The number of 18 to 24 year olds rose from 27.3 million to 30.7 million between 2000 and 2010, a 12.5% increase. The percentage of 18 to 24 year olds enrolled in college rose from 9.7 million (35.5%) to 12.6 million (41.2%) over the same time frame. So even though the overall population of 18 to 24 year olds has grown by 12.5%, the percentage in college has risen by 30%. This is a fascinating development because test scores reveal that students have gotten dumber since 2000.

Over this time frame average SAT scores have fallen. In 2012 1.66 million students took the SAT exam and 43% met the minimum score necessary to achieve a B minus average in their first year of college. That means that 700,000 high school seniors were intelligent enough to attend college. Based on these scores, there are only between 2.8 million to 4.2 million 18 to 24 year olds that have the necessary ability to attend college. But, somehow there are 12.6 million attending college.

For the 2010–11 academic year, the average annual price for undergraduate tuition, fees, room, and board was $13,564 at public institutions (including $5,076 for in-state tuition) and $32,026 at private, not-for-profit and for-profit institutions. That’s a pretty penny to be paying when two thirds of the kids in college shouldn’t be there.

Of course we all know how these kids are able to attend college. The government has lured millions of young people into debt servitude by handing out hundreds of billions in cheap loans for college. Total student loan debt now exceeds $1 trillion and federal student loans outstanding exceed $600 billion, headed to over $1 trillion by the end of the decade.

Banks wrote off $3 billion of student loan debt in just the first two months of 2013, up more than 36% from the year-ago
period, as many graduates remain jobless, underemployed or cash-strapped in a slow U.S. economic recover. Delinquencies have spiked, with about 17% of the nearly 40 million student loan borrowers at least 90 days past due on their repayments, a February report from the New York Federal Reserve Bank showed. So, while students are defaulting at a record pace, the Federal government accelerates the issuance of new loans. They aren’t worried about getting paid back. They’ll just stick the American taxpayer with the losses. The purpose has been to artificially deflate the unemployment rate and hoping their Keynesian fantasies would eventually lead to an economic recovery. But it didn’t happen.

The Obama “Big Mac & Fries Jobs Recovery” has done wonders for our recent college graduates. McDonalds is now requiring fry cooks to have college degrees. College graduates are finding tremendous opportunities at Taco Bells, KFCs, Pizza Huts, Burger Kings, Wendy’s and McDonalds across the land. At least their jobs can’t be outsourced to India. I think this development offers the University of Phoenix a tremendous new opportunity – a degree in “Do You Want Fries with That?” They can offer a Masters Degree in Advanced Fry Cooking. Maybe even a Doctorate in “Hold the Pickles, Hold the Lettuce”.

food services as proportion of the economy

Enslaving millions of young people in billions in un-payable debt to get degrees that obtain them jobs at fast food joints is going to backfire on the Feds when these young people get pissed off enough and when the taxpayers get a bill for hundreds of billions in bad debt that will be written off.


  1. My daughter graduates next month-BS in Biology, from an ABET accredited school-University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Don’t laugh-it’s not a half-bad U for science and engineering. Her debt-$0. She worked her way through her first couple years-IT at UAF, lived cheap, saved a bit, did her Junior year as an exchange student in Stockholm, and is wrapping it up her Senior year with a little help from Dad (she’d be working, but had a mighty intense class load to make up for credit-transfer issues from Sweden). She’s planning grad school, but is convinced they will pay her way while she works in research. Yes, I am damn proud of her.

  2. This is a fascinating development because test scores reveal that students have gotten dumber since 2000.

    Im sure it is all the boomers fault


  3. You took all the fun out of it – I am starting to reel in some fish. I got Novista nibbling, and surely will get some other fish to hook themselves shortly. Let it run!

  4. Actually, a typical college degree today only means that you have finally achieved an average High school education of the 60s.

  5. Makati – problably pretty close to true – around 40% of college grads graduate without adding anything measurable to their educations. What a waste of money to send people through college, and have them come out no better educated than when they went in.

  6. I remember when I was about to graduate in 2009 and the economy had already tank. There were so many of my fiends that continued on to get their Masters degree when they couldn’t find anything better then fast food. With 17% having already given up, it is going to really strike the economy a low blow when all the students that stayed in school to avoid the horrible job market have no choice to default. It is already bad with the current graduates getting out, but what about those who hid in graduate school racking up more debt. I know plenty of people who went back to get either a masters or another bachelors degree who shouldn’t have been accepted in the first place. It really isn’t going to take long for this to blow up in Sallie Mae’s face. The situation is a lot worst then they are letting on. There will come a time where the people hiding out in school can’t get anymore degrees. This also includes older people who went back to school to stay competitive in the job market.

  7. Novista:

    1980 sounds about right. Before high fructose corn syrup was a big deal, before aspartame, before GMO, before chemtrails and who knows what else. Also, realtively speaking, those who were young adults or older then stil lwent through a half way decent public school primary and secoindary education in most areas.

  8. Those with decimal IQs:

    If you can’t get a job in the great heartburn industry and want to be a legal bully…………..

    You can always BE A COP!

    Congrats to Miss AKAnon.

    Fool did the same, but it was a a lot easier fifty years ago.

  9. When I graduated in 1962 from a small township school in south central PA, I had already had courses in literature, composition, public speaking, biology, chemistry, physics, math algebra through college calculus, Latin, and courses in ‘shop’ including leather, wood, metals and drafting. And that was when you could still fail and be held back. The curriculum was divided into three sections: General Education, Business Ed. and College Prep. Each section was based on your future plans, not aptitude tests. People who did not plan to go to college took General or Business. Business is obvious. General was more towards trades and practical math, etc. There were 94 in my class.

    One went to West Point
    One went to Annapolis
    Several became lawyers, one became famous as trial lawyer.
    Several became teachers.
    Several others went to Ivy League Colleges for various degrees.

    In all, 32 out of the 94 went on to college for one degree or another. THAT was public education 50 years ago in the Us.

  10. Someone pls explain to me how the hell a “student” can graduate from HS and not be able to read, write, or do simple math. I went to public school in the 50s and 60s. We could do all that shit in ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! Also WTF do they do all day in school in 2013?

  11. the metrics attributed to obtaining what an average course grade in quite a stretch.

    not only are the colleges not built equal but the courses within the colleges arent’ even close. I went to a competitive private college that touted its liberal arts requirements. But I was going for my BS in Mech Engineering so I saw the full spectrum. I took classes like Electric Circtuits, Physics, Calc 1-3, Dif Eq’s and Thermodynamics but was also required to take ADR’s (Area Distribution Req’s) so I also took Latin, Spanish, Western Civ, Geography and Philosophy. I don’t begrudge taking those courses, personally I always liked foreign lang as well as the study of morality/philosophy but my easiest Eng course was significantly more difficult and time consuming than even the toughest ADR. I could have gotten a B in most those ADR’s in my sleep but had to bust my ass for B’s ( and the occasional A) in my engineering classes.

    I agree with the basic premise that the education system is creating dumb-dumbs and more and more of these dumb-dumbs are going to “college” but I just don’t agree with the validity of the metrics trying to measure who should and shouldn’t go. A higher education is a service that can be provided and an investment for the person attending. Once again the solution is to get the govt out of it entirely, the bs majors would disappear and the people who are dumb will stop attending and digging their debt ditch even deeper.

    And the boomers are partially at fault, the public education system is ineffective at best and destructive in reality. Many boomers spoiled their kids and showed their kids what it was to be a spoiled child/adult and in turn were “me-centric.” when they went to have kids themselves they valued their career, lexuses and Mcmansion more than the responsibility of their kids. They outsourced their parenting responsibilities to the state via free daycare (public schools) while perpetually making excuses for them.
    I graduated HS in ’99 and my parents were late boomers and but they sacrificed, lived within their means. Mom stayed home, dad worked his ass off. we had a nice home but not ridiculous but never went to disney ( i don’t feel I missed out). A vacation for us was going to a soccer tournament for my club team someplace like gettysburg and then staying 2-3 extra days to tour the battle field and learn history. I went to a catholic school until 11th grade (science and math were weak there and I already knew my path was in engineering so i switched to public school for their AP courses) My parents were the outliers, most took vacations, continuously bought new cars and spoiled their kids. while I had a job at 12 delivering newspapers which allowed me to buy my own car and pay for some of my schooling they being given cars that they would then wreck while drunk driving. i remember having to mow the lawn, clip the edges and the summer I was 14 I had to replace the water pump, alternator, starter and belts on my dad’s commuter car which was a Aries station wagon (K-Car).
    The boomers as a generation (excluding the excellent outliers of which every generalized group has) are a generation that disgusts me almost everytime I speak with one, see one in a store or listen to the ones that “serve” us in CON-gress (which they currently dominate).

    In summation, BBES

  12. ragman, it’s simple govt got even more involved. The 70’s saw the creation of the Dept of Education.

    Plus during Bush 2’s earlier years “No Child Left Behind” was instituted. THat helped do what every govt program does, lower everyone to the lowers denominator so they could all be “equal.”. It should have been named “No Child May Move Forward Until They Are All Equally Stupid.” Collectivism is such a failure because of the inertia it creates, the burden of the failures falling on teh successful only leads to less successful and increased number of failures.

    the solution is simple, get govt less involved in education by keeping kids out of the system whether it be private schooling or home schooling.

  13. Well then thank gawd that Michigan is looking to lead the nation in stupidity – AGAIN – and bump the minimum wage up to $10 an hour.

    That way you are at least making $20k and above “poverty” with your $500 in student loan payments a month.

    Insanity at its finest.

    Shoving the incapable into college (and advanced science, math, etc) only accomplishes one thing – it lowers the knowledge imparted to the capable.

    Increasing the entry level job wage to $10 only accomplishes one thing – it reduces the numbers of those jobs available.

    What in the hell is wrong with this country?

    Do the Ivory Tower academics and rich guys running it not SEE what they are doing?

    Or, as I believe, do they know all to fucking well what they are creating? Which explains why they keep doubling down on formerly proven failure of policy, because they aren’t trying to “fix” anything, they are trying to bring it down around us.

    Goal is nearly accomplished. A few more years of this crap and it can’t help but all come crashing down.

  14. peak intelligence was actually 4000 B.C.
    google it
    and while you are at it, read some college entrance exam questions from the 1800’s and see if you can answer any of them

  15. I cringe to think I am a very late “boomer”, to young for any of the boomer 1960s perticipation (riots, hippies, drugs, etc). I remember asking my Dad what all that was about, I did not get it as a young tyke…

    On education (graduated HS from Florida public schools in 1978), compared to Makati’s 1962:

    Check: I had already had courses in literature
    Check: composition
    Check: public speaking
    Check: biology
    Check: chemistry
    Check: physics
    Check: math algebra through college calculus (I did no take calculus in HS, only went through trig so suffered taking it my first year of college), plenty did take it though
    Check: Latin
    Check: Courses in ‘shop’ including wood and metals (could have taken others)
    Check: And that was when you could still fail and be held back
    Sort of: The curriculum was divided into three sections: General Education, Business Ed. and College Prep.
    — they still had vocational high schools for people who were going into a trade, general ed and college prep were in the same school.

  16. You guys are so funny!

    Kids these days are tech-savvy and quite bright, overall. What we are seeing is the effect of the sustained knowledge explosion of the past few decades. When the total amount of knowledge explodes by an exponential factor, the likelihood of any single individual knowing a particular fact goes down accordingly. Today’s SAT test can touch on vast areas of knowledge that didn’t even exist 10-20 years ago.

    This also creates the phenomenon, seen most clearly in musical tastes, of ‘mutually exclusive data sets’ — two people can know a lot about the world without seeing their respective knowledge bases overlap significantly. There will probably be no more DaVincis in our future.

    As for peak intelligence? Not so long as the average human continues to increase in size and life span…


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