Thursday, October 6, 2016

Most Arts Grads Say Degree Overpriced

By Professor Doom

     The UK clearly is more on-the-ball when it comes to figuring out higher education is, far too often, a rip off. I covered earlier how they showed that getting a college degree decreases your income (yes, decreases) knowledge that many in the industry have suspected (or outright known) for years. 

     We no longer just have the people working in higher education who know the truth, the students are starting to catch on:

(to clarify, an arts degree is defined as drama, dance, music, fine art, design, cinematics, crafts and imaginative writing…we’re talking about a big part of the campus here)

      Thanks to all the government money pouring into it, higher education has become extraordinarily expensive. Trouble is, higher education was never meant to be a money-making scheme, or a major financial investment. 

      In decades and centuries past, scholars studied obscure minutiae of history, biology, philosophy, or whatnot, not as a means to make money (well, usually not). They studied out of desire; it was enough to just have a decent life, and if students were interested in learning such things, that was often as much a bonus as a distraction from scholarly work.

      These students often became the next generation of scholars…often, but not always. Quite a few spent years in scholarly pursuit, and then decided that something more “real world” was suitable. Such a “mistake” was no big deal when tuition was low and huge student debts were nonexistent.

     Trouble is, higher education has been taken over by educrats, driving the price of education to ever more ridiculous heights. Most people can’t afford to study obscure minutiae anymore, and a student who changes his mind after a few years is basically destroying himself: he’ll never be able to pay off the debts for “half” of an education.

     Thus the proper focus for a student in higher education today is to pursue a degree that can both justify the cost, and that he’ll have no trouble finishing.

     Art degrees satisfy the “no trouble finishing” part well enough. I’m not casting any disdain on the arts here, but it’s just the nature of the field. While in mathematics there are certainly right and wrong answers, it’s harder, I suspect, to say a painting, song, dance or essay is wrong, beyond some basic standard. Of course, my opinion on this isn’t relevant, since what really matters in today’s “education as irrevocable financial investment” world is if the people buying the product, an arts degree, think they’re getting fair value for the money.

     Primarily, they feel cheated, and they’re justified:

A study carried out by the union also claimed that graduates who had studied arts at university went on to experience the lowest levels of employment and poor pay.

     It must be quite disheartening to get that degree, only find it leads to nothing, financially. I bet nobody told them “this is the worst possible degree you can get if you’re looking to get a job.” To be fair, arts degree programs were never designed to be financially rewarding. These programs, many of them, were created decades ago, long before higher education became about getting a job so you can pay off that student loan. These old programs were just about education, and nothing more.

• Just 37% of respondents thought their degree was worth the fees they paid.

• Those working in the arts were found to have the lowest levels of employment, with 42% working full-time and 15% part time.

• Just under 10% of respondents were self-employed, while 6% were engaged in unpaid work.

       Looking at the high proportion of kids being ripped off, it’s very clear we need to change things. There are plenty of realistic options, and here are three off the top of my head: We could accept the reality of stupid-expensive higher education, and change degree programs to be more useful when it comes to making money. We could make higher education as cheap as it used to be before government “helped” by eliminating the completely unnecessary bureaucracy we’ve built. We could stop growing our “easy degree” programs when it’s clear we’re producing far more graduates than could possibly be gainfully employed, and prune down the ones with too many graduates by erecting some actual standards.

      Well, these are the choices a rational person would consider. The folks running education are, of course, clueless:

Last month, several leading drama schools including Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Rose Bruford College said they would be increasing their fees, in line with a new £9,250 per year maximum announced by the government.

     So, in the face of widespread dissatisfaction with the high price of an arts degree…they raise the price. It’s clear the fools that run higher education in the UK are little different than the ones in the US.

      I’m quoting an article and results from another country, but I’ve highlighted in this blog that arts degrees are so pointless that recipients in the United States have tried to sell their “unused” degrees, in a hopeless attempt to get out from under the student debt.

      Much like in the US, the rulers of higher ed just don’t get it:

"Institutions and the government must also work together to tackle the poor graduate employment outcomes of students in the arts."


     Look, “starving artist” is a cliché for a reason, it is simply ridiculous to believe that what we need to do here is somehow make more jobs for people that go into the arts. I just don’t understand the confusion of ideas here. There are too many people with the degrees, too deep in debt. The solution is to stop creating a huge surplus of these degrees, and stop putting so many people in debt for them. 

     Instead, they get the solution of “we need more jobs.” Sheesh. Another educrat with a ridiculously overlong title has more foolish insights:

NUS vice president for higher education Sorana Vieru said the "deeply concerning" results highlighted a need to dispel ideas that arts degrees were less useful than other subjects.

She added that unless there was change within attitudes, "high fees and debt will put many students off arts courses, because they will believe that their investment will yield poor returns".

--emphasis added. Note the title is over twice as long as the name of the title-holder and thus probably a position that could be eliminated with no harm to anyone’s education.

     What, the problem is arts graduates have a bad attitude? Seriously? They’re unemployable, they’re buried in debt, they’ve wasted years of their lives for a degree that they were led to believe would be useful. And the educrat blames their attitude. Sheesh, again.

     While some fear that the expense of higher education will destroy the arts, I’m not so concerned. It’ll destroy arts departments on campuses, but the arts? No. Anyone who wishes can learn most everything about what the article calls “arts” online, and my own experience with individual tutoring (where my students learn more than in a classroom, and I’m paid more as well) has long since taught me that arts mentors will become more common once those departments are closed down.

      But, back to the point: arts graduates have now mostly realized they’ve been screwed by overpriced degrees of minimal usefulness…and all the useless Poo Bahs who run higher education can come up with is to raise the price of the degree further, and ask the graduates to have a better attitude about being ripped off.

     I take this as a sign of hope, that this system is so corrupted, so controlled by the epically incompetent, that the higher education system’s collapse is imminent.

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