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Mike Rowe Discusses College Bribery Scheme, Calls High Cost of College the ‘Bigger Scandal’

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Dozens of parents – including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman – have been charged in connection to a massive college admissions scheme that involved everything from cheating on tests to bribing the child’s way into elite schools. Mike Rowe responded to a question about the scandal but directed much of his frustration at tuition costs.

Rowe shared a post on his Facebook page where he answered a question from the public. Mark Kline asked, “This latest college scandal has me sick to my stomach. I’m assuming you’re likewise nauseated?”

The star of Dirty Jobs has frequently discussed his feelings about college tuition costs and student debt. While he did touch on the scandal, he spent a significant portion of his time writing focused the state of college tuition today and his view on the system.

Rowe did state that he was “disgusted” by the college admissions scandal, adding, “The cheating is galling, as is the scope of the scandal.”

He continued, “But every time I try to articulate my contempt, I wind up sounding like a scold, and there’s no upside in piling on. I will say this though – I wish we were as outraged by the cost of college, as we are by the wealth of the cheaters.”

“You don’t have to be rich or famous to believe your kid is doomed to fail without a four-year degree,” Rowe wrote. “Millions of otherwise sensible parents in every tax-bracket share this misguided belief, and many will do whatever it takes to get their kids enrolled in a ‘good school.’”

“Obviously, those who resort to bribery are in a class by themselves, but what about parents who allow their kids to borrow vast sums of money to attend universities they can’t possibly afford?” he asked. “What about the guidance counselors and teachers who pressure kids to apply for college regardless of the cost? What about the politicians and lobbyists who so transparently favor one form of education at the expense of all the others? What about the employers who won’t even interview a candidate who doesn’t have a degree? Where’s the outrage?”

Rowe went on to discuss how the cost of a college’s tuition has very little connection to the real-world value of that education, aside from what amounts to bragging rights for graduating from an elite institution.

“The cost of college today has almost nothing to do with the cost of an education, and everything to do with the cost of buying a credential,” Rowe wrote. “That’s all a diploma is.”

“Some are more expensive than others, but none of them reflect the character of the recipient, none are necessary to live a happy and prosperous life, and none of them come with any guarantees,” he continued.

“And yet, the pressure we put on kids to borrow whatever it takes is constant, and precisely why tuition is so costly. It’s also why we have $1.6 trillion of student loans on the books along with a widening skills gap. That’s a bigger scandal, in my opinion.”

Rowe is known for advocating for the blue-collar sector, particularly since many of those careers can lead to salaries that are similar to those college graduates may earn.