Four to six years of partying on someone else's dime do not equal an education.
It depends on the kind of student you are talking about. A student who is intelligent, motivated, engaged, and has a clear career goal should get a degree and it would be a crime not to send her to the best college possible. On the other hand, the majority of college students are lazy, narcissistic, anti-intellectual party animals who refuse to read anything, disrupt classrooms, and spend more time drinking than studying.
The new book Academically Adrift shows that most of these students don't learn anything at all during the average six years they spend at so-called four-year colleges. Employers have come to understand that these degrees are worthless pieces of paper. Many of these "college graduates" are functionally illiterate, unable to do basic math and have a minimal understanding of economics or how our government operates. So it is not surprising that even if they land a job, they don't keep it long.
These graduates have an average of $25,000 in student debt that they must pay off working as waiters or clerks. This debt can never be forgiven, even if they declare bankruptcy, and God help them if they default, because the debt can quickly reach the $100,000 level. Banks and college administrators are complicit in this systematic fleecing of our young people, the debt-for-diploma deal, selling them classes they don't want to attend at outrageous prices that increase relentlessly year after year.
At the current price tag, it makes no economic sense to send most kids to college. High school guidance counselors recommend college for 90 percent of their graduates because it makes parents happy, and it is parents who need to wake up to the new economic reality of higher education. Many of them still think not sending their kids to college is a form of child abuse. The new reality is that sending immature children to adolescent amusement parks full of hot tubs, climbing walls, and food courts is a costly mistake that can ruin their lives.
About Craig Brandon Author of 'The Five-Year Party: How Colleges Have Given Up On Educating Your Child' and 'What You Can Do About It'
Naomi Schaefer Riley Author of 'The Faculty Lounges ... And Other Reasons Why You Won't Get the College Education You Pay For'
Robert B. Schwartz Francis Keppel Professor of Practice in Educational Policy and Administration at Harvard University