Sundance documentary 'Ivory Tower' asks if college is still worth it

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  • Mythbuster21 Provo, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:46 p.m.

    I haven't seen this film yet, but certainly will when I can. However, I have to say, I am suspicious of any documentary about the higher education and online learning that features Clayton Christensen from Harvard. No doubt, he is a great guy and has written any interesting books, but he also sits on the board of a privately-held for-profit company that stands to benefit from the shift to online education. So a conflict of interest there. And he works for an institution--Harvard University--that will thrive, regardless of the economic realities facing other universities, considering its vast endowment, reputation and prestige. So a comfortable perch from which to make predictions and observations about higher ed. That said, I believe universities can do a better job at reining in tuition costs and that online education could help them do that -- to a degree. More likely, online education will make education available to people who otherwise wouldn't be able to participate.

  • empathic heart West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 12:16 p.m.

    I have a Master's degree. I have to, because my career requires it. Cost me $30,000, which my public ed salary struggles to repay. I hope in 10 years I'll be in better financial shape…
    and I meet with kids and their parents to talk about doing well in school and going to college.
    But I try to help everyone understand "college" means any training that prepares for well paying work after college.
    A forklift driver's license (covered by my employer) paid the bills so I had no loans 'till grad school, and kept us in housing and food through the whole 10 year process. It also taught me hard, and I mean really hard and dirty work (cleaning sewers, sweeping parking garages etc.).
    The degree CAN pay off, but it's the strength learned through struggle that teaches. Thant really EDUCATED… well, me anyway.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 9:59 a.m.

    IMO a college education is oversold and not for everyone. Nor is it necessary for many entry level careers if the applicant had a legitimate High School education. Some other positions could be prepared for by a focused junior college curriculum. We have neither in today's America.

    Once in a career field for a few years the incumbent can better decide if a 4-year degree is worth the effort versus focused training and certificates obtainable from specific educational program companies geared for the incumbent's needs. None of the latter have athletic teams siphoning off tuition dollars.

    Athletes are not the only people finishing their time in either high school or college unable to read beyond a sixth to eighth grade level and woefully ignorant of basic life skills necessary to succeed in life.

    We have let political correctness, incompetence in political and educational leadership sell us on modern day "education". Genuine self esteem - a modern holy grail of the educational system - comes from genuine achievement. Failure can motivate people to try harder next time.

    Higher education is an self-absorbed industry that preys upon the ignorant for income. Education and maybe knowledge is a secondary by-product.

  • RDLV Costa Rica, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:26 a.m.

    My mistake.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 8:22 a.m.

    Thanks to "RDLV" for providing such an interesting and informative compendium of data regarding salaries for jobs in various professions, including those at the "U".

    There is one caveat I think is worth mentioning.

    Since the U of U stats are cumulative, that is, each succeeding category includes all that precede it, it would have sufficed to include only the last, showing there are 3719 jobs with an annual pay in excess of $103,720.

    I thought I'd mention it for anyone who might have been adding up all the job numbers and falsely conclude there were actually that many (31,633) jobs at the "U" with such juicy salaries.

  • RDLV Costa Rica, 00
    Jan. 21, 2014 6:52 a.m.

    Highest-paying jobs for those with a college degree
    August 26, 2013 Bloomberg News
    1) Chief executive officer - Median annual pay: $168,140
    2) Petroleum engineers - Median annual pay: $130,280
    3) Architectural and engineering manager - Median annual pay: $124,870
    4) Computer and information systems manager - Median annual pay: $120,950
    5) Marketing managers - Median annual pay: $119,480
    6) Natural sciences manager - Median annual pay: $115,730
    7) Airline pilots and copilots - Median annual pay: $114,200
    8) Financial managers - Median annual pay: $109,740
    9) Sales managers - Median annual pay: $105,260
    10) Nuclear engineers - Median annual pay: $104,270
    11) Aerospace engineers - Median annual pay: $103,720

    The Salt Lake Tribune –
    University of Utah Salaries
    Number of faculty and staff who earn more than the above.
    (Fiscal Year 2012)

    1) Annual pay > $168,140 = 1351
    2) Annual pay > $130,280 = 2231
    3) Annual pay > $124,870 = 2439
    4) Annual pay > $120,950 = 2650
    5) Annual pay > $119,480 = 2714
    6) Annual pay > $115,730 = 2942
    7) Annual pay > $114,200 = 3002
    8) Annual pay > $109,740 = 3301
    9) Annual pay > $105,260 = 3614
    10) Annual pay > $104,270 = 3670
    11) Annual pay > $103,720 = 3719

    There are some great jobs out there for those with a university education. There are some even better jobs for those at universities doing the instructing.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 21, 2014 4:07 a.m.

    In the last 15 years a college degree has come to mean nothing more than what a GED means to a high school education.

    The main reason college education and these $40,000-$150,000 loans were being promoted so heavily by government and financial institutions was because of the collapse in the housing market and fraudulent debt lending. Banks facing closing needed a new resource to jump start and keep the debt scam in motion.

    The governmemt began this college scam to prop up the banks with lucrative student debts in loans and credit cards that the government would back without making the banks offer no collateral loans. It was a calculated risk on the hopes of an economic recovery that has never happened. Colleges served two purposes, it kept high school graduates from looking for a job while their parents and relieves were being put out of work, thus falsifying the unemployment numbers.

    Now the educated pretenders who expect to be getting prosperous on promissory lies have devalued education as an assets. Of course all eduction was based on jobs that don't exist so they are victims of debts and fraudulent education.