Friday, January 12, 2007

An Argument Against High-Cost Degrees

A somewhat contrarian view to the first article in this two-part series is from no less than Forbes Magazine.

Here's a sample from the full article, Is College Worth It?.

...Search engines such as Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) have ushered in the era of open-source learning. Society is rapidly progressing to the point where any Googler is on equal footing with a Widener Library pass-holder.

Most of today’s higher-paying jobs go to those who exhibit a combination of adaptable intelligence, numeracy, communications skills and a strong work ethic, as opposed to evidence of specific knowledge.

Which leads to a third, and no doubt controversial, point. Society once counted on universities to imbue students with the traits named in the paragraph above. It was once assumed, for instance, that a liberal arts degree holder was numerate and literate and knew how to draw lessons from history, weigh evidence, think, write, speak, debate and learn. Or so Larry Summers, the ex-Harvard president, innocently imagined. He thought undergrads should learn about the math-and-science-driven world they’d be entering as adults. This belief conflicted with the postmodern professoriat that prefers cutting rap records to teaching--or, if forced to teach, teaches liberation theology over the American Revolution. Summers lost the battle.

My prediction is that parents who risk their own financial security shelling out $100,000 to $175,000 for a four-year degree will lose, too. History will show that they could have achieved far greater returns for themselves and their children in other asset classes.

You can read the full article here.

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