We Need More Universities
Lyman Stone

Throughout the whole article I was looking for you to state why we need more universities. I see you laid an argument for how it could be done but why do we want more students? Frankly, I believe we need significantly fewer colleges and students.

College had the misfortune to be recategorized as a “must” in the modern job market. If you believed that the surest path to middle-class-dom was through a degree, then you would want more colleges. Yet, the trend is that even with a degree, fresh graduates, especially those outside engineering fields, just aren’t really seeing a big advantage. In addition to being saddled with crippling debt, degrees just aren’t great indicators for job-readiness.

If you’re like me and believe that college’s fundamental purpose is to train researchers, then that’s also a reason to have fewer students go to college. Few people are cut out for the demands of scholarly research and increasing the student pool will only have small marginal increases in new scientists. This is the way that some European countries like Germany operate. Fewer people attend the full-fledged universities and those that do focus on research. Germans who want a job attend the equivalent of a technical/community college and/or take on an apprenticeship.

Instead of opening more schools, I believe we need to refocus on more experimental online education styles, expand our existing trade schools, and kill off as many predatory for-profit schools as possible.

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