The amount of time spent studying has fallen drastically among full-time students in all demographic groups, whether they work or not, at all types of four-year colleges, according to a report released on Thursday by the American Enterprise Institute. The report, “Leisure College, USA,” cites data from various national surveys to show that the average student studied 24 hours a week in 1961 and 14 hours a week in 2003. Colleges’ “standards for effort have plummeted” as they cater to students’ preferences for leisure, the report says, a shift that may slow economic growth. But there’s good news: “College is cheaper than most people think.” Modern college students’ time savings, the report says, more than compensate for increased tuition.
The last couple of lines here are a bit misleading, in my view. I’m not sure it is “good news” that students today pay more in college tuition, but gain degrees that are essentially worth less (since academic standards are now lower). Should there be any comfort in the fact that it takes them less (overall) time to earn such degrees?