My son Jordan is an inbound high school junior. Conversations as of late have dealt with the importance of grades, potential college majors, and which, if any, colleges to attend. At the beginning of his freshman year, he was required, as every high school student is, to fill out an individual graduation plan. This is an ongoing process where parents, students, and guidance counselors meet and select future high school courses based on what the student anticipates majoring on in college. There is an assumption that every student will be attending college of some sort. Whether this turns out to be true or not, it is, at present, the across-the-board expectation. In his new book “Is College Worth It?, former US Secretary of Education William Bennett shares his perspectives on higher education in America and what the future of such education may look like. The premise and purpose of this book is found in his own words. He writes, “It’s time for parents and students to look at the entire enterprise of higher education and ask how, when, where, for whom, in what studies, and at what cost is a college education appropriate? And if it is not appropriate, what are the alternatives?” Bennett deals with the expectation I shared above.
“Is College Worth It?” breaks down into five chapters. In Chapter One: The Borrowing Binge, Bennett examines the costs of higher education. He deals with issues such as methods of paying for college, why tuition costs continue to rise at all schools, and the danger of amassing student loan debt. In Chapter Two: Creating a Financial Monster, Bennett deals in greater detail the national student debt crisis and the policies, both government and institutional, that have contributed to the growth of this “monster”. In Chapter Three: So Is It Worth It?, Bennett dives into the tangible and intangible factors that help to determine whether a college degree is worth the time and money. Here, Bennett deals with career choices and gives several lists of schools and universities to be considered based on student priorities. In Chapter Four: The Lower Side of Higher Ed, Bennett brings to light the reality that despite the high price tag of a college education, students are exposed to professors pushing their personal political and societal agendas, classroom instruction being farmed out to adjunct professors and graduate students, and ever-lowering expectation of students. He also deals with the party atmosphere of colleges and what students are exposed to. In Chapter Five: With Eyes Wide Open, Bennett shares suggestions, recommendations, and possible solutions to problems that are plaguing the higher education system today. A few of the options include online learning, hybrid models, and non-traditional approaches to obtaining a quality education including religious and military institutions.
“Is College Worth It?” is, in my opinion, a monumental work. Well-written, smart, honest, thoroughly researched, and extremely relevant, this book brings into plain view the challenges and obstacles facing students preparing for college. I will certainly use the information and wisdom here as we as a family deal with our upcoming college decisions. Every parent would benefit greatly by reading. I highly recommend.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”