大學不應該是沉重的債務。
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April 26, 2011 by HelloUS.com



大學不應該是沉重的債務。

隨著美國經濟的低迷,有越來越多的聲音討論大學學位的價值。投資臉書(facebook)的對沖基金負責人彼得‧泰爾(Peter Thiel)是這連串發聲者的第一人;另外一個則是唐娜‧戈爾茨坦(Dana Goldstein)。
泰爾認為我們現在處在「高等教育泡沫」的環境中;現在的學生對於教育的投資並沒有得到應有的價值。因此,泰爾對於沒有完成學位是否真的是麻煩而感到疑問。

泰爾認為:接近一半輟學的學生是利用借貸的方式支付學費,而這裡有一個令人難過的數據─有五分之一的學生非但沒有完成學位,還有近20000美金的貸款。這些對於學生來說,都是無法償還的支出,而「完成大學就是一切」的想法由此看來並不符合生活的現實。

唐娜則反對泰爾的意見。唐娜認為:大學教育的確存在泡沫化現象,但不代表是全然錯誤的。顯然地,並不是所有美國人都讓大學投資超值,特別是那些貸款學費又輟學的學生。要如何解決這些難題呢?(讀大學的支出是越來越高)從1982年到2007年,學費漲幅高達439%而中等家庭的收入只有成長147%,學生因此負債升高也就不足為奇了!

我認為現在的大學教育昂貴有兩個主要的原因。

第一是整個社會沒有支持高等教育。全國各地州政府無視於大學教育在現在工作市場上重要性,還大刀砍減公立大學、學院的財政支出。大部分人抵制提供稅收支持重要的福利,如:公立教育,轉而讓學費越來越高。

其二,大家要有認知─大學教育並不適合所有人。私立大學並沒有意識到這個現象而大力推銷,然而,這些大學卻是比公立學院昂貴許多的選擇。大學提供學生許多沒有用的文憑,而讓學生畢業就負債幾千塊甚至幾萬塊的貸款,不過,至少她們填補教育系統中的差距。

撇除這些營利文憑製造廠不談,我們應該要把高中和社區大學的重點放在提供學生職場上的訓練,幫助學生找到自己適合的工作,也可避免學生學位中途而廢的問題。芬蘭就是一個將重點放在職業訓練上的典範。

不管最後的決定為何,是提高大學學費、輟學率、負債率並非是讓學生 遠離大學教育或是關閉學校。這些答案就告訴政府應該要好好審視該完成的優先項目。當然,教育是很花錢的,但是不應該要犧牲中等階級小孩的權利,讓他們拿到學位後就負債累累。

大學制度的確存在很多問題。對很多人來說,可能是「由我玩四年」(不確定自己方向的學生就該在唸大學前,先花點時間了解自己再決定)。其他人可能要更加努力才能名列前矛;有些人該選擇職業學校或是社區大學。更重要的是,我們不該因為花費而關閉大學教育的入學之門。畢竟,花費並非是唯一的衡量。

A college education should not result in crushing debt.

There have been some interesting pieces about the value of a college degree lately. The first is from Peter Thiel, the hedge fund investor behind the financing of Facebook. The second is from Dana Goldstein.

Thiel argues that we are in the midst of a ‘higher-education bubble’ and that kids today aren’t getting their money’s worth. Goldstein shows how the debt can be a real problem especially for kids who don’t finish school:
Half of all college drop-outs have borrowed some money for tuition. And consider this depressing statistic: One in five students who drop out of college leave only after accumulating $20,000 or more in debt. These are the folks most unable to pay back their loans; the rhetoric of “college for all” simply does not match the reality of their lives.

I disagree with Thiel’s conclusion about a ‘bubble’ in higher-ed, but that doesn’t mean he’s all wrong. Obviously a lot of Americans aren’t getting their money’s worth from college, especially if they don’t finish their degrees but do take on a lot of debt. So what’s the solution to this growing problem? After all, schools are more expensive than ever. Between 2007 and 1982 college tuition went up 439 percent while median family income rose by only 147 percent. No wonder students are taking on more and more debt. Many of them can’t afford to go any other way.

I think there are two problems that are leading to rising costs in higher-ed.
First, we as a society are not coming together to support institutions of higher learning. State governments across the country have been slashing aid to public universities even as a college education becomes more and more important in the modern job market. An almost dogmatic resistance to raising taxes to pay for important services like public education forces tuition higher and higher.

Second, we need to acknowledge that academic college really isn’t for everyone. I think one obstacle to this has been the rise in for-profit colleges. These are often far more expensive than community colleges. They provide students with often useless diplomas while saddling them with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. But they are at least ostensibly filling a much-needed gap in our education system.

Instead of these for-profit diploma mills, we should focus on making vocational training a more integral part of our high schools and community colleges. This could help push more of the right students into jobs and careers they are better suited for, and help avoid at least some of the dropout issues we’re seeing today. Finland is one country that places heavy emphasis on vocational training, going well beyond a shop class or two.

Either way, the answer to rising college costs and dropout and debt rates is not to cut from education further or turn people off to college altogether. The answer is a refocusing of our priorities. Yes, education costs money. But that money should not fall squarely on the heads of middle class kids who are forced to take out tens of thousands in debt just to attend school.

Sure, there are lots of other problems with college. In many ways, it really has become a four-year-party for a lot of students. Maybe those students should take some time before they go to school. Maybe it should be harder to get into school in the first place. Maybe more kids need to attend community or vocational schools. But we shouldn’t close the doors on a college education based on rising costs. Costs
say very little about merit, after all.

新聞來源:富比士雜誌 
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