Phi Beta Cons

Higher Ed Oversold in Britain

There is an enlightening piece in the Telegraph about the state of higher education in Britain. Back in 1997, Blair’s new government announced that it had set a target of 50 percent of students getting college educations. (Sounds like Obama’s goal — 55 percent.) How well has that worked out? Not well at all. The country is well below Blair’s target, and many of those who are in college get little benefit from it. The author writes about British students, “They have been told that higher education will be good for them: they have not been told that it will only be good for them if they want to do it.”

Here is the author’s conclusion: “We shouldn’t get too hung up on statistics, particularly ones like that arbitrary 50 percent target. A university education can be a joy, a privilege, a stepping stone; but it is not a prerequisite for a happy and successful career.”

Is anyone in the Obama administration listening? Probably not. They will press ahead with their goal of processing more young people through college without regard to the high cost and low benefit.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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