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Friday, January 22, 2021

Con: General Education classes

There’s no question that the cost of living is rising. It’s not just the quinoa eating, kombucha drinking, Tesla riding parts of the United States; it’s everywhere!

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1940, the median home value adjusted for inflation was at $30,600. By 2018, the median value had just risen over $200,000.

Home prices aren’t the only expense people my age have to worry about. The cost of higher education is also continually rising at a higher rate. According to the College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing 2017,” in 1988, the average tuition for a transfer student attending a private, nonprofit institution adjusted for inflation was $15,160. By 2017, it had risen to $34,740 – a 129 percent increase.

With a lack of competitive, liveable wages, rising healthcare and transportation costs add to the lack of technical skills that would inflate the chances of a decent paying job.

It’s easy to see how pessimistic ambitious undergraduates get when they see the amount of general education classes they must take before they focus on their major. Rather than learning the traits they need to be successful in the field they desire, they must go through what feels like a repeat of high school.

If you take the high school aesthetic each general education class carries and the extra cost of a class that carries little to no relevance to most majors, it’s not hard to see how they can feel like a waste of time and money.

In some cases, like my cousin Samir, that’s what happens. You’d just go straight out of high school and into a low-paying job.  In most cases, you’d bury yourself in student debt. In 2018, the collective student loan debt is $1.5 trillion, according to Forbes.

If I’d offer a suggestion, either abolish the concept of general education from higher education entirely and start improving the quality of education in secondary education. Also, instead of forcing students to take a class in quantitative statistics, have students take a mandatory life skills course. Students would be less pessimistic of taking general education classes if there were classes concerning budgeting, resume building, networking, or paying your taxes.

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