“Ivory Tower,” a powerful documentary written, directed, and produced by Andrew Rossi, questions the ultimate purpose of higher education in a time when its price has increased more than any other good or service in the U.S. since 1970.
Let’s talk about the current student debt crisis. The weight of student debt is a constant burden that the entire country feels. And the anxiety comes with good reason; there are over 40 million people in debt due to student loans, and the total amount borrowed has skyrocketed to 1.2 trillion dollars in the US alone.
So this documentary asks us: is higher education worth it? Do we really need a fancy piece of paper carried in a shiny diploma case to show that we can be successful? The documentary tried to demonstrate that higher education is and continues to be less productive in the face of rising debt.
The question then becomes, is higher education simply a transaction to get a job? What needs to be factored into the debate is the promise of becoming a better person, expanding our minds, and leaving the world a better place. And college is a great way–maybe the best way–to achieve these ends. Through it, we also acquire valuable knowledge and resources that we will hopefully use in a job in our respective field.
So, I would argue that despite the difficult truths presented in this documentary, debt in the form of college loans is worth the education and degree.
Maybe you want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates of our generation, and I applaud you for your determination. Did you know that they still went to college too? Ivy League, to be exact. They might have dropped out, but Zuckerberg used his connections while at Harvard to come up with Facebook, and Gates did the same in his work with Microsoft.
The documentary even referenced those being paid not to continue on with higher education, instead opting to “self-educate.” That option may work for some majors and career choices, but what about the engineers, biologists, psychologists, and ministers? These careers, at bare minimum, require a bachelor’s degree, and the importance of education in these professions is invaluable.
I believe that “Ivory Tower” holds prestige within the film world, as an enlightening, fully-focused documentary focusing on the rising debt crisis in America, yet I just don’t agree with some of the conclusions in the film that hints toward the dwindling importance of education in this economic era.
Personally, I would never reach my dreams of becoming a zoologist without higher education, and I’m sure it’s the same for many of you reading this right now. The bottom line is, do not let the fear of student debt keep you from obtaining your dreams. While the higher education system may be outrageously over-priced and incredibly broken, I truly believe that college is an amazing opportunity that shouldn’t be forgotten or passed over due to the looming issue of student loans.