College Degrees Not Worth Much

…says this study (found via Insty).

Americans are losing faith in the value of a college degree, with majorities of young adults, men and rural residents saying college isn’t worth the cost, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey shows.

No kidding. With all the PC bullshit happening on college campuses these days, not to mention crap courses like “Feminist Basket Weaving”, it’s not surprising. One finding that got my attention, however, is this one:

Some Americans believe learning a trade offers more security than going to college.

Well, yeah. Depending on the trade, it almost always did, especially when weighed against courses in the Humanities and the debt incurred by getting said degrees. (It’s not true when measured against a degree in, say, electrical engineering, of course.)

Then again, most people are more qualified to learn a trade than they are to attend college in the first place.

And the first warning sign was that government (of the Democrat / Labour Party persuasion) stated that a college degree was desirable for all young people, and put policies into place to support that idiotic idea. Billions of dollars of student debt, high unemployment rates among Millennials, lowered academic standards and staggeringly-high college tuition fees followed swiftly, to the surprise of no one except those government tools.

As seen on these pages but a couple days back, I’ve always advised young people to get a trade first, then go to college — especially if you’re not quite sure what degree you want to get — because as a fallback, a trade like carpentry or plumbing sure as hell beats begging for that barrista job at a coffee shop. And if your goal in life is to own your own business (which it should be), a trade beats the hell out of an MBA as a foundation thereof.

So yeah, it’s not surprising that the value of a college degree is being called to question. Reality will do that to ya.


  1. It has never really been about, “just getting a degree”. What kind of return on investment you get depends greatly on your major (see here for a rundown of that ) what school you went to ( see here for a rundown on that ) and of course class rank, willingness to sacrifice something for the right job (relocating, work schedule, dressing/acting per the career expectations of your field, etc.) and other factors.

    Were I going to adjust things, I would not allow any government student aid past about 1.5 years of study. After that, you have to get a commercial loan to pay for your school. The upside is that said commercial loan will would be dischargeable via bankruptcy after a minimum 10 years after graduation. The downside is that there would be no government guarantee and the lending institution would be allowed take into account your likely earning potential based on the above factors and charge you an interest rate according to your risk per above as well.

    So then if no bank wants to lend you money to get a Feminist Sports Studies degree with your bottom of the pile GPA from Watsamata U. – then it would be your clear market indication that the ROE for that activity is not so good.

  2. Yeah, the Liberal leadership here in Ontariostan decided that they would give away “Free” education. Here’s the kicker, they will only fund about 50% of a STEM degree yet give full cost to a “liberal arts” degree. Just because a STEM degree is twice as expensive as a LA degree. Go figure. The Squire is getting an education fund with a few caveats Othewise, I get a slush fund….

    1. Of course! A liberal arts degree will produce more Liberal Party voters. Anything STEM-related will produce Conservative voters.

  3. This is really one facet of the Great Folly…the idea that if you gave lower-class people middle-class goods and education, they would develop middle-class virtues. So governments poured money into the housing and education markets. Which did nothing to develop virtue, as the politicians had mistaken cause for effect. Middle class people have the middle class virtues…and with them, they inevitably acquire middle class goods.

    What it did was to fuel massive bubbles in the housing and education markets. With Peter Payer (me among them) footing the bill both ways.

  4. There’s nothing like working a horrible job for giving one focus and drive on what to do with life.

  5. Sometimes you have to get all the punches on your ticket to get a job. Three years of college, four years of Army, two more on the dean’s honor roll and I got my ticket punched and I don’t think it ever opened a door for me. I made my own way and had a hell of a good time doing it.

    My son got a four year degree that did not lead to a job, went back a few years later for computer training that lead to a great job and now he makes a real decent living running his own business. My daughter never could put a whole semester of college together and she usually out earned her brother both in sales and as a buyer in high end luxury goods, same for her husband who is now an executive in a major firearms company coming out of another high end company with a good track record.

    The most successful man I know and worked with for years barely made it out of high school, his future wife wrote his term paper, but he was a genius with math and now he is on the Forbes top 400 list. What I have seen in my funny old life is that if you have a skill and know how to use it you can move forward and rise above the assholes who don’t know crap.

    My last four years before retirement I worked for an international company where the best paid employees were watchmakers who had completed a two year course. A lot of them, folks I worked with for several years, are now working in another state making parts of weapons in clean rooms for a major company, who knew watch makers could be paid real high prices for fine, extremely fine skills as workmen and women.

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