The higher ed bubble will burst

Higher education is a bad investment. writes Malcolm Harris on n+1.

Since 1978, the price of tuition at US colleges has increased over 900 percent, 650 points above inflation. To put that number in perspective, housing prices, the bubble that nearly burst the US economy, then the global one, increased only fifty points above the Consumer Price Index during those years.

But while college applicants’ faith in the value of higher education has only increased, employers’ has declined. According to Richard Rothstein at The Economic Policy Institute, wages for college-educated workers outside of the inflated finance industry have stagnated or diminished. Unemployment has hit recent graduates especially hard, nearly doubling in the post-2007 recession. The result is that the most indebted generation in history is without the dependable jobs it needs to escape debt.

While tuition has gone way, way up, colleges are spending more on administrators and campus amenities but less on instruction and counseling, Harris charges. “Most students can no longer afford to enjoy college as a period of intellectual adventure,” he writes. And the market value of their degree has fallen. “Higher education, for-profit or not, has increasingly become a scam.”