In today’s Comment of the Day, Michael R explores the effects of college costs, student loans and ideological indoctrination on schools’ ability to provide an the valuable education students think they are paying for. Some of the factors he mentions I didn’t know about; I’m not sure I’ve ever read about them anywhere else.
Here is the veteran Ethics Alarms contributor’s Comment of the Day on the post, “The Ethics Mess That Is US Race Relations, Chapter III: The Martin Luther King Day Essay.”
I don’t think all universities have become worthless. There are a lot of problems with the universities and much of it has to do with student loans and leftist indoctrination.
Student loans make people forget about how much college actually costs. Students go to colleges with nicer dorms, bigger ‘Wellness Centers’, and more activities because they can ‘afford’ it with loans. This resulted in an ‘arms race’ to ditch traditional dorms for suites, and now full apartments for students. It resulted in big ‘Wellness Centers’ instead of gyms. It resulted in vast Student Activities staff and budgets. It resulted in more and more sports. I would estimate that only about 1/3 of college costs these days go to academics and academic support (academic buildings, utilities, janitorial, etc). The rest is sports, activities, and administration. If you had a lean college with good academics, but old-style dorms, no student life, and no sports, it would go bankrupt quickly. College is expensive these days because the students and the parents DEMAND it be that way.
As for the academic programs, there have some issues there too. We have a classic bait-and-switch going on. People are told by college PR, by the media, and by the government that they need to go to college to get a good job. Once in college, the faculty say “We are here to provide an education, not to prepare you for a job”. Sorry, that is a bait-and-switch.
People pretenthat all degrees have equal employability. That is why there are as many psychology graduates each year as all the physics, chemistry, geology, math, and engineering graduates combined. My graduating class had 11 chemistry graduates and 950 psychology graduates. The country needs more people with technical expertise and we aren’t graduating those because the loans are the same either way, and the GPA’s are better for easier majors.
Do you have an ‘academic scholarship’? You won’t after two semesters as a physics major. That ‘scholarship’ has an outrageously high minimum GPA attached to it. At some schools, education majors have a 3.9 average GPA while physics majors have a 2.5 (because a higher GPA means you are smarter). The federal government should only be issuing student loans in areas of need in the economy. If you want the art history degree, fine, but you need to pay for that yourself.
Lastly, the leftist indoctrination has really driven the standards down in academia. You can’t train people to think critically, have a wide area of knowledge, and believe in that leftist dogma at the same time. Something has to give. As a wise man once said, “Dogma is certainty without knowledge”.