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Sunday, May 5, 2013

College is not what it used to be

Here is one of many articles about the problems with college today found at the Thiel Fellowship.  He is the billionaire that is providing scholarships to a few bright kids to pursue a non-college alternative.

Here are a few points from this article:

"The promise that an expensive degree at a traditional university will pay off rests on some questionable assumptions; for example, that no cheaper way of attaining this educational premium will emerge."  Or that the education itself is what made the difference rather than the students underlying intelligence, curiosity and drive.

Colleges are surviving by making the experience a cushier, softer experience.  "A remarkable 43% of all grades at four-year universities are A's, an increase of 28 percentage points since 1960. Grade point averages rose from about 2.52 in the 1950s to 3.11 in 2006."  We don't want our college students to face any discomfort at their country club schools.

And a key stat that is rarely discussed is how often students don't even graduate from college - "the chances of an American student completing a four-year degree within six years stand at only around 57%."  But the debt still has to be paid off for all those that walked away with no diploma in hand.

We need to rethink the assumption that everyone needs to attend college.  It is a good fit for some and a horrible one for many.

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