Is College the Biggest Financial Scam Going?

Is the American higher education system the biggest fraud to hit town since Bernie Madoff? Honestly, the sheer scope of the institutionalized college financial scam makes ol’ Bernie look like something of amateur. Maybe it’s time to stop drinking the Kool-Aid for a moment and analyze exactly why it has become so ingrained in our society that one must have a four-year degree to achieve success? Sorry folks, but this fanciful notion simply doesn’t jive with reality.

Let us count the ways college is creating a generation of indentured servants.

1. Tuition: Pimps for higher education love to trot out the tired old line that a college graduate will earn, on average, one million additional dollars during his working lifetime than a high school graduate. What is often not taken into account is that most students need six years to finish their Bachelor’s Degree, and you can add another two to four years if they plan on attending graduate school. These are years that they will likely not be working, but instead taking out loans that come with interest attached and often graduate with the approximate monthly payment on a luxury car by the time all is said and done. And with college tuition increasing at a rate of over 5% annually, the cost of higher education is getting absolutely stratospheric.

But the real problem with the “extra one million” in income claim is that it has been perpetrated by several organizations who use GED recipients to arrive at that number. We’re not denigrating the accomplishments of those who pass this exam, but make no mistake, a GED holder is not a high school graduate and should not be used to calculate the average lifetime income of those who finished high school in the traditional sense. This practice certainly skews the numbers to the low side and has the simultaneous effect of inflating college graduates’ income when compared to high school.

2. Textbooks: For an example of this college scam in action, we need look no further than the collusion tactics among book publishers and schools when it comes to textbooks. According to the National Inflation Association (NIA), $200 would buy an entire year’s worth of required textbooks twenty years ago. These days, thanks to school specific books and constantly “revised” editions, it’s not unusual for a student to have to pony up near $500 every single semester just for class materials. Collusion is a fancy word but here’s how it works. Traditional book publishers whose profit margin is already under the gun thanks to the digital publishing revolution, provide financial incentives (also called good old fashioned “kickbacks” to encourage schools to squeeze the most money possible out of students by requiring “newer” and “better” textbooks every semester. With the advent of Kindle and Nook digital publishing technology, the idea of spending a hundred bucks for a single dead tree book is absolute insanity for which you can thank a desperate legacy publishing model.

3. High School Brainwashing: It seems pretty darn obvious to us that high school is little more than a four year long exercise in mass brainwashing intended to condition every student to think that college is the only option. From the earliest days of freshman year, guidance counselors are already twisting and molding the thought processes of the eager little minds filled with mush to believe they’ll never amount to anything unless they go on to college. This is such obvious horse manure it barely even deserves a response. Show of hands, does anyone out there know anyone who didn’t graduate college who has been quite successful in life, perhaps more so (judged by our current standards of avarice) than someone with a degree? You can put your hands down now. That was a silly question. Though it may be a subjective assessment, one needn’t look far to see that plenty of high school graduates seem to have no need for a college degree, especially in a world where such vocations as welding, auto repair, and computer repair routinely pull in $50 to $100 per hour.
If you take nothing else away from our little diatribe on college education, remember this. The ability to think outside the box means more to you personally and financially than the most expensive lambskin diploma hanging on the wall. Of course this isn’t the final word on the topic. For those interested in learning more, check out the NIA documentary, “The College Conspiracy” on YouTube. It’s highly interesting viewing and lays out the case against the ongoing massive college financial scam. If you or your children have skin in the game, why not give it a view?

The American Monetary Association





Flickr / opensourceway

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