Stossel: The College Scam

These days all Americans are told go to college! A higher education is the single best investment. But a new book, The Case Against Education says this college push is a big mistake. How many thousands of hours did you spend in classes studying subjects that you never thought about again? Economist Bryan Caplan says most people who go to college shouldn’t. I learned little in college. I liked my friends and illegal drinking, but I slept through lectures. At least tuition then was $2,000, now it’s almost $50,000. People usually just want to talk about the tuition, which is a big deal but there’s also all the years that people spend in school when they could have been doing something else if you just take a look at the faces of the students it’s obvious that they’re bored and people are there primarily in order to get a good job. Because a diploma is a signaling device for people with no more brains than you have but they have one thing you haven’t got, a diploma! The con man who was the Wizard of Oz hinted at the problem years ago. Doctor of Thinkology. Why’d you write this book? The Wizard of Oz already made the argument. But almost no one seems to believe it. College graduation has never been more valuable than it is today. Education is my top priority and by supporting this budget you’ll make it yours as well. Meaning taxpayers must pay for it. All the politicians say, go to college. And there is evidence the higher you go, the more money you make. It’s totally true that when people go and get more and better and fancier degrees that their income generally goes up, but the reason why this happening is not really that college is pouring tons of job skills into you, the reason is that it’s impressive. You aren’t saying, you, individual don’t go to college, you’re saying we as a country are suckers to push it and subsidize it. Exactly. Just because it is lucrative for an individual doesn’t mean that’s a good idea for country. Because when most everyone goes to college, that just raises the bar. Imagine that you’re at a concert and everyone is sitting down and you want to see better, what can you do? Well you can stand up alright, and of course then you’ll see better. Now it does not follow though that if everyone stands up everyone sees better. You just block each other’s views. The same thing has happened in education, says Caplan, as more people got degrees, more employers insisted on degrees. The result isn’t that graduates get better jobs, it’s that employers require degrees for most every job. There are so many jobs where it used to be crazy to think that you would need a college degree, like to be a waiter in a fancy restaurant where now it would be very normal. Of course a college education is about more than getting a job, it’s also about learning but Caplan says if students really wanted to learn, they would just do it. If you want to go to Princeton, you don’t have to apply, just move to the town and start attending classes. Nobody does that. In people’s bones they realize that what really counts is that diploma. Today that’s a taxpayer subsidized diploma and when you subsidize something, you get more of it. More students apply to college, so schools raise tuition. Tuition cost has risen at triple the rate of inflation. Schools use that money to attract more students and more tax money. Many compete by advertising luxury. They promote things like lobster dinners, fancy pools. Students will come to us and say, this is what sealed the deal. Used to be reading, writing, and arithmetic, and well we’re now the 4th “r”, recreation. 600 colleges now have rock walls. Give our Tigers spring break every time they step in to the Student Recreation Complex. This is a public school, taxpayers fund that spring break. We also fund years of study in subjects unlikely to help students get jobs, like social justice, gender studies, multicultural studies. If we’re doing computer science or electrical engineering, then you probably are actually learning a bunch of useful skills, but every year we graduate about twice as many psychology bachelor’s degrees as we do engineering bachelor’s degrees. Of course there’s value in learning psychology, philosophy, literature, many employers say they want liberal arts graduates. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing. It makes us better, wiser people. But you can’t assume that works. How many years of people’s lives should they be made to study stuff when the odds that they’ll ever appreciate it are 1 in a 100, 1 in a 1000? Maybe it makes our brains work better? It’s the kind of thing you’d expect teachers say, but there’s a whole field of people who have actually studied this. Much as they want to believe that you’re right they generally come away after looking at a lot of evidence and saying, wow actually it’s wishful thinking. Although Caplan calls college a scam, he says it’s great for a few people. People like him. I’m a tenured professor. Your audience may not realize how good of a gig this is, but a tenured professor cannot be fired for almost any reason and you get a nice income and there almost no demands upon your time. You just have to teach five hours a week? Well there’s people who consider that a horrible burden. That’s a scam that we’re paying so much money for people like you to teach you five hours. Yeah well, I’m a whistleblower. The bottom line of The Case Against Education: taxpayers ought to know that they’re getting ripped off. Government has made a tremendous effort to make education accessible to everyone. I say really what we need to do is to go back to a world where college is not so accessible, where it really distinguishes you, and in this way, people are going to be able to start their lives years earlier. The wisest solution all things considered would be if government just got out. It would be good if government got out of a lot of things.

100 comments on “Stossel: The College Scam”

  1. mr.penguin says:

    Huh, kinda sounds like car insurance and credit scores…..

  2. Kevin Better says:

    I'm a tradesman. My hourly rate is $175 per service call. 4 calls a day. Do the math 😘

  3. James B says:

    Youtube algorithm forwarded this video to me.
    However, I find the Valuetainment version a much better video at explaining why he thinks it is a scam.

  4. uiolax1967 says:

    Government getting out 🤔🤔🤔. Wishful thinking.

  5. faggy maxwell says:

    gotta theory here. Elites are pushing high debt for higher education to create highly educated, low skilled future debt slave laborers for their future luxury resorts.

  6. ruzzell907 says:

    How about worthless degrees? You know, the usual suspects Liberal Arts and Gender Studies.
    Not all degrees are made equal.
    Not all skills are made equal.

  7. Keith Barnett says:

    It's a scam.

  8. The Whiz Kid says:

    Le Grande Illusion

  9. David D says:

    Wait Stossel has his own channel. Ripping stossel off? True crime.

  10. Kenneth Gibson says:

    All is revealed

  11. Scribblebytes says:

    The value on education has to be seen through Libertarian eyes and not capitalistic ones (which breed dependence).

  12. Marc Parella says:

    The day I left college was the day I started learning.

  13. Kathy J says:

    Thank God I did not go to grad school. I decided to work instead and get real world experience.

  14. Pray Suguitan says:

    All of man's wisdoms are foolishness with God….

  15. Gato says:

    You know it's a scam when the most common reason given to get a college degree is because you just need one

  16. Justin Davis says:

    After finishing my bachelor's degree, I realized I could continue my studies in my free time. No need for a master's degree.

  17. Pesky Fly says:

    I wish I'd known this after I finished high school.

  18. Jeffrey Johnson says:

    We need to put an end to all taxpayer subsidies for colleges and universities (all grants and federal loan guarantees). All that these programs do is disencentivize schools to control costs and incentivize students to pursue worthless fields of study while taking on massive debt under the delusion that they won't have to pay it back for ages and that they'll be making tons of money by then.

  19. Maiya Coles says:

    My mom wants me to go to collage when I graduate high school but I don't really know if it for me really I think it's a waste of money cause I could learn most of that shit online

  20. Joan LaFleur says:

    What good is spending so much on college in hopes of a better paying job when under socialism everyone will earn an equal wage and the government will take a big chunk out of your check?

  21. Photog 1 says:

    Yet no discussion as to the role of the government getting involved in the student loan business. This alone has caused tuition to skyrocket.

  22. S B says:

    Don't believe the libertarian bullshit propaganda. Getting a college education is worth it if you can get one.

  23. Drew Hendley says:

    Try to start a career not a job without a college degree. Companies will just say NEXT!!!!

  24. Kristy Sokoloski says:

    Government will never get out of things.

  25. Macio Luko says:

    You give me an example where government is involved and I’ll show you a hefty price tag.

  26. Romeo Popaz says:


  27. jvolstad says:

    Great educational videos on YouTube.

  28. Perry says:

    Colleges provide CREDENTIALS not an education. A recent graduate can't produce one unit of anything when the graduate.

  29. THE TIME IS NOW says:

    Wont happen because the government is a bully

  30. Misun Zahn says:

    i knew about 10+ years ago and people are just now realizing this?

  31. Jarrod Yuki says:

    college is not a scam. you should never compromise on rising in society.

  32. hank fontaine says:

    Alfred Kinsey educates Jimmy Savile entertains

  33. abc def says:

    worthless mandatory classes and prerequisites.
    none transferable classes .
    high out of state tuition.
    no real training.
    no jobs !!!!

  34. Yvette Norris says:

    I had a longer post then deleted it and feel instead compelled to ask, do you think everyone has the same college experience as you do? Pair of bored entitled foolios. Your success almost belongs to you. Sheesh.

  35. Alexmarr7224 says:

    Memorizing facts doesn't make you smart. A diploma doesn't equal a job. I have an associate's and learn ed skilled trade, my sister has her master's. I make a load more than she could ever hope too. My truck breaks I fix it, her Audi breaks shes at the dealership in tears.

  36. It's Our DNA says:

    UNSCHOOLING is the way!!! Follow your passions. 💯

  37. a wister says:

    Yea u need a diploma to be a waiter today cause the average iq is 80 and with a degree u may be at 85 so u r a genius employee then and a lot more valuable lol!

  38. HappyListener50 says:

    Education is a scam for the hard working tax payers who subsidize these profiteering zero tax paying institutions.

  39. alfred kokou says:

    If the only purpose of education is to get you rich in a capitalistic definition then everything you said is right but otherwise I see a load of bullshit . I endorse education of all citizens even if it would cost 100% of taxpayer money (OK not really) . Educate the hell out people ! What you should be attacking is school establishment who turn education into business making the college cost skyrocketing , a capitalism bruise.

  40. get it right says:

    that was the stupidest thing I ever heard I've employed thousands of waiters over my lifetime and none of them are required to have a college degree propaganda stossel needs to stop with all the right-wing propaganda he knows and everyone else knows if you go to college you make on average four times as much over the course of your lifetime as someone who did not go to college and yes the trades are great maybe everyone shouldn't go to college maybe some people should just go to a trade school or a princess under a Craftsman the John stossel is just pushing propaganda as usual this man has lost all respect for himself and all respect for journalism

  41. Roberto Fiad says:

    Some high school graduate goes to trade school, studies for a license from the state as a truck or rig driver, buys a truck, and begins earning money immediately. I met a guy in a barbershop who has his own truck, his own business, has no college degree, and earns about $250,000 per year.

  42. Roberto Fiad says:

    Some high school graduate goes to trade school, studies for a license from the state as a truck or rig driver, buys a truck and begins earning money immediately. I met a guy in a barbershop who has his own truck, his own business, has no college degree, and earns about $250,000 per year.

  43. Lex Levi says:

    School is a scam not education learn the difference before you mislead ppl

  44. Derek Gabrys says:

    Its more about leftist indoctrination than education. College has kind of messed up the economy. Kids start life in big debt to get the same jobs with a bachelors degree that previous generations only needed a high school diploma or associates for.

  45. TontoGoldstein81 says:

    Now I know why academia leans hard left… they love government subsidies and hate capitalism.

  46. Hemant parakh says:

    It is better to pick two kilo grams of OLD MAGAZINES RATHER THAN GOING TO COLLEGE

  47. profscarlett says:

    Well, if you want to work cleaning toilets all your life, then you don’t need college.

  48. profscarlett says:

    Not everybody is ready to go to college. They have to have a good gpa. There are certain professions that require degrees such as physicians, nurses, teachers, etc. But, business? Not really. But there are lots of stupid people who cannot even multiply and want to become engineers. There are some open-entry crooked colleges that will enroll anybody with or without any writing or math skills to offer them the dream of a diploma and get their money. Also, the fact that someone has a degree doesn’t guarantee a job. Many people lack soft skills: how to behave at work, follow orders, be on time, personal hygiene, etc.

  49. Diogo V. Kersting says:

    I heard about a local study that showed that high-school graduates had better productivity in manual jobs than college graduates (which obviously, were not working on their field).

    The hypothesis is that high-school graduates were more thankful for their jobs, and therefore more motivated.

    Not sure if the study was replicated, though.
    Anyone has thoughts on this?

    Dang, I'm gonna get his book right now!

  50. jennings mills says:

    What is education?
    Information. you can fit the library of Congress on a 10 terabyte hard drive.
    So why does access to the information required for a college degree cost $50k?

    College exists to keep the Riff Raff from competing directly with the elite.
    Elite buys their degrees.
    Riff Raff goes broke trying to obtain a degree.

  51. Sam Hudson says:

    It’s only a scam if you pick a useless degree, but if you go to med or law school then your set

  52. Al says:

    I seen a private college charging $20,000 for a prison guard course which pretty an overcharged security guard course you can get on the internet or any security guard school. Atleast in CA you dont need a degree to be a prison guard.

    Same for a welding schools, UTI charges too much.

  53. Dewayne Miguel says:

    There just training new liberals

  54. Danny Sullivan says:

    Bryan Caplan looks eerily similar to Sam Harris

  55. Patrick O'Donnell says:

    All I did for 4 years of college was do research to write papers. You'd think there would be all of these jobs for college grads where they do research and write papers for that job at that company. But there aren't. If I enrolled into a plumbing apprenticeship for 4 years and at the end there were no plumbing jobs for me but just research paper jobs, them that would not make alot of sense for what they had me study.

  56. Ryan VanGelder says:

    So happy here in Australia our legal drinking age is 18 so when we finish high school we can go out before starting Uni, lol, 👍

  57. *S U C T I O N* says:

    Ahhahahaha laughs in engineering degree

  58. John DiBlasi says:

    Many high school students have no idea what they want to do when they graduate. I was one of them. Parents pressure their kids to enroll because they believe it is the path to success. Others enroll because their friends have done so. More than 40% of those enrolled in college or the university drop out before getting a degree. High school students with no clue as to what to do in the future should consider enlisting in the military. The military is not all guns, bullets and blowing up things. There are programs that will teach an inductee a skill which he or she may want to pursue after their enlistments is up. The Army, Navy Air Force, Coast Guard and even the Marines offer such programs. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy upon graduation from high school. After boot camp, I spent one year attending basic and advanced electronic technician repair classes. This training afforded me the opportunity to be hired by a private corporation that utilized my Navy skills. After a few years, I enrolled in college and received a degree in marketing. Today, I have my own small business.

  59. Luke Passos says:

    point is, you wanna have your pathetic dumb ass woke studies? Go ahead, but you're not getting it from government's pocket. The money out of my pocket, that is.

  60. adam forbes says:

    Ha take that sister with your law degree….I was right…makes no improvement in thinking. Muhahaha…drives off in semi making $86k a year with zero debt….not crippling $130k of debt.

  61. Kevin Douglas says:

    It's just like prison for profit, policing for profit, and anything else government gets involved with.

  62. Miro Kosta says:

    Our colleges are infested with professors that indoctrinate kids into the socialist and communist mindset. A philosophy that preaches that more government is always the answer to everything. Of course the government is going to subsidize it!

  63. Scott-E says:

    We need to find entrepreneurs not colleges

  64. Michele Manocchio says:

    The Have vs. The Have Not – The world is full of insecurity and no peace which means we live in perilous tumultuous times. YHWH vs. abaddon

  65. Michele Manocchio says:

    YHWH ETERNAL LIFE vs. abbadon eternal damnation

  66. Michele Manocchio says:

    YHWH is THE HOLY TRINITY ETERNAL LIFE vs. abaddon the unholy trinity eternal damnation.

  67. Bruce Schweyer says:

    College is a four-year loaf that costs a whole lot of dough.

  68. Jin Y says:

    Obama is just bad for America!!!

  69. Henrique Braga says:

    Does this only apply to the Amerian college system?

  70. nater 1 says:

    My friend was saying his basic office job the 50+ year olds don't have a college degree. All the young adults late 20s early 30s all have college degrees. I know a couple people using their degrees and they got it as a pilot or engineering a couple were nurses and one is an accountant. Everything else you should just get a general studies degree and plan on going for a master's.

  71. Audio says:

    Obama was propping up his academia base. College education is largely a lie unless you are a doctor or lawyer. They want to get people in debt to work at Footlocker.

  72. phukit says:

    College is a scam. Colleges basically pay no taxes,are subsidized by the government,students pay way too much to learn little .People on the boards at most colleges are represented by big businesses that get most of the college business,textbooks ,garbage cleanup,the coffee shops and other vendor products at colleges.Colleges then invest all this money tax free.Biggest scam in America.

  73. Patriot 1776 says:

    Pink Floyd predicted this in Another Brick in the Wall pt. 2, when you go to college you just feed the machine

  74. Leslie Tanner says:

    Our 'education' system, including college, is not about expanding or opening the mind.
    It's about liberal-left indoctrination. It's about closing the mind.

  75. ซาง สูง says:


  76. Oh Yeah Yeah 2.0 says:

    I just got a college ad! XD

  77. Manuel Stapp says:

    John I like your reporting thank you for the truth

  78. Justin Joy says:

    5:02 I love that professors smug look when walking into the campus.

  79. Pablo Perez says:

    Tecnology has change , education should change , and should he cheaper .

  80. Chris D'Antonio says:


  81. Jamshed Arslan says:

    Leftism training camps = collages and universities in West

  82. Gauss Field says:

    college is total scam including computer science/engineering field.Take code bootcamp + certs and you can make more than college grads. where in the world would you use calculus, chemistry, physics, history, etc, total waste of time, why is college still teaching these ancient science, I have no clue. The only thing that computer people need is discrete math, statistics and so on. instead of teaching these non-sense, why not let student take 2-3 certifications such as linux certs or windows certs, which is actually useful for career.

  83. sandinyourshoes says:

    Tell those professors that you won't be taking their classes any longer.

  84. Brandy Y. says:

    I didn’t go to college, now I’m 35 and a mom going back because I’m sick of working my ass off, weekends and nights, to not make enough to live on. I think I prob will get a decent job when I’m done but college won’t have taught me anything I didn’t already know having worked for almost 20 years, people just want the degree. And yes, I’m poor enough to get grants.. it would almost be stupid for me not to go, the gov is basically paying me for it

  85. Aymen Saheb says:

    College is the biggest scam, I am pursuing a career in filmmaking and making a career from Instagram currently sitting at 50k followers!
    Do not enter the structure society has set for you! You will live on this planet one time why spend your life getting stuck with college loans and a 9-5 job just to buy shit to impress others!
    Be creative travel explore do not let anyone tell you what to do! Not your parents not your friends and certainly not the corrupt government that doesn’t care about us and only their pockets!

  86. RoweHowe says:

    The way he walks when talking about not getting fired from tenor professor job is inspirational

  87. Thinh Phan says:

    screw obama

  88. D/ D/ says:

    What if the career you seek requires the minimum of a bachelors degree? Like social work

  89. Bunne Rabb says:

    A college degree says one thing. "I played along. I did what I was told and I'll be in debt for 20 years to pay for this piece of paper that says I played along and I might have even learned a few useful things, but I just want you to know, oh prospective employer, that I will do anything to pay all this shit off and not go hungry".

  90. 99harmonica says:

    Since tenured professors make more than 150 000 USD per year just by teaching 5 lessons (each at most 50 minutes long) a week and rest they are claiming as doing research ?!? Of course they will try everything to sustain this system.

  91. max bofinger says:

    Bryan chaplain is a total jokester

  92. Terry Rodbourn says:

    Ladies Gender Studies have no future in job market economy! So enjoy your Debt and service job!

  93. Nick P says:

    I don't just blame the universities but the corporations as well, it's a well known fact that the best jobs and companies won't even talk to you unless you have a degree or are a programming genius, if these corporations created diversion programs for non grads they could farm great young talent and circumvent the BS system, but they don't want to take the risk and lack the ingenuity

  94. Chuck's poke says:

    College 25k a year the price I paid to eat, sleep, party (fraternity) , endless dating and of course football game. People talk about it but until it all changes, It's still just talk. Change has to come in middle school and high school level with academic and career training (apprenticeship and and training). That would mean more focus on jobs, manufacturing and ability to make living work wage. I have master degree but my brothers that went into military lives for extend mine greatly. If i had to do it all over again I would done military then college then cushy well-paid job. I could have retired twice by now with no student debt.

    This professor has nerve to write a book after he received tenure………academic smart dumb ass! Didn't write a text book. Wrote a book about how he living good life doing nothing and i cant get fired ….in your face suck it book! This what wrong with some schools.

  95. Ching USYD says:

    you can never become a doctor if you don't go to college
    you can never become a lawyer if you don't go to college
    you can never become a dentist if you don't go to college

  96. Luke says:

    So when are employers going to start realizing that college doesn't necessarily produce better job candidates? A majority of my college educated peers needed a degree to obtain their current job, but aren't actually USING their degree.

  97. Ribas says:

    I decided to drop out of a public college, because college won't get you up and running to start working with confidence, because most of the things You'll be learning there has no practical use in a real life situation, and the useful matters are not covered in depth. Most Professors have never left a classroom to face a real job, They won't even be able provide students profissional experience, since all They did in their whole lives was only study. Futhermore Many of them won't even teach you as much as They can, because human are greedy and Professors take their lives for granted, as They have a high-salary paying job that Nobody will take it from them.

  98. Jesus Walmart says:

    That guy is a fucking joke. Probably has a hard time tying his own shoes.

  99. arsalon joneidi says:

    there are only two degrees that are worth studying
    computer science, and electrical,mechanical,civil,chemical engineering

  100. Wade says:

    Attending college, majoring in something useless and going deep into debt for that useless degree, makes absolutely no sense to me. Why attend college and major in something that has little to no demand in the market? Why spend 100k for a degree that will only make you something like $36,000 per year? It seems to be that decision making is a big problem here..

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