Is 4-year college always the best choice?

To the editor:

Students are back in college. The student loan business is flourishing. The $1.5 trillion student loan debt is a crisis.

In the last 20 years or so tuition has increased at a rate of four times the rate of inflation and eight times that of household income. There has been a boom for academia. Did individual students benefit financially? Should the respective educational institutions be responsible for a portion of the student debt of those that do not graduate after six years — or those that graduate with essentially worthless degrees as relates to employment opportunities?

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni found that 68 percent of higher education institutions require three or fewer of the seven core subjects for graduation. Moreover, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that more than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a college degree. And a Market Watch survey found half of young Americans said their degree is irrelevant to their work.

I am not anti-higher education, but wonder if too much emphasis is placed on the social status of enrolling at a “four-year school.” Might there be a better route for some to follow on the road to a successful life than accumulating tens of thousands of debt while struggling for six years or more to earn a liberal arts degree, before entering the workforce full time?

Bob Jentges

North Mankato

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