Is College Useful?

Even the New York Times is starting to get it:

Young people and their families go into debt because they believe that college will help them in the job market. And on average it does. But this raises a question: Does higher education itself offer that benefit, or are the people who earn bachelor’s degrees already positioned to get higher-paying jobs?

Given the political leanings of the source, it’s no surprise that the article is focused on the educational establishment’s disgraceful recruitment of those whom it knows will never graduate, and in particular on the effect this has on minorities. And that’s a fair point, and one dripping in irony when you consider how those who most signal their commitment to helping those whom they see as the oppressed are also those most ready to pick their pockets.

But the real point is boarder: It’s not just those who go on to drop out who suffer from the higher education bubble; it’s also the bright kids who would have done better pursuing a real job in industry, and putting their talents to work via on-the-job training. There are many vested interests here that this is not going to change overnight, but any gap in the lines of those who would seek to maintain the status quo is surely good news.

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