The Higher Education Bubble

Today, The Daily Infographic has published information about the new economic bubble – students loans. It highlights the skyrocketing cost of higher education, the replacement of grants/scholarships with student loans, and the decline in value of a college education. It’s a very interesting and disturbing read.


6 thoughts on “The Higher Education Bubble

  1. Jim Wheeler

    I am very impressed. This powerful graphic tells the whole story with great efficiency.

    I have tried to write about the same things, but I never approached doing it as well as this does. I suspect that most businesses and most people sense all these things are true, and yet, the education establishment has a virtual monopoly on their product because they are the default method to filter out the better from the worse. This same subject bears on my latest post, Problem Productivity. I hope you will give me feedback on that, Jen.

    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      You know, it’s such a difficult problem to address. A lot of it, I believe, is the American mentality that college is the guarantor of success. Also, it is the younger generation that truly bears this burden. I know that my parents often react with a shrug and say “We had student loans.” However, $2k of student loans in 1974 doesn’t remotely compare to $25K in 2011. Also, in the past, if you had a college degree you were guaranteed a job – a good job (so long as you were willing to work hard). Now, college degrees do not seem to set anyone out from the crowd. Thanks for your input Jim! I’m going to head over to your blog right now!

  2. PiedType

    My son also has referred to this as an education bubble (maybe he saw this article) and expressed his hope that it bursts before his kids, ages 9 and 5, reach college. I hope so too, because at the current rate of increase, I don’t see how they’ll afford it. And being from a family of college educated people, I still find it hard to dismiss the importance of higher education, if not for its job-getting ability, then for its personal broadening and enrichment.

  3. Jim Wheeler

    I love these infographics! Many thanks, Jennifer, for introducing us to them.

    I had one more thought to add to this one. The price of the product in The American college business is principally the labor of the professors and administrators. Those in turn have been successful in establishing a monopoly, so successful in fact that they are close to bleeding their clientele dry. The normal rules of capitalism do not apply to this business because society sees its product, a product without quality standards, as essential.

    1. Jennifer Lockett Post author

      Infographics are fabulous!!! They really do help to highlight information.

      Yes, the issue of pay and product of American Colleges is problematic. The reality is that the educators tend to make very little money – most of the high salaries are high level administration (Provost, President, etc). Heck, when I taught adjunct at universities (more than half of professors at universities are part-time), I generally made less than $20/hour (only counting teaching time). Cal State Professors are currently looking at striking over the pay disparities.


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