Roth Discusses the Value of a College Education

President Michael Roth appeared on CNN’s “Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield” to discuss the cost and value of higher education. The interview comes ahead of CNN’s premier Thursday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. EST of The Ivory Tower, a new documentary that asks, “Is college worth the cost?” Roth appears prominently in the film defending the importance of higher education. His appearance on Legal View began with a clip from the film in which he argues:

“Many intellectuals are saying it would be better if some people don’t go to college at all. I think that’s an assault on democracy and it’s an attempt to keep people in their place, and reinforce social inequality. Education should foster social mobility and the possibility of equality. You’ve got to be crazy to intentionally not get a college degree if you have a choice today. And if the college education is really a college education, and not just training in one particular little field, you learn how to learn, and that can actually open up new things in your life long after college.”

Asked by Banfield about the spiraling cost of higher education, Roth explained, “Costs have risen because people want the education, and there aren’t enough spots for those students. And it’s got to change.”

“The high sticker price is not what most people pay at the schools that have the highest tuition. At a place like Wesleyan, almost half of our students are on financial aid, and the average grant is over $30,000. But I think the problem that you point to, the increasing burden of student debt, is a national disgrace because it inhibits the ability of students to choose the careers after they leave college.”