John Locke Update / Impact Newsletter

Does Everyone Really Need a College Degree?

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George Leef scored with several national online publications recently by addressing this fundamental question. His piece on “The American Degree Mania” was published on a forum of the National Association of Scholars. In it, he responded to an Alan Contreras essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Contreras had argued against the conventional wisdom that a college degree is something virtually everyone should pursue. Wrote Leef: “I’m with him in spirit, but colleges and universities have grown fat and happy by peddling degrees for everything they can think of. The current degree mania helps to keep classes filled and professor and administrators employed. I suspect that the only way to restore sense in this area is for state and federal government to stop subsidizing higher education.” It was Leef’s perspective on the 60th anniversary of the G.I. Bill that grabbed the attention of Freedom Daily, the online site of the Future of Freedom Foundation. He noted that success in life isn’t necessarily predicated on a college degree. “By subsidizing it heavily for the last 60 years, the federal government has turned the college degree from a mark of important personal accomplishment into just a credential that doesn’t necessarily mean anything except that the student managed to accumulate enough credits,” Leef wrote. He discussed his views on this and other higher education issues in a speech Wednesday to the Holly Springs Rotary Club. More than 30 business and community leaders were in attendance.

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