Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Value of Education

Several of my friends from my college days have posted an article written in The Federalist to their Facebook pages this morning. The basic argument of the piece calls into question the value and importance of higher education compared to the massive amount of debt students tend to accumulate as a result.
The article points out that "about $758.5 billion is owed to the federal government" by students for loans. Author Daniel Oliver mainly argues that it's time for Republicans to step up and fight to cancel federal aid for higher education due to its effect on the economy.

While Oliver makes many excellent points, and I agree with the economic premise that it is in no way the government's responsibility to pay for my education, this article misunderstands the purpose of a solid education in the first place. It's not to get a great job or make more money or become more successful. Modern American society wants you to think that, but it just isn't so. College and higher education is meant to drive young (and old) people to a higher standard, to give us a perspective and maturity that would be difficult to attain otherwise. 

The value of my education is not found in my paycheck. It is not found in my BA in Classical Studies.

It is found in the person I became during my four years at Hillsdale. It is found in the circumspect approach I bring to my radio show every day. It is found in the conversations I have with my friends and colleagues about the things that really matter (and even the things that don't matter at all).

It was in college that I learned to write, think, listen and speak intelligently: all of which of which are vital in both the professional and personal fields. My husband and I first bonded over a love of language and a deep passion for truth that I learned to cultivate at school. Any children we may have will benefit from our mutual drive for excellence and stubborn dedication to our principals. Yes, Mr. Oliver, these are qualities that would exist in me without attending a four year school, but higher education is what grew and cultivated these qualities in me to a place where I could use them well. 

Admittedly college is not for everyone, but I believe those who have the determination to complete a degree are better for it, and assuming a student chooses the right school, it is worth the cost of tuition.