Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

College is a Want not a Necessity

By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

Our culture has been advocating for a college education for Americans since the open admission policies of the 1960s. The present administration is turning this goal up a notch. President Obama stated,” Every American will need to get more than a high school diploma.” He wants the USA to have the highest percentage of college graduates in the world. 

In order to reach this dubious goal many students are assuming large financial burdens to obtain a degree. Even though colleges use partial scholarships to seduce enrolling in their programs the average American student owes more than $25,000 upon graduation.  Most graduates feel cheated by the system that sold them a bill of goods, which never materialized.

People who choose the higher education route are being led to believe after graduation they would automatically be entitled to a high paying position. This greater earning power would supposedly allow them to easily pay off their loans with plenty left over to elevate their future life style.

However, one out of two college graduates in 2012 do not have a job or are underemployed. The present reality is there are few openings and tremendous competition for each position by a large number of skilled and experienced unemployed. These recent graduates from the temple of idealism were never prepared that they might not get a job or would start at the bottom of the profession. There is no connection made that salary levels are not based on one’s credential but on the increased earnings the individual can bring to the business. No one ever told them that there would not be a red carpet unfolded before them but a small cubicle where they were to start to prove their worth to their superiors.

It is not hard to understand why they are angry about this false narrative. Many students are being led to believe that school is not a want but a need that should be provided by taxpayer money, not theirs. These student’s indoctrination at public schools and universities was so pervasive they could not fathom in the USA older Americans would believe all education is not a right but a privilege. It is difficult and at times incomprehensible for them to believe that many of the most successful professionals in their chosen field were self-taught. They were shielded from the reality that it is not the amount of money and time spent to receive a credential but the knowledge, energy and inspiration that one possesses when entering the job market that will help impress employers sufficiently to get hired.

However, students and their parents adamantly believe college is a necessity to have a successful, professional career. The demand for a college education has been rising even though the cost is escalating off the charts.

No decrease in college student loan interest by the federal government will solve the financial problems of students.

The brakes have to be applied to the federal college loan program to stop the federal college tuition scam. Once this happens students will be better able to afford the education and will stop being perpetual students and be willing to choose a less then ideal position to enter the workforce.

The astronomical rise in college tuition can be directly attributed to government money to finance the college loan programs. These government-backed loans encourage universities to inflate tuitions to grab a greater share of the government’s pot of gold. College tuition increases have been used to attract new students by creating a resort atmosphere with luxurious entertainment centers, fitness centers, huge pools and so on. Administrative and faculty salaries have skyrocketed. From 1965-2002 Cornell University faculty salaries, adjusted for inflation, rose a whopping 31%.

Today’s students jeopardize their financial future by signing their names on these legal loan documents even though they are realizing there are few jobs available. Once they sign their name on the dotted line they are going to be stuck with the bill even if they never complete their degree.

Out-of-control tuition costs can be rapidly brought back into a more reasonable range by ending university’s monopoly of qualifying students for most professions. Business should examine other ways students can show competence in a particular field other than a college transcript. Professional Apprenticeships, certifications and online courses can be used as a viable means of demonstrating professional competencies. These alternatives can be more relevant and cost effective. Businesses can receive tax incentives for developing on-the-job training bringing down the artificial demand for college and thus tuition costs.

Increasing alternative avenues of education combined with upgrading academic standards, eliminating scholarship gimmicks, the demand for college will dwindle causing a decrease in tuition costs. The decrease in demand will bring down the cost for attending the university.  By allowing universities to compete with other forms of educating, tuition costs will be reduced to a manageable level. College has never been for everyone.

Whatever the position an individual has obtained, he has to learn new procedures and skills through self-discipline and perseverance. Small businesses and many striving corporations in this competitive world economy can no longer offer or fully finance college degree programs.

Training for specific job upgrades can best be filled by highly motivated employees who want to increase their ability to be productive members of the business. This can be most effectively achieved not by the federal government providing a right to education but though the individual’s initiative to improve his learning on his own with businesses providing incentives to employees upon completion of their training.

Only by the government stopping it's unnecessary interference in the financing of college through federal loan programs will exorbitant tuition costs decline.  Young people will make better choices for their future education when it is their money at stake. They will not have the burden of hocking their future for a questionable education.

 Higher Ed will return to being a wanted goal not a need for every young person to enter the labor market.

Dr. Maglio is an author and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at


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