It seems America is at a point where we are cutting higher education, cutting student loans, and making it more difficult for US citizens to attend college. However, in my opinion, America should be looking at the big picture, and here is why: We are now competing on a global level. The US isn’t competing against the US. The US is competing against every other country to be the best. So here are a few interesting things to think about as America decides what they want to do with higher education:
1. According to the chronicle – The United States is projected to be the largest and fastest-growing destination for foreign students over the next decade.
Why? We do not have enough qualified people (with Masters or PhDs) in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics to fulfill jobs. As our unemployment rises and we have less skilled workers whose factory jobs are being sent overseas, what is left? White collar jobs that Americans are not qualified for. This is one of the reasons apple claims to have outsourced its engineers.
2. According to an article on NBC news, Americans are losing jobs to foreigners who are more qualified and have visas to work here because America does not have enough “smart” people (im just saying what’s in the article not my opinion. I believe we have tons of smart people but I get the point they are making).
3. Most American graduate programs have more foreigners than american. Thus American graduate programs are made up of mostly foreign students and obviously it makes sense that these students are the ones getting the better jobs.
Look at these stats from a BBC report:
foreign students make up the majority of enrollments in U.S. graduate programs in many STEM fields, accounting for 70.3 percent of all full-time graduate students in electrical engineering, 63.2 percent in computer science, 60.4 percent in industrial engineering, and more than 50 percent in chemical, materials and mechanical engineering, as well as in economics (a non-STEM field).
So what are the solutions? Invest in higher education. Try to increase enrollment in science, engineering, technology, math and many other fields. Give students assistantships that pay tuition. Many students come to america sponsored by their home country while our students have to take out huge debts to get a Masters or PhD that might only make 60-100k a year. Really though the best thing we can do is to follow the models (and improve them) from the countries that are getting their students into these fields. The global workforce is an amazing thing and I am glad to be a part of it but its also something that we need to pay attention to so that we stay competitive.