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November 25, 2018

Dropping Out Of College...Or For Real Efficiency...Don't Go!

This earnest and seemingly intelligent young man makes excellent points about the utility of a college education.

The Case for Dropping Out of College

During the summer, my father asked me whether the money he'd spent to finance my first few years at Fordham University in New York City, one of the more expensive private colleges in the United States, had been well spent. I said yes, which was a lie.

Unfortunately he spouts some of the very bromides about equality and fairness and the need for social engineering that originally came from the people who got us into this mess. And his economic analysis is a bit simplistic. Regardless, it's worth a read, if not for his incomplete conclusion (don't drop out...don't even start!) then for the data he cites.
These problems are well-known, and efforts to help admit disadvantaged students have been underway for decades. But a class divide persists on campus even for those students who make the cut: While the average graduation rate at four-year colleges after six years is 59% (an already appallingly low number), the graduation rate among low-income students is only 16%. The other 84% suffer the worst of both worlds: They receive almost none of college’s income-boosting signaling effect, while still paying tuition proportional to the time they stayed in college.

Similar trends play out along racial lines. While the college enrollment gap between white and black high-school graduates has almost vanished, the graduation gap remains substantial. According to a 2017 report by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, the six-year completion rate stands at 45.9% for black students and 55% for Hispanics. For white students, it is 67.2%, and for Asians it is 71.7%.

He also speaks of on-line learning, which seemingly can replace a large portion of the typical STEM education. I have used some of the on-line resources in chemistry, physics and a couple of languages, and they are impressive! I am unsure whether one can learn to write or love Shakespeare or understand Faulkner via the internet, but I am also confident that a solid program of writing or other liberal arts does not require the services of a detached and bored $250k/year professor.

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posted by CBD at 12:15 PM

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