We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Everybody should have whatever they want. So we should just outlaw prices.
Education is not a necessity. Ask Larry Ellison. It's a very good thing to have, and it's certainly something to strive for. But not everybody should get a college education. It's this mind-set which is part of the cause of increased costs.
I went to college, I did OK, I'm now retired and living well. I have personally known three millionaires in my life. None of them went to college. One sold used cars and owned an auto repair shop, a simple mechanic. Another was a salesman and sold everything including encylopedias door to door before jumping into real estate in the crash of the late 70's where he picked up homes for zero down and take over payments. He rented them out until he could sell them years later. The third may not have even graduated high school but he was a go getter and started up a few businesses before he took over someones well drilling company in a trade. He made (and still has) a million but it did take him 20 years. So which is better? I'd say there are 300 million different answers.
Tuned In, Dropped Out
Call me cynical in my old age, but the push to send everyone to college is seeming more and more a way to keep people in debt for YEARS. When you can't go to college without depending on the government (and the money awarded or loaned by the colleges is usually from the government in some form or other) it would seem to me that we are moving nicely down the progressive path of dependency. When I went to college, it cost $4000 a year, the cost of a simple new car. Now it's 3 times a car.
Not everyone is REALLY interested in sitting in classes, writing papers, studying and taking tests for 4 more years. We need those auto repairs, plumbers, and electricians, too! And many make more over a lifetime than your average doctor who is in debt for 15+ years, has to cover massive malpractice insurance whether he/she works 1 hour or 80 hours a week, and only starts making money in his 40's instead of his 20's like those with a trade.
The GI Bill after WWII had tremendous benefits for the country, but it was that moment that everyone started thinking that their kids should all go to college. We may have gotten a net loss on that in the long run.
For politicians, getting money for kids to go to college is a proxy for "doing something" about education. It doesn't improve the education itself; it doesn't necessarily improve the student; it has negative side effects that went unnoticed, such as debt, lowered standards, false equivalences of usefulness, and sense of entitlement. Still, it does actually help some kids who would not have gotten there under the old system. At best, inefficient; at worst, a net loss.
Assistant VIllage Idiot
The college diploma has become the cargo cult of modern times for the middle class and wannabe middle class. The credential is what is sold even as the "education" is what is advertised. But rather than extending a college education to all, we've ended up with a real college education being far more rare than ever.
The Business Insider ran a story '21 Ways Rich People Think Differently' covering offerings from the new book 'How Rich People Think'. Interestingly, they point out:
"Average people think the road to riches is paved with formal education. Rich people believe in acquiring specific knowledge."
In generally those who become rich, acquire and apply the elusive critical thinking and they to use learning as a tool rather than an affectation.
The only way to grant "a college education for everyone" was to reduce the value (read, difficulty, comprehensiveness of the curiculum) to the point where indeed (nearly) everyone can complete the exams.
As a result, many colleges now have packages aimed at several levels of student competence in order to cater to both the serious, capable, student and the kid who just goes there "because it's expected of me and it saves me having to get a job".
By now, we're seeing the same developing even at highschools. When I was in highschool in the 1980s (in Europe) there were already "fun curiculums" for kids who didn't want to put in effort. Not an official name, but it was understood by all what it means. No math, physics, Latin, Greek. Lots of "soft skills", history, PE, modern languages, "social studies", etc.
By the 1990s, those had become the standard packages and kids chosing the hard skills to prepare for college and universities were ridiculed almost openly by everyone from DoE level on down to their teachers.