There are several different opinions that vary on this issue.
Yes: too many people are going to college and racking up debt for themselves while the government is subsidizing their expenses.
No: college is an essential aspect of someone’s life and a gateway to a meaningful career. To keep it affordable, we need government intervention to increase and for tuition rates to go down.
My opinion is a less callous “yes.” I’ve seen time and again that people are going to college with no goals or idea what they’re going to do. While plenty figure out what they want to do halfway through college, a stunning amount wait until their senior year to finalize their major, adding more student loans to finance their extra years.
We then have college students graduating with degrees that have no clout in today’s marketplace, which in turn make them unemployable. They either get a job they didn’t need a degree for, get a job in something entirely different from what they got a degree for, don’t get a job, or try to get a master’s, hoping that will improve their chances (but may just add up their debt.)
We have a major problem here. Education has shifted from being a privilege to a right. While education should be had by all, there are too many instances where we take it for granted and are thus spoiled into thinking that college or grad school is job security. It isn’t.
Job security is a personal responsibility. The person with the ambition to excel will find a way to get a job, even if that’s not what they expected. I’ve never met an extremely ambitious person who couldn’t get a job. While there are plenty of exceptions (especially when it comes to age as a factor), I hold that we are trying to fix a very complex problem with simplistic solutions that cause even more problems.
There is absolutely a place for programs that help underprivileged young adults find a way into college. Anyone who has the ambition and drive to go out and make a career deserves the privilege of education. That’s not what I’m nitpicking.
The issue is culture. We treat college like it’s just more high school. What I mean is that we have a substantial amount of young adults that view college as something they’re “supposed” to do. That is so wrong. College should be wanted, craved, and desired. Instead, we use it as a way to prolong adolescence, and we’re seeing the results of that across the board.
Is there a solution? I don’t really know, and it’s important for me to keep in mind that this is my own observation based on my own experiences, conversations, and what I’ve read. Obviously, many other people will disagree based on their own observations. When it comes down to it, we’ll see who’s right eventually.