College is a Fraud

College is a Fraud





JULY 04, 2020

College is a Fraud

College used to be the dream for every student in the United States. However, there has been a radical shift in thought about the usefulness of college in helping one achieve the American dream. Nowadays, most college students do not view a college education as a key to their future. Instead, self-acquisition of knowledge on their fields of choice and the accompanying relevant skills has taken the center of the debate. Various research studies conducted on this topic, among college students, have given countless reasons for this thought pattern. The studies mostly infer that, indeed, college is a fraud. College education takes more from the student than what the student gets in return. There are many explanations in support of this assertion.

First, a college education is unnecessarily costly. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the total cost per full-time student for a bachelor’s degree in private institutions and public institutions was at $26,593and $19,488 respectively, for the academic year 2017-18. Apart from the tuition fees, there are other costs such as rent and textbook expenses for various course units where tutors often make particular recommendations for students in order to pass examinations. Statistics also show that these expenses have exponentially increased over the last decade at a rate of 31%. Whereas the key reason given for this increase is the financial inflation that the US economy has been experiencing over the period, I believe the commercialization of higher education has also significantly contributed to it. Most institutions, public and private, have shifted their focus to profits with considerable amounts of institutional revenues being channeled to marketing and public relations with the goal of admitting as many students as possible. This increases institutional expenses which translate to higher tuition fees. Consequently, students who get admission into college have to take up student loans to support themselves through college. In addition to that, high-paying job opportunities are not also a guarantee and most college graduates end up financially constrained due to the requisite loan repayments they have to make. In a nutshell, college students accrue huge amounts of debt on campus due to high tuition costs when they can cheaply learn the same thing through available resources over the internet.

Secondly, contemporary colleges are primarily profit-oriented rather than education-oriented thus making them unattractive for those seeking knowledge and skills. According to Educationdata.Org, the cost of education in the United States has skyrocketed between the years 1978-2019 by 1375%. As stated earlier, this is attributed to financial inflation and the profit-driven nature of colleges. This profit motive has led to bankruptcy and consequent shutting down of some institutions when institutional debts incurred in funding these business practices outweighed the institutions’ revenue. For instance, DeVry University had to pay $100 million settlement to its students in a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit for alleged complain of misleading advertisements on job placement rates and income levels for their graduates in various media outlets. This was the same case for Trump University which had to pay $25 million in settlement. The worst case was that of ITT Tech that had to shut down after being declared bankrupt in 2016. It had misleading job placement rates adverts, a lack of accreditation for some of its programs and expensive private loans to students. The marketing malpractices led to lawsuits which showed that the institution was actually surviving on federal government bailouts. These examples and many more show the greed that is currently driving commercialized college education which has consequently eroded the student’s trust.

Lastly, most employers no longer hire primarily based on college degrees but based on skills. According to statistics by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 98% of employers see the skills gap among most of their college recruits. It showed that 65% of college students were lacking in oral and written communication skills, application of knowledge and skills learned in school to real-world situations and critical thinking. Additionally, companies such as Tesla Inc., Google LLC, and Apple Inc. have openly stated that a college degree is not a prerequisite for recruitment in their organizations. The majority of employers need recruits to have relevant skills for a particular job before hiring them. This makes college education very unattractive. According to statistics by Educationdata.Org, the general drop-out rate of college students is approximately 40% and 30% are freshmen who drop-out before their sophomore year. Also, over half of all Americans between the ages of 25-35 years do not have any academic credentials beyond a high school diploma. This is a point to the fact that most Americans prefer going for pertinent self-taught skills that will make them employable after high school, rather than attending a college.

In sum, college education actually takes more from a student in terms of, time and money without giving equal returns in the form of relevant skills that leads to employability. Essentially, attending college is a tradeoff since one has to choose to either spend four years of their life in a classroom as well as thousands of dollars in tuition fees or to spend less time teaching themselves a skill and look for employment where the skill is relevant. Whichever the choice, one loses more with a college education than without.