My respect for professors has plummetted

Started Sep 16, 2013 | Discussions thread
jkoch2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,198
Textbook costs

$180 is not much to pay, if the studen really does acquire proficiency in Calculus or physics.  But books are only a tiny part of the costs of higher education these days, and very few people complete college with any competency in anything whatever, other than perhaps a notion that education conveys an entitlement or serves as a door-opener--which it does not.

Publishers frequently change the study questions, and quiz designs, making it difficult to continue using the same materials.  There is also an industry of cheaters who sell answers to last year's tests, making it undesirable to use the same test materials over and over.  If an instructor wants to win appointment to a tenured position, he doesn't waste a lot of time designing, revising, or scoring tests, or fretting over the affordability of education.  All the money and incentives steer the successful academic in the direction of publishing, consulting, fund-raising, and hob-nobbing with high administrators.

There is no real price competition in higher education.  The costs of public schools, with the better part of their expenses supported by the taxpayers, are disguised in the mysteries of public budgets and future pension and health benefits.  The costs of private schools are disguised by government loans and by the illusion that degrees will win jobs that compensate the costs, rather than simply raise the ante for jobs that don't require college to learn.

The "bubble" comes to an end when rising costs eclipse the availabillity of jobs, and student loans become unpayable.  Of course, some will argue that the loans be foregiven, which will simply be an incentive for a new round of plunder.

A smart parent would save money and trouble by encouraging an 18 year-old to attend a community college for two years, or simply enroll in an online program, and then transfer in the junior year, once the performance and goals are better known.

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