It seems that part of the problem is that a little bit of college is no help on the job market. The big payoff is getting a degree since that is a signal to employers that you are smart, hard working and finish what you start. So if you paid to go to college and it does not lead to a better job, you will be worse off. I also like that it mentions the opportunity cost of going to college, that you don't get paid for any job you can't take.
The book covers what some schools are doing to help students. But the results are mixed.
“the contention that college is the engine of social mobility is false advertising for the 34 million Americans over twenty-five . . . who have some college credits but dropped out before receiving a diploma.” What is more, many such students “are worse off economically than if they hadn’t started college,” thanks to the money they’ve spent on tuition, not to mention the opportunity cost of the wages they’ve foregone.Here are some earlier posts on related topics:
When it comes to the “dropout scandal” there is plenty of blame to go around. One can start with high schools that don’t teach the skills children need to get a good job but instead encourage all students to go to college—even if they don’t have the ability or inclination. There is the federally funded financial-aid system that encourages colleges to keep raising prices—making higher education ever more out of reach for poor or working-class kids. And there are the colleges themselves—particularly the larger public schools: They don’t offer students much guidance about which courses to take or how to finish a degree in a reasonable amount of time."
Maybe That College Degree Is Not As Valuable As You Thought
As college costs rise, sticker shock eased by student aid
Does It Pay To Go To College?
Who Is Most Likely To Default On Their Student Loans?
Student loan delinquency is higher than for other borrowing
The Diminishing Returns of a College Degree: In the mid-1970s, far less than 1% of taxi drivers were graduates. By 2010 more than 15% were
Student-Debt Forgiveness Is a Wonderful Boon, Until the IRS Comes Calling: Education analysts, student advocates warn of impending crisis from one-time tax bills individuals may not be prepared to pay off
The Diminishing Returns of a College Degree
For Some Grads, College Isn't Worth Debt
Is It Getting Too Expensive To Go College?
Is the U.S. student loan system broken?
Is College Still A Good Investment?
Why do employers pay extra money to people who study a bunch of subjects in college that they don’t actually need you to know? Signaling