PolicyBlog has moved!

Thank you for visiting, PolicyBlog has a new address.

Our new location is http://www.commonwealthfoundation.org/policyblog

Please adjust your bookmarks. Archived posts will remain here for now.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Great College Hoax

Forbes has an excellent article on the merits of college - and taxpayer subsidies of higher ed - even as Governor Rendell proposes legalized video poker to put more kids into college:

College graduates will earn $1 million more than those with only a high school diploma, brags Mercy College radio ads running in the New York area. The $1 million shibboleth is a favorite of college barkers.
Like many good cons, this one contains a kernel of truth. Census figures show that college grads earn an average of $57,500 a year, which is 82% more than the $31,600 high school alumni make. Multiply the $25,900 difference by the 40 years the average person works and, sure enough, it comes to a tad over $1 million.

But anybody who has gotten a passing grade in statistics knows what's wrong with this line of argument. A correlation between B.A.s and incomes is not proof of cause and effect. It may reflect nothing more than the fact that the economy rewards smart people and smart people are likely to go to college.  ...
Lacking honest input, three-quarters of high schoolers still seek to go on to college, many deluded about the financial prospects it holds ... Half of students entering college never earn a degree. Six in ten African-Americans depart without one.


Anonymous said...

Ok you make no sense here. If you did not go to college would you be here writing these blogs? I guess not. College is what you make it. It is your choice to hang tough or fold. You should agree, nothing is given to you for free in America, you have to work for it (this correlates with your views on capitalism I would assume)!

Nathan Benefield said...

The point is not that college is worthless (though I could attempt to make that point, as I remember little from my college courses, they merely served as a screening tool to prove I was qualified for a job).

Rather, the point is that not everyone needs a college education, and providing more taxpayer funding to try to get more people in college is a misguided policy - resulting in high debt and higher dropout rates, for those doing jobs for which a high school diploma is sufficient (assuming they learned what they should learn in high school, which is often not the case).