Higher Ed’s Problem: They Keep Charging More For Something Worth Less


College degrees are declining in value, but you don’t have to take this conservative critic of higher education’s word for it. Here’s a chart from the Progressive Policy Institute showing income levels for Americans age 25 – 34 with a college degree.

Note that the downward trend begins well before the 2009 economic collapse and our current national job market malaise:


Meanwhile, here’s the trend line for tuition costs:


Soaring costs and declining or stagnant value is the definition of a bubble. And, as is usually the case, what’s driving this bubble is government policy aimed at promoting higher education. Just as the problem with the housing bubble was government policy promoting home ownership.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • ec99

    Myth, whether it be religious, historical, political, or related to education, can be a powerful force. Apologists for higher ed have convinced the masses that a degree is the only way to get a decent job…despite all the evidence to the contrary. As with gold, if people see value in college the price will go up.

    • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

      Well, let’s be clear that a college degree is a path to a decent career, just not the only path and there is an upper limit to the cost-benefit of getting a degree.

      • ec99

        Depends of the major. The STEM subjects are one thing, race and gender studies are another. Problem is K-12 has fostered laziness in most students who find STEMs too hard.

  • Thresherman

    One problem is that the mindset is that you must have a 4 year degree to be successful. Yet experience shows that often people with degrees wind up not finding employment in their discipline. On the other hand, our tech schools are running very low on enrollment despite many trade jobs with good starting pay going begging for applicants right now. Plumbers, electricians, HVAC techs, auto mechanics, machinists and other trades are in short supply, yet it seems no one is encouraging students to consider these fields.

    • ec99

      Despite the good pay, too many people still consider them blue-collar jobs and beneath the dignity of their little Johnny. Nevermind that Johnny’s degree in Art History has him living at home.

  • RobertD

    The governor and legislature pay full cost, except for a few agencies that get a little revenue from fees, of operating most agencies. When it comes to higher education the students are expected to pick up a minimum of 25% of the cost of any authorized increases for salaries and operations. That never gets into the headlines but it constantly forces tuition up by the same level as approved appropriations. If salaries are increased by 4% and operations by 2% then the students are expected to contiue to bear “their” share which averages to about 3.2%.

    The students are also hit for fees to pay for non appropriated costs like running health services, tennis courts, student activity centers, parking, housing, etc. These too go up more than the rate of inflation. Sometimes students are the culprits because they vote to build a new student center to be paid for not by them but the students that follow them for the next twenty years.

  • http://genelalor.com Gene Lalor

    Sexual-Socio-Political Brainwashing in America’s

    American colleges and universities continue to attract eager, young
    applicants from every state of the union and from every corner of our roundish
    globe and many of our schools are still exceptional centers of learning.

    And many are not. Many are more akin to institutions of

    Whether domestic college applicants are more interested in learning
    than in the abundance of freedoms associated with campus living and getting as
    far away from parental restrictions as possible or whether foreign applicants
    are more interested in those same freedoms while living in America–and maybe
    working to undermine them–is all debatable.

    What’s not debatable is the reality that American college and
    university campuses and classrooms are extremely different from whatever your
    fathers or grandfathers may have known, back in the day, as they say. The
    overriding, widely-discredited “principle” of political correctness with its
    attendant “anything goes” rules of absolute freedom–for liberals–requires
    schools to brainwash, seduce�non-liberals and undecideds into accepting PC
    precepts by any means necessary.

    And leftist-liberal university administrators–apparently the vast
    majority–are diligently working to accomplish the seduction.

    Since 1979, a conservative organization, the Leadership Institute via
    its website CampusReform.org has been exposing the truth of what really goes on
    after mom and dad, sometimes tearfully, sometimes cheerfully, drop off their
    semi-adult, semi-mature children with their trunks full of clothes and gear and
    who-knows-what-else and effectively turn over the care and supervision of their
    progeny to total strangers.

    Depending on how their children have been reared–what moral values
    they learned and absorbed, what social principles they really understand, what
    practical realities they actually grasp–their kids will live or die. thrive or
    wither, learn or not learn in their radically new environments–and most of their
    living and thriving and learning will be determined by the social and sexual and
    political policies of liberal university administrations.

    Way back when, as in the 1950′s and long before, the idea of ”in
    loco parentis” (in place of a parent) was a guiding principle of the
    majority of schools in America, enabling institutions from the smallest private
    colleges to the largest universities in the nation to serve as substitute
    parents in the best interests of their students.

    Today, in loco parentis is as passe’ as high-buttoned shoes
    and as antiquated as basic morality and patriotism.

    For almost 36 years, CampusReform.com has been dedicated to exposing
    the ugly underbelly of the leftist takeover and the attendant radicalization of
    America’s youth.

    CampusReform publishes documented articles covering
    everything�parents never wanted to know but should know about the public and
    private schools they send their kids to and lay out tens of thousands of dollars
    for . . .

    (Read more at http://www.genelalor.com/blog1/?p=29102.)