Re: The Higher-Ed Dilemma
A great post, Matthew. Your summary point is illuminating, although perhaps only partially true: “This is a roundabout way of saying that higher education as it exists today can simultaneously be a good bet for each student and a bad and outdated model for society as a whole.”
Yes, it’s an outdated model. The pressure on the universities from so many marginal students makes the college experience more like an expensive high school. For many students and those who pay for it, “higher education” is a waste of human capital, financial resources, and time.
For that marginally qualified student who is still willing to stick it out and get the diploma, however, the degree is valuable — because employers use the credential for screening and the student probably gets a boost beyond his or her natural abilities. But keep in mind that 40 percent of the students who try don’t get the degree. And, as Peter Thiel contends, some of them might be spending their time in more productive ways than sliding through boring classes and drinking a lot of beer.