The Missed Fundamental Point
The fundamental point that Cheever argues that is missed by government legislators isn’t that the cost of education is increasing exponentially rather it is whether students gain anything from the education they pay for. As Cheever’s indicates, in a regular free-market environment there is a certain degree of relative quality that comes with the cost of a product, the higher the quality the higher the inherent cost of the product purchased.
In the case of education, the increasing costs don’t match any subsequent increase in the perceived quality of education. Classes are often not taught by professors but rather by teaching assistants, there is no inherent guarantee made by the schools that by gaining a college education you will immediately be entitled to a job commensurate with your degree and it is often the case that college students have to start at the very bottom of the company with jobs that don’t necessarily entail the knowledge gained in college.
Investing instead of Educating
In one instance Cheever makes the argument that the amount of money that goes into a college education would be better served in other investments that produce an immediate and tangible result. He does this by comparing the difference in average pay over a lifetime between college graduates and high school graduates and states that the same amount of money used to buy a college education could have been used to invest in the stock market yielding double the average returns of the pay difference between a college and high school graduate. What must be understood is that this argument bases itself on the fact that a person does not necessarily need to graduate from college to become successful.
Some of the richest and most successful men on Earth never finished their college degrees and the fact remains that various alternative paths can be pursued which can result in the same amount of success. This is what Cheever is trying to indicate when he mentions investing, it isn’t that he wants people to invest per see but rather he wants them to evaluate the costs of getting into college versus what the outcome would be if they didn’t and if they would become just as successful.
Lastly, educational value for Cheever is for him measured in the quality of education received. He argues that since it is usually teaching assistants instead of professors that are doing the teaching, that classes are too large and that professors are unable to establish personal working relationships with students this results in a subpar educational experience being given to students despite the exorbitant costs they are forced to pay. While I do agree with the points Cheever makes I have to say that he neglected to indicate a value about the applicability to real-world job skills. For example, people with a degree in ancient civilizations have a limited job market due to the type of degree attained, and as such even if the type of education was the best in the world its overall value is questionable at best.
Responding in Writing
After reading this article and evaluating the current job market both here and abroad it sometimes makes me wonder whether I will truly get my money’s worth after I attain my degree. The school cannot guarantee me a job and with the current job market the way it is at the present it is highly likely that once I graduate I won’t be able to get a job for several months. As such the return on my investment which should be a high-paying job probably won’t happen for years and at times makes me doubt the value of a college education.