An entire library could be filled with books lamenting the present state of higher education in the arts and humanities — the lack of intellectual diversity, the dumbing down of courses to accommodate the unmotivated lowest denominator who must not be failed on principle, and other well-publicized grievances. So while knowledgeable observers agree that a university degree is a sine qua non for the job market, they also agree that while it is serving more numerous clients, higher ed is delivering less than it did as an elite institution. Many undergrad degrees conferred today are largely pro forma, as universities are not producing a plethora of critical thinkers or even proficient writers.Welcome to the fight.
Richard Vedder concurs, with a useful bit of allowing for risk and uncertainty.
The “college-for-all” crowd, personified by President Obama and the Lumina Foundation, argues, correctly, that the average college graduate earns more than the average high-school one. But that calculation fails to use a more appropriate measure (more of a Bayesian approach to the statistical cognoscenti) to analyze the returns to college. Specifically, if 45 percent or so of students fail to graduate in six years, earnings comparisons unadjusted for the high risk of dropping out are totally inappropriate.The human-capital and job-market-signalling folks can have all sorts of fun now.