Too Many College Students?

In my first undergraduate semester at UF, a business professor asked a packed auditorium of students to look their left and right, laughing that one of those students would drop or fail out that year, but it was likely that both would not graduate. He was probably right.

The Chronicle of Higher Education consulted a “panel of experts” on whether too many students are attending college. The consensus seemed to be, “Yes.” This oversimplifies things a bit, but there are certainly good arguments to be made on both sides of the debate. On one hand, the number of students applying to college right out of high school is very high, and many of those students will fail or drop out. This wastes both the students’ time and money and deprives the work force of capable resources while perhaps soaking up tax dollars in the process. On the other hand, American culture greatly values the idea of not restricting opportunity based on socioeconomic class, and not encouraging students to attend college limits the opportunities of the under-privileged.

Whichever side of the debate, the panel seems to focus completely on return on investment, a metric which many of the article’s comments disapprove.