The real college crisis

Frankly, I’m tired of hearing about the student loan crisis. For many reasons there is no crisis, especially given most payments are right in line with the monthly car payment, also a choice.

I support lower interest interest rates, maybe no interest for some, but a loan freely taken is a loan that should be repaid.

There is a crisis in education though. In fact two crises. High school student are not proficient in key areas. That means they are not prepared for college or even a job in some cases.

That is reflected in the second crisis, graduation rates for those who attempt college. For whatever reasons not graduating or taking six years to do so may increase debt, but certainly reduces or eliminates the value of investing in higher education.

Instead of ranting about loan forgiveness and the illusion of that creating wealth, politicians would better serve Americans by focusing on the basics that add value with or without college.

The official four-year graduation rate for students attending public colleges and universities is 33.3%. The six-year rate is 57.6%. At private colleges and universities, the four-year graduation rate is 52.8%, and 65.4% earn a degree in six years.

https://www.cappex.com/articles/blog/government-publishes-graduation-rate-data#:~:text=The%20official%20four%2Dyear%20graduation,a%20degree%20in%20six%20years.

That is, by 2019, some 63 percent of students had completed a bachelor’s degree at the same institution where they started in 2013. The 6-year graduation rate was 62 percent at public institutions, 68 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 26 percent at private for-profit institutions.

https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40

In the United States, the overall dropout rate for undergraduate college students is 40%. 30% of the dropout rate comes from college freshman dropping out before their sophomore year. In 4-year colleges, 56% of students drop out within 6 years.Nov 22, 2021

https://educationdata.org/college-dropout-rates

Below is a list of 3187 colleges with the lowest graduation rate in the United States. Western International University tops the list with a graduation rate of 3%. Graduation rate is reported as the percent of students who graduate within 150% of the normal expected time to complete the degree.

https://www.collegesimply.com/colleges/rank/colleges/lowest-graduation-rate/

4 comments

  1. I don’t know if you spent much time looking at the list of schools with low graduation rates, but Jewish/rabbinical schools are disproportionately represented… Native American schools also seem over represented. I wonder why?

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  2. I also think that the current crop of graduates have not learned college level material nor critical thinking. Yesterday on Yahoo Finance’s daily whine begging for college loan forgiveness was a 64-yr old man that just got his MBA and nobody will hire him. He owes $70K in student loans and doesn’t know how to pay it back. A person with just a 2-yr business degree should have been able to to figure out the rate of return on the investment and how long it would take to pay back the loan. At 64, one has to wonder if he realized that he might not live long enough to pay back the loan. When was he planning to retire? At 65? Who would want to hire a newly minted MBA to run their business if he can’t figure out how to pay back his student loans?

    The quality of a college education has dropped in my opinion. Twenty years ago I worked with a graduate from a major engineering school with a degree in engineering and this person could not pass a written test. One day I asked how they passed college and the answer was they were graded on a curve. I don’t want any STEM graduate who designs bridges to say my work is good enough. It must be 100% correct or the bridge will fall down.

    Then there are the hundreds of useless degrees like degrees in “studies”. I have a useless degree. A Bachelor of Applied Science, but I paid less then $6k for it in cash. (Note the diploma doesn’t even say what the major is). The rest was paid for by my various employers over 29 years. The only reason I got it was to check a box on an application should I need to so and I haven’t in12 years that I have had it. I earned because it was one piece of paper that wrapped up 30+ years and thousands of hours of training, but means nothing really. My success was through the trades.

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  3. College for all is a false promise to a huge percentage of kids who can’t compete at a 4 year college level. Some can handle 2 year community college and some can benefit from technical trade schools and some could do better in an ojt trade program.
    The education loan program allowed the cost of higher Ed to go up and encouraged for profit store fronts to open up. I googled Western International University which is now closed. It was a for profit exclusively online deal.
    I read continually of all the shortages of workers such as truck drivers, nurses, manufacturing jobs, school bus drivers, construction trades and on and on. These jobs can be filled without a 4 year degree, some of course require more training than others.

    Funneling every kid into a college or university is a waste of money and a disservice to kids who don’t belong there. The loan crisis is a created problem as a result. The loan crisis will clear up when kids are no longer pushed into the need for a loan to start with.

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    1. James, You are 100% correct. Not everyone should go to college. People have different aptitudes – some can do college level work and some cannot. Some people should be scientists or doctors, others should be electricians or plumbers. One area is not better than another. It is a waste of time and money to try to educate students who cannot do the work, or who do not care to. I taught at a public 4 year university for over 35 years and many students would have been better served by a 2 year school or by technical training. You cannot make everyone a scholar any more than you could make everyone an athlete.

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