There are jobs and careers that don’t require a person to obtain a college degree or go into massive debt. That’s been Mike Rowe‘s message for more than a decade now. As the news dropped that wealthy parents, including actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, had lied and cheated to get their children into elite colleges, one could only imagine what Mike Rowe, the man who paid homage to America’s “Dirty Jobs” and promotes the trades in lieu of college, would have to say.

“I’m disgusted,” Mike Rowe wrote in response to the question posed to him on Facebook. “The cheating is galling, as is the scope of the scandal. 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,” he continued.

College shouldn’t be sold as a necessity to live a successful life.

Along with promoting trade work, Rowe delved into the truly nefarious aspect of telling parents and teens who aren’t economically able to pay for college out-of-pocket, that taking on enormous amounts of debt is better than not attending college.

“[W]hat about parents who allow their kids to borrow vast sums of money to attend universities they can’t possibly afford? 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 wants to know.

This is a common thing these days. Employers post entry-level job listings that pay $25,000 – 35,000 a year but demand candidates have a Bachelor’s degree to file paperwork or create basic spreadsheets. The average college graduate has more than that in student loan debt.

The parents wanted to purchase a credential, not an education.

Mike Rowe also gets into the part of the college admissions scandal that truly disturbs him. The parents caught up in the scandal weren’t concerned about their child getting a first-class education, they were interested in getting them a credential for their resumé.

“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,” he said. “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.”

“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 concluded.

As ever, Mike Rowe gets to the heart of the issue of the scandal: Parents, regardless of income, want the best they can provide for their children. But when it’s a systemic issue that costs families more than they can afford during and after college, the real scandal remains to be defeated.

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