April 30, 2012
Friday night on Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill (I feel I watch his show enough to call him "Bill") asked his panel if in this economy, with such a high joblessness rate, a college education is still worth it? I must say, that as an educator, at first I was offended by this question. Obviously, the enriching experience of education is definitely worth it. At the end of four years, you (hopefully) view the world through a different lens than when you started. For the enlightenment and broadened horizons alone, an education, no matter what its cost, is worth it.
Bill Maher, however, was referring to financial worth. In an economy where student debt is over one trillion dollars, where there has been a 600% increase in tuition costs since 1980, and the President of the United States says he and his wife just paid off their student loans eight years ago, is it worth it? Andrew Ross Sorkin, columnist for the New York Times, answered that it is. In this country right now the total unemployment rate is 8%. It is 13% for high-school dropouts over the age of 25, but only 4% for college grads. An education is worth it, personally, intellectually, and financially. And although I hate cliches, "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."