Should goverment divest itself from college?

Ohio University economics professor Richard Vedder, an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, discusses why a college education is not the public good its supporters make it out to be and might not be the best investment for the U.S. government:

  • Income inequality has increased in the past four decades of rapidly rising higher education, and the proportion of college students from low income groups is smaller today than four decades ago despite massive expansion of federal loan/aid programs;
  • The statistical correlation between state government higher education spending and economic growth is negative, not positive, suggesting the positive economic spillover effects of governmental university aid are non-existent and maybe even negative;
  • Despite rising higher education attainment, crime rates have not fallen dramatically, voter participation has not risen, volunteerism has not dramatically increased, and other alleged social positive spillover effects of more higher education are  not apparent;
  • Even if there were some positive external benefits, the sharp rise in higher education costs would call into question whether those benefits exceed the costs.
  • Some two million articles are written for academic journals annually, most of which are little read trivial refinements on topics previously well researched and understood.

And he thinks we’re not doing ourselves any favors by admitting students with “lower levels of motivation, prior academic achievement and, yes, human intelligence.”

Read his full Forbes essay here.