In recent months, the question of whether a modern college education represents value for money has been a topic of hot debate. Unfortunately, as is so often the case these days, the discussion has generated significantly more heat than light, and young Americans making important decisions about their future could be forgiven for feeling discouraged as a result of the insidious propaganda and unfounded scare stories emanating from the “Libertarian” fringe.
Having spent almost 20 years teaching at a world-renowned Business School and advising numerous governments on educational policy, I’d like to say one thing to all young Americans: There has never been a better time to go to college!
The Knowledge Economy in which we now live and prosper requires highly-skilled workers in an almost unlimited number of fields, and the best place to acquire those skills is, you guessed it; College. All graduates are likely to see a rise in demand for their talents as the Economy goes from strength to strength, but it goes without saying that certain qualifications will always be highly regarded: A degree in law, cultural studies or creative writing is, quite literally, a golden ticket these days.
Just as important however, are the personal and cultural benefits of attending College. Countless studies have shown that young Americans tend to leave higher education with a significantly more progressive outlook on life. This is especially true of students from rural or suburban backgrounds, many of whom, sadly, only come into contact with anything closely resembling culture after leaving the family home.
The radical right’s hysterical, unfounded claims of a student credit “bubble” and constant childish attacks on the quality of American education expose the ugly foundation of anti-intellectualism on which their entire movement is based. That “Libertarians” and Conspiracy odd-balls have a hatred of all things cerebral would be merely sad, were it not for their constant noisy attempts to hijack public discourse and derail a national conversation about the most important investment young Americans will ever make.
Thankfully, if the young people I have spoken to recently are a representative sample, then right wing extremists have little hope of success. Young patriots are enthused about the future and understand that investing in a College education is a fantastic deal, one which thanks to government financing programs, is affordable to all Americans.