Mike Rowe is a TV personality who is best known for a show called Dirty Jobs. In actuality, he is just a guy who believes in hard work and learning a skill. Recently he was on Glenn Beck’s tv show and gave some stats that are amazing, and should cause universities to stop and reevaluate what they do.
He said the following: (link to video)
“Of the 3 million jobs currently available that companies are struggling to fill, what percentage would you guess require a 4 year degree? Estimates are between 8-12 percent.”
Wow. And yet there is a big push on in the US to get more kids to go to college. Why? There are schools that actually teach real marketable skills that would be much more useful to these students than getting a Ph.D in English for example.
I’m not saying nobody should go to college. It’s just clear to me we have a mis-allocation of resources in this country, which is the inevitable result of government intervention in a market. If we stopped all student loans and just had people pay their own way several things would happen. First, many universities would go out of business. Second, private sources of funding would emerge but it would be much more closely tied to how likely the student is to be able to pay it back. Third, the price to take a college class would plummet as schools drastically changed their models and incorporated productivity enhancing technology into the mix. Fourth, only the people who really wanted to learn college things would go to college, the rest would go learn a trade from a tech school or via apprenticeships.
What we have now is a falling labor participation rate and yet a Trillion dollars in student loan debt. These students are in a deep hole with few ways out. Turns out the math doesn’t work for them either.