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The College Diploma Fraud and Its Consequences

Retired professor Robert Weissberg has a fascinating article at The American Thinker called "The College Diploma Fraud."  It describes how worthless many college degrees have become in an age of "credential-mania" (President Obama wants to double education spending to increase the number of college graduates by an additional 5 million, although there is already such a surplus of college graduates that many of them now have low-paying, unskilled jobs.) It also chronicles how college administrators pressure professors not to fail even students who cheat or are grossly incompetent, in order to artificially inflate attendance and graduation rates: they absolve even "blatant cheating," allow "failing grades to be expunged" even "after a final exam," and create "special, unadvertised minority-only courses" that give failing students "As and Bs to eradicate Ds and Fs elsewhere." Michael Snyder has an article called "16 Shocking Facts About Student Debt and the Great College Education Scam." As he notes, the Obama administration "has encouraged students to load up on college loans," even though students can end up with crippling debt and a lousy job, and even though "our economy is facing the biggest student loan debt bubble in the history of the world." At Huffington Post, an article discusses the subject of suicide and student loan debt, and a student loan debtor who confesses, "I think about jumping out the 27th floor window of my office building" because of huge law-school debts that never led to a decent job, much less a job as a lawyer. This is not an anomaly: Kelli Space graduated with $200,000 in student loans for a sociology degree and a low-paying job. A chart from the international agency OECD shows that education spending is higher per pupil in the U.S. than any other country in the world except for one, at the K-12 level. Lou Minatti notes an irony about blind support for exploding education spending:
We spend more money on education than any other country on the planet. Curiously, the same people who say that education spending is sacrosanct and cuts are bad also complain about the high cost of medical care and say that they're spending a lot less money in places like France, with better results. So why are cuts in education spending bad, but cuts in medical spending good? Someone clear this up for me.
There is actually a strong argument for trimming America's bloated education spending, as a recent commentary in the The Chronicle of Higher Education notes. The college debt bubble dwarfs the recent housing bubble in terms of its price-to-earning ratio growth.  One hundred colleges now charge $50,000 or more a year, compared to just 5 in 2008-09. College tuition has surged along with federal financial-aid spending, which effectively rewards colleges for increasing tuition. I earlier discussed the uselessness of elite law school educations (based on my experiences at Harvard).  (I once worked at the Education Department.) Image credit: Honeywell-Nobel Initiative's flickr photostream.