I suppose it all depends on your definition of “college education.” I do believe the traditional model of borrowing a ton of money to spend 4+ years listening to lectures in “studies” of questionable merit will soon die. It’s just not worth the money anymore. As Barone puts it: “Is a degree in religious and women’s studies worth $100,000 in student-loan debt? Probably not.”
On the other hand, with public high schools failing to teach the essentials, we’ll have to learn them somewhere. Online, community colleges, corporate (remedial) training.
Michael Barone on the bubble in higher ed
For years, government has assumed it’s a good thing to go to college. College graduates tend to earn more money than non–college graduates.
Politicians of both parties have called for giving everybody a chance to go to college, just as they called for giving everybody a chance to buy a home.
So government has been subsidizing higher education with low-interest college loans, Pell grants, and cheap tuition at state colleges and universities.
The predictable result is that higher-education costs have risen much faster than inflation, much faster than personal incomes, much faster than the economy has expanded over the past 40 years.
Subsidies create incentives for what economists call rent-seeking behavior. Providers of supposedly beneficial goods or services try to sop up as much of the subsidy money as they can by raising prices. After all, their customers are paying with money supplied by the government.
Bubble money, as it turns out. And sooner or later, bubbles burst.