The Rising Cost of College Tuition and the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks

With the economy the way it is I know everyone is looking for a bargain. I’m no different so when the latest college brochure came in the mail I just had to open it before I gave it to my son. After all, everyone knows what bargain college tuition is nowadays and I was certain the brochure would reflect this.

Fat chance.

The brochure, from a private liberal arts college in the little town of Jerkwater, USA, confirmed to me that of all the things that can be found on a college campus nowadays, a bargain is not one of them.

Let’s start with the cost. For the bargain price of $160,000 dollars, which includes room and board, a student can attend this college for four years where he or she will get to experience, according to the brochure, a “transformative” core curriculum during their first year.

Transformative? I’ll bet it is. The brochure contains a list of the classes in this so-called “transformative” core curriculum for incoming freshmen. Actually, the brochure doesn’t use the word “freshmen”. I think that word is now politically incorrect on most college campuses. But I digress.

So let’s go down the list of “transformative” classes contained in the brochure.

The first core curriculum class is entitled Ghosts, Psychics, and Astrology: The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks. I wish I could venture a guess at what sort nonsense is covered in a college class with “rubber ducks” in the title, but I’m reasonably sure that whatever it is it is not going to help a graduate get a job. At $160,000 for four years, that’s $20,000 a semester. That means that the rubber duck class will set a student, or their beleaguered parents, back about $5000. What a bargain!

Rubber ducks
Photo by gaetanlee via Wikimedia Commons

Another class on the list is called Myth. Yep, Myth. So a budding young adult, fresh off the launch pad of high school, will have the honor of taking a class called Myth if he or she chooses this college. Perhaps the class explores the myth that a degree containing a class called Myth is worth $160,000 and twenty years of student loan payments.

I have a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and I work in the field of nuclear power. Just the other day we had a myth problem at work. It sure would have been nice to have a sharp college graduate educated in myths to help us out. Sadly, all we had to rely on was our knowledge of the science of welding, which, by the way is not covered in the transformative core curriculum of this college.

Welding it together

But hold on, the list gets better.

The next class on the list is called “Food and Place”. Maybe they teach the kids where the cafeteria is and where they can find a place to sit, hence “food” and “place”. If I know college students, a better name for this class would be “Food and Drink” with an emphasis on Drink.

Another class listed in the brochure is,

Controversy and the Theater

Controversy and the Theater? I pity the graduate that goes out in today’s dog eat dog economy without a firm knowledge of the controversy that exists in the modern theater.

There is also a class on the list called Self-Motivated Learning. I would imagine it involves being motivated to learn. Years ago a neighbor of mine solved the motivation problem when his daughter went off to college. He told her that if she earned a C or below in a class then she would have to reimburse him the cost of that class once she graduated and got a job. As a result, she was very self-motivated and did her best to earn A’s and B’s. Perhaps my neighbor should teach the class on self-motivated learning.

And last but not least on the core curriculum list is,

Motown: Music and Meaning

Now to be honest, I love the old Motown music. But I wonder if the professor will tell the kids in this class that Motown, as Detroit was often called, is now an bankrupt urban wasteland full of unemployed people, abandoned houses and feral dogs. Motown was once a hotbed of good music and car manufacturing. Now it is a sad testament to the politics of greed and corruption.

There was a time in this country when just about any college degree would allow you to get your foot in the door at a good company where you could build a future for yourself. Those days are gone. Nowadays about the only thing $160,000 college degree full of classes about Rubber Ducks and Motown will earn you is a ticket right back to the bedroom you slept in while in high school.

Not to mention twenty years of student loan payments.

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