As an academic librarian and a college graduate, I was intrigued by this Oct. 12, 2011 topic on Intelligence Squared: “Do Too Many Kids Go to College?” Check out the audio and the transcript of the debate here. The title is a bit misleading since all of the debate participants agree that some schooling after high school is absolutely necessary. At the heart of the debate, however, is the question about what a post-high school education is supposed to do. Is the purpose of a college to create a well-rounded individual or to teach vocational skills? Can a two year vo-tech degree really prepare graduates for the 7-10 career changes they will experience during their working lives?
One of the things prompting the debate–and one of the things that the debaters don’t really address sufficiently–is the high cost of college/technical school. No student, in my opinion, should graduate in debt yet the rising cost of a post-high school education puts students in a financial dilemma. Either they put themselves in debt to complete their education now or they pay as they go which winds up costing more since it takes longer. Not talked about are the factors pushing prices up and what we can do to keep costs down.