Americans and their leaders have long believed that a college degree is the first step to career success, but one college professor believes it all might be a big waste of money.
Bryan Caplan, an economist and a tenured professor at George Mason University, told Tucker Carlson that he sees himself as a "whistleblower" of sorts, since he's calling out the system from the inside.
He said the fact that graduates earn more money than non-college graduates is not the end of the argument in favor of college.
"Just because an individual is making more money does not mean it's a good investment for society," said Caplan.
He writes in The Atlantic:
The college-for-all mentality has fostered neglect of a realistic substitute: vocational education. It takes many guises—classroom training, apprenticeships and other types of on-the-job training, and straight-up work experience—but they have much in common. All vocational education teaches specific job skills, and all vocational education revolves around learning by doing, not learning by listening. Research, though a bit sparse, suggests that vocational education raises pay, reduces unemployment, and increases the rate of high-school completion.
Carlson said the costs to college students and for society are extremely high and Caplan agreed that the process of students "jumping through hoops" to impress a future employer is "extremely wasteful for society."
"You might say there's an addiction to getting more education, which is fairly rampant," he said, estimating that only about five percent of the population should be attending college.
"A lot of people just punch the clock and sit through classes and get a degree in something or other. ... It's a burden on the individual to feel like if I don't accomplish this, my whole life is a waste of time," said Caplan, adding there are many different paths to success, including vocational school.
The total student loan debt in the United States is estimated at $1.5 trillion, with an average of $40,000 per student.
Watch the segment above.