Higher Tuition For an Engineering Degree
The US college system has struggled with contradictory aims since the GI bill boom:
* Providing a source for elite scientists, bureaucrats, etc. to serve specific public goods
* Educating the citizenry, as a public good for the democracy and economy
* Educating individuals who want to make themselves more marketable and prosperous
Elite research universities tend to emphasize the first two, with uniform tuition and no credit limits for undegrads and arts/sciences grad students; money-making professional programs business, law, and medicine exist in different schools with different tuitions and policies. They tend to have large endowments/tax bases to hire distinguished faculty, give financial aid and build infrastructure; and, they can draw considerable public funding for research with distinguished faculty.
OTOH, schools that rely on tuition to maintain cash flow have to worry about market forces and the monetary value of the degrees they issue.
The question raised by the article is, does this indicate a failure of US education? As it concludes, starting salary is really the only market signal for specific majors, and doesn't correlate well on the long-term. However, some people need the early cash.
Most universities try to strike a middle ground; this will continue to be a problem as long as people need money to subsist, i.e. for the foreseeable future.