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Four Views to The College Conspiracy Essay

In May of 2011 a video by the National Inflation Association (N.I.A) surfaced on YouTube gathering over two million views and opening the eyes of people to the American college system. According to the producers of this video, “College is the largest scam in US history!” Is college a worth-while investment? Is it just a way for the government to stimulate the economy? Are college degrees really a necessity in performing on the job? All of these questions have been asked and answered with both yes and no. Four writers with different views on this matter have written up articles concerning this issue. While reading through the articles one will notice that the views for each author are backed up by examples and statistics but differ in viewpoints, resulting taking different sides to this topic.

In the first article, by The Christian Science Monitor, examples of successful entrepreneurs without degrees like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Peter Thiel of Paypal were given to the audience. The writer then expresses his belief that not everyone is cut out for college, some would be better suited to vocational training, but the United States needs more well-educated people to compete in the world economy. Statistics on how college degree recipients have a decreased likelihood of unemployment and receive increased wages on average are then given.

The next article, from the New York Times, opens up by revisiting America’s past decision to make high school open to the public and how education has benefitted the United States. The writer makes a comparison between the current situation of the importance of higher education to the America’s past decision. Studies stated that prove a bachelor’s degree is an asset even for those whose jobs do not require any degree. He states that, beyond the monetary value of a degree, education seems to make people happier and healthier. Quoting M.I.T economist, David Autor, writer states his opinion on how not sending a child to college would be a disaster.

Different statistical evidence were then used. Once financial aid was taken into account, the average net tuition of public four-year college were approximately $2000, a lot less than what most people presume the cost to be. A recipient of a college degree makes 83 percent more than those with only a high-school diploma. Citing the Hamilton Project, a research group in Washington, an investment in a college degree has a 15 percent annual return, 8 percent more than stock investment, and 14 percent more than in real estate.

On the other hand, article three, by John Stossel disagrees with the potency of a college education in the working world. He starts the article with examples of successful non-degree holders, Michael Dell, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Simon Cowell and Peter Jennings. Stossel then shares his opinion that for many people, college is a scam. He then states the opinions of his Fox Televison partner Richard Vedder.

Sharing similar view points, Vedder reasons out that students who do well in college often did well in high school, even though most students, even those who did poorly in high school, are pushed into college. He then asks as to why colleges accept the lower-tier of students and answers that question by stating that government loans ensure students are able to pay for college, even at the risk of long term debt, which fuels the academia. Giving out some statistics to back up the claim, Stossels points out the high percentages of baggage porters, bellhops and taxi and limo drivers have a college degree that they did not require to obtain their current jobs.

The last article comes from Marty Nemko, a career counselor. She gives her personal experiences during her job when students are disturbed by the amount of money they have already spent on their education but still lack the units to complete their degree program. She then gives out the statistic that among college freshman who graduated in the bottom 40 percent of their high school, 76 percent won’t earn a diploma even if given 8 ½ years. Yet colleges admit these students and take their money. 23 percent of the students themselves are unprepared for college and students learn less in college than what is led on to believe, only having 16.4 percent of students satisfied with the instruction given to them.

These four sources gave their own personal opinions and back them up with sufficient evidence in the form of examples, testimonies, and statistics. The Christian Science Monitor takes into account, not only each individuals need for a college degree, but also the country’s need for college graduates to compete in the world market. The New York Times’ article takes finances into account giving reasons to why college degrees are actually affordable, with the proper financial aid, and how they pay off once they’re put to good use.

John Stossel takes his views the college system as a for profit organization, where, although some are able to use their education in the working world, many don’t and the college system takes advantage of the mass of hopefuls who try to better their lives, successful or not. Marty Nemko draws from her own personal experiences as a career counselor dealing with college students and their problems in taking the college route. What the discussion comes down to is how are the four authors interpreting the data they are given and how do their own viewpoints make them subjective to the matter. One side believes that a college education is a worth-while investment while the other believes that it is just a waste of time and money.

Works Cited
“America’s Most Overrated Product: Higher Education.” What Colleges Must Do: What Parents Must Do. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Jan. 2013. “The College Scam.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 06 July 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2013. “Is College a Scam?” The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor, 15 Sept. 2011. Web. 25 Jan. 2013. Leonhardt, David. “ECONOMIC SCENE; Even for Cashiers, College Pays Off.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 June 2011. Web. 26 Jan. 2013.

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