Richard Vedder and Andrew Gillen
“You must go to college!” Every student is now told that a college degree is essential to a good job and a good life, said Richard Vedder and Andrew Gillen. Sadly, this is a lie. For years, our nation’s colleges have been churning out vastly more graduates than there are jobs requiring degrees; indeed, one third of all college grads hold jobs for which their expensive diplomas are unnecessary. More than 19,000 college grads now work as parking-lot attendants, and 300,000 as waiters and waitresses.
The reality is that “many people lack the cognitive skills and discipline” to benefit from higher-level academic work. Yet unqualified students enroll in droves, running up vast amounts of debt in low-interest government loans—which now total an estimated $771 billion. And a growing number of borrowers aren’t earning enough to pay back that debt. “This is economic and academic child abuse.” The world still needs plumbers, carpenters, and truck drivers. What it doesn’t need are additional legions of college grads and dropouts with no employable skills and $100,000 in debt.