Overpriced colleges are rarely truthful about the new Helotage. For example, often they offer incoming students Club Med–like gym privileges: rock-climbing walls, aerobics and yoga classes, and hip weight rooms. Such glitzy distractions fool students into thinking that they are already part of the privileged classes — without awareness that upon graduation, few of the newly indebted will make enough to enjoy commensurate perks at private clubs on their own dime.
The New American Helots - Victor Davis Hanson - National Review Online
By Victor Davis Hanson
June 14, 2012
Our indebted graduates are the modern indentured class.
Ancient Sparta turned its conquered neighbors into indentured serfs — half free, half slave. The resulting Helot underclass produced the food of the Spartan state, freeing Sparta’s elite males to train for war and the duties of citizenship.
Over the last few decades, we’ve created our modern version of these Helots — millions of indebted young Americans with little prospect of finding permanent well-paying work, servicing their enormous college debts, or reaping commensurate financial returns on their costly educations.
Student-loan debts now average about $25,000 per graduating senior. But the proportion of youths 16 to 24 who are working (about 49 percent) is the lowest since records have been kept. The cost of a four-year college education can range between $100,000 and $200,000 depending on whether the institution is public or private. Only 53 percent of today’s college students graduate within six years. Student time spent writing and reading in college has plummeted.
Annual tuition keeps rising, as it has over the last 50 years, usually at close to twice the rate of inflation. It must, if colleges are to pay for a vast new administrative class that is excused from teaching to monitor sensitivity and diversity, raise money, and comply with ever more race/class/gender federal mandates.
In addition, students support a new grandee class of professors who teach lighter loads, enjoy better benefits, retire earlier — and now offer instruction in a vast array of courses and disciplines that simply were never part of the traditional curriculum.