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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon June 25, 2009
College is supposed to be an investment that guarantees a student's success - but this is no longer true. More than one out of three recent (2004) college graduates have jobs that don't require a college degree. Also, in 2004, more than one million college graduates were unemployed. The result is that the average high-school-only graduate has more money than the average college graduate for about the first 15 years after high school.

Colleges have found sports program success linked to increased enrollment - thus, athletic empires are not built just to appease alumni. Scheer also points out high marketing and salary expenses incurred by supposedly penny-pinching colleges. Revenues are further boosted by lots of extra fees - eg. parking. Savings do occur, however. Many professors don't teach (doing research) and are replaced in classrooms by graduate assistants, groundskeepers etc. are low-paid, and class size sometimes exceed 200. Meanwhile, revenues are further aided by numerous useless "requirements" courses.

"Faculty research" (economist Richard Vedder even suggests that professors are spending less time on both teaching and research work) is the reason given for much of the college cost escalation - news articles about contributing to medical research and NASA trips are favorite public relation tools. Scheer, on the other hand, provides compelling evidence that most "research" is of little/no value. More than 9 out of 10 arts and humanities research articles, half of those in the social sciences, and even 2 out of 10 in the sciences are NOT cited by other researchers within five years after they're published. (Science, 2/9/1991; 1/4/1991) Many other research studies receive such little respect they're never published.

(Actually, "No Sucker Left Behind" considerably overstates the value of most university research because most research, especially in the humanities, is on topics lacking value - eg. the 999th analysis of Shakepear's use of punctuation, education studies purporting to slightly improve pupil performance (that don't), management studies that dwell on trivial impacts vs. outsourcing, etc.)

Graduate quality is also often questionable, and even declining. The U.S. Dept. of Education 2003 "Assessment of Adult Literacy" found less than one-third of college graduates are proficient in basic reading and mathematical skills, and literacy levels have declined significantly among college graduates from 1992-2003 (2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy).

Probably the biggest sales pitch for attending college is the claim that, on average, graduates earn $1 million more in their lifetimes than non-graduates. Scheer deflates that belief as well. Using median incomes (not distorted by very high earners) and adjusting for income taxes and the costs of college, Scheer says $467,000 is more realistic. Of course, college costs are especially risky for the many students who drop out.

More surprisingly, Scheer also points out that a number of graduates in fields like engineering and science have difficulty finding jobs (WSJ, 11/16/2005 - "Behind 'Shortage' of Engineers, Employers Grow More Choosy.") Meanwhile, college graduate earnings are falling - Business Week (1/21/2008) reported that income for graduates aged 25-34 fell 8.5%, after inflation, from 2000-2007. Further, average salaries for business school graduates was relatively flat from 2000-2005, while tuition at top business schools rose 55%.

About half those enrolling in expensive doctoral programs ultimately drop out, and research found no difference in academic abilities between those who drop out vs. those who complete. It's estimated that 40-505 of all doctoral students drop out.

Some good news - Scheer suggests high-school advanced placement classes, and taking free classes at local colleges while in high school are good ways to reduce costs. He also cites research showing that higher-costing colleges are not linked to improved graduate incomes.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2009
I would agree with an earlier comment that this book's title doesn't do its author, the text or readers justice. There is a gimmick undercurrent inherent in the title; however, once readers open the book I think they would be amazed at the breadth and quality of reasearch demonstrated to provide readers with such valuable and practical information.
Even though I feel the author's tone is hawkish, this should not distract the reader from the cost-saving tips and hindsight information that Scheer makes available. Every high school advisor needs this book, and most parents and college candidates should review this material before they get the wool pulled over them.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2008
This is an excellent book that makes you think of college education in a whole new way. There is tremendous value to be obtained by going to college, but the days of investing in a college degree at any cost should be ending. The author shows the true cost of a college education, traps to avoid when deciding where to go, and how to get the most out of college.

Given the amount of money parents are saving and the amount of debt students are going into, I am surprised there aren't more books like this written. I'd recommend this to any parent or student that plans on going to college - you might not agree with everything in it, but the book will get you to open your eyes a bit.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2008
I am not pleased with the title of Mr. Scheer's book. I do not feel it reflects the quality and usefulness of this valuable resource. I found the text to be well-written and quite interesting. It opened my eyes to what our colleges and universities are doing to basically rip us off. My son just entered a university and I will use No Sucker Left Behind as a guide to all the methods and schemes employed by our system of higher education to squeeze every last dollar out of us.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2008
A must read for all high school juniors and seniors.
I wish this book or one like it was available for me when I was a high school junior or senior.
At least, I was smart enough and lucky enough not to have to take out any loans to go to college.
But I wish I had skipped college all together.
And saved myself five years wasted on a piece of useless paper.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2010
I read this book as a 30-something and I still felt that it was pertinent. Colleges have no morality when it comes to reaping profits from our nations most vulnerable citizens. If you know someone that is planning on going to college, they must read this book to know what they are up against. It will assist any student in avoiding the scams that colleges engage in to get more money from them all. We trust colleges, and after this book... I realized that we shouldn't. They are corporations, multi-million dollar corporations, with customers. That is the end of the story. Be an educated consumer, and make sure your child is educated too. And I don't mean a 4 year degree!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2009
A well-researched book which breaks down the costs incurred at college and graduate schools. It helps the unwary get the most for their money while pointing out what is really important to consider when choosing a school. This book is full of facts and commonsense needed by parents and students as they make their way towards college decisions.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2009
Honestly, I wish this book existed even before I enrolled in community college. If college is what he REALLY describes, then where else we get our education. We need college degrees because employers require them. However with rising tuition and company layoffs, one must think if pursuing a college degree is really worth it. Indeed it is but a college degree doesn't guarantee survival. Life skills are more important overall.
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on December 16, 2012
This is an incredibly well researched and documented book, and what I enjoyed so much about it is that it is written in clear, understandable and powerful language. The author does not hide behind a facade of "objective scholarship" and does not obfuscate his material in academic gibberish. I feel like the author has taken sides here and he had chosen to air dirty laundry in aid of helping students and parents combat what they face up against the higher educational complex. The author has done an exceptional job of revealing the code words used by higher education to hoodwink naive, uninformed and trusting students and parents and has dissected the prevalent and self-serving myths that higher education capitalizes and coast on.

I applaud his candor, something tells me this book is written from the heart, that he was burned himself (see that he's got a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology) and actually has integrity in service to students, not the institution itself. Make no mistake, there is indeed a sharp conflict of interest between the needs of the students and the aims of the university. I feel that I can comment on this, for I have worked as an academic advisor for over a decade at five different institutions and have seen the exact same patterns and methods exposed by the author at every school. This isn't a case of a few bad apples, the entire orchard has been contaminated. By what? By substituting a business model for an educational model, making the key aim maximizing profits/increasing revenue streams, centralized control, and economic efficiency. He compares higher education to a used car lot, and I think that's quite accurate, but perhaps a better institutional comparison is that of the casino. This book really helped me understand in a way that I hadn't before, although I felt it intuitively, how much students are actually captive consumers and how little recourse they have. The house at the casino does not loose does it folks? You think they care about all the "suckers" out there betting all their money and how much economic devastation results? Right, neither do most institutions of higher education although when they recruit you with their sales pitches, they present themselves as ethical, concerned individuals. Don't fall for it! They know how to sell the dream my friends. What they profess in public is not what guides them in private meetings. Yes, I am calling them, primarily educational administrators, intentionally dishonest and deceitful snake-oil salesman. In much the same manner as health care, the pharmaceutical complex, administrators view themselves as business CEO's aiming to extract as much wealth out of their customers and leave a depleted, empty shell behind at other's expense. They are banking on your trust, they do not deserve it.

I think this is by far the best book of it's kind out there and helps those on the ground floor of higher education, student services staff, potential and current students, parents, honest legislators, concerned citizens spot the true colors of this academic animal. I feel validated by this book, it is quite rare to hear anyone be this honest about the reality of the situation, and at times I've wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Doesn't anyone else see what's going on here? The author strikes me as a man of deep integrity with a strong desire to be honest and truly help students, unlike the institutions of higher education that profess to do the same.

As a side note, I think a good companion book to this is "Wannabe. U. - Inside the Corporate University" by Gaye Tuchman which focuses on the REAL aims of the new breed of academic administrators and their vision of what a university is. This gives you a view from the top, as compared to the ground floor as does Scheer's book.
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on February 7, 2012
No Sucker Left Behind takes a generally dim view of the bureaucracy surrounding higher education. It shines light on how universities really operate. It's a viewpoint that parents and potential students need to see.

The theme of the book is that colleges, both for-profit and non-profit, are driven by profit motives every bit as much as companies like GE and Microsoft. Once you understand their motivations, you can use that information to lower your own education costs.

The idea that schools are above monetary concerns is a PR fantasy. Negotiating a better deal for education is very doable. Most parents only go through this process 1-3 times in their life. It's understandable why parents serve up their children to school admission departments and hope for the best. What else are you supposed to do? Universities do this every year and are unlikely to present you with your best options for aid and scholarships, at least until you ask. This book give you insight into how you can negotiate effectively.

The author frequently compares college admissions to used car lots. Think of this book like the Kelly Blue Book of college admissions.
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