RON HART: Higher cred: Degrees cost more but are worth less

Published: Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 09:20 AM.

If a professor has a real idea, have him submit it to Silicon Valley, Wall Street or corporate America's R&D departments.  See if they will buy the idea and pay the professor and the college for their work. Otherwise, this is an odd and wasteful subculture in academia that does no one any good. End it.

There was actually a study by the University of Maryland, funded by our tax dollars, that said a chemical element had been discovered that made females talk twice as much as males. I could have told them that element is Pinot Grigio.

Control Costs:Education is fraught with waste. In most cases, colleges are government-controlled oligopolies. Student loan debt just surpassed credit card debt at over $1trillion. More than half of recent college grads are un- or under-employed. Like the housing crisis, when government funds something it creates a bubble. Such is the case with student loans, signed for by vulnerable 18 year-old kids at an age when they would finance a tattoo if you front the money.

Apply basic tenets of economics so children aren't tenants in their parents' basements.

When I got out of grad school in 1983, college cost $10,000. It has increased more than twice the rate of inflation (6.9 percent versus 2.9 percent for CPI) over the ensuing years and now costs on average about $60,000. It would be only $22,000 had colleges kept their costs in line with inflation.

For the last 10 years, hospital service costs are up 68 percent and college tuition and fees 73.2 percent. Obviously, where government sticks its nose, it costs us more. By comparison, free-market items like TVs are down 74 percent in cost; toys are down 37 percent for the same period. If colleges and teachers really “cared about the students and education,” they would keep their costs reasonable and better prepare their graduates.

There remains an odd affection for one’s college. Consider a recent "Onion" headline: “Man Has Alarming Level Of Pride In Institution That Left Him $50,000 In Debt, Inadequately Prepared For Job Market.” In humor there is truth.

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