Caroline Bird’s article “College is a Waste of Time and Money”
Today, when the cost of higher education keeps raising, many people question themselves – is college really worth going to? Is it worth accumulation of the debt and a minimum of four years of lost earning potential? Is it the best investment that one can make? Despite some disadvantages college is a best place for today’s youth. The economic impact that college has on its graduates and their future lives is incomparable. Income of a college graduate is significantly higher than income of a high school graduate. Society also benefits from Far gone those days when a strong back, high school diploma and desire to work was all that young person needed for successful career. Today’s society demands workers who adapt to new technologies fast, who have keen mind, learn fast and able to apply knowledge in their work. College gives their students necessary skills for their career and majority of the college graduates are getting a long lasting experience mostly to is a new key to the future of our youth, success and well being of the nation.
“Postsecondary education generates both individual and public benefits. College graduates with a bachelor’s degree earn substantially more than those with only a high school education, and attending college enriches students’ lives in other ways that are long lasting and extend to the next generation .Society benefits from an educated population as well. In recent years, there has been evidence that education requirements for all types of occupations are growing and that the fastest growing occupations are those that require postsecondary training. Furthermore, many believe that increased participation in postsecondary education is crucial to maintaining a competitive position in the global economy.” (National Center for Education Statistic)
Caroline Bird in her article “College is a Waste of Time and Money” first published in 1975 tries to convince her readers that a college is unnecessary and also a bad choice for today’s youth. Her main argument is certainly an economic disadvantage of college. She also examines the issues of inadequacy of education to modern job market and unnecessary pressures that students get throughout their studies. She states that majority of students are not happy in college and is for them “a social center or aging vat” [or] “a prison that keeps them out of the mainstream of economic life for a few more years”(Bird,269) Although her material is outdated, it’s hard to disagree that cost of education is increasing. According to Census Bureau”$31,051 average in tuition, room, and board at the nation’s four-year private colleges and universities for one complete academic year; that is more than double to the corresponding 1990 figure.” (Education Facts At a Glance). Caroline Bird is making an example of Princeton high school graduate, who, instead of going to college puts the money that college would cost him into a savings account.
She states that by the time he is sixty four he would have more money in his bank than a college graduate, who expected to earn more through his lifetime employment. Also a large sum of money that equals to four years of full tuition cost is rarely available to a student. In today’s money it’s roughly about $100.000(tuition only). He or she would have to work eight to ten years to accumulate such a sum. By that time college graduate will get his degree and most likely pay off his debt. From then high school graduate has $100.000 in a bank and college graduate has no money in the bank, but a better paying job. According to the same Census Bureau report the median annual income of college graduate is $23.000 higher than a college graduate. So in about five years college graduate will make that original $100.000. As we see, college graduate got his invested money back after a few years and will make a lot more than a high school graduate through his employment. So money wise college gives a better rate of return than a bank and when thinking about making more money-college is must.
However her money investment idea is one-sided. She talks about a student who has high IQ and lots of business talents. Certainly, such a man could take care of himself regardless of his education level. Though, she has no suggestions for majority of students who are not as business oriented but talented in arts, music, dance or professions such as nursing or teaching. That requires some more schooling than just a high school diploma.
Another fact to college favor is today’s unemployment rate. Caroline Bird in her article leaves out the fact that most people that are unemployed are high school graduates. According to US Census Bureau Population survey the national average of unemployed among those who holds only high school diploma is significantly higher from those that hold bachelors degree.
In the United States as a whole, the 2.8 percentage point difference between the unemployment rates of those with a high school diploma and those who are unemployed with a bachelors degree include Kentucky, Nebraska, New Mexico, Mississippi and West Virginia. In states reporting relatively small percentage decreases( New Jersey, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island), it is nonetheless notable that the percentage decrease between those with a high school diploma who were unemployed and those with a bachelor’s degree who were unemployed ranged from 10 percent to 24 percent. Despite the range of differences, the pattern is consistent: higher unemployment was reported among those only with high school diploma than among those with a bachelor’s degree. (Education Facts At a Glance).
In the end of her article Caroline Bird came to a conclusion that a lots of young people are not coming to college for better paying jobs but for jobs that they like. “They want “interesting” work that permits them “to make a contribution”, “express themselves” and use their “special abilities” and they think college will help them find it.” (Bird, 273). College is still the best choice for majority of students because it prepares students in their chosen specialization; advance their knowledge, broaden their skills. Students learn to express themselves in speaking and writing, and sharing experience. Right now there are no alternatives to a college in preparing for a chosen career. Together with a “better job” factor this so-called intellectual income is what drives today’s youth to enter colleges and universities.
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