Diplomas Have Lost Luster

For decades, the price of tuition at most colleges rose faster than the rate of inflation. Administrations bloated, lots of new buildings were erected, and professors taught fewer classes. University employees thought the gravy train would never end, because high school students were taught that a college degree was a necessity for life success.

It's all over and the colleges have no one to blame but themselves. The value of a diploma is not worth the hefty price tag. The content of the liberal arts curriculum is frivolous. The antics on campus are juvenile and not character-building. I know college-educated parents who no longer encourage college for their children.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal-NORC public opinion poll (4/1/23), a majority of Americans now think that a four-year college education is not worth the cost and that a degree does not necessarily lead to good jobs and higher earnings.

There are several shockers about today's college education. Forty percent of students who start college never finish. These young adults do not have a diploma, but they do have a lot of debt. With such a high drop-out rate, these schools have failed to meet the needs of their customers. No business can survive by alienating 40 percent of its customers. So, college enrollment has declined by 15 percent in the last decade.

Many colleges have a large gender gap of nearly 60 percent female to 40 percent male student bodies. Yes, the purpose of college is an education, but young people also go to college for a fun social life and lifetime connections. A shortage of men is not fun for anyone — male or female. Perhaps that disparity explains why women are driving the changing attitude towards a college education (confidence in college among women fell from 54 percent to 44 percent). College now costs a lot of money, it does not get you a better job, you are saddled with a large debt, and, plus, boyfriends are scarce. So why bother?

In response, the president of the American Council on Education, Ted Mitchell, said, "We need to do a better job at storytelling." And therein lies the problem: colleges are telling fictional stories of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Colleges have failed in equipping young adults with a skill set for success. 

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