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Too Many College Graduates?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the expectation-inflation dept.

Education 1138

The AP reports on a growing sense among policy wonks that too many Americans are going to four-year colleges, to the detriment of society as a whole: "The more money states spend on higher education, the less the economy grows." "The notion that a four-year degree is essential for real success is being challenged by a growing number of economists, policy analysts, and academics. They say more Americans should consider other options, such as technical training or two-year schools, which have been embraced in Europe for decades. As evidence, experts cite rising student debt, stagnant graduation rates, and a struggling job market flooded with overqualified degree-holders. ... The average student debt load in 2008 was $23,200 — a nearly $5,000 increase over five years. Two-thirds of students graduating from four-year schools owe money on student loans. ... [A university economist said,] 'If people want to go out and get a master's degree in history and then cut down trees for a living, that's fine. But I don't think the public should be subsidizing it.'"

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Ok, but (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209224)

Did the university economist go ahead and refund the publicly paid part of his tuition from years back, plus interest?

Re:Ok, but (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209278)

I strongly disagree with his point, but in all fairness most people graduate from public universities which are heavily subsidized by the government.

Re:Ok, but (2, Informative)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209618)

yes and in europe there is streaming where at a fairly young age you get selected for which type of high school you get to goto technical schools are for vocational carears (ie semi skilled and technician level) so if in Germany you get streamed into the Hauptschule and Realschule your probaly not going to be going to university.

Re:Ok, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209284)

did he say that nobody should have subsidized education? or just no subsidy for usless education for unqualified applicants that are only accepted because public colleges can suck money out of the state for each student they admit?

Re:Ok, but (4, Funny)

JonahsDad (1332091) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209378)

"technical training or two-year schools, which have been embraced in Europe for decades."
Telling Americans to do something because Europe's been doing it is a lot like telling a 5-year-old not to go near the cookie jar.

Re:Ok, but (1)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209460)

Yes but sometimes mumsies knows best, like that you'll get a sour stomach by raiding the cookie jar too many times.

huh? (4, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209642)

Telling Americans to do something because Europe's been doing it is a lot like telling a 5-year-old not to go near the cookie jar.

I think you meant something more like:

Telling Americans to do something because Europe's been doing it is a lot like saying "But mom! All the cool kids ARE jumping off the bridge!"

Re:Ok, but (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209724)

and a lot of european's take a lot more than 4 years to graduate 6+ is the average in Germany

Re:Ok, but (1, Informative)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209726)

Telling Americans to do something because Europe's been doing it is a lot like telling a 5-year-old not to go near the cookie jar.

This seems confused. Telling a kid not to go near the cookie jar usually leads them to doing so anyway. But this goes contrary to your point which is that telling Americans that Europeans are doing it will mean they won't want to do it.

Why not high school? (5, Insightful)

Firemouth (1360899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209242)

Using his example, you don't need to know anything about math, science, literature, etc, to cut down trees.

You need to know what they train you to do on the job. Therefore, an elementary student graduate could do the job, short of the physical requirements. So make him a dish washer until he's big enough to work a chain saw.

Nope, this isn't a slippery slope...

Who determines what your job will be? (4, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209492)

Exactly.

And with limits on education, you get limits on job opportunities. Fine, as long as it it the person who chooses such.

If it is someone else who is already making decent money at a decent job arguing that too many people are advancing their educations ... fuck you. With a chainsaw.

Re:Why not high school? (5, Insightful)

NervousWreck (1399445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209494)

In answer to your title, because for over fifty years, the high school curricula in most states has been systematically gutted of anything that could possibly be useful to a graduate looking for a job of any sort. The trend of everyone going to college started during Vietnam when people needed student exemptions from the draft. There really isn't much use for a bachelors in many fields except to please hiring managers who think you must be pig ignorant and stupid if you don't have one.

Re:Why not high school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209552)

Bullshit. The trend of going to college kicked into high gear with the returning soldiers of WWII.

Re:Why not high school? (4, Insightful)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209560)

The trend of everyone going to college started during Vietnam when people needed student exemptions from the draft. There really isn't much use for a bachelors in many fields except to please hiring managers who think you must be pig ignorant and stupid if you don't have one.
Actually, the trend of everyone going to college started after the Second World War with the Montgomery GI bill and trying to reabsorb all those soldiers returning to a roaring economy. Also everybody and their brother has been crowing about how you need college to fill those 21 century jobs as knowledge workers.

Re:Why not high school? (3, Informative)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209714)

FWIW, that was the original GI Bill. The Montgomery GI bill came much later.

Re:Why not high school? (4, Interesting)

thepike (1781582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209646)

There really isn't much use for a bachelors in many fields except to please hiring managers who think you must be pig ignorant and stupid if you don't have one.

I think that's half the problem. People get passed over for jobs they are qualified for just because hr departments throw out all the applicants who don't have a degree, even in an unrelated field. It makes it so that these people do essentially 'have to' go to college to get jobs, even though they'll get all the training they need on the job.

Personally (as a person working on a PhD in science) I don't think a lot of people need to be going to college. I grew up in a car town, and a lot of my friends knew they were going to be doing manufacturing, but they went to college anyway. A bunch of them (well some, manufacturing jobs aren't so plentiful these days) did just go on to work in the plants, but they racked up huge debt that is just stopping them from being able to do things like afford a nice place to live. And they didn't get much out of college except alcohol tolerance. No joke, I know one guy who took out an $8,000 student loan basically to spend at bars. Now he has a degree in something or another, but spends his days inserting tab a into slot b so that he can pay off that debt. If he had just gone to work in the first place, he'd be doing the same job and have more money. And he could still go to bars.

The whole education system upsets me. I think we're failing in so many places it's hard to figure out where to start trying to fix it. I'm not saying you can't get anything out of it, but that comes much more from personal motivation than any basic qualities of the set up.

Re:Why not high school? (4, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209556)

Yep, he's missing the point. People don't get college degrees in order to go cut down trees, they get them in hopes of making a career in their chosen field. They end up cutting down trees (or, as in my case, driving a truck) only after they've failed to accomplish that goal. Perhaps they didn't make the wisest choice about what to study but sometimes it's kind of hard to know that in advance.

In any case, an economist denigrating a history major is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

Re:Why not high school? (-1, Flamebait)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209568)

Actually, it's not a half bad idea- IF you enact minimum income refunds and maximum income taxes to control inflation such that we have a proper bell curve distribution of standard of living (as opposed to what we have now, which is still a bell curve, but one tilted heavily towards poverty).

In other words, pay should be proportionate to merit AND social utilization, rather than towards mere industrial profit.

In still other words for libertarians and the socially incompetent, Bam Bam and Pebbles should make enough money to have kids of their own with only an elementary education, to earn more they should have a high school graduation, and college requirement jobs should earn enough to pay off student loans in 1-2 years WHILE making enough money to raise a family.

Is that too much to ask?

Re:Why not high school? (3, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209624)

I think the problem lies in that more and more people are going to college, because getting a higher education usually means a better job, because people don't want to be working the minimum wage jobs, or they don't aspire to be a lumberjack, or they don't want to work on an oil rig, or they don't want to be a trucker.

It's because the society has grown to glorify jobs that require an education, that now nobody wants the jobs that don't require an education. Go figure.

It's not that there's too many college graduates, its that some college graduates won't end up in the job markets they trained for. So don't be surprised if your CS degree lands you in construction for a year till a job opens up.

the eradication of ignorance is man's only hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209246)

as is made evident by the collective muttage that persues the "frist psot"

Democracy needs smart people (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209252)

This guy is forgetting that we live in a (sort of) democracy. How would a democracy where the people aren't educated work?

Re:Democracy needs smart people (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209310)

You think that more than 20% of the people who finish college courses come out educated? Must be nice to be an optimist.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209466)

+1

Re:Democracy needs smart people (5, Insightful)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209536)

Well, I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but it definitely worked for me.

My parents are hardcore religious nutcases. They believe that God created the world 6,000 years ago, that Jesus will return within their lifetimes (which fosters a lack of work ethic, since they think God is coming to take away their problems soon), and that Sarah Palin should be president. That is how I was raised.

After 6 years of college at a somewhat respected research focused school, I no longer believe any of that nonsense and I have successful employment in a good paying job.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209580)

And yet nobody taught you the difference between knowledge and beliefs in those six years.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (3, Insightful)

ryanleary (805532) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209334)

This guy is forgetting that we live in a (sort of) democracy. How would a democracy where the people aren't educated work?

Most likely remarkably similar to how it works today with the largely (under)educated populace.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (1)

thepike (1781582) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209356)

That's what the Electoral College is for!

Re:Democracy needs smart people (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209564)

Well, that was what the electoral college was originally for. It's been a long time since it worked as intended.

And of course that only applies to one of the countless things we vote on anyway.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (3, Insightful)

cabjf (710106) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209374)

If twelve years doesn't cut it, I doubt four to eight more will.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (4, Informative)

hsmith (818216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209386)

Going to college doesn't make one smart.

It still drives me up the wall how much cash I blew for my undergraduate CS degree. Looking at what I "learned" from my classes and what I taught myself in that period of time, I would have been much better off to have saved the $80K I spent on schooling and self taught. Professors even mocked me for the C# books I was reading when it was still in beta, years later *THAT* pays my bills, in dividends. (We can discuss how bad of a language it is in another thread, just the fact the professors couldn't see through the trees).

While college was a great experience, it is far from something everyone should go to. The fact that many businesses require degrees anymore is just plain stupid.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209448)

This isn't really related to the argument -- knowing how to program probably doesn't help you vote, most of the time.

College isn't a trade school, you're supposed to get a well-rounded education.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (2, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209584)

Please, how many kids go to school to get a "well rounded education" - it is a nice argument but lets be honest. People go to college because it is the next step and it is required to get a "Professional" job. I can barely recount the actual classes I took that were outside my major, so very well rounded.

Going thousands of dollars into debt so you can have a "well rounded education" is a farce.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209672)

So you're blaming society for the fact that you didn't pay attention in school?

Re:Democracy needs smart people (2, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209650)

College isn't a trade school, you're supposed to get a well-rounded education.

In that case, I'd have to question the social utility of colleges in a capitalist economy. The number of English and Philosophy majors capitalism can profitably use is vanishingly small, where the number of Engineers and actual professionals capitalism can use is comparatively huge.
 
Still more needed, though, is UNSKILLED LABOR, apparently, given the eternal quest by our crony-corporate controlled federal government for illegal aliens and the amount of times I've heard "You're overqualified" from HR idiots.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (0, Troll)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209676)

If colleges weren't a bastion of elitism and single minded thought processes run by like minded individuals I would agree.

Of course, progressives are first in line to cry censorship when it affects them, but when it affects a conservative ... well they just deserve it.

Consider the response to the following ... Bill Ayers comes to campus and a bunch of right wing fanatics try to stop him from speaking, what would the outcry be from the left?

Now replace Bill Ayers with Ann Coulter, and ask the same question (reversing left/right). And while Bill Ayers is an admitted terrorist, and Ann is not, guess which one is more likely to be labeled a terrorist on a college campus?

Colleges aren't giving well rounded education, and haven't for 30 years. They are a bastion of leftwing ideologues indoctrinating students; where having an opposing view to the status quo is routinely quashed.

Try speaking for personal liberty and responsibility in the age of group / identity politics and see what happens. You end up with people like Obama and Holder speaking about how evil the AZ immigration law is, without ever even having read it. Its only Ten Pages, so it isn't like it is a hard read.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (3, Interesting)

EggyToast (858951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209540)

Well, ignoring the cost of the (apparently private) school you went to, since many public universities offer CS programs, should a CS program teach you the details of a language? Or should it teach you overall concepts about computer science? I mean, truly, you went for a Computer Science degree, not a Computer Programming degree (arguably that would be a cert, not a degree, and be cheaper and shorter as well).
I think the best programmers are those who are motivated to self-teach, because it shows that they really love programming. But I also think there is important stuff taught in computer science classes. It might not be for everyone, but I think it can turn people who just write code without thinking about what actually happens with what they write into better programmers.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209544)

College is supposed to teach you how to learn on your own, how to get information and how to digest it.

Everything on top of that is flavor.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209712)

College is supposed to teach you how to learn on your own, how to get information and how to digest it.

To me, that seems like the kind of thing you could learn on your own.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209548)

Going to college doesn't make one smart.

Doesn't seem relevant, particularly since parent said "How would a democracy where the people aren't educated work?"

Re:Democracy needs smart people (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209720)

Perhaps you should read the title of the post "Re:Democracy needs smart people"

You needed the ticket. (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209702)

Let's face it, more than likely you wouldn't have gotten your first job, let alone the ones after that - if you had any, if you didn't have the degree.

When I started, most of the time, all you needed was some sort of 4 year degree. Now, you need at least a BSCS for a code monkey job.

Is a BSCS really necessary for most business applications? I don't think so, but tell that to the hiring managers. Personally, I think they're just requiring it to weed people out.

I once worked for a guy who wouldn't hire this particularly brilliant programmer. I met some very sharp people in my life but this programmer topped all of them. He had only a high school diploma - everything else he learned on his own and he learned FAST. Said manager wouldn't even look at him because "for this kind of work, I think one should have a four year degree."

Managers have a lot of hang ups about who they hire and they always rationalize for why they need certain qualifications.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (2, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209708)

What do you think about your potential for advancement due to your degree? I'm in the unenviable position of doing what you wish you had done. Other than a couple Novell CNA classes I took in high school, and a couple of MCP/MCSE classes that I have taken since, I'm completely self taught. Despite fifteen years of experience in IT and a resume filled with major accomplishments, I've had a really hard time getting adequate compensation and advance opportunities.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (1)

tsalmark (1265778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209410)

The level of education needed to participate in a democracy is easily ascertainable in high school: basic reading, problem solving, critical thinking and logic skills. And yet the education needed to participate in a democracy is lacking in many people already.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209608)

basic reading, problem solving, critical thinking and logic skills

You must mean that it's in the high school curriculum. I see many high school graduates who do not come out with these skills.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209674)

Democracy alone isn't profitable

Re:Democracy needs smart people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209456)

>How would a democracy where the people aren't educated work?

*cough*look around you*cough*

The final episode [youtube.com] of James Burke's Connections is eerily prophetic; people stick their heads in the sand regarding complicated economic, political, and scientific issues and vote purely based on emotion and demagoguery. This is the emerging face of what dystopia will really look like.

Re:Democracy needs smart people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209566)

I don't think anyone said that people wouldn't be educated - just not in the traditional go to college for four years to become well rounded. Instead, I get the impression that he is advocating trade schools and other alternate institutions. This democracy functioned fine, maybe even better, before it became the norm for everyone to go to college.

Excessive classes in math, science or English do not necessarily make someone a better citizen. For a lot of people it is beneficial and there is a definite return on the investment. For many though, it just drives up their wage requirements even though they may enter a career that does not require a degree or that only requires specialized training. That is what I believe the article was trying to say. To be a better citizen, one only need be informed which can be done simply by reading - a skill that every American is required to go to school to learn (arguments about education quality aside).

Re:Democracy needs smart people (0, Troll)

CyprusBlue113 (1294000) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209600)

Check out the Tea Party rallies and you can see for yourself.

How about instead they say... (2, Funny)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209260)

If people want to go out and cut down Taliban and then get a master's degree in history that's fine. But I don't think the public should be subsidizing it.

Re:How about instead they say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209348)

How about this way:
People can go "cut down the Taliban" and the army gives them $23,200 in cash afterward.

Those people then can do whatever they want with it.

Is that better?

Some people will then go get a masters degree in history with it.

Re:How about instead they say... (1)

thrillseeker (518224) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209562)

It's a shame the Americans don't have some sort of central document that specifies whether their public should be paying for the defense of the nation ...

No, too much manufacturing shipped overseas. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209268)

The problem isn't that there are too many college graduates. The problem is that too much manufacturing that was formerly done in America is now done elsewhere, in third-world nations like China, Mexico and India.

In the past, domestic manufacturing provided the solid foundation upon which the strong American economy was built. People made good wages working in these factories, engineers made good wages designing these factories and the equipment within them, builders made good wages constructing the factories, skilled-trades made good wages making the equipment within these factories, and all of these people provided jobs to many others in the community.

Thanks mainly to Nixon in the 1970s and NAFTA in the 1990s, those jobs are gone. The foundation they provided is gone. They probably won't come back unless the federal government does the right thing and impose trade barriers against nations that have an oversupply of labor, and unsafe working conditions, and unsuitable wages.

Re:No, too much manufacturing shipped overseas. (2, Interesting)

Khisanth Magus (1090101) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209498)

You can also thank Wal Mart for their contributions for ruining the US economy.

Re:No, too much manufacturing shipped overseas. (1)

cb88 (1410145) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209704)

The problem with NAFTA is that we don't really monitor or regulate foreign working conditions... this means they can practially use slave labor (for instance sugar cane industry in brazil or sweat shops in china where the average wage is barely enough to scrap by on they literally don't have enough money to even conceive of doing something different) Proof of the lack of good jobs in Mexico is the constant influx of Mexicans! I don't mind them but I think it would be better for them and us if they could find good jobs in Mexico the only way I can see that happening is ending NAFTA and suggesting they move to an internally stable economy similar to Brazil (ecept without the giant wage gap which is due to the way wages work in Brazil)

Follow the correct path for the career (4, Insightful)

spribyl (175893) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209290)

Not everything needs a 4 year degree.

If you are going into a science based field you will need a degree.
Entrepreneur business school might help but it is not necessary.
Blue Collar, tech school can give you a head start.
CS/IT I have see excellent folks with nothing and really crappy folks with a PHD.

Ultimately it is what you make of your life experience.

Re:Follow the correct path for the career (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209644)

I agree with what you say, but there are some artificial factors that drive people into 4 year degrees even when there is no need.

Your comment about CS/IT is spot-on, but the HR gatekeepers need a simple filtering criteria, so they require a degree..."Bachelors required", masters preferred". People spend 4 years in pursuit of a degree, racking up debt, primarily for the purpose of getting past the HR gatekeeper. Then we find out that the jobs are going to offshore outsourcers because it's cheaper. The same job that "requires" a 4 year degree in the US will be given to an anonymous outsourcer of dubious credentials with 3rd grade english skills because it's cheaper.

I sometimes wonder why we don't hire high school kids into IT as soon as they are legally able to work. We could pay them minimum wage, and their skills would be no worse than what I see in the offshore world. Indeed, high school kids have better english skills, not to mention a reduced timezone shift.

With the cost of college outpacing inflation for the umpteenth year in a row, it's only a matter of time before the cost has to be thoroughly reconsidered. I find it amazing that the requirements for US-based job applicants are pretty much thrown out the window when a cheapie outsourcer can be engaged to kinda/sorta do the job.

Its not that there's too many college graduates (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209296)

Its that too many of them are majoring in bullshit and the government seems ok with subsidizing it. Getting a degree in women's studies or english or history isnt getting a college degree, its learning how to b.s. your worthless opinions for four years on taxpayer dollars. Dont tell me that if more people were graduating with math, science, and engineering degrees the economy wouldn't skyrocket with innovation

Yeah, thats just what we need... (5, Funny)

Firemouth (1360899) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209350)

... more uneducated people. Because this country is just too damn smart. We need to dumb it down a little...

US colleges don't come cheap (3, Informative)

SoVeryTired (967875) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209354)

Most of the issues addressed in the summary actually result from the fact that top US universities are insanely expensive. Harvard is about thirty thousand dollars for an undergraduate degree whereas Cambridge is about three thousand Stirling.

Re:US colleges don't come cheap (3, Insightful)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209528)

Harvard is about thirty thousand dollars for an undergraduate degree

Huh? You mean per semester, right? I don't know if even community colleges are cheap enough for $30k to pay for a 4 year degree.

Re:US colleges don't come cheap (3, Informative)

Gramie2 (411713) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209572)

You mean that Harvard is about $30,000 (actually $33,696) for one year. I'm not sure if Cambridge is GBP3,000 for one year or for the degree.

Yeah, sure (1)

identity0 (77976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209362)

For society in general, sure, but for individuals it still pays to be more competitive.

How's the market for CS BS-holders versus community college CS grads? How about for lib arts BA holders?

I've been out of the US a couple of years and missed the big crunch recently. How healthy is the programmer/network admin market in general there now?

public university (5, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209376)

Public university is flooded with students who don't care at all about the subjects they are studying; they are in school either because it is expected of them by society or because they want to socialize with people their age for years.

From an economic standpoint, it is absolutely wasteful for these kids to fudge their way through to a BA in Communication or whatever. I've known too many of them. It makes a mockery of academia.

Re:public university (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209616)

And why don't they care about the subject? Because for 9 out of 10 jobs it does not matter. Read the classifieds lately? "College education required" is what they read. So you have a shitload of philosophy masters who can't write a cheque without breaking the pencil or are unable to do anything closely related to anything resembling work, but hey, they got a masters degree!

THAT is making a mockery out of the academia.

Baselines (3, Insightful)

Looce (1062620) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209390)

Education and money are very much alike in one aspect: if everyone has at least the same amount, then that amount becomes the baseline, below which it is worthless.

College degrees being required for plumbing jobs and the like are only the symptom of this problem.

Whereas before education was made mandatory in most countries of the world, the baseline was no education at all, now the United States have college as a baseline. And it's rather difficult to get out of this, because you ask someone in college why they're in college and they'll say, "I must, because I can't afford to not keep up with my peers." So people go to college because people go to college, and it's a recursive clusterfuck.

more crap from the fresh water economists? (1, Interesting)

Gary W. Longsine (124661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209396)

The more education people have, the less likely they are to "believe" in "trickle down" economics. I haven't looked into this, yet, but it's a safe bet that the same economists backing this crackpot assertion that a random correlation is causative also propagate the lie of the Efficient Market Hypothesis.

Better overeducated than not (2, Insightful)

krakround (1065064) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209408)

All things considered, I'd rather have people overeducated than undereducated.

the problem is psychological (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209412)

to tell someone that they don't have enough promise for college, that they don't need to fill their brain with more "stuff" that only a few people actually need to know, that maybe they haven't demonstrated that trying to fill their brains with more difficult subject matter would be worth their or anyone else's time... at the age we are talking about, when you're whole life is ahead of you and you are filled with optimism about yourself... it tends to be an emotional reaction, not a rational one

obviously, not everyone needs to go to a 4 year college. they've reached the height of the skills the need in high school for a rewarding and productive life. however, the promise of college, that it is intended only for a promising few, makes it desirable for the sake of your ego that you belong to that group of people

so as soon as you stop 18 year olds from believing in themselves and the promise of their lives to do incredible things, that's when you convince more people not to go to college. so who here wants the task of destroying millions of young people's faith in themselves?

additionally, you have the problem of a free market: there is a large demand, so the supply has grown to reach that demand for colleges. all you have to do shrink supply as demand gets more vocal. go ahead, close down a bunch of colleges and severely restrict the accreditation process, all the while millions of parents and children scream to get into college. good luck!

Students go in waves (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209418)

Right now, we have the baby boomlet.

After WW II we chose to educate our returning soldiers.

Now it's time to realize that the number of Americans with degrees has been artificially kept too low, due to low birth numbers, but that the baby boomlet that followed the baby boom is aging into college years.

Man up.

Investing in the future is good for America.

Not investing in America is what destroyed the economy in the first place. Houses don't invent things. Houses don't employ people. People invent things and employ people.

Technical schools? (5, Interesting)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209424)

Where are these technical schools that the economists refer to?

The simple fact of the matter is that after decades of short sighted budget cuts, the US education system is geared for college prep, whether you want to go or not. The vocational classes have been slowly cut out of the system, usually perceived as expendable programs. School administrators realized long ago that they can't improve the ranking of their school by having the best automotive class - the only thing that counts is English & Math scores, so why bother fund anything else?

In other countries, you make a choice on whether you choose to learn a trade or go to college, and then spend your high school years towards that goal. The repercussion for the US system is that students who are interested in a trade aren't being educated towards their dreams, and spend their time in school either frustrated or years behind.

The whole concept of "No Child Left Behind" only works when there is an unlimited budget, and it presses everyone to a standardized education that may not actually help serve them towards what they really want to do in life. Instead of trying to get every child the same cookie cutter education, we'd be far better off giving more specialized education (whether it's vocational or college prep) by the high school level, help them take advantage of the skills they have, remove the blue collar stigma of trade work, and stop trying to make every kid be a perfect college graduate that the state wants them to be.

No Child Left Behind... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209666)

I think you make some good points, but the problem existed before No Child Left Behind. It was there when I went to grade school, and Bush wasn't elected until after I graduated. I don't think it is a particular policy/administration/party problem. I think it is a cultural problem that is ours.

Only Fund REAL Degrees (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209426)

Why should tax payers publicly fund art majors, and the like?

I think the government should only pay students who pursue a degree in mathematics, engineering, computers, doctors, lawyers. Well... the world has too many lawyers as it is already ;-). Anyway. Fund things that are beneficial to society AND economy. Also, there has been a decline in college admission requirements, because at least at my school, the minimum SAT score allowed for admission is now 650... this is for the current catalog year. Right now I'm a senior and when I was applying, they required a minimum of 950 for SAT.

Re:Only Fund REAL Degrees (1)

santiagoanders (1357681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209656)

Look up the The National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent Grant

"Over qualified" (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209454)

A 4 year degree does not make someone "over qualified".

Re:"Over qualified" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209632)

I believe the point of the article is that there are only X number of jobs in the country that require 4 year degrees. If there are 4X of people graduating with degrees, there just aren't enough jobs. 3X would be overqualified for other jobs.

The point is instead of shipping everyone out to 4 year schools, we get some people to go to trade schools and learn skills that are actually in demand.

Re:"Over qualified" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209700)

No, but it does mean they won't work excessively for lower pay. May demand things like time off and benefits, etc. Can't have that, it costs too much.

Moody's Economists? (4, Insightful)

AthleteMusicianNerd (1633805) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209470)

Are these the same economists that didn't see the tech or housing bubble? The same ones who thought sub-primes were contained and wouldn't spread to the rest of the economy. Perhaps they are the ones that have America's debt rated AAA.

What happened to the new deal from shit for brains?

Yeah, in Europe... (2, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209476)

How's that magical European lifestyle working out these days ?

Cost of School the problem? (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209482)

Maybe just maybe that they could cut the costs of most college classes as your paying largely for teacher interaction ( which I received little or needed little ).
Class space ( Teleconferencing is much more reliable now than when I went to school )
Lab Space / Materials ( This cannot be cut back and actually should be boosted )
The most beneficial thing I received from my degree was the connections I made with other students.
Basically what I'm saying is why does a degree in economics / business cost even close to the same as a person studying to be a molecular biologist / robotics engineer / etc that has to have some serious expenses.

Too many college grads?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209486)

If there are too many college grads, and the job market is flooded with "over qualified" people, why is it that 75% of the people who call me can't find a two inch wide by two inch high icon HIGHLIGHTED in bright green located at the far top right of my website?!

The worst part is that this icon is millimeters below the much smaller phone number that they use to call me with, which they then proceed to sit on hold for 10 minutes, all so I can say:

Me: Do you see where the phone number is on our website?

Them: Yes, of course.

Me: Good, okay now look just below that...

Them: Ohhhh! There it is! It was hiding on me! I just waited on hold for 10 minutes for that!

Me: Have a good day.

Never ceases to amaze me what people will do...

Grrr....

Necessity of a 4-year degree (4, Interesting)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209500)

I got a job as a software developer at a large Fortune 500 company about a year ago. It's more or less a financial institution, but the need for software developers is high. In this company, developers are treated more like business partners rather than IT grunts, and that's mostly due to the fact that we are so influential in determining how the business is run. Even though we primarily develop software, we have to know the business in and out in order to function.

With that said, I have a 4-year degree in Computer Science. Having the degree was definitely key to getting a job in my case, since I was a raw graduate when they hired me. However, I've learned that experience in the field is by far the preferred rating factor. There are guys on my team working along side me who have 4-year degrees in Business Management and even English, but they happened to gain some (5+ years) programming experience somewhere along the way. There's also a new guy who got his 2-year degree from a local community college. That's okay, but his real selling point was the amount of experience he had, which he gained while I was finishing up the other half of my education.

In a way, this annoys me, because I'd really like to think that my degree choice sets me apart from people who made different choices. I guess if I chose to work for an actual software business or found a job that utilized more advanced CS techniques, I might have the upper hand. However, in the real world where software usually plays a support role, I have to come to terms with my place in the business world. In another respect, the possibility of gaining experience in another field and being able to potentially change career paths without getting a new degree (within reason) is a rather freeing thought.

What this is really about (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209506)

is all in the last comment. 'Subsidize'. It's a bunch of wealthy schmucks that want to do away with public education and the middle class.

Well duh. It is simple economics (4, Insightful)

mini me (132455) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209508)

The vast majority of college attending individuals are there because they have been told that the only way to successful employment is to become a college graduate. The fatal flaw in the logic is that when everyone has a degree, the degree no longer holds any prestige over any other job candidates. You are, again, competing against everyone else.

People need to stop equating education with employment. If you are honestly interested in a subject and feel academia is the only route to fulfil your desires, by all means, please do peruse further education in that area of study. If getting a great job is your goal, however, college is not the place to achieve that. The time would be better spent learning what it takes to get the job you desire.

Re:Well duh. It is simple economics (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209554)

What we need are a bunch of succesful, reasonably well paying jobs that explicitedly state no college degree required.

Re:Well duh. It is simple economics (1)

Khisanth Magus (1090101) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209598)

We moved all those to China, sorry.

Ah ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209510)

Five years ago I was telling everyone university is a cult. Universities are businesses, and they are not run by fools. The emotional appeal of the "you must have a bachelor's" doesn't quite match up to the reality, does it?

Tell that to the employers (1)

spookymonster (238226) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209518)

When every job out there has a 4-year degree as a prereq, it's kinda hard to justify getting anything less.

Re:Tell that to the employers (1)

dafz1 (604262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209652)

When every job out there has a 4-year degree as a prereq

and 5 years previous experience...but that's a different topic.

It's true (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209532)

Primary education is much more important.. Get 'em while they're young, before puberty... We don't need a bunch of lawyers and MBAs

It's not too many graduates... (1)

Saishuuheiki (1657565) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209586)

...it could however be that there are too many Liberal Arts graduates. Seriously though, there are gluts of some degrees but shortages of others. Generally this will reflect in the salaries they receive so it will balance out eventually. It would be sensible for the government to sponsor more specific majors, while not those who have an excess of students.

Pot Meet Kettle (1)

itsdrewmiller (1346931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209588)

"[A university economist said,] 'If people want to go out and get a master's degree in [anything but economics] and then [do something other than economics], that's fine. But I don't think the public should be subsidizing [things from which I don't personally benefit].'"

On Educational Elitism (1, Insightful)

maskwa (266045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209592)

Any folks out there that crap on the skilled trades should consider: you can't outsource your plumber to India.

I've been saying this since 1994 (5, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209626)

College is the new high school. So much so that colleges are bending over backwards to allow entry to the dumbest among us. My University's Math department had a Math 001 course for preparation to take Algebra courses (001 taught basic math like fractions). But apparently 001 was too hard for some high school graduates; a Math010 course was developed to teach things like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. In &$#%#%*ing college!

Combine that with some HR mandates that college degrees are required for anything above minimum wage, and you've got a perfect storm for devaluing a B.S. or B.A. An Associates degree is already worthless; it says "I went to college, but dropped out after it got too hard."

Blame the employers, not the students... (4, Interesting)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209664)

Employers started raising the bar on a living wage a long time ago. From "high school diploma" to "some college" and now "four year degree" are bare minimums just to get the resume past HR into the manager's hands. Hell, we just hired people with four year degrees into operator apprentice slots. I know a professional welder working on a BA on the side just so that he can't be fired for NOT having a degree.

And all that debt, gee employers really LOVE them some college debt. They know their new hires won't be striking out on their own to compete with them anytime soon. Same logic for why Silicon Valley corps love them their H1-Bs.

You want two-year schools to come back, find some freaking employers willing to hire the graduates.

He's absolutely right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209670)

I went to a 4 year college for audio engineering. Guess what? There aren't enough jobs in that industry to support all these grads. But no one ever said that. The college was glad to take my money.

And that's the other problem. We've created a whole generation of people who are beginning their adults lives $100k in the hole. And they're probably going to end up getting a job that had nothing to do with their college education.

The real problem (1)

urusan (1755332) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209688)

The real problem isn't that we have too many 4 year degree holders, but rather that we have too many 4 year degree holders in majors such as English and Business. When I graduated, I was astounded when I looked at the list of names and discovered that Bachelor of Science degrees were a tiny minority. We need more people who understand math and science.

Going to a trade school is better than getting a four year degree in a subject suffering from a glut, while getting a four year degree in a subject that needs more people is better than both.

My degree in "Hotel Front Desk Admin" - no good!? (1)

JohnMurtari (829882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209694)

What! You mean all the money I spent on getting that great degree in Hotel Front Desk Administration isn't worth $80,000! But all the commercials said it was.... maybe I should have gone for that Computer Science major after all!

Seriously - nothing wrong with being a receptionist or a lot of other jobs. But college catalogs seem to be more like vocational training schools -- just a lot more expensive!

2 cents. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32209696)

the problem is that schools are a business.
knowledge should be free!
-
everybody should be able to get the information
they "teach" at UNI.
i personally wouldn't care if i got the education
but no degree.

want? (1)

rev_sanchez (691443) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209718)

'If people want to go out and get a master's degree in history and then cut down trees for a living, that's fine. But I don't think the public should be subsidizing it.'"

People don't generally want to do that. People generally want a decent wage so they can provide for their family, eventually buy a house, have health insurance so they lose everything they've worked for (or lose a family member) because you can't afford medical care, and they want to retire some day. Getting an education was a good way to accomplish that once upon a time but globalization and competing with emerging economies means we'll ultimately need to become accustomed to a lower standard of living.

Overqualified degree holders? (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32209722)

Let's be honest here, saying all degree holders are overqualified is being generous. I see plenty of students graduate with college degrees who display less sense than a well educated high school student who strives to overachieve.
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