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College Scam Responses

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In 2011 a wave of skeptical opinions towards college education became critical. Controversy in society was enhanced by the release of College Conspiracy documentary with the support National Inflation Association. Critics questioned the documentary character of the film and emphasized its bias, for the opposite side of the issue was not addressed. The discussion absent in the movie was vigorously started in mass media. Journalists and bloggers argued whether attending college with all the costs of studying and the quality of obtained knowledge is such an indispensable part of professional and personal success. Four authors present their opinions on the issue based both on facts and values.

The article “Is College a Scam?” published in the international newspaper The Christian Science Monitor refers to College Conspiracy film. At first the authors adduce anti-college arguments mentioning high tuition fees, low-paying jobs of graduates, financial incentives of enrolling and enlisting persons whose “rocket-ride to fame and fortune” did not include a degree. Presenting the pro arguments, authors of the article suggest that in current global economic conditions college education is a great advantage. They conclude by mentioning other employment, social and cultural benefits obtained with college degrees and state that online courses can present new higher education solutions.

David Leonhardt, the author of The New York Times article “Even for Cashiers, College Pays Off”, supports the previous idea and begins his argument with a historical overview of the importance of college. Continuing defending higher education, the author quotes an economist who suggests that not sending young Americans to college “would be a disaster”. Leonhardt asserts the anti-college movement as a depressing factor for the youth causing them to reduce their standards and give up their goals. He also argues that people with college degrees are less likely to end up unemployed and that during studying a person acquires a whole range of skills which will be useful in life. The author concludes that an absolute majority of parents want their children to obtain a college education.

The third article which published at Fox News site and entitled “The College Scam” by John Stossel, a renowned college education opponent, is based both on the examples of successful college dropouts and the author’s personal experience. Stossel supports the idea that a talented and diligent person does not need to spend thousands of dollars for four years of studying in order to achieve high goals. The author questions the quality of education and competences of professors and argues that his college years were practically a waste of time, for he learnt much more at his first job. Vigorous governmental support of college education remains a mystery to Stossel.

Finally, a famous Californian career coach Marty Nemko writes about colleges as of financial and psychological abyss. At his blog entry entitled “America’s Most Overrated Product: Higher Education” the author refers to already mentioned doubts about the quality of college knowledge quoting disastrous statistics of low skill levels of the graduates. The original approach of Nemko is revealed by the solutions he offers to improve undergraduate education focusing on strict governmental control sarcastically calling colleges “American sacred cows”. Concluding his argument, the author advices parents to examine their children’s prospects carefully and, as practically all abovementioned journalists, provides a list of successful celebrities without college degrees. Thus, Nemko is rather for critical thinking than against colleges.

Summarizing the arguments, one should state that the presented articles manifest either radical or medium approaches to college education. The most zealous opponent is John Stossel with his self-made men arguments. Nemko and The Christian Science Monitor try to investigate the alternatives, although the former encourages contemplating the need of graduating from the future life perspective and the latter simply offers different kinds of college education. Leonhardt builds his pro-college arguments on employment and social statistics favoring the graduates.

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