College: ‘Experience,’ Yes; Education, Zilch

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Lew, as the prices rise and the knowledge plummets on college campuses,  “professors” do hare-brained research (usually taxpayer-funded and reviewed by their pliable “peers”) while TAs teach the undergrads all the boring requirements.

Market common sense tells us this is a hard sell — so colleges don’t sell it. Instead of an education, they sell the “experience.” Climbing walls, country-club facilities (also taxpayer-funded), lotsa sex, booze, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll (too coarse to link, trust me), and “friends for life.”

Here is the dirty little secret: 99% of colleges and universities need a sizable majority of students who are paying full freight (including those accumulating student debt). And they will do anything to get them. From the marketing point of view, education itself is not a high priority. Social life, sports, alumni connections — all of those are a much easier sell. And, since they are higher priorities in the sell, they are also higher priority once the student gets in.

No wonder seniors know less than the incoming freshmen after four years of the fun-filled frivolity of a painless frontal lobotomy (with apologies to Tom Waits).

7:35 am on April 14, 2011