There are two dominant themes throughout the book Is College Worth It? by William J. Bennett and David Wilezol: 1) overpriced higher education and 2) considering the heights of underemployment and unemployment currently rampant among recent college graduates – a questionable return on students’ investment.
Bennett and Wilezol provide an impressive amount of outstanding and worthwhile research connecting everything from the underlying social reasons for attending college, to the “prestige” associated with high priced universities. They ask meaningful questions with potentially life-altering high priced answers. Should everyone go to college? Does higher education actually produce graduates who are trained to begin working?
This book is an excellent read for parents and students who are starting to consider their college decisions. While the research and tone of this book are largely designed to inform families with traditional-aged college applicants, the book contains information for non-traditional students as well. I also recommend searching out and reading the highly informative charts in the book, such as: Best Value Schools, Colleges Ranked by 30-year Net ROI (Return on Investment), and Top Ten Majors by Midcareer Earnings.
Bennett and Wilezol aren’t saying that no one should attend college, but they subtly question whether so many should be attending. As a college educator who has taught adult students for 16 years, I have some insight into this topic. Observing the financial strain and severely limited professional opportunities for those who do not have a college degree, my verdict is: everyone needs some form of higher education. To even have an average middle-class lifestyle, my personal primary research indicates that an “affordable” college degree is a vital means to that end.