- CRITTER TALK
- NEWS I FIND INTERESTING
There are thousands of accredited colleges and universities across the United States, as well as lots that are unaccredited. There are state schools, religious schools and for-profit institutions. Most of them offer distance learning degrees, commonly known as “on line.”
This fact does not diminish the degree or the institution, given that it is equally as hard, if not harder, to obtain a certificate through on line programs as it is through the traditional brick and mortar classrooms. Unfortunately, there appears to have been a “dumbing down” of many of America’s higher education programs at all levels and this is flooding the job market with unqualified people carrying sheepskins.
While there are any number of reasons for this one of the most glaring is the amount of money that is poured into athletics, as well as lowering the bar for admission, so as to increase enrollment which increases profit. The federally subsidized student loan programs can be a boon or a bust, given that some students find themselves saddled with outrageous bills, often in the five and six digits, and still don’t have a degree.
Read this latest summary of a study by two university professors:
It’s a hot question these days: Is college worth it? But writing for the Los Angeles Times, Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa don’t beat the same old “expensive! bad job market!” angle into the ground. Instead they wonder if it’s worth it because it’s just becoming so darn easy to graduate. Arum and Roksa, sociology professors at NYU and UVa, respectively, tracked thousands of students at more than two dozen schools, and what they found smells pretty academic lite: In an average semester, 32% of kids had no classes that required reading more than 40 pages a week; 36% studied solo for just five hours, or less, a week. And a third—shockingly—showed no substantial gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and writing ability after their four years.
Such gains require “academic engagement; simply hanging out on a college campus for multiple years isn’t enough. Yet at many institutions, that seems to be sufficient to earn a degree.” Universities provide a roster of easy programs, and hand out high grades like candy. Those who studied alone five or fewer hours per week “had an average cumulative GPA of 3.16.” The problem is that this is what matters most to schools: “admission yields, graduation rates, faculty research productivity, pharmaceutical patents, deluxe dormitory rooms, elaborate student centers, and state-of-the-art athletic facilities complete with luxury boxes.” And so students get shafted, entering that bad job market unprepared—with little more than “a paper diploma and an expanded roster of Facebook friends.”
Do you think it is easier to get a college degree these days? If so, or if not, please leave us a comment.