Phi Beta Cons

The New York Times Gets on Board

There’s a vocal debate these days over whether or not college is worthwhile and, if so, for whom. Has college been “oversold”? As far back as 2006, George Leef, director of research for the Pope Center, said yes, and the recession brought many others to the same conclusion. Taken together, the unemployment or “underemployment” (that is, jobs for which degrees are not necessary) of recent college graduates is about 50 percent.

Yet the view that college is necessary continues to be promoted by well-meaning establishment figures. They cite studies showing a disparity between the lifetime earnings of college graduates versus non-college graduates—studies that ignore facts such as the credential inflation that has reduced the jobs available to high school graduates.

A striking change just occurred, however. The New York Times came out with an editorial saying that “most new jobs are likely to be lower-wage jobs” and emphasizing the lack of good, well-paying jobs that require a college degree. George Leef discusses those findings and adds his own thoughts here.   

Jane S. ShawJane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...


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