As some universities transform into hedge funds with a vestigial educational arm, they are producing a lost generation destroyed by debt and unable to market the skills they learned as undergraduates.
Millions of Americans are stuck in insurmountable debt, and their four year degrees have failed to land them a decent-paying job in their field of study. This has resulted in young people moving back in with their parents after failing to find either money or love. It’s no coincidence that as debt has skyrocketed, fertility rates have plummeted.
This is 21st century America, which is no longer the land of opportunity. So, how did we get here?
Conservatives love to emphasize how colleges indoctrinate their children. An analysis conducted last year by Brooklyn College professor Mitchell Langbert tracked the party affiliations of 8,688 tenured university professors at top universities, and found that there were more than ten times the amount of registered Democrats as registered Republicans.
Plenty of other studies have also borne out the sharp reality that the men and women responsible for teaching the next generation of Americans are overwhelmingly slanted toward one side of the political spectrum.
“It’s a systematic thing,” Accuracy in Media chairman Don Irvine told The Daily Caller. “There’s not a lot of checks and balances in higher education.”
“It’s created an entire generation of Americans who are unable to tolerate new ideas,” Young America’s Foundation (YAF) spokesman Spencer Brown told The Daily Caller. “The result of higher education being so monolithic is an echo chamber where students don’t have an opportunity to hear conservative ideas.”
Irvine insists that it’s not just college professors who are promoting a closed-minded approach to political discourse.
“By the time [Kids] reach college, they’re going to have one point of view and that point of view is going to be very far Left,” he said.
Conservative or center-right speakers such as Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson, David Horowitz, Charles Murray, and plenty of others have been shouted down, had to pay hefty security costs, and have been subject to threats against themselves and their families, all for the simple act of offering their opinion in a public space. (RELATED: University Of Cambridge Rescinds Jordan Peterson Invitation After Backlash)
John Banzhaf, a professor at George Washington University law school said that universities must do a better job protecting First Amendment rights on campus.
“Administrators are even more liberal and Democratic than professors, and they are the ones that set the tone,” Banzhaf said. “The ability of people being able to speak out is being squashed.”
Few things in life are more costly than a college education, and the costs are measured in far more than dollars and cents. Student loan debt in the U.S. currently exceeds $1.5 trillion, and is growing by the minute. Some students are taking in six-figure debt. Students sometimes find themselves with tens of thousands of dollars in debt, with little to show for it but a frivolous degree in gender studies or sociology, which more often than not will not lead to well-paid employment opportunities for students.
The system is kind of set up to fail students,” Irvine said. “The colleges and universities are set up in a way to encourage loan debt.”
Could it be that these universities aren’t preparing students for success in the real world?
“The whole point of higher education has been corrupted,” Brown said. “There’s a skills gap that has become a big problem.”
Evidence suggests that said gap is significantly hampering the economic growth of the U.S. While unemployment is at historic lows, underemployment is creating real, long-lasting problems in the American economy. Last year, the number of job openings in the U.S. hit a record 7.1 million. However, this phenomenon can’t just be blamed on universities; students bear some responsibility for preparing themselves for the 21st century economy. (RELATED: Yale Endowment Head Slams Student Editor As A ‘Coward’ After Editing His Column)
“To a certain extent, the blame or responsibility has to lie on the student,” Banzhaf said. “They could choose majors which are much more likely to provide employment.”
But, the ignorance of 18-year-olds is not a sufficient reason to ignore the rapacity of universities. According to a report from business insiders, ten public schools hold endowments of roughly $3 billion or more, yet tuition continues to rise. Public universities are funded by taxpayers, and even private universities such as Harvard and Yale — which have endowments worth roughly $40 billion, and $30 billion respectively — receive huge tax-breaks and research grants. (RELATED: REPORT: US Student Loan Debt Hits All-Time High Of Nearly $1.5 Trillion)
If these schools are receiving millions in public money, shouldn’t they exist to serve the public?
At a time when the message of nationalism is resonating in America and across the globe like never before, American universities have moved in the opposite direction.
No country in the world brings in more international exchange students than the U.S., but many of those students don’t stay in America, instead taking the skills learned in this country back to their own, strengthening their homeland and leaving ours behind.
According to the Migration Policy Institute, the U.S. is home to 1.1 of the world’s 4.6 million international students. While international students offer a unique skill set, and often serve as a way to spread American ideals across the globe, it’s worth wondering if American public universities have lost sight of those who support them through taxes, and those who they are intended to serve.
“These are American universities, there ought to be more emphasis on taking in American students,” Banzhaf said.
A report from Foreign Policy earlier this year unveiled how wealthy Chinese nationals and oligarchs are shelling out big money to get their relatives into U.S. schools. Test training alone has become a billion-dollar industry in China. The report also noted that there are currently 340,000 Chinese nationals attempting to earn degrees in the U.S.
It’s not just an influx of foreign students that is changing America’s higher education system, but an influx of foreign money. Last week, the Department of Education sent letters to Georgetown University and Texas A&M for allegedly not disclosing funding they received from the nation of Qatar. Of course, China was also involved.
“Since 2006, the Subcommittee determined China directly provided over $158 million in funding to U.S. schools for Confucius Institutes,” the report said. “The Department of Education requires all post-secondary schools to report foreign gifts of $250,000 or more from a single source within a calendar year of receiving them.”
It will be years, and perhaps decades before we see the full impact of a lost generation that have been left in the dust, pummeled by six-figure loan debts.
Not all the ramifications could be bad. It’s possible that as a college degree becomes out of reach for the average American, U.S. society will de-emphasize traditional four year degrees, and start promoting trade schools and community colleges. It’s also possible that businesses and employers will begin to place less importance on the traditional four-year degree that is now required for most jobs that are above entry-level, which is the reason many Americans still force themselves (and their kids) to go to college.
Unless one goes to trade school or has a unique talent, the traditional four year degree is the only path to anything above an entry level job. This reality and the system that created it has killed the American dream.
In order for the average American to hold a decent-paying job, he or she must go thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars) into debt. As long as that’s true, Americans can no longer boast about being the land of opportunity.