How American Higher Education Turned into a False Promise

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

From our friend George Leef at the Pope Center:

One is the proliferation of college graduates who can only find jobs that don’t call for college education. As the number of Americans holding college credentials has skyrocketed at the same time the economy was going stagnant, many graduates now wind up working in low-skill jobs like customer service representative, theater usher, and taxi driver. “In 1970,” Sykes notes, “less than 1% of taxi drivers had college degrees. Four decades later, more than 15% do.”

In the past, when relatively few Americans went to college and had to show good academic progress to stay in and graduate, higher education generally was a sound investment, leading to lucrative careers. That’s no longer true. Defenders of the higher education system keep talking about the supposed “college premium,” but it’s extremely misleading. “Rather than benefiting from a wage premium,” Sykes writes, many students “find themselves actually worse off than if they had not enrolled at all.”