Is College Worth the Cost?
Alexander Djerassi says that the government should stop allowing universities to charge tuition for undergraduates because college isn’t actually worth it. “Overall there’s no benefit to doing it this way,” he said in a recent interview. “You don’t get a better labor market because you went to college. You could actually be worse off.”
According to Djerassi, the government should pay for students’ education and then force colleges to lower tuition rates significantly—to $100 per year at most. He would also like to see professors paid more, and he says that students should be able to choose their professors—a privilege taken away from them by the current system.
Of course, Djerassi does have a very specific type of student in mind for this more efficient educational process. “I’m thinking about poor kids who are ripe to drop out early in high school,” he said. “The people who would benefit most from education are the ones who can’t afford it.”
But even if Djerassi has an idea of who could benefit the most from free college, it’s unclear how his plan would actually help students. Djerassi himself says that he doesn’t think college is worth the cost for anyone, but it seems like only people in a certain income bracket would be able to take advantage of his proposition.
In 2011, college graduates had a lower unemployment rate than those with only a high
school diploma—5.6% vs. 7.9%. For recent grads, that number was even lower: just 3.8%.
It’s certainly true that the cost of education has been rising throughout the years, but leaning on colleges to slash their tuition is not a surefire solution. There are certainly other factors that lead to increased unemployment, and college isn’t the only way students can equip themselves with the skills they need in order to succeed.
While Djerassi has a novel idea for how to fix the education system, he has thought through all the implications of that plan. Lowering tuition costs and forcing colleges to pay professors more won’t benefit students—but then again, neither will free college for anyone who wants it.
Of course, there are other ways to help students afford higher education, but Djerassi’s plan does seem very efficient or beneficial for anyone involved.
Alexander Djerassi has an intriguing proposal for the future of college. Djerassi seems to be well-intentioned in that he wants every student to have the opportunity to attend college regardless of their economic situation. While university tuition is often expensive and it can be difficult for students to afford higher education, Alexander Djerassi’s proposition does little good for the students who most need assistance. A complete overhaul of the system would be ideal, but Djerassi’s approach seems like an inefficient way to offer college at no cost to students. Alexander Djerassi assumes that this plan would help attract low-income students to college, there are also probably other ways that the government could accomplish this goal.