why college is not a quick fix for poverty

May 14, 2012 — Leave a comment

If you’re gainfully employed for all intents and purposes, and one day find yourself off work sick because while your boss wants you at work he or she isn’t interested in your germs also being in the office, you might give in and turn on some of that horrifying daytime TV. And between all the shoestring budget game and talk shows, the latter of which tend to exploit human misery and ignorance for ratings, you’ll be bombarded with countless ads for colleges. Hey you there on the couch, these ads say, fed up not having work or only working part time, always struggling to make ends meet? Got to college and not only will you get a job, you’ll make a real salary, the kind that will make your parents stop calling you a bum! We’ll help you go to college too! Just log on, sign up, and start going to classes next week to be on your way to a  rewarding career! These ads have be on for a number of years now and it’s become firmly entrenched in the mindset of those underemployed but both very ambitious and very determined, that college is the key to a better life and that graduating will bring them jobs, cars, houses, savings accounts, and all the other things they want, just like the college recruiter told them.

Kind of cruel, isn’t it? After all many of the colleges aggressively advertising to those who believe that a degree will vastly improve their lives are infamous for subsisting almost entirely on government grants, charging all if their students and arm and a leg to attend, widespread fraud on financial aid documents, and after having their students sit through courses accredited by agencies with no standards, they spit these students back out with unsustainable debt, and just as few job prospects as they had before. While what many for-profits do is usually legal, except that fraud on financial documents part, it’s unequivocally unethical and it’s made so much worse by the fact that after they’re done with a student, he can’t continue his education elsewhere or get a regionally accredited degree without having to start from scratch because his for-profit credits count towards squat at a properly accredited university. How is this legal? Well, aggressive lobbying is one reason, and how reverently we view any form of education as being a gateway to a career. Unfortunately, colleges are not magic and those who think that rushing to class will help them get a job should ask themselves who’ll pay their bills for the next three to four years and how they plan to pay off their loans if they won’t find a new job quickly…

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