What, Exactly, Is The Point Of Our Higher Education System? | USDemocrazy

Try this essay prompt:

If you knew that you could get to a well-paying career without college, would you bother going?

Extra credit question:

Should  you?

A few decades ago, the answer might have been very different than today. In 1973, more than 75% of college freshmen considered "developing a meaningful philosophy of life" to be a "very important" goal, as opposed to just under 45% of freshmen today. 

However, college students aren't the only ones breaking their number-two pencils over this question.

While avalanches of homework and leering loans cause students to reconsider their choices, states also grapple with the purpose and consequences of funding public university systems. 

In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker faced pushback after his office (accidentally?) deleted the phrases "public service," "search for truth," and "liberal education," among others, from the University of Wisconsin's mission statement. 

In Maryland,  the university system  is facing a $40 million budget cut ... as well as $1.2  billion  dollars in debt. 

So of course a student should accept a (hypothetical) wealthy yet slightly-less-educated future career, right? 

It depends. What, exactly, is the point of our higher education system?

Is it to meet the needs of a national " workforce ?"

Is it to conduct useful " research "?

Is it to promote " intellectual curiosity ?"

Is it to " foster good citizenship ?" (After all, college-educated individuals are  more likely to volunteer  and to  donate money ). 

Is it to impress your grandparents?

And, are "liberal arts," the " education appropriate for a free [wo]man, " necessary for a free  society? 

If you enjoy thinking about topics like these, or just want hang out with the fabulous USDemocrazy writers in person, please consider joining us for a screening of the documentary  Ivory Tower   on Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 PM on the fist floor of UMBC's University Center. (Event details here .) The documentary discusses the cost, value, and future of higher education in America.