Is College a Scam?



We live in a country where the student debt is the second largest debt after mortgages. U.S is one of the nations where the education cost is outrageous and almost impossible to cover without taking any loans.  The cost is so high, because it is purposely set up that way. Students are being offered loan programs, which allow the schools to increase the tuition each year. The higher the tuition, the better the school’s reputation – and we all know it. According to the article the “average student loan balance for a 25-year-old is $20,326.” For most of the young adults, it takes until middle age to pay off the student loans. But is it all worth it? A huge number of students have difficulties finding a job after graduation or are being terminated after a short period of time. Bennett looked at the 3500 colleges and universities in the U.S and calculated the return on investment. The results were a bit shocking. Only 150 institutions had a positive return. The top 10 (ranked by Bennett) are listed below:


  1. Harvey Mudd College
  2. California Institute of Technology
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  4. Stanford University
  5. Princeton University
  6. Harvard University
  7. Dartmouth College
  8. Duke University
  9. University of Pennsylvania
  10. University of Notre Dame

Bennett said “college is worth it if you get into a top tier university like Stanford, or study an in-demand field like nuclear engineering at even a lower tier school.” Not everyone can afford to go to Stanford.

I somewhat agree with Bennett’s point of view, since the top companies only retain talent from the ivy league schools. Some organizations will not consider inviting you for an interview, if you didn’t go to a top university. I believe everyone deserves a chance, and school should not be the only factor that impacts your future. However, we live in a society where the “brand name” matters the most. Universities compete with each other by establishing a good reputation. In result, students pick the schools that will guarantee a job in the future. The vicious circle closes. In order to create some equilibrium, universities that are less expensive should implement a breakthrough improvement. As we learned in class, innovation and creative thinking is crucial. Also, such schools should use the benchmarking method. By researching the industry and following the footsteps of the successful colleges it will lead to a superior performance. It will give them a chance to become more popular, and hopefully, a positive return on investment ratio for the students. I think more students are willing to go to a more affordable college, where the future outcome is bright.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. As I mentioned before, the more you pay for your tuition the higher chances of getting a job. The question remains – is this fair?

Links where I found the article and the pictures used for this blog:×480/

11 thoughts on “Is College a Scam?

  1. Although I understand the point-of-view which leads people to believe colleges and universities are a waste of money nowadays, I feel that it is completely circumstantial. Depending on what major someone graduates with, they can generate a pretty accurate idea of the future job market. Some job markets consistently need new employees (business majors are OFTEN, not always well-off) while others (performing arts) are difficult to get into. One of the most cliched sentences seems appropriate for this particular post, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” At the end of my college career, regardless of my professional situation I will be euphoric for a moment because I will be part of the minority with a college degree.

  2. Yes, college is one of the biggest scams that are out there. I chose to go to DePaul University because everyone told me that it is a reputable university and employers would come searching for me. I was debating on UofI and DePaul, when the DePaul representatives told me why DePaul was good. It was in the heart of city and had all the major business ties with big employers. So DePaul became my choice. I’m not saying that DePaul is a bad school but tuition is killing me. You do bring up a very good point though, that the less expensive universities should definitely try and bringing up their good reputation, so that everyone is able to afford a good education. We all want a good education so we get a good job and secure our future but if we’re starting to secure our future by putting loans over our head while we’re still in school, then I don’t know how our lives will be like. Depression will hit us maybe?

  3. This is a great article and catchy title. I do believe college is a scam. My opinion changed after I began applying for jobs. Alot of the jobs don’t care much about the degree, although it is a minimum requirement. Most jobs want year’s worth experience. Just to think that students/parents pay a lump sum of money just for students to go into the job field and still struggle finding the right career path to match their degree is very dissapointing. Student loans are high because students are supposed to be able to pay them back with the wonderful jobs they get when they graduate, but what is the point if there are no wonderful jobs around?

  4. Like someone mentioned above, the title is really catchy, which is what drew me to read this blog post. It also drew me in because the title seems to be very relatable to me and my fellow students. The article was very relatable and I agree with the author and many others that the math doesn’t add up. It is way too expensive to go to college. Yes college should have a decent price attached to it, but not at an unreasonable cost. It is outrageous for a student to have to pay that much towards education, by taking out loans just as their parents are, and having to not fully pay off all those loans and interest attached until middle age. It also unfair to say the education their getting should be priced around that high of a number, especially when jobs are scarce or that specific education received is not valued high enough for the student to even receive a great job to pay of all this debt. The math doesn’t add up.

  5. This post is very interesting. As a graduating college student starting to apply for jobs, I am finding the market is not a welcoming to undergraduate students as I thought it would be. Most of the jobs I have seen ask for 0-2 years of experience, however they want people getting their MBA’s instead of just undergrad students. So I don’t think college is a complete scam, however now that the market is so difficult to enter, business are asking for higher levels of education instead of just undergraduate students. I agree with the post above that says loans are high because students are supposed to be able to pay them back with the jobs they get when they graduate. But if we continue to higher education there is no guarantee that we will be able to find jobs then, and it could just add to our current pile of overwhelming debt.

  6. The reality is harsh. Higher education is becoming more and more expensive from year to year. However, I still believe that education is still the best investment for the future. I think students have a difficult time finding employment due to the economical situation. The problem is that students are not required to do apprenticeships or internship programs during their studies in order to graduate, so when they graduate they do not have hands-on skills. In today’s market, employees are reluctant to invest money into new employees because of several reasons such as people with experience tend to move from job to job as soon as they gain experience and it is very costly. This article made me think of how it is a personal responsibility to create your own future.

  7. Glass is not much different than any other phone. Therefore, security breaches occur on digital devices such as Smart phones frequently, often without the user being aware of it. Google glass is a very innovate product, where it tracks you eye movement and makes data requests based on which direction you are looking. Thus, it raises a big concern, such as collecting information without active permission of the user.

  8. I would not necessarily say that college is a scam, but rather that the amount we pay is not all that much worth it anymore. Having a bachelor’s degree does not mean much anymore due to the influx of college graduates over the years. The meaningfulness of a college degree has been depleted due to the high population of people obtaining one. Therefore, a college degree is now standard, and thus it is not worth as much as the money that we are paying for this education. Furthermore, there is a lot that schools leave out and do not teach us that we all can probably benefit from that can be applied to our everyday life.

  9. I would have to say that I don’t believe that College and the experience is a scam, but the price for universities are definitely a scam. Why should college be soo expensive which creates debt after you graduate if you take out a student loan. A loan at that which has interest, so it is accruing as time goes on, that’s ridiculous. I believe that the education should be FREE! People would say well then how would the universities make money and pay their teachers. First off the government could pay for it, they spend BILLIONS, if not trillions on war, invasion, warfare, guns, etc, that instead could be used for schooling. Universities, especially large ones makes tons of money off of sports games, football, basketball, etc, they charge people to get in and the stadiums are packed. It definetely seems like a scam

  10. I do not believe it is a scam. I believe going to college and making it worth it depends on how much effort and hard work you put into it. I believe people are only scamming themselves if they believe that just by attending college that they should expect to be successful. A college degree is only supposed to help you become successful, it is not the absolute key to success though.

  11. It is funny because when reading the title, my first instinct would be NO! But then even taking a look at the list of top ten highest returns, a lot of them are Ivy League schools. And when taking account the tuition from those schools it would seem weird that they were the highest returns because they are so expensive to attend and it would seem that the loans for those schools would be so much more.

    But last quarter I took my senior seminar class where the professor was completely blunt and honest about the future, and he said that a lot of companies who hire and offer higher salaries are to the top ten or ivy league schools. He also said that where ever someone got their undergrad does not matter as much unless it is from Stanford, Notre Dame, etc. Then he also said to make it big you have to get your masters at one of those schools as well.

    As unfair as what my professor said before, I believe it is true to some extent. Right now the current trend is more people are attending college from these student loans, but in order to make the big bucks I believe that someone needs to start their own business and not work for someone else. And in order to start your own company, one does not need a college degree. So all in all, I can see both sides of the spectrum.

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