Government Watch / Politics

The Taxpayer-funded College Scam


For decades, parents have sacrificed and students have gone into debt to fund college degrees that lead nowhere. But the college scam may be up soon — not thanks to any moral awakening on the part of college administrators.

Instead, a tight job market is motivating more employers, including Google, IBM and some state governments, to scrap degree requirements and open up jobs to nondegree-holders. Elon Musk, who decided “college is basically for fun,” has for years evaluated applicants at Tesla based on skills, not a diploma.

This trend should make college consumers skeptical about blindly forking over a fortune. For too long, Americans have been buying the idea that a degree in something, anything, is necessary to launch a career and join the middle class.

All the while, colleges have been raising tuition mercilessly, pushing families to take on more debt to cover the hikes.

Over a lifetime, getting a college degree pays off financially. That is, unless your major has absolutely no market value, which is the case with a large number of students borrowing for college. At New York University, students who take out federal loans and major in theatre, one of the most popular choices, and graduate with a bachelor’s degree will likely earn an annual salary of only $29,054 three years after graduating, according to federal data.

On that salary, it’s impossible to pay back a loan. And it’s a moral outrage that college advisers steer students to make such choices. An NYU student choosing a bachelor’s in economics could expect to earn $73,022, and a computer science major would likely command $104,670 three years after graduating.

The U.S. Department of Education offers a College Scorecard website, which displays what graduates from each college who take out federal loans are earning three years out. Students and parents should consult it.

Political science majors at Union College in New York or Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania expect to earn under $50,000 a year three years after graduating, while students who choose economics or mechanical engineering will earn nearly double that.

Don’t count on colleges to forewarn students. Colleges are run for the benefit of the employees, not students, and certainly not the taxpayers President Joe Biden wants to saddle with unpaid college loans. It’s a racket.

At the State University of New York at Purchase, theatre is the second most popular major among students with federal loan debt. What are they thinking? A graduate can expect to earn only $36,161 three years out. After all, how many theatre experts does society need?

President Barack Obama proposed rating colleges based in part on how well their graduates earn a living and pay back their loans. The powerful higher education lobby crushed the idea.

A world without the arts would be dreary. But that doesn’t mean students should major in these fields, oblivious to how little they’re apt to earn, and that taxpayers should end up holding the bag.

Economically savvy students are already switching to STEM majors — science, technology, engineering and math.

Regardless of majors, students are being saddled with the soaring cost of noninstructional bureaucracy. Call it the higher education gravy train. Students are merely the pack mules hauling in the federal loan money to keep the train running.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion officers are a big part of the cost. A survey of 65 prominent universities found they have more DEI officers than history professors. On average, there are 45 DEI officers at each school. That’s enough to form a human chain if a conservative attempts to speak on campus.

Michael Thaddeus, math professor and former department chair at Columbia University, reports that “we now have about 4,500 administrators on the main campus, about three times the number of faculty.”

Thaddeus turned into a whistleblower, challenging Columbia’s No. 2 ranking on U.S. News & World Report. He claims the university falsified what it spends on instruction compared with bureaucracy.

Falsified? Maybe, but the bigger ruse is that an exorbitantly priced piece of sheepskin is the only way to launch a successful work life. Not necessarily. Caveat emptor to all buyers, including parents and taxpayers stuck with the unpaid loans.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey.


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Robin W Boyd
2 months ago

Tax dollars should never be used for any social issue. To do so is to redistribute money from those who produce to those who do not. That is Socialism. The U.S. is not a Socialist nation. We must rid government of all Socialism!

2 months ago

Look. We are at the end of the currency. THEY MUST CONTINUE TO INFLATE.

Student loans were were just another way to inflate the currency.

2 months ago

Indoctrination centers that steal the money of so many people. Many degrees you can wipe your you know what with.

William C Smith
2 months ago

The education industry needs to be dismantled, re-imagined by mature, patriotic American adults, and re-built with curricula designed and intendd to prepare young people to be constructive participants and eneregizers of the economic forces which provide the basic,traditional capitalistic components which propel this nation along. This has always been a nation of producers, not takers.

The Armstrong Family
2 months ago

Go get a trade school education, and the training, while doing it. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc. will name their price in the future!!

anna hubert
2 months ago

High schools are producing subliterate material How could something like that function in college unless it functions as high school of yesterday An unpardonable hoax is being perpetrated against students who have no idea how ignorant they really are by design

2 months ago

College rates have increased a lot more than inflation since the 90s & the salaries of college admin are as much or more than Corporations that jumped on greed for money. How can college justify +$millions for President , football coaches, etc.

Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Since students take loans to attend college X, let college X pay down loans
(aside for Off campus housing).
ALL colleges

Nick Murphy
2 months ago

Liberal Democrat Marxist always push college education. It’s there indoctrination ground for the youth of America. How else are they going to learn that if your opinion is different than mine violence is okay. My question to everyone is: who’s going to fix your car who’s going to build your house who’s going to do your wiring who’s going to do your plumbing who’s going to drive the truck to get your groceries to the store. Being huge supporters of unions Democrats certainly don’t like the trades. Traditionally people that work in the trades are very conservative. College students are super liberal. Let me think which ones do the Democrats liberal Marxist want?

2 months ago

By paying their Collage debt two things are allowed.

*Colleges give you a piece of paper which does not train you for the world while the Collages get a financial free for all to over pay the school and the professors.

*It trains the students to not be responsible for debt, their future children or anything else.

*Finally shame on students for not seeing the political play of no college debt for a vote. Business need to go back to skills, responsibility and attitude.

David Millikan
2 months ago

So Doctors that are a Million or so in Student Loans Debt shouldn’t have to pay back anything under this SCAM making Tax Payers fork their Bill.
Then take the rest of those with Student Loans Debt and ADD that up and what do you get?

2 months ago

Didn’t college rates sky rocket after obama decided the federal government would take over student loans? Wasn’t the plan all along was for bailouts?

2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

Yes and yes.

2 months ago

Speaking from experience and a long and very successful career in IT, I am now retired and living the good life. With only a High School degree. The rest was extra effort, long hours, hard work, sacrifice, savings…
Many of the degrees students are coming out of college with are a shame – 4 years in bag-pipping?
Yes, I want my doctor well schooled and up-to-date with the science, but there are many professions that can be learned in numerous different ways with certifications to prove out competency.
As pointed out much of the high costs for these degrees are unjustified. Millions in departments for Diversity and/or Activism? Not only unnecessary but totally counter-productive to the good of the nation. When we toured colleges several years ago looking at options the focus would be on residences, clubs, multi-million dollar sports facilities and dining. What happened to academics?
For all of these Educated Education Professionals you would think they could do better preparing our youth to be productive and successful members of society.

2 months ago
Reply to  ezed2109

Quite a number of decades ago, higher education morphed into a business. A very big and profitable business, that is now focused exclusively on hyping the absolute must have “need” for a college degree, rather than preparing young adults for their careers in various fields. The end goal shifted from turning out the most educated, well-informed minds possible in various fields, but instead into promoting “the college experience”. Thus the focus shifted from the quality and competency of the educators, the labs and facilities available to promote the most effective and current forms of learning a particular subject to a focus on the college experience. So it all became about the residences, clubs, the stadiums, the social experiences of college life.

When you go to most colleges today, the Professors actually teach very few classes themselves. Instead you have most classes taught by TAs, who get part or all their college costs picked-up by the college in exchange for them essentially being unpaid teachers. If you look at the administrative staff versus the actual teaching staff at most colleges today, you will find they equal or exceed the actual teachers you’re paying outragious tuitions for. It’s a money machine and the product is the supposed benefit and status that a college degree conveys to its recipient.

The problem is a college graduate used to be somewhat of a rarity 60, 70 or 80 years ago, so businesses valued that scarce commodity at a higher premium. Thus the higher salaries for those with college degrees. Today, you can get a college degree in almost anything and with the federal government takeover of the student loan program under Obama, student loans are handed out like water. So today a college degree has no more premium in the private sector, then a high school diploma had 60 years ago. The scarcity is gone and the education offered in most non-STEM majors is barely above what would have been accomplished in some of the better private high schools 50 or 60 years ago.

2 months ago

A simple cost / benefit analysis for determining if it is worth pursuing a degree in a particular field literally takes less than 15 minutes in most cases. Something that virtually everyone should be able to do BEFORE signing on the dotted line for any sort of educational financing. Take the emotional want of “What is your dream career” out of the equation for a few minutes and just do the simple calculations to see if it makes financial sense. Outside of certain limited STEM related careers and careers in say medicine or legal, an average 4 year college degree is NOT financially worth it for most people. The average starting salaries, and the top end salaries one would realistically expect to achieve after 15 or 20 years in a given field, aren’t sufficient in a lot of cases to justify taking on a high level of debt for most of what is taught in college today. This is the practical consideration one must take into account before rushing to sign on the bottom line.

The type of work the average person does during their careers usually does NOT necessitate nor justify the massive amount of personal debt one would be signing up for in a number of majors offered. A lot of companies are finally starting to realize the truth about what a degreed worker actually delivers in terms of value add above and beyond a non-degreed worker with real world experience and alternative training and they are adjusting their demands on applicants accordingly.

A college education in the United States, in general, has been significantly over-hyped as a must-have necessity for the vast majority of careers for at least 50 years in this country. All while the quality of the education received has steadily declined over that same time frame. Today, the first year or even two years of college is basically remedial education to make up for what the student wasn’t taught properly or at all in high school. Which has also significantly deteriorated in terms of quality and content over the last 50 years. So for most people, what they are getting out of a lot of course studies offered is little more than what offered at some top tier high schools 75 or 80 years ago in terms of your typical liberal arts degree.

2 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Does your cost/benefit analysis include the fact that most students receive some sort of financial aid? I believe that’s one reason the tuitions are so high; they need to finance the financial aid that is given out. Sort of a Marx’s type of income redistribution.

2 months ago

I don’t feel one iota of sadness for them…

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