If you want to see some data on the decline of college, I have a recommendation.
Excellent. I just ordered that, thanks. Hopefully they'll allow me to put my thoughts in a broader context. I've realized yes, it was a good run, for poor people and low-ranked schools essentially.
If they never provided value in the first place, what changed? If we presume "no value" then the price/value ratio has always been div by zero so why are they closing now? 'cuz they are.
They've always provided value, it's just something that's very socially contrived. It's also dependent on choice of school and major. A B.A. in History from Yale might feel like a waste of time but ask the president. An online degree from Saybrook in channeling is a different story. Naturally, there's a perceived social value in a college education, if institutions can't maintain that value, they'll close and the average value will maintain constant, I think.
The central calamity being, "is this worth sacrificing four years of my life and potentially entering into life-ruining debt for the sake of this piece of paper when I don't even know what I want to do with my life?"
Usually the answer is yes. Is it going to happen later? For most kids it feels like dropping out of high school. Hence the pursuit of arguably useless degrees from no-name schools. The problem is then they go from "bad degree" to "no degree" and is society better off? Was the debt worth it? Will you need any degree, 20 years later, even if you enter the trades and take on zero debt? What do you do when you can't even work as a bank teller without that B.A. in philosophy?
To quote someone whose opinion I respect from that thread, "it was all bullshit to begin with." Yes. Certainly. But it was viable bullshit until recently.
Yes, but I thought high school was bullshit too, and we learned actual science there. My argument is it's going to remain viable bullshit, for fewer people. The contraction will happen as fewer and fewer people can afford it, so society tilts further. A true ending of the bullshit would be a society where nobody cared whether or not you had a college degree, a high school diploma, or really anything and the last ten U.S. presidents would have had a mix of all of these or neither. I could finesse little kids into Goldman-Sachs. So how does that happen? Skills-tests in the interview? Eating the rich?
But that isn't the case. They went to Harvard, they went to Wharton, they might have learned nothing but the difference between "parliamentary" and "presidential." But until all high status jobs delete that requirement it's just going to mean fewer and fewer people get the golden ticket. In a sense college returns to what it was in the 1800's,literally for advancing aristocrats. And it's back to that level of inequality too.