The Falling Time Cost of College

You’re not going to believe how many hours US college students spend on schoolwork outside of class time.

J ust so you know, college is a scam.

Every college in America will tell you that students should expect two or three hours per week of schoolwork for every hour that they’re in class, or at least supposed to be in class.

Just in case you weren’t a math major, that’s roughly 2.5 times roughly 16 for a nice round total of 40 hours per week of homework. What’d you think you were paying all that money for, anyway?

When colleges take parents’ money, they’re saying they’ll get 40 hours per week of honest work out of their kids – on top of class time – but the truth is that the average number of hours of homework for a US college student is 14.

As Mindy Marks and the late Philip Babcock wrote in a short paper that everyone should read before shelling out for college called, The Falling Time Cost of College: Evidence from Half a Century of Time Use Data – and as anybody who has ever attended, worked at, or lived near a college in the United States will attest – college students spend even less time on homework than they do in class, and they don’t have to go to class very much at all.

College is a scam, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. If you know it’s a scam but can afford it then it’s not really a scam, right?

And if you thought you couldn’t afford college, well, now you know that you’ll have 26 more hours per week to earn money than you thought you would, right?

College takes a lot of money but not very much work. Instructors don’t grade hard if the students don’t complain. The fix is in.

The good news is that the better your study skills are, the more time you’ll have to earn money to pay for the privilege of not having to do very much schoolwork and having more time to build valuable skills with which you can fend for yourself in the real world, after grad school.

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