And Another Little Bit of the College Bubble Pops, Penguin Publishing Drops Degree Requirement

Posted: Jan 25, 2016 12:01 AM
And Another Little Bit of the College Bubble Pops, Penguin Publishing Drops Degree Requirement

I think college has quite a lot of value for many people. It certainly was valuable for me. (In oh so many ways.) But college costs, driven by easy money from the government, have gotten out of hand. The value per dollar at many institutions is not as attractive as it once was. We now have a generation of middle class kids saddled by debt. They start life with what are essentially mortgages hanging around their necks, and they don’t even have a roof of their own to sleep under for the “mortgage.” They have a degree. (If they finished.) A family, a home of their own, ever living without debt for many young people feels like a dream.

There is a stigma attached to not having a college degree. A degree in the military for instance delineates enlisted from officer. In the business world (to a lesser but still large degree) “worker” from manager. The president goes on TV and proclains that everyone should have a college degree. That a college degree is the way to greater prosperity. See, if you want to be “somebody” one must go to college.

To a large degree one can say that this has been the case. But this was true in a time when everybody wasn’t going to college and more importantly when college, even at the most prestigious schools was much less expensive. Now the value of a college degree, and indeed a graduate degree, has been watered down by the sheer number of graduates. Additionally the cost of the less valuable degree is far more than what students even 20 years ago had to deal with. Higher cost for less value. Something has to give. And it is giving.

For instance one can get a top notch, really top notch, education online nearly for free. What one does not get is the degree however. But we are approaching the point where a college degree doesn’t make much sense in terms of prestige etc. for the cost, especially in the face of nearly no cost high quality education online. We are right on the edge right now of a new way of looking at education. 

Some employers are beginning to acknowledge this trend. There is high quality talent out there which has not followed the traditional education route. Many companies are beginning to recognize that the old employment rules make less and less sense these days.

Give me a programmer who has built apps and websites and all sorts of tangible things but doesn’t have a college degree over a kid fresh out of college who has never really built much of anything any day.


Publisher Penguin Random House says job applicants will no longer be required to have a university degree.

The firm wants to have a more varied intake of staff and suggests there is no clear link between holding a degree and performance in a job.

This announcement follows a series of financial companies dropping academic requirements for applicants.

Neil Morrison, human resources director, says they want talented staff “regardless of background”.

“This is the starting point for our concerted action to make publishing far, far more inclusive than it has been to date,” says Mr Morrison.

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