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LETTERS: Arts and humanities much riskier than STEM student loans | Letters

LETTERS: Arts and humanities much riskier than STEM student loans | Letters
Written by Publishing Team

bad investment

The United States has $124.4 billion of debt in bad student loans, affecting 9 million borrowers and their families. In recent years, it has been reported that “69 percent of college students have taken out student loans.”

Arts and humanities majors have the highest student loan default rates in the country—14 percent to 27 percent, depending on the type of institution. Major currencies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields have the lowest default rates. Business and professional majors falter at slightly higher rates than STEM, but at lower rates than Arts and Humanities.

I doubt anyone in the academy would dismiss the value of including the arts and humanities in undergraduate education, but many of these disciplines have diminished in relevance and functional application. The arts and humanities need to reconsider what they teach and realize that – if they are to encourage students to specialize in their field – they must clearly connect the dots with viable jobs that allow students to earn a living and pay off student debt. Until then – until significant progress is noticed – additional investment in fields with increasing loan default rates would be, in my opinion, unwise.

In fact, I think some of these disciplines should undergo a sunset review. It is essential that the academy prepares its students well for future careers. At the same time, we must realize that we now live in a global market and no institution can afford or effectively provide all things to all people.

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