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- Paying for College
The Devaluation of a College Education
Being told that Americans live in the "Land of the Free" tends to ring hollow when we accept the fact that the US owes almost all of its foreign debt to China, which can hardly be looked at as the epitome of freedom. China stands for many of the things that Americans have always been told are bad: dictatorship, censorship, communism, horrible human rights record, anti-religion etc. Yet it is to this country that our supposed "freedom" is so highly indebted to.
Seeing that the American government has acted so irresponsibly over the past decades in hopes of economic gain for the present moment and worrying about consequences later, its not surprising that American citizens have acted very similarly concerning getting into personal debt. The banking system has turned into a Chinese style dictatorship, all smiles on the outside, but if you don't keep your end of the "bargain" then they will hunt you down and destroy you without mercy. Governmental borrowing of billions of dollars in order to build new military equipment to fight in hopeless wars is the equivalent of citizens borrowing hundreds of thousands of dollars for new houses/cars/TVs etc. that will turn out to be equally as hopeless to ever pay back.
Now Americans are being bogged down by college debt after having the supposed value of a higher education at a high price being thrust down their throats from childhood, making them believe that the high cost will turn into high returns. This was true decades ago, but now colleges and universities have turned into nothing more than huge businesses doing anything they can to draw in students who are taking on crippling debt in order to start on what they believe will be the American Dream. Working hard is not enough anymore. The US is increasingly being run by monopolistic corporations who lobby the government to do basically what they want. It is enough to look at the continued corruption and arrogance of Wall Street, which has had no reason to learn any sort of lesson since 2008 and major players still make very risky investments etc.
Many people are starting to cast a critical glance at the old propaganda of a college education equating to a bright and prosperous future. The fact the even State colleges raise their tuition yearly is finally disillusioning young people. Shiny auditoriums, new stadiums, gourmet cafeteria food and so on seems great to prospective students and parents who all too often fall for these tricks made my colleges to woo new students. However, 4 or 5 years and tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt later with no prospect of getting jobs in desired fields or only being underemployed bursts the bubbles of many new graduates and parents alike. Students straight out of college are faced with huge debts and the stress of doing whatever job that comes along in order to start digging themselves out of an ever deepening hole. What is this if not a total devaluation of the value of a college diploma? A BA is the new high school diploma: almost everyone has one. As colleges vie for more students and more money, the actual quality of education has gone down. It is not in a school's interest to send students (ie. money) away due to bad grades as this will obviously cause schools to lose money. Instead, very "well meaning" counselors urge students to take longer to finish their degrees, or to perhaps to move on into graduate programs even if their undergraduate results were poor. It is no longer about developing well educated professionals. It is just about churning as much cash out of students as possible and trying to make them believe that it is a good investment.
Once students realize that their diplomas are virtually useless pieces of paper, the gourmet cafeterias, state of the art gyms, and new stadiums don't seem so cool anymore. Let's not forget that all of these students are supposed to be leading this country into a future of ever increasing competition in a global economy. Despite churning out hundreds of thousands of fresh graduates a year, many US companies have to hire workers from places like India and Russia and China who are much more qualified for many technical positions in IT and engineering, for example. University educations actually mean something in most countries. Many countries have free university education, meaning that students have to pass rigorous tests in order to be accepted, assuring that only the best of the best will actually earn a degree. That is why we see so many people from foreign countries go to the US, because their education levels are very high, but their earning potential in their own countries is much less than in the US. The US has high paying jobs for highly skilled workers, and students coming out of US colleges and universities just don't make the cut anymore. America is not faced with a brain drain, but with complete brain death. The majority of US college students are basically paying for a degree, and schools don't actually care whether you learned anything or not. Even the best students are oftentimes from foreign countries, where work ethic is much stronger. US students also get lazy due to the unchallenging atmosphere in the classroom. It is easy to coast trough college as long as the college makes money off of students.
Now we find hundreds of thousands of college graduates with supposedly higher educations either unemployed or underemployed, busing tables at restaurants or folding clothes at department stores. Sure, colleges and universities might be making a killing off of students, but in the end it is just a slow suicide as students finish their "education" only to receive a worthless piece of paper with very little prospects for the future except decades of debt slavery. It will be the United States that will suffer in the future as a whole. A country that was once the technological and educational super power in the world is slowly becoming relegated to a third rate also ran, and all of this because of the greed and selfishness of the whole educational system.