Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?
- Articles, Blog

Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?

– I think the main
thing that we can do is, first of all, look at
attendance in college. About 40% of the students are not there. Well the students who are there, if you just go and look at their faces, I mean they generally
seem painfully bored. – Hello I’m Josh Barro, senior
editor of Business Insider. And I’m here with Bryan Caplan, who is an Economics professor at George Mason University in Virginia. And he’s the author of “The
Case Against Education, “Why the Education System
Is a Waste of Money”. Most of analysis I read
say that what you get back in increase salary, much more than offsets the cost of that education. Is this book a case to people
ought not to go to college? – No. It is true that people who
finish college, get a good deal. People who dropout on the other hand, it’s much less clear that’s
it’s worth their while. But the main thing that
I talk about in the book, is that it’s not really a good investment from a social point of view, because the main reason why people get this big wage premium, isn’t primarily that they are actually learning a
lot of useful skills in school. The main reason I say is
that they are showing off. They’re jumping through hoops,
they’re impressing employers. Selfishly speaking, it
doesn’t really matter why your degree pays, but from the point of view of taxpayers, it matters a lot whether people are actually learning
useful skills in school, or whether they’re mostly just getting a bunch of stickers on their forehead. ‘Cause you can’t have a whole
economy based on stickers. – What if we think about
education as a consumption good? People enjoy going to college. And then there’s also a
sense that it’s, you know, college isn’t purely a job training tool. That it helps develop people as humans. Isn’t it plausible that’s a reason that people care about going. – I think the main
thing that we can do is, first of all, look at
attendance in college. About 40% of the students are not there. Well, the students who are there, if you just go and look at their faces, I mean, they generally
seem painfully bored. If the consumption is just socializing with other kids your own age then, maybe that’s what people really value. Although, that could happen
in so many other ways than in college. – Let’s break this down, this idea, the distinction between the
value to the individual, or the degree and the
broader social value. You talk a lot about this
concept called signaling. Can you explain what that is? – When you go to school,
you’re showing off. You may also be picking up useful skills, but one of the things you do is you just look better than other people. You say, “Look, look at me, I’m able to
get this degree from Harvard. “I’m smart, I’m hardworking, “I’m willing to play by the rules.” And when you do this,
employers are impressed. So, let’s say, at minimum,
they’re a lot less likely to throw your application in the trash. ‘Cause of course, that’s
where most applications go. If everyone had one more degree, then you would need one more
degree to get those doors open. And that’s really the problem
that I’m talking about. – If most of what the degree
is showing as the signal, and we ought to be able to
find a way to send that signal that doesn’t take four years and cost you more than a hundred thousand dollars. Why hasn’t that arisen? You would think it
would be in the interest of both the students and the employers to figure out who the
right employees to hire where they would be less
expensive than that. And yet, we haven’t
gone in that direction. – Education is not just
signaling intelligence, which you could, definitely
figure out ways of measuring in a short amount of time. See, signaling is a package. You’ve got intelligence,
you’ve got work ethic, and you’ve also just got sheer conformity. I’m willing to comply with social norms. – Let’s talk something about solutions. It seems like there should
be strong incentives, if the system is so
broken for it get fixed. And it doesn’t get fixed. So how do we do education
more efficiently, more effectively than we do right now? – Big thing that I push is just
spending less on education. People get so nervous about this idea because they’re picturing
the thought experiment where one person is denied
funding, it ruins your life. If that’s what your
picturing, that’s reasonable. But, what I say, is you
know, just picture if, there was this general reduction
in the amount of education that the whole society had, and how this would change
the way that employers consider applications. – Your strategy is to
cut government funding, so that if people do want
to send these signals they have to pay for it themselves. Then you’re cutting off people
who grew up in poor families who no longer have access to the signal, even if they could have achieved the nonmonetary things there. Doesn’t that just leave talented people no longer able to match to employers and the jobs they could do? – In terms of, What about some of these poor who no longer is able to afford education and isn’t this terrible? Every system is going
to have some mistakes. I mean, I just got to be
honest and acknowledge that. But, here’s the main thing, Would you rather be a
high school dropout today? Or high school dropout in 1940? In terms of the penalty,
the labor market it hatches. I think it’s pretty clear, that the penalty is much greater today. This is really one of the
main changes overtime. Yes, we have gone and plucked out the very best students from poor families. But at the same time, we’ve
also greatly increased the stigma against other
people from those families that are not inclined to go
and get a college degree. And I think if we really
want an equitable society, we’ve got to have to consider not just the really smart
kid from poor family, we’ve got to consider the
average kids from poor families. So now I think actually they
have a harder time moving up. – Are there any other
countries that you see taking a better approach on this? – Yes. Switzerland and Germany I
think do a much better job. So they have a much bigger
emphasis on vocational education. The main point of vocational education is to teach concrete job skills
that’s not just to show off. Basically, the idea
there, especially for kids that just don’t like academics very much, and that’s a lot of kids. Lot of kids just find
academic excruciatingly boring and they would rather be doing something instead of just sitting and
listening some windbag talk. In Germany and Switzerland, when you are in your 13, or 14 , or 15, they go and find kids like this, and give them the option at least of getting trained in
particular job skills. Of course there’s a lot of people there who are very interested in special courses that so many people do it. It really is fair to say
that Germany and Switzerland, managed to have virtually no
underclass because they go and listen to kids like that, or at least that they take
the resistance seriously and they try to find something
that they’re good at doing, or they like doing. It’s a much more functional
system than our own where vocational education
is an afterthought at best.

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

100 thoughts on “Is College A Waste Of Time And Money?

  1. I loved college and am seriously proud of my degree. I have found it infinitely helpful. I don't really feel that bad about my student loans either. My degree is in Liberal Studies, with a minor in Philosophy. I'm not, and probably will never be, wealthy. But, no one can ever take my education away from me.

  2. If we drastically lowered subsidies for STEM programs and eliminated them for everything else, the only people going to college would be those who really needed to.

  3. Yes it is. I dropped out of high school and have a GED. I make $85K a year with full benefits, medical, dental, pension 401k and stock. I have friends that have college debts of 60k and higher. They work at restaurants making maybe 15k-20k a year.

  4. I think People need to go to college because if everyone is a business owner many businesses will fail. Just like if there were only sharks and no fishes in the sea many sharks will die

  5. Trust me on this, "Don't try to dive in the illusion to work for other". I wanted to do CS degree but i dropped out coz i knew that the professor can't never do what i can imagine to do if i put in that time in programming my ideas.

  6. Shld is not a waste of money collage is not either so stop letting social media tell you what you are

  7. I'm starting med school to become a psychiatrist next year. Therefore, education is the best thing I can get to get my family out of poverty.

  8. I’m being a cop when I’m older. I’m 17 and not going to college cause a local cop in town where I live you DONT need to go to college. All you need is a GED. College is a joke and a waste of money and gets everybody in debt.

  9. I've always described school as an obligated setback. Everything about it is stupid, but it's obligated because APPARENTLY jobs still give a shit about you having a diploma. BS. You'd be turning down real talent if you judged me based solely off of grades. Sincerely, a C+ student with dreams of becoming an animator.

  10. I would say college is useless for approximately 80% of college students. For 20% college is usefull. If it goes in directions like engineering, computer science, medicine. Not even accounting is useful or sciences like biology.

    If you don't study does subject or are not capable of this. Don't go to college.

  11. For signaling, a showcase of your work can replace a degree as it can show what you can do. But not all jobs involve doing projects. Jobs which require work experience are difficult for who has no degree to get started.

  12. Yep, college is a waste. You are better off getting to know people in certain fields that can get you in. Worked for me. College is just guaranteeing that you will come out with a ton of debt and either won't want to get a job in the field you went to college for, or can't find a job.

  13. College is pay to play. The exact opposite of the free market. There is no free market. Now you need a 4 year degree to be a department manager at Target. The college degree is only worth something because corporations pump money into the college. It's an exclusion system. Be a good little brainwashed sheep or you will eat out of a garbage can. Enjoy your life as an economic slave!

  14. If One want to become a doctor, engineer i think college is not a waste of time, because school provides basic knowledge of a subject

  15. College dropouts in 1940s could join unions and support their families.College dropouts nowadays work in fast food and live in a room in someone’s house for too much money.Funny how things end up

  16. "College is a waste of time and money" saying someone with graduate degree, who got scholarships and loans…funny isn't it?

  17. what if instead of sending them to college we give them that money to start a business and we also train them so they can succeed

  18. You wont learn anything in college that you cant learn on your own.

    If a person isnt interested enough in the subject to do independent study, how well will they perform even after getting a degree?

    You've got to have a passion for what you do.

    What we need is a way to validate a persons knowledge and experience.

    Outside of formal education.

  19. school is useless in this day and age if you want to learn or need to learn something just ask siri everyone has a phone the information is a few words away if you need to learn how to build something just YouTube easy and simple there is no use for school now.

  20. I will intentionally steer clear of anybody with a degree because there is always that awkward moment of silence that comes after they randomly brag that they have a degree… but when you ask them what they do for a living , their response is usually… " i'm unemployed and thousands of dollars in debt " or … " I work a job that requires no degree " . oftentimes I never see them again after that.

  21. You waste 4 years of your life learning something that would (only by chance) help you in your job career while ultimately making your boss rich while you sit in your apartment with a huge bank debt knocking on your door cuz you didn't have a choice but to loan to pay for your outstanding college fees. And you just started out working with your "on paper" degree so don't expect to pay off your debts anytime soon.

    While on the other hand a guy that drops college has no college debt to pay, 4 years of working experience, saved 4 years worth of salary in his bank account, a promotion in his job, and plans for marriage, starting out his own business, down payment for a new house and MORE!

    In countries such as Germany, education is literally free to compensate. But what about us smelly unfortunates who didn't manage to earn a spot on the overseas grounds?

    "All in all, college is great but in the end, all your achievements are on paper." – My boss in my 1st job interview

  22. College is a business whose main concern is profit. Most of their majors (especially in liberal arts) are useless in the real world. Many college also force their students to take classes completely irrelevant to their majors to fulfill (requirements ) aka more money for them.

    Employers don't care about grades. It's mostly about your experience and how you present yourself in a job interview. It's common to see college grads with excellent get surprised when they cannot land jobs. Most employers look for experience and a Bachelors degree alone won't tell them much about you as an employee. This is why college students should try to find jobs while still in college, preferably in related fields. They should volunteer if no jobs are available. This can help them build their portfolios with letters of recommendations and references. How you conduct yourself in an interview also matters. I spoke with my former manager who admitted that one of his strategies was to make new employees wait for up to an hour after the scheduled interview to see if they leave or get more nervous. It's an extreme case, but confidence in an interview matters. If you can "sell" yourself to an employee, it will distinguish you from other candidates.

    The problem with education in this country is that it does not prepare kids for the real world. Kids are told that as long as their get to college, they will get jobs. The entire high school system is built on getting kids to college. There is almost no vocational training.

    I was one of those kids who wasted years getting both Bachelors and Masters degrees. I graduated with honors and was shocked at how irrelevant my degrees and grades were in the real world. After I finally got a job in related field, I was shocked at how unprepared I was for it. My first week on the job taught me more about it than all my years in college.

    There is a also a thing called "college experience" roughly translated as booze and chicks. In most cases the hype is overrated. Yes, it's possible to build strong friendships in college, but people who "party hard" might find it difficult to study and/or work.

    To sum it up, college is a waste of time and money for most majors. Certainly for people in field such as engineering and medical, college is a must. However, most college grads usually realize how competitive the real world is and how irrelevant their degrees are.

  23. We've reached a point in this country where college doesn't payoff anymore, unless your pursuing a professional field that requires it (law, medicine, engineering, education, finance, research, or any kind of pysician). Anyone else can learn some valuable skills and maybe go to only a technical college? Go to college in Europe if u want it to pay off. We need to stop shoving college down people's throats and forcing them to go into debt!!

  24. These kids are told that they will make great money when they get out……a degree is JUST a piece of paper similar to toilet paper.

  25. Thats what President Trump meantioned during his campaign He meantioned that employers should implement vocational schools Dont get me wrong Education is great to have But its not what you know Its who you know

  26. Great video. Wall Street just loves student loans because they are guaranteed and you can't get rid of them through bankruptcy. Student loans are the most dangerous loan out there!

  27. He says that those with a degree get a higher premium, which is probably true, but I'm guess that that premium (plus more) will go to paying student loan bills anyway so it's not even that much of a gain from a selfish point of view.

  28. Main reason people go to college is to get laid for 50,000 dollars.

    You need college to learn in the medical or criminology field. If you fall asleep in college you'll never be hired as a lawyer when you are unable to win any cases.

  29. The real reason why employers hire college students:

    "This person must be in loads debt and can't afford to leave." – You're hired.

  30. Honestly, in the two years I took back from college to work and save up, I learned exponentially more than I had the last couple years I've been slaving away through lectures and exams. Granted, I've learned some helpful things, but that's about thirty percent of everything else dumped on me.
    Once this semester is over, I'm going to reevaluate my life.

  31. He is right. Germany and Switzerland basically help kids find out what they want to do and is good at it. They basically find their strength and weaknesses and then put them straight to special training, USA makes you take a bunch of classes not related to what you want to do. Also I don't like how the economy in the USA is now, you can only succeed in certain fields and then you show off saying you are studying in this field( Which is few fields). Hes right about showing off, its like one student says "Hey I got an A in the class!!" and it makes you look bad because you didn't get an A, but it wasn't a subject you were interested in. Its all about scoring high on SAT or getting 4.0 or having honors, but all that doesn't explain the IQ of a person. Look at Einstien, he was a failure, then all of a sudden he became smarter than someone who graduated from Harvard with honors.

    I am not saying school is completely bad but I look at all the smart people who never finished colloege or never went to college or even have a highschool diploma and end up more successful than someone who went through the honor roll in college.

  32. College is KNOWLEDGE based not SKILLS based. A job takes a special type of SKILL. College will definitely help you learn about it but it will not teach you a skill you need to perform the job which is the goal so it’s all kind of backwards!!!!

  33. Even if you go to college there is no guarantee you'll get a job or if you do you'll be able to live off that money

  34. I really don't agree with Gary V. on this one. I did a video recording to express my opinion on the matter.

  35. People are misinterpreting the message that people who say "college is a scam" are trying to get across. Education or knowledge or learning about new things is NOT a scam its the colleges that are scamming you for useless knowledge that you will only retain about 30% of at the end of the degree and can find on google in 2 seconds.

    Learn and educate yourself just not at some institution that will bend over backwards and give you oral or lie to your face or lobby the government to make it manditory that certain jobs have to have degrees, because your a walking 100,000$ to them. How bout you go learn…how to learn, and then your be set for whatever you want in life.

  36. In this capitalist system what matters is the amount of money you can get in a job because I know professionals in many countries that have low wages compared to the cost of living, now get a university degree is not guaranteed to get a job, even many young people who are unemployed start a life of crime like robberies to get the money and survive, those are the consequences of poverty and lack of opportunities

  37. The answer to this is complex. Going to college is no guarantee of anything other that debt. A good paying wage is not merely a matter of having a degree. The field of study, experience, and your LEGITIMATE knowledge of the subject is more important. Many companies are starting to ignore the degrees and instead look for demonstrated experience. I do when looking for applicants. If you don't know what you should know, your employer is going to figure that out quickly!

    Field of Study: What is in demand? Is it easily outsourced? Are people currently jumping on that bandwagon which will soon cause that field to be flooded? Is that career field growing rapidly and expected to continue to grow? What does it really pay compared to the cost of the education? Is it difficult, to the extent that many people won't do it, and thereby remain in high demand?

    Experience: For many fields, a person jumping straight into a job and gaining education and experience along the way is going to get a huge head start! They're building their reputation, networking, learning hands on, and establishing a job history. They're already investing in their retirement too! Often they are going to college or a trade school at night, and doing it at a much lower cost. Sometimes a trade school offers a better bang for the buck. Do you really think an employer cares about your degree on the wall? More than what you have to offer them in experience and productivity? Don't kid yourself! At one time, maybe that was true, but now, they're realizing that too many people have degrees that are not backed up by real knowledge!

    Knowledge: Too many people go to college and walk out with no improved critical thinking skills. In fact, many people should never have gone to college in the first place. I don't mean to be harsh, but the reality is that many people wasted their time in their younger years. Those years were critical. If you don't have those problem solving skills by mid-20's, you're screwed! Yes, you can learn repetitive skills, but your ability to improve your critical thinking is something you must do before then. If you partied your entire high school years and cheating through it all, you're probably better off with a trade school. If you don';t straighten yourself out soon, you're going to be stuck with crap jobs. It was your own fault. Stop blaming everyone else. Parents, STEM…..I will say it again…..STEM. If you want to set your children up properly, get them to do that math and science! Force them to master it! Math is not just about numbers. It's about problem solving.

    I started out in computers at 13 years old when it was a nerd thing. I stuck with it. I did it in the military too. My interest in IT is what motivated me to learn on my own. Sure, I did some college but I never finished my degree. I can honestly say that I did not learn anything new in college. It was just an expensive book store. I learned everything on the job and from reading on my own. I have a great job in IT now. Very good pay, benefits, and security. My position requires a PhD to apply without experience! I don't have one but my experience and knowledge make up for it. That is how valuable those two things are! For me, college would have been a waste because I already had a huge head start in IT related knowledge. I still have a full GI Bill that I have not used. I think I'm going to use it for a "fun" degree. For something I don't know but what to know.. I retire for good in 10 years anyway.

    Take the hard road guys…gals… I know you might hate math and science, but learn it anyway! Your computer is useful for things other than social media too. It's a damned learning machine! A miniature free college if you use it right! Exploit it while you can.

  38. Too costly, even if the Government paid me this kind of education if I want to be a mechanical engineer. I am better off getting a high paying high school job as that option. If I am a woman in my next life living in Niagara Falls New York, I stick to professional women's tennis as that option.

  39. This is a fascinating video and I have to agree with him. It's not just a personal thing but also a societal thing as well. It doesn't pay to have a bunch overly educated people who don't know what they want to do with lives–and are miserable in their jobs. I suggest everyone read this amazing article:

  40. I can't believe my parents thought it would be inappropriate to give me the tuition money. As an adult nobody has the right to sign you up for college. Well behaved athletes are begged to play sports. With the tuition money I would've been healthier. I like Acme food corporation more than Doctors who put citizens on 15 pills.  I know how I should feel. I am an am not scientific. If your brother gets competitive with you. You should want a house even more. My expensive academic resume is terrible. I am dehydrated. You would think even better if you hydrated yourself.

  41. can't believe my parents thought it would be inappropriate to give me the tuition money. As an adult nobody has the right to sign you up for college. I would've gotten the money. I like It takes so much money to complete the payment of a house. If i could've gotten my tuition money and a full time job I would've been so happy. Properly conducted athletes are begged to play sports. You can find a replacement at any job just like that. I miss my friend Peter Santelmo. He still delivers for thornwood pizza and pasta. He is even being taught how to make pizza. I was friends with the salveticos. You can't show me how to make pizza? I was always so nice to customers. It wasn't such a high paying job. I lost money on some deliveries. I never did anything illegal. Being underpaid is better than not being paid at all. I hated my parents house. He got into binghamton university. With the tuition money I would've been healthier. I like Acme food corporation more than Doctors who put citizens on 15 pills.  I know how I should feel. I am an am not scientific. If your brother gets competitive with you. You should want a house even more. My expensive academic resume is terrible. I am dehydrated. You would think even better if you hydrated yourself.

  42. I remember when colleges for years advertised 100, 000 techs since 2008 not so much. College can be worthwhile depending on the region of the country, but the potential debt scares people. It scares me. Too many people in the workforce in a specific area drives down wages and companies also add insult to injury by requiring certification for jobs you have been doing for years. It in turns feeds the education system, slows your progress, and continues this viscous cycle.

  43. Go to college if you're gonna get a STEM degree, law, accounting or any high paying licensed profession that has college as a requirement, if not there is always trade school, community college, or the military

  44. Depends on the degree. But if you go to college like I did, and get a pointless degree like in Finance then yes. Companies that wanted to hire me asked me for my Sales exp and if I passed the insurance test, not for the degree. Its my fault as soon as I graduated high school, I thought you could only be successful with a college degree, I couldnt be any more wrong with that statement.

  45. I didn’t go to college only go to college if you plan on being a lawyer doctor if not you can still get a high-paying jobs or just go to a trade school college is not worth it it’s a scam unless you’re being a lawyer or a doctor

  46. All but 2 or 3 US universities are left wing socialist indoctrination centers. Poisoning young minds to hate America, and brain wash them to think they deserve everything without working for it. Just Pathetic !

  47. I never went to college and ahead of sales and make a shit ton of money. School is worthless sell yourself if your smart and have skills your good

  48. Generally May degrees are a waste of time and money If you can’t get a job with that degree why go Then you graduate a young Redon buried in debt. Some degrees are ok. A good liberal arts background good for law. Science courses for pre med pre dental. But don’t waste your time and money. You can learn much on your own. The trades are wide open and pay well. Technical and vocational courses can lead to good jobs. If you don’t know anything that you can earn a living. Why go. What are you thinking.

  49. They criticize young people for being lazy after they wasted so much time and money getting suckered by the bogus system. It’s not really their fault. They were taken advantage of.

  50. STAY OUT OF DEBT. If your stupid enough to go up to your eyeballs in debt for a piece of paper which make no guarantee of a good job, you will go broke. Pay cash or don't bother.

  51. It's 2019 just do bluecollar computer job like everyone else, below are background of coworkers/buddies doing computer job that I've met over the years,
    if they can do it so can you!
    – my music major coworker doing computer fullstack
    – my history major buddy doing computer web stuff
    – 2 of my practicing lawyer buddies (corporate and immigration lawyers) doing computer database and web stuff
    – my chemistry buddy coworker doing computer for aerospace company (scarry huh)
    – my mechanical major coworker working at pandora doing computer
    – my unemployed 0.8 GPA college dropout buddy doing windows/linux admin certs and in computer making big $120k/year
    – my unemployed mcdonald coworker now doing computer
    – a stay at home mom that I know also in computer field now
    why spend all that money for school, just get computer job.

  52. " would you rather be a high school drop out today or 1940"
    using the past as a justifier for bullshit today shows so much ignorance it is EMBARESSING.
    You can exponentially go back in time and dividing by zero is always zero…
    a conveinant excuse for not being willing to do anything in your current era. ALWAYS has been used as an excuse.
    if you are going to judge from the past, why realize that you are even condemning yourself further in the present because the standards of today are themselves condemning your actions.
    A cop out answer, benefitting you in the moment.

  53. For me personally, yes college is a waste of time and money and I know lots of other people that waste their time going to college

  54. “Socializing with other people your age”… I’m a commuting junior in college living in my own 1 bedroom apartment and I haven’t been to a friend’s house in over a month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *