Make College Available to All?

26 Jun

Walter Williams recently wrote a column, “Too Much College”, which can be found in its entirety at http://www.creators.com/conservative/walter-williams.html    Williams is a black conservative economics professor at George Mason University.

 Excerpts from that column:   [Bolding is mine; content in brackets [] are mine.]

 In President Barack Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address, he said that “higher education can’t be a luxury. It is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” Such talk makes for political points, but there’s no evidence that a college education is an economic imperative. A good part of our higher education problem, explaining its spiraling cost, is that a large percentage of students currently attending college are ill-equipped and incapable of doing real college work. They shouldn’t be there wasting their own resources and those of their families and taxpayers. Let’s look at it.

Robert Samuelson, in his Washington Post article “It’s time to drop the college-for-all crusade” (5/27/2012), said that “the college-for-all crusade has outlived its usefulness. Time to ditch it. Like the crusade to make all Americans homeowners, it’s now doing more harm than good.” .  .  .The U.S. Labor Department says the majority of new American jobs over the next decade do not need a college degree. .  .  .  More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree, such as flight attendants, taxi drivers and salesmen. Was college attendance a wise use of these students’ time and the resources of their parents and taxpayers?

There’s a recent study published by the Raleigh, N.C.-based Pope Center titled “Pell Grants: Where Does All the Money Go?” .  .  .  [that] report[s] that about 60 percent of undergraduate students in the country are Pell Grant recipients, and at some schools, upward of 80 percent are.

Pell Grants are the biggest expenditure of the Department of Education, totaling nearly $42 billion in 2012.

 The original focus of Pell Grants was to facilitate college access for low-income students. Since 1972, when the program began, the number of students from the lowest income quartile going to college has increased by more than 50 percent. However, Robinson and Cheston report that the percentage of low-income students who completed college by age 24 decreased from 21.9 percent in 1972 to 19.9 percent today.   .   .   .

Citing the research of AEI scholar Charles Murray’s book “Real Education” (2008), Professor Vedder says: “The number going to college exceeds the number capable of mastering higher levels of intellectual inquiry. This leads colleges to alter their mission, watering down the intellectual content of what they do.” Up to 45 percent of incoming freshmen require remedial courses in math, writing or reading. That’s despite the fact that colleges have dumbed down courses so that the students they admit can pass them. Let’s face it; as Murray argues, only a modest proportion of our population has the cognitive skills, work discipline, drive, maturity and integrity to master truly higher education.

Primary and secondary school education is in shambles. Colleges are increasingly in academic decline as they endeavor to make comfortable environments for the educationally incompetent. Colleges should refuse admission to students who are unprepared to do real college work. That would not only help reveal shoddy primary and secondary education but also reduce the number of young people making unwise career choices. Sadly, that won’t happen. College administrators want warm bodies to bring in money.

[End of excerpts]

Your thoughts?

 

 

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One Response to “Make College Available to All?”

  1. Joseph Edward Wages June 26, 2012 at 3:38 pm #

    There’s a lesson in here somewhere. I think it might be this, “when you throw money recklessly at a problem, you only get a larger problem”. Or, it may be, “when the government gets into the picture, you get a scary picture”.

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