Anytime you have people with power over others on a very large scale, corruption of some form follows. American colleges and universities have hidden their profit machine behind the “importance” of education for far too long.
Don’t get me wrong, education is very important. A college degree is still a major accomplishment and should earn the recipient more income over their lifetime than a person without. We still and always will have professions were college is required to learn the needed skills to perform the job, ie. doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. In time, colleges have found creative ways to increase their bottom line by taking advantage of students who want or need a receive a degree.
The world is simply a different place than it was 10-20 years ago or even longer. Throughout history, upper-level education was provided to a select few, usually the rich and privileged. When everyone has a degree, the degree distinguishes you less compared to those without, than it did in the past. It’s basic supply and demand. Those who earned college degrees from 1940-1990 had a major advantage over their competition. Since the majority of citizens didn’t attend college, these degrees had much more value as a whole. People began to see the importance of a degree and loan sharks began to make it possible for everyone to attend for a price.
Real Life Example: A friend of mine graduated from a 4-year state university with a degree in elementary education in May 2009. Her graduating class had nearly 60 students receive the same degree. In December of 2009, another class graduated with close to the same # of students. Our county of roughly 90,000 citizens has close to 60 elementary schools, charter schools, and private schools for these new elementary teachers to apply it. My friend was one of the lucky 20 or so graduates from her class to get a job as a first-year teacher.