Do you re­ally need that Scam U. de­gree?

The Republican Herald - - OPINION - Jim Mullen (Mullen is a writer for United Fea­ture Syn­di­cate)

Col­lege is a scam. There are a thou­sand rea­sons why I’m say­ing this, but maybe this is the best one: Would you buy any­thing else for $200,000 or more that you couldn’t re­turn and get your money back? Don’t like the Fer­rari? Give it back. Don’t like your house? Sell it. Your kid comes out of col­lege dumber than he or she went in? Tough.

I live near a town with a com­mu­nity col­lege. Mon­day night, I drove down that town’s main street and saw sev­eral fresh­man­aged cou­ples walk­ing hand in hand. The se­mes­ter is only 10 days old and al­ready they’ve man­aged to fit in ori­en­ta­tion, a few classes and a main squeeze. I won­der how those re­la­tion­ships will turn out? No doubt it’s true love.

Then I saw a car go by with four fresh­man-aged stu­dents in it. It had a li­cense plate from eight states away. This is a com­mu­nity col­lege. There had to be a place closer to home that of­fers the same or bet­ter cour­ses than this one. No, these kids chose the Col­lege of Get­ting as Far Away From My Par­ents as I Can. If they were pay­ing for it, do you think they might have made a dif­fer­ent choice? If the par­ents pay for ev­ery­thing, why try harder? Gee, I can’t wait to hire a kid that just bought a de­gree and spent the last six years (no one grad­u­ates in four years any­more) binge drink­ing and dat­ing.

How would you get kicked out of com­mu­nity col­lege? Ap­par­ently, it is not pos­si­ble. You can set fire to your dorm room (ex­cuse me, dorm condo), rape, pil­lage and steal, and the most that will hap­pen is that the stu­dent will get a hard talk­ing to and a bill for dam­ages. Of course they won’t kick you out; you’re the goose that lays the golden eggs. Well, not you the stu­dent, but you the par­ent.

Banks pay fines for laun­der­ing drug money and for open­ing fraud­u­lent ac­counts, and no one goes to jail. Just like col­lege. I won­der if there’s a con­nec­tion? Score one for be­ing col­lege “ed­u­cated.”

The pro­fes­sors, who now get graded by the stu­dents, are paid the same as they were 10 years ago, or even less. The col­lege ad­min­is­tra­tors make all the money. Their main job is to raise money to pay them­selves more money be­cause they raised more money.

Mean­while, try to hire a plumber. Are you sure you want a plumber, mis­ter? Don’t you re­ally want a fine arts or a poli-sci ma­jor to come over and tell you that you are the prob­lem, not your toi­let?

If the idea of a col­lege ed­u­ca­tion is to make more money, let’s do the math. If the par­ents had bought $200,000 of Ama­zon stock a year ago, they would have made $42,000. Add even a min­i­mum wage job to that, and I think most 18-year-olds would be quite happy.

Scam U. won’t tell you that there are plenty of high-pay­ing jobs that don’t call for col­lege de­grees. A stock­bro­ker needs a li­cense, not a de­gree. A real es­tate bro­ker needs a li­cense, not a de­gree. In some states, that takes three days. Plum­bers, elec­tri­cians, me­chan­ics and con­trac­tors need li­censes, not de­grees. Some pro­fes­sions do need de­grees and ad­vanced de­grees — doc­tors, nurses, lawyers, physi­cists, en­gi­neers — but how many times have you ever said, “I need a cre­ative writer!” Or, “Quick, get me an English lit ma­jor!”

Em­ploy­ers who won’t in­ter­view peo­ple with­out de­grees for jobs that don’t need them should step up to the plate and say, “We hire tal­ent — not diplo­mas.”

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