.

  68. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I did give you a thumbs up for your comment overall and you were doing fine until you got to “the private sector” comment at the end. Sorry, but keeping low value students out in favor of high value ones is the private sector answer.

    Grade: B/B-.

  69. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    It wasn’t really either of those. Budgets have been being cut in higher education and costs to schools have been going up. Hiring more adjuncts is one way to lower costs. It doesn’t occur to many administrators to cut administration. People don’t like goring their own ox.

  70. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Let me put it another way: the administrators, not the educators, make the budget. When there’s extra money to be spent, who’s going to benefit? And when money’s short, who’s going to be the last to feel the pain?

    To return to an earlier theme, the educators tend to not think of money as that important. (At least, on a day to day basis.) The administrators, on the other hand, live and die by it.

  71. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I don’t know if you’re willfully ignoring what I’ve said, or I didn’t say it clearly enough, so I’ll spell it out: too many jobs require a bachelor’s degree, even if it isn’t in any related field. That’s a whole ‘nother problem, but it’s part of the cause of skyrocketing college prices. Such requirements drive up the demand for a degree — even the “worthless” ones like I’ve cited — and allow the colleges to keep jacking up their prices.

  72. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    too many jobs require a bachelor’s degree, even if it isn’t in any related field.

    “too many” according to whom? Businesses set hiring requirements as they see fit. Are you saying that we need some kind of regulation regarding educational requirements for hiring?

    the “worthless” ones

    But for those people who want to rack up 200K in loans for a degree that might get you a 40K/year job? Go ahead — but not on my dime.

    Ten years ago, I had a young graphic designer on my team at a Fortune 500 company. She had a fine arts degree, and she made 43K a year. Today she is an associate director with a six figure income. This is an oft repeated tale. Her degree, which you deem to be “worthless” got her onto the ladder, and she developed the other skills she needed to climb it as she went along.

    As for “not on my dime” – this is not the way our system works. I do not want my dimes going to corporate welfare for Exxon, but they do.

    There is quite a bit wrong with our system as it is. At the core of it, in my view, is that the system now views students as profit centers to be exploited, not as young minds to be nurtured. This is a logical conclusion in 21st century America, where profits aren’t everything, they are the only thing.

  73. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san:

    “too many” according to whom?

    There are jobs for which employers set a hiring requirement of “bachelor’s degree” but for which a bachelor’s degree is an entirely superfluous requirement because the employee will learn everything on the job.

    A BS/BA is the kind of differentiator today that a high school diploma used to be, except high school doesn’t generally put you in debt up to your elbows. As I told Beth above, university has basically become High School: The Sequel, and it was never meant to be.

    And of course there’s the issue of young people being pushed into universities who would be far better suited to apprenticeship programs and end up dropping out with nothing to show but a mound of debt.

  74. wr says:

    @Mikey: “There are jobs for which employers set a hiring requirement of “bachelor’s degree” but for which a bachelor’s degree is an entirely superfluous requirement because the employee will learn everything on the job.”

    You don’t go to college to learn a specific set of skills to perform a specific job. (That is what trade schools are for.) You go to college to learn to think, to read (not as a six year old does, but to read and comprehend deeply), to reason, and to become informed about the world.

    And if I’m hiring someone for a job where I’ll have to teach them on the job, I’ll be choosing the person I know understands how to learn and grow — that is, the one with the BA.

  75. anjin-san says:

    @Mikey:

    There are jobs for which employers set a hiring requirement of “bachelor’s degree” but for which a bachelor’s degree is an entirely superfluous requirement because the employee will learn everything on the job.

    Employers look at a BA as a reasonable assurance that a potential employee has a baseline skillet in problem solving, critical thinking, and taking on and completing tasks. These are core skills that translate across majors. So no, an employee will not learn “everything” on the job.

    The student debt issue is indeed serious, but really, what does anyone expect? Our values are defined largely by monetary measures these days. A lot of money is being made of higher education, and a lot of the people involved in the system don’t care about anything beyond that.

  76. Mikey says:

    @wr:

    You don’t go to college to learn a specific set of skills to perform a specific job. (That is what trade schools are for.) You go to college to learn to think, to read (not as a six year old does, but to read and comprehend deeply), to reason, and to become informed about the world.

    That was what college USED to be.

    Today it’s largely a very expensive four-year…trade school. It hasn’t been “go to university for the value of a university education” for a very long time. Today it’s “go to university so you can get a good job.”

    And if I’m hiring someone for a job where I’ll have to teach them on the job, I’ll be choosing the person I know understands how to learn and grow — that is, the one with the BA.

    Why isn’t having completed high school with a decent GPA sufficient? It used to be.

  77. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san:

    Employers look at a BA as a reasonable assurance that a potential employee has a baseline skillet in problem solving, critical thinking, and taking on and completing tasks. These are core skills that translate across majors. So no, an employee will not learn “everything” on the job.

    I’ve worked with engineers who have university educations who I wouldn’t trust alone in the room with a network switch, and I’ve worked with high-school graduates who taught my MS-in-telecommunications-possessing butt a thing or three. In my experience the degree adds far less value than it costs. Hell, the only reason I have mine is because the GI Bill paid for it.

    There are, without any doubt, professions for which a university education is not merely desirable, but vital. Unfortunately, we are using a university education as a mere differentiator the way a HS diploma used to be. Does anyone think the additional demand has no effect on cost?

  78. anjin-san says:

    Unfortunately, we are using a university education as a mere differentiator the way a HS diploma used to be.

    Well, the world has changed. It does that. The question is, how do we deal effectively with the world we have today, and how do we make changes where they are desirable?

    One thing seems clear to me. We are returning to the days when a first class education is something only the elite will have access to. What a shame. The excellent public education that California had in the 1950s helped take my family from dire poverty to upper middle class in one generation.

  79. Mikey says:

    @anjin-san: Yes, the world does change, in this particular context for the worse. I can’t think of any benefit inherent in transforming universities into expensive four-year trade schools, or in pushing young people down paths for which they are ill-suited and which end up costing them more than they will ever earn back in both money and time.

    One thing seems clear to me. We are returning to the days when a first class education is something only the elite will have access to.

    My daughter is a professor at a small four-year college in Georgia. It’s a pretty unique public college in that it is open-access, the tuition is capped, there are no departments in the formal sense, and the professors are all on contracts–there is no tenure track. Creative approaches to teaching are encouraged and often necessary. Starting pay for new professors is the highest in the public university system of Georgia. They pay well and keep tuition low by limiting the number of administrators, and they do that by having the professors do a few service hours a month.

    Is that a model all colleges could, or should, follow? I don’t know, but it seems to be working well where my daughter teaches. If we’re going to have college-as-trade-school in perpetuity, at least such a model would provide access to a good education to everyone.

  80. Will Truman says:

    I’m pretty much with @Mikey here. It doesn’t seem particularly contentious to say that we’ve seen a lot of credential inflation with the increasing number of people going to college combined with the economic downturn. And the more people we send to college, the more inflation we will see.

    Where I suspect I disagree with the more liberal commenters is that I don’t see the cost-benefit as being particularly productive for society. It’s productive for the individual in a collective action problem. Each new person that graduates devalues the value degree for each graduation, because at this point a lot of the value of the degree is comparative (It’s more valuable to Person A because Persons B and C don’t have one). And even that appears to be becoming less the case, as degrees from lesser schools may be conferring little or no value at all.

    I’m not sure what percentage of the population does truly benefit from college on an intellectual level. I suspect it’s less than the number of people attending now, though I may be underestimating the number of people who don’t go but who would benefit.

    Either way, I believe we really need to be looking at what we can do for people that aren’t particularly college material other than pressure them to go to college.

    I don’t have a problem with making college free for everybody who is college material. Of course, figuring out who those are or aren’t is quite contentious.

  81. anjin-san says:

    @Will Truman:

    Either way, I believe we really need to be looking at what we can do for people that aren’t particularly college material other than pressure them to go to college.

    Agreed. At my old high school, they have a big sign out front – “where every student is college bound” – what a load of crap.

  82. wr says:

    @Mikey: “I’ve worked with engineers who have university educations who I wouldn’t trust alone in the room with a network switch, and I’ve worked with high-school graduates who taught my MS-in-telecommunications-possessing butt a thing or three. ”

    I’m not surprised at all to hear this. But there are always exceptions to every rule. And a big company hiring probably can’t put in the time and effort to do the extensive screening of applicants to find the exceptions. So they set out blanket rules, knowing that generally the BA is going to do better than the non-BA.

    Is this fair to all applicants? Of course not. But when, for instance, I’m hiring writers on a show, I’ll only read scripts submitted by agents. I know from my teaching experience that there are a lot of new writers with no representation who are better than some who do have it. But I don’t have time to read through a million scripts looking for that great writer — I’ve got to get my team together because I’ve got deadlines. So I let the system perform the first couple of cuts for me. And yes, it’s unfair to some very talented writers — but I need a baseline.

  83. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Christ, why don’t you just go back to ignoring me? Why do you insist on making so many wrong statements?

    I mention people getting degrees completely unrelated to their chosen profession, and mention art history. You come back with an art degree holder who works in an artistic, creative field. I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but I’m gonna say that just might be related to her degree.

    And you’re the statist. I said “too many,” and I meant that. I didn’t even HINT at demanding some kind of federal intervention to correct it. I figure it’ll correct itself, eventually.

  84. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    that just might be related to her degree.

    So much then, for “worthless” degrees.

    Please continue…

  85. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Please continue…

    Fine, I’ll continue, because you asked so nicely. You’re playing that you’re too stupid to get a simple point.

    I consider a “useless” degree one that has no bearing on one’s career, and/or causes the student to incur far more in loans than they can reasonably expect to pay off in any decent length of time. I cited “Art History” (that’s “Art History“) and “XX Studies” as examples.

    You responded with an example of someone who had an “Art” degree (with no qualifiers — Art History, Fine Art, Performing Arts, whatever) who then went on to a very successful career in an Artistic field.

    For some reason, you seem to think that is some kind of great rebuttal for my comment, and keep on insisting that I spell out just how fecking clueless and stupid that makes you look.

    Do you want to cite any more anecdotes that reinforce my point for me, or have you finally realized just how incredibly stupid you’re looking right now?

  86. Grewgills says:

    @Mikey:

    That was what college USED to be.

    Today it’s largely a very expensive four-year…trade school.

    That very much depends on where you go to school. I’ve taught at community colleges where that was the case. I am teaching at a university now, where that is not the case.

  87. Mikey says:

    @Grewgills: There are institutions for which it’s not the case and never will be. But today the focus is not on the value of a university education as mind-broadening and thought-deepening. It’s “you have to go to college so you can get a good job that makes a lot of money.”

    Education was once, at least in part, an end in itself; now it is merely a means to an end. That’s not good for students, and it’s not good for education.

  88. Mikey says:

    @wr: That’s understandable–and indeed, I understand why employers use a degree to differentiate in the same way.

    But as Will Truman pointed out, the value then is no longer inherent to the degree, but simply resides in “A has a degree while B does not.”

    Maybe I’m old-fashioned…but I think when we reduce it that far, something important is lost.

  89. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I consider a “useless” degree one that has no bearing on one’s career

    Well, aside from the fact that without the degree, the don’t get hired in the first place, and they probably don’t have much of a career 🙂

    BTW, I am going to point out that we have both put on notice that some of our back and forth is not appreciated by the editorial crew. Are you able to post without name calling?

  90. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I consider a “useless” degree one that has no bearing on one’s career

    Let’s go back to this. I was a psych major. I started my career in web & graphic design. What I learned in psych courses was actually a pretty big help to me at work, even if it did not include HTML and Photoshop. I know a lot of people that feel the same way.

    I have to question the level and depth of your business experience.

  91. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I consider a “useless” degree one that has no bearing on one’s career,

    BTW, that is YOUR definition. Other people not knowing what is in your head is not a sign of stupidity.

    Consider less name calling and doing some better writing.

  92. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Why am I not surprised you studied psychology? You spend far more time trying to play mind games than actually discussing things.

    I’m trying to collect the points you’ve made so far, and so far it’s pretty much anecdotes. First, you trumpeted the art major who had a successful career in graphic design as a rebuttal to my comment about people whose degrees don’t relate to their careers. I don’t think I’ve thanked you enough for reinforcing my argument with such a great example.

    Second, you bring up your psych background and how it helped you in a field where understanding how people think and react is a superb asset. Again, thanks for reinforcing my point.

    My original examples of what I called “worthless” degrees, however, remain untouched. To aid your apparently borderline nonexistent short-term memory, the ones I cited were Art History and XX Studies. I’ll elaborate on what I meant by “XX” — I meant topics like Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Native American Studies, or any other form of navel-gazing or navel-gazing by proxy.

    OK, I’ve thoroughly shredded what you have put up. This is where you triple down on snide condescension, avoid saying anything of substance on the actual topic at hand with an almost religious zeal, and find somewhere where I might have mistakenly thought you did say something of significance, and go into full mockery for me even coming close to taking you seriously. Then you sum it up with a flouncy “this is why no one ever talks to you seriously” and pretend that I didn’t just hand you your ass, all gift-wrapped and on a silver platter.

    Please, disappoint me.

  93. Will Truman says:

    @wr: As Mikey says, that’s actually indicative of the collective action problem I refer to. If employers reasonably pick those with college degrees even for jobs where a college education isn’t really required, that provides an impetus for more people to get college degrees whether they want them or not. That allows more employers to require (or favor) college degrees, which encourages more people to get them.

    Before you know it, people who don’t particularly want to go to college and otherwise don’t particularly need to go to college are spending tens of thousands of dollars going to college to get jobs that don’t necessitate college. And along the way, a lot of people are ringing up debt for degrees they never get because they were never college material to begin with.

    You can sidestep this a little bit by saying college should be free, but then you’ve only shifted the bill of people who don’t otherwise care about going to college to go to college to get jobs that shouldn’t really require college.

    And then, at some point, to move up the queue, people need to start going to grad school.

    I wish I knew a way out of this mess. But all of the important voices in the discussion are people who went to college and assume that what was right for us is the default or even universal solution (and anyone who disagrees is hypocritical if they went to college or ignorant if they didn’t).

  94. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Yes, yes, Jenos, you are a legend in your own mind. This is known.

    Well, I tried talking to you like a grown up, but you don’t seem to have any other cards in you deck other than the duce you keep playing.

    At any rate, the Giants won today on a walk off sacrifice bunt, I have Stan Getz on, and my wife just got home with some Chinese food, looking quite fetching.

    So I am going to take a cue from James, who also tried to talk to you like a grownup, apparently without success, and bid adieu to the rather limited entertainment value these little chats with you offers.

  95. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Well, I tried talking to you like a grown up, but you don’t seem to have any other cards in you deck other than the duce you keep playing.

    Just when did you try talking like a grownup? When you talked about how an art degree is worthless in a career in graphic design, or when you started arguing not with things I said, but things you pretended I said?

    Oh, and it’s “deuce.”

  96. Mikey says:

    @Will Truman:

    And then, at some point, to move up the queue, people need to start going to grad school.

    And eventually an MS/MA becomes the differentiator, because “if everyone has a Bachelor’s degree, then no one has a Bachelor’s degree…”

    I wish I knew a way out of this mess.

    I’m not sure there is one at this point. There are too many with vested interests in maintaining the status quo. I don’t see how there’s any substantive change absent a total implosion and rebuild.

  97. wr says:

    @Will Truman: “You can sidestep this a little bit by saying college should be free, but then you’ve only shifted the bill of people who don’t otherwise care about going to college to go to college to get jobs that shouldn’t really require college.”

    I don’t consider this a sidestep. I believe that college should be free for all who want to go, and that this is one of the prime responsibilities of a civilized culture. I don’t consider it “shifting the bill to people who don’t care about going to college” anymore than I consider taxes for highway construction shifting the bill to people who might not ever drive on them. Collective action defines civilization.

  98. Will Truman says:

    @wr: I’m not just talking about people who want to go. I’m (also) explicitly talking about people who don’t particularly want to go, but are pushed in to doing so by the fact that nobody will hire them if they don’t. The more people that go, the more people that need to go whether they particularly want to or not. Whether that’s actually a particularly good investment of their time and energy or not.

    That’s the collective action problem I’m talking about.

    In many ways, college “gets you ahead” by getting you ahead of those without a degree. Free College doesn’t actually address that, and basically makes it so that you have to go just to avoid being behind.

    It absolutely is a sidestep, in my view, because it doesn’t address that fundamental issue of credential inflation. It merely ends up being ever-more investment (on the part of the state, or the individual) on helping some people jump ahead of other people in the queue.

  99. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: I believe that college should be free for all who want to go, and that this is one of the prime responsibilities of a civilized culture.

    So, therefore, college professors should teach for free, textbook suppliers should give away their goods, private landowners should donate their property for campuses, and everyone should just give whatever they can to make college “free.” From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.

    Here’s a reality for you: nothing is free. What you call “free” is just making other people pay for it. You just want to separate the beneficiaries of your generosity from the burden of paying for it, and take from others in the name of what you call The Common Good.

  100. Will Truman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Come now, it’s pretty obvious that he meant free for the student the same way that (non-toll) roads are free for driver. Nobody is denting that somebody is paying for it.

  101. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, and it’s “deuce.”

    Those who can, do. Those who can’t spell check.

  102. anjin-san says:

    @Will Truman:

    but are pushed in to doing so by the fact that nobody will hire them if they don’t.

    It’s a real problem. A joke degree from University of Phoenix will get help get someone who is basically a time server hired, while a much better candidate will not even be considered when lacking a BA.

  103. wr says:

    @Will Truman: “I’m not just talking about people who want to go. I’m (also) explicitly talking about people who don’t particularly want to go, but are pushed in to doing so by the fact that nobody will hire them if they don’t. ”

    You could make the same argument about mandatory high school attendance… or elementary school.

    I believe that there is value to a higher education even beyond the credential.

  104. Will Truman says:

    @wr: I believe just about everybody should get K-12 education (roughly) even if they don’t particularly want to.

    Do you believe everybody should get a college degree whether they want to or not? If so, that’s our disagreement.