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Is college a scam?

A YouTube video argues ‘yes.’ But better higher education, not less, is what's really needed.

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Is a college education the biggest scam in US history?

That’s the conclusion of a YouTube video called “College Conspiracy” that’s drawn more than 2.1 million views online.

The theme has been picked up across that site, often by college students themselves, in videos with angry titles like “My Bachelor’s Degree is Worthless,” “College is a Rip-off,” and “College is an Evil Debt Trap.”

With a tough job market, students (and their parents) are making a tough calculation: What will I really learn in college? Will it cost me more in time and money than it’s worth?

One set of statistics shows that hundreds of thousands of college graduates today hold bottom-rung positions such as “waiter” or “cashier” that hardly need a degree in business administration. That’s a discouraging thought when a four-year-degree could easily cost $100,000 or more.

One argument being heard is that colleges and universities are too often in business to inflate their enrollments with students who don’t really belong there – a way to rake in money and create or keep jobs in academia.

And what about billionaire college dropouts, like Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose rocket-ride to fame and fortune in his early 20s was shown in the movie “The Social Network”? Entrepreneur Peter Thiel, the cofounder of PayPal, has even paid a number of talented students $100,000 apiece to drop out of college – which he sees as a waste of their time – so that they can quickly begin careers as high-tech entrepreneurs.

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