Happy days are back for the deans of many law schools. At least for now.
After years of declining enrollments following the 2008 Crash, classrooms are packed. At Arizona State, enrollment for the IL fall class is up 35%.
In contrast, explains Kelsey Gee in an opinion-editorial in The Wall Street Journal, applications to the Master of Business Administration programs have been down for four consecutive years.
In a survey by the Graduate Management Admissions Council of 360 program, it was found that there is even a decline in applications to elite schools such as Harvard and Stanford.
Of course, there is a search for answers.
At the top of what's speculated is that the job market is a lot better. Historically, academic programs become less in demand during booming economies.
But, there could be a factor which should scare all those whose livings depend on filling seats in higher education. That is the realization that the blind faith in higher education per se might be collapsing. Higher education cast its spell on us baby boomers. We were told: The more education the better. And, boy, did we consume it.
Currently, that belief system is pushing so many young people into studying for college degrees which they might not need to get good jobs. Meanwhile, they burden themselves with student loans which could take decades to pay off.
What we know is that Apple and Google are among the large corporations which no longer require college degrees from job applicants. That trend could spread.
According to MarketWatch, 3.6 million college graduates live in poverty.
And, some alternate career training paths can almost guarantee a job and are less expensive.
For example, here in Eastern Ohio, you can enroll in a program, lasting a few months, for licensing to drive trucks long distance for about $7,000. Loans are available. The jobs are there, usually starting about $27 an hour. There is even one program which is free in exchange for working for the company for two years.
Another factor may be that employers are less willing to pay for advanced degrees when they can get the same job performance from those without them. Hiring the M.B.A. tends to be expensive. Why not hire the person with the undergraduate degree in business or even a liberal arts major who has fire in the belly?
Then there is the risk. The world keeps changing. What's marketable when entering an advanced degree program may not be as marketable - or as attractive - when graduating.
That's not new.
My Lost Generation of doctoral students in the humanities learned that brutal lesson in the mid-70s. When we started our degrees there was high demand for university professors in our fields. Not when we were finishing our dissertations.
Takeaway: An investment of time, money, and hope in advanced degrees is not a guaranteed one.
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