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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The American University Scam

Nothing gets my goat more than American higher education. Our institutions of higher learning continue to increase their tuition and fees at an extreme rate while not interrupting their boondoggling of our youth and their parents. Want a great job for Sally? Well, Sally better go to an Ivy. Not for the education, but for the status that it will set for her. The whole practice is unseemly, and the definition of undemocratic. And unfortunately, this scam receives almost no ink from the press.

Well, The New York Times corrects that today. Some young phone fundraiser for Brown or Columbia must have really struck some reporter's nerve, or else they've decided to chase economic stories that don't involve food or gas (finally!).

In January, the Senate Finance Committee requested detailed endowment and
spending data from 136 colleges and universities with endowments of at least
$500 million, with a possible eye to forcing them to spend at least 5 percent of
their assets each year, as foundations are required to do. Large, tax-free
endowments “should mean affordable education for more students, not just a
security blanket for colleges,” said Senator Charles
E. Grassley
, Republican of Iowa, who is reviewing the data.

Wow! You mean universities should use some of the money they raise to offset their higher costs, instead of just passing the bills to the student/consumer? What a crazy idea!

Wake up America. Today's college degree is primarily worthless unless you utilize a university's resources to find your dream job, or just want to learn a secret handshake. And even with all that, there's not much guarantee. Have your kid get a job, save their money, go to the local juco, and figure what they really want to do. Because university's breed confusion and exhaustion. That's how they keep you coming back for more degrees.

Related, a Harvard TA describes life at the square in The Times Higher Education.

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