Why a College Education is Always Worth it


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.


  1. You’re absolutely loco, Chauncey

    College has never been more of a rip-off than it is today. The price has for tuition has risen, but the diminishing returns are clear.

    Universities have increased their administrative / clerical staff by 17%, but their faculty numbers have basically stayed flat. Meanwhile, the price for higher education has increased by something like 30% in the last 15 years.

    The government has turned into a gigantic ATM when it comes to student loans, and the suckers that withdraw are just lining the pockets of inefficient (and oftentimes, ‘for profit’) colleges and universities.

    Shame on you for sending the message you’re sending!

  2. There in lies the problem. We have Chauncey Smythingtons teaching at world-renowned business schools.

  3. No absolutly disagree….. education and learning are a progressive endeavor. In todays world u learn a bunch of superfluous crap and you get a nugget of gold interspersed in a pile of crap. But if want to be a good little worker serf then u should be enrolled right now.

  4. Zerohedgers and Libertarians,

    If you need the services of a medical doctor do you not seek the “doctor” with the best education? Do we not scrutinize and prefer ivy league doctors or would you rather just get “some guy” off the street who “kinda-makes sense but has no real education” to perform open heart surgery on your family member?

    Let’s say you want to send some people to Mars. How would you staff this project? Would you not get the best PhD’s in the planet to run this operation? Are you, Zerohedgers and Libertarians, telling me that you would prefer people with “real world experience” (whatever that means) to run your space program?

    I can provide more examples but these two alone have obliterated the arguments of Zerohedgers and Libertarians who continue to insist that “people off the street” do the job that requires the expertise gained through many years of schooling and lab work. The mere act of even acknowledging this argument with you “people off the street” is insulting the intellect of this blog’s audience.

    • Yes, I would rather have someone that has done the job at hand before. I would rather have a company that has built spacecraft, launched them, dealt with all of the oddities of space travel, and been successful in that regard over a bunch of PhD’s that teach it.

      Same with a doctor…if you offer me the choice of a person who has learned the medical trade from his doctor father since he was young and has years of real experience or a medical school graduate of the same age, I would take the person that learned from his father and has real experience.

    • Face it, 90% of college grads can’t change a tire or balance a checkbook. Only about 10% of college degrees teach anything remotely valuable.

      • Very few people go to college to major in tire repair or checking account statement reading. I’d be surprised if the number was as high as 10%.

    • wtf does this have to do with African studies majors? I’d rather have an auto mechanic operate on my heart than that type of “college grad”

  5. Excellent article Chauncey. The libertarian bias against college is a clear indication of their hatred of education. Most likely because students who have spent a lot of time in institutional education develop a deep understanding of the necessity and virtue of the state.

    • LIbertarians do not have a “bias against college” or against learning for that matter. I would wager that the average Libertarian has read more philosophy, economics, political literature, etc. than the average person from any other political persuasion. Not to mention, they have a higher propensity to seek out knowledge rather than have it fed to them through the typical Fox News/New York Times sources. It isn’t exactly popular after all.

      Libertarians simply believe in non-aggression. Plenty of Libertarians, myself for example, are college graduates. We simply realize that not all people are meant to go to college…not all jobs require college…not all majors are worth the time…and not all things are better learned in a class than on the job. We also recognize that the people that espouse the virtues of the State…are guilty of largely ignoring the problems with it…especially the large problems.

      • You covered it up well in the first paragraph, but your overuse of the ellipsis in the second betrays your lack of the crucial language and reasoning skills you might have obtained through a liberal arts degree from a peer institution. Clear communication is the most important skill for success in todays political environment. Their lack or rhetorical talent means that libertarians will never prevail in the national conversations we have over important policy issues like diversity, healthcare rights and gun control.

  6. Right on target again, MDB. This is the quality reporting one can expect from an accredited news source. We need to try to college educate as many young impressionable people as possible and instill them with progressive values before their minds can be poisoned by conservatards.

    • but we must be careful in terms of what they’re allowed to study. Should be progressive majors like wymyn’s studies or African history. Not patriarchal white privileged majors such as physics or engineering, which lack sufficient diversity both in gender and ethnicity to be considered in any way legitimate or accredited any longer

      • It took me a minute (really!) but now I get it. Trav777 you kill me. Don’t forget interior design. Oh, please remeber to keep your skin moisturized at all times whatever you do!