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IPFS News Link • Education: Colleges and Universities

Educational Explosion: The Damage of Unnecessary Advanced Degrees

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The expertise gained from such degrees is supposed to be valuable enough to outweigh the time and money put into grad degrees, both from the student's perspective and the perspective of the schools and institutions that so often fund graduate degrees. In developing countries, college graduation rates are positively correlated with economic success. This same effect is thought to translate to America's current explosion of higher education. This belief is held so strongly that the federal government spent 311,000,000,000 dollars on higher education in 2021.

However, a high advanced degree rate is much less strongly linked to national and individual success than universities would like you to think.

The first driving factor for graduate school is supposed to be self-interest. Graduate school is portrayed as a process that directly increases income and happiness. For some degrees, there is certainly a large associated increase in income, but for 40 percent of grad degrees, there is either negative or zero ROI. Most degrees in the arts and humanities fail to even pay themselves off. The time spent working would typically be far more beneficial to students than their choice of grad degree. While some may gain enough from those degrees in personal satisfaction to make up for their choices, taxpayers must feel comfortable knowing they are funding life expeditions that do not even increase the capability to care for oneself. Public education funding is promoted on the premise that the country will be both personally and collectively better off. With many degrees, neither is the case, yet more and more money is always being funneled towards public education.

While the negative ROI of some humanities degrees is expected, the corporate world has also created an inefficient monster through the promotion of MBA degrees. They are entry-level for many positions and they are recommended for workers who have stopped progressing and want promotions. Most MBA programs take 2-3 years to complete, so a significant break from working life is required. MBAs give very few specific skills and are more of a certifying apparatus that an employee is relatively intelligent and has enough resources to put some into an extra project. If they taught extremely useful skills their value would be obvious, but they appear to be more of a status symbol. Their relatively useless nature is evidenced by the fact that overall, MBAs have negative ROIMost people who undertake MBAs are already high achievers, so the time spent getting an MBA could be used better by continuing the linear progress of their career.

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