The College Bubble

For years, colleges have treated their students as consumers, building ever more elaborate facilities and hiring ever more dazzling star scholars to lure applicants. They did this regardless of how high these investments drove tuition, since easy credit meant families could stretch to cover the costs. But with the credit crisis come signs that the college bubble is bursting, as “consumers who have questioned whether it is worth spending $1,000 a square foot for a home are now asking whether it is worth spending $1,000 a week to send their kids to college,” the Chronicle of Higher Education suggests. Further evidence: The New Yorker aims to deflate creative writing programs, “designed on the theory that students who have never published a poem can teach other students who have never published a poem how to write a publishable poem.” [%comments]


#16 - Hey, don't knock the liberal arts degrees. I know everyone thinks that the only thing you can do with them is teach (not that there is anything wrong with that!), but look around at how many of our ilk have infiltrated the ranks in business/creative/nonprofit/other work everywhere. When you learn how to think, reason, learn, evaluate, critique, build context, define relevance, write, persuade, etc... you are often hireable. Even sought after. And as for the money, what does pay right now...? Business majors? Tech? Yeah, whatever.


I hate to distract from the larger conversation happening here, but the Louis Menand NEW YORKER review most certainly does not aim "to deflate creative writing programs," as anyone who had read beyond the first page might have noticed.


#4. Quote:

"My conclusion is that America is overeducating its youth, and we should cut down on the number of people attending college. A good start in this direction would be for the government to stop funding higher education and to cut out the student loan program."

"The SAT, which is basically an IQ test, is used to select people who are suitable for college study"


It's really hard to hear those words when I've spent the last 5 years of my life trying to educate myself and climb my way out of poverty. How can you say those things with such ease?

Education is NOT just for the rich; education can and will make this world a healthier place.

I wonder who payed for your education? I wonder if you've ever bared the burden of poverty?


#16 - Funny you say that about liberal arts degrees. My degree was a BA in political science and history, and in the decade or so since I graduated I've worked all over the world, including several years for one of the largest US investment banks (not such a great claim to fame now, but it was at the time).

What is my field, you ask? Why, IT of course. Totally unrelated to my areas of study ... but isn't that kinda the point of non-vocational degrees in the first place?

Perhaps I'm just fortunate that I didn't grow up, study or work in the US, so neither my choice of university (college) nor my area of study counted against me in the way that you seem to indicate - I don't know...

Andy Taylor

We've seen massive growth in these institutions, partly to handle the "echo boom" - kids of the baby boomers. As that wave subsides, won't there be additional complications?



OK -- as an art historian, I have to say 'thanks!' to Dave (#24) and to #21 and second their remarks. A narrow slice of our students go into obviously related fields, usually via some kind of graduate program. But those who go into IT, publishing and other book-related fields, or even just back into a family business or a non-professional field, have been trained with strong critical reading, thinking, writing skills -- and the ability to evaluate the visual cues that surround us now -- and in many cases know the history of various cultures better than history students do.

But, no. 16, I'd STILL love that museum pass.

Fred Mertz

The model needs to be fixed. Higher Education has got to get involved with this new, new economy. Even high ranking students cannot find jobs after they graduate. That is because they are not being educated for he most part to fit with this new world economy. The world is shifting and the world of education has got to shift with this new paradigm. The creative thought patterns are shifting because of the delivery method. If you read Robert Garfield's book "The Chaos Scenario" you will see what is happening. Everything is shifting. We have got to shift with it.


I am shocked there is no comment on the bloated sports programs within these institutions.

Our way of education in the US is flawed from word go. Knowledge is for sale to the highest bidder; whereas merit and motivation should be the weighted factor for determining the distance one could travel to gather applicable job skills in implied rat race.

I call for a tuition revolt. Indentured servitude should not be the end result in retooling oneself. There are no jobs anyway. What do our students think a run-of-the-mill degree will accomplish besides an unpaid internship? This is the time for parents to "just say no" to the ludicrous salaries upper-management enjoy. Our local 2-year college's president makes darn near what THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE makes! Are you kidding me?
Parents unite and for one full year quit the insanity. The price of that piece of paper is sure to precipitate.

All the best (for a FAIR price),


m riordan

Start paying these dead beats what they are realy worth,
to many kids graduating from college and cant even get a job,and then they are buried in student loan debt, why,
so some jerk off that says he is a great educator can earn a million dollars a year ?

What a joke !

Pay cuts for all of these phony greed stricken idiots.

Peter Dyste

There aren't any jobs out there, virtually the only people working are those who had the same or similar jobs before Sept of 08. So why let people think that a piece of paper will get them a job when employers want an applicable degree AND 2-5 years experience.