Book Review: ‘The College Scam: How America’s Universities Are Bankrupting and Brainwashing Away the Future of America’s Youth’ 

Book Review: ‘The College Scam: How America’s Universities Are Bankrupting and Brainwashing Away the Future of America’s Youth’ 
Harvard University, with an endowment of around $41.9 billion, comes under scrutiny in Charlie Kirk's book "The College Scam: How America's Universities Are Bankrupting and Brainwashing Away the Future of America's Youth." (Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock)
The idea that college is a scam and not worth the steep price has been hotly debated for years. Now, it is in the forefront of the news with Biden’s new student loan forgiveness plan. Many people believe that the plan is morally and fiscally wrong.
Canceling student debt will not stop universities from charging more tuition in the future. By continuing to back loans without schools being accountable for their pricing or for the practicality of their degrees, the federal government will be allowing universities to recklessly shell out more loans to students. Canceling student debt will wind up increasing the cost of tuition since payment will be guaranteed. 
With Big Brother involved, students will not need to take their personal responsibility seriously. The student loan system might be abolished completely since it may grow to have no meaning.
Charlie Kirk addresses these topics and other problems with colleges and universities in his new book, “The College Scam: How America’s Universities Are Bankrupting and Brainwashing Away the Future of America’s Youth.” 

Debilitating Costs 

Kirk did not go to college. Instead, he became the leading voice across American college campuses standing up for conservative students. Today, Kirk is an American conservative activist and radio talk show host. He founded Turning Point USA with Bill Montgomery in 2012, and has served as its executive director ever since.
Kirk feels that only students who seek a professional degree should go to college, such as doctors, lawyers, or engineers. The other 95 percent of students would be far better off in terms of finances, career goals, and lifestyles to get more technical training. He thinks college is a scam.
In the past, one powerful check against wasteful government and educational bloat was the fact that, in America, students had the responsibility to pay for their own higher education.
Today, the government’s blank check for higher education in the form of federally backed student loans has affected its cost. The federal government has unleashed a flow of cheap, easy-to-get college loans that has enabled universities to raise their prices. Universities needn’t worry if students cannot afford to go. Besides raising tuition, college accountability is reduced and the academic administration regimes have become bloated.
Also, to get higher rankings, public and private colleges have been pouring a huge amount of money into merit scholarships, which disproportionately benefit more affluent students at the expense of students who desperately need financial help. This is because the higher a school scores in the rankings, the more a college can jack up its tuition.
Kirk labels universities as schools with hedge funds attached. Some endowments exceed the budgets of some of the smaller states. For example, endowments for the 2020 fiscal year were around $41.9 billion at Harvard University, $31.1 billion at Yale University, $29 billion at Stanford University, and $26 billion at Princeton University.
Kirk asks if students really want to impoverish themselves to enrich the “corrupt, exploitive, education cartel.”

The Failures of College

Most students feel that the cost of college is worth it if they have an enriching experience in college and/or enter a good-paying career afterward. “Yet in reality, four out of ten college dropouts left school with a GPA of 3 or higher. And 39 percent of dropouts said that their college didn’t give them their money’s worth,” Kirk states.
Kirk believes that colleges do not teach the skills needed in the working world. Also, colleges no longer teach students how to think. Teaching has morphed, in many cases, into pure indoctrination of communistic ideas. Many professors don’t even care if students show up for class.  
In addition, Kirk believes that the college experience makes students less likely to behave responsibly. They’re away from home and unaccountable to their parents. The environment tolerates and even promotes bad moral behavior. 
He denies the argument that, in most cases, the college experience will lead to a rewarding career. Many employers are no longer impressed by college degrees, as they’ve become so common and do not prepare students for the real world of work. As a result, college winds up being a net-negative for most young people.
Kirk quotes an article written for The Wall Street Journal by Russell Ronald Reno III, the editor of First Things magazine, saying, “I’m not inclined to hire a graduate from one of America’s elite universities.” According to Kirk, Reno also stated that these students are too easily triggered, too quick to “panic over pseudo-crises,” and too eager to make “inflammatory accusations.”


Conservative parents should think twice before sending their children to a college where their children’s values will be targeted. Students may be harassed, intimidated, or bullied because of their conservative identity. Today’s wokeism (which many believe is communism) is recognizable by intolerant behavior, censorship, and the denouncement of traditional ideas.
The indoctrination process for wokeism on campus begins with the suppression of the free exchange of ideas. Students can feel pressured to give answers in class or on examinations that they do not believe in, just to placate the political or social leanings of their professors. Intolerance is everywhere on many campuses. In fact, colleges and universities are becoming known for violence and hatred toward conservatives.
Students ready for college face a dilemma. What if they don’t want to be a part of the repressive atmosphere of these college campuses, but feel that they need to go to college to get ahead? Kirk gives options about how to succeed without a college degree. Part of the solution is to just overcome what Kirk feels is the outdated stigma of not going to college.
He says that we need to break the radical leftist stranglehold on institutions. We need to remove federal guarantees granted to colleges. We should encourage donors to give to charities and not to colleges. He encourages readers to help build America up, not allow universities to tear it down.
This is a terrific book loaded with well-researched information in a clear, concise form. Even if you are a reader with no direct connection to college at the moment, I believe you will enjoy this book as it takes a fresh look at the problems of attending college.
The College Scam: How America’s Universities Are Bankrupting and Brainwashing Away the Future of America’s Youth.’ By Charlie Kirk Winning Team Publishing, July 26, 2022 Hardcover: 288 pages
Linda Wiegenfeld is a retired teacher. She can be reached for comments or suggestions at [email protected]