Quick warning: I’m approaching this topic as a student entering graduate school who will one day take on a crippling amount of debt from her student loans. Jumping in… Over the last thirty or so years, this country has experienced a high concentration of wealth. The repercussions of this occurrence are that the rich have become richer while the poor have become poorer, largely eliminating the middle class. This change has seen ramifications in higher education with tuition on the rise, making college education affordable only for the wealthiest.
At the same time, we are seeing a rise in standards of higher education in the workforce. Positions that previously required only good judgment and a strong work ethic are now filled with people who went to graduate school. An employee in my office building who has worked with my company for over 30 years spoke to this idea saying, “It’s become a trend that everyone has at least their Master’s degree now. It wasn’t always like this.”
Now let’s step back and think about what this means for students. Before, to set yourself apart amongst a sea of applicants, you needed a college degree. As the job market got tougher, people further distinguished themselves by going back to school for a Master’s degree. Now everyone is on the same playing field and we are being told, “Well, it’s really about your work experience.” That puts someone like myself in a very tough situation because I was in school while I evidently should have been getting work experience!
The overall topic for this post revolved around the question: what is the state of education today? I would say education is no longer a privilege or an asset; it is an expectation. Because colleges have also noticed this trend, I believe tuition rates will continue to skyrocket until we see a collapse of that market. So, honestly, I think that the state of education is kind of a mess right now. Like many aspects of our society, we are going to need to make serious progress in this area to fix the problems we have made for ourselves. I’m optimistic that change is on the horizon, but until then, Discover Student Loans will be my best frienemy.