The Higher-Ed Bubble, In One Chart (and one article)

Rep. Mike Coffman took a lot of heat for suggesting that perhaps it was time to re-evaluate these priorities, with his words being distorted into an attack on the liberal arts in particular, and higher education in general.  Turns out he was onto something. recently came up with a list of the 8 College Degrees With the Worst Return on Investment.  The list won’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention for the last couple of decades:
  1. Sociology
  2. Fine Arts
  3. Education
  4. Religious Studies/Theology
  5. Hospitality/Tourism
  6. Nutrition
  7. Psychology
  8. Communications

Just for grins, I looked up how many of CU’s undergraduate degress over the last quarter-century (well, since 1989), have been awarded in these majors:

For fun, I added in almost anything with the word “Studies” in it, and that’s what the percentage line (right-hand axis) shows.

Peaking at just over one-third of all bachelor’s in 2004, over 30% of all undergraduate majors are still in these low-return majors.  The dropoff occurred between 2004 and 2008, but has since – astonishingly – stabilized since the popping of the housing bubble, when job prospects for graduates have almost never been worse.  Students are taking on crushing burdens of debt to graduate with these degrees.

You and I will be subjected to sob stories about how Colorado is under-funding its higher education.   Instead, perhaps we ought to be taking a closer look at what we’re funding.

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