The question was from The Ethicist
column in this Sunday's New York Times
As you will see in the column (below), the question addressed law school
, however, it is an equally valid question for nursing schools. While there is no doubt that nursing school enrollment has increased significantly, that seems to not necessarily be the case when it comes to job placement of new graduates.
I frankly agree with the response however, I believe that nursing schools have a responsibility to make their placement statistics clear to entering students. This should be especially true for those high cost program, many of which are offered through the new, for-profit colleges. In my limited experience, it seems that many nursing schools equivocate on the question of jobs for new grads and some simply refuse to address the question.
November 30, 2012
So Sue Me
by Chuck Klosterman
I'm applying to law school. I'm sure there are many schools that could provide me with a decent education; I'm less confident that a degree from some institutions will get me a job. In fact, some schools, while charging outrageously high tuition, place fewer than half of their recent graduates in long-term, full-time legal positions. Is it moral for schools like these to keep enrolling students and collecting tuition dollars knowing that their product is a risky (or outright bad) investment? MD, NEW YORK
You're looking at this problem through a peculiar lens. You're philosophically positioning law schools as extensions of the service economy: you believe they are promising a symbiotic exchange for both parties, where your investment of time and tuition will be mechanically rewarded with a job you desire (and if that doesn't happen, the school is acting in bad faith). Your argument also infers a somewhat sinister self-awareness from the schools themselves-it suggests that they know their graduates will be uncompetitive but pretend otherwise to coerce new students into overpayment.
If your query were simply "Is all college tuition in America unreasonably expensive?" my answer might be different. But your particular question is performance-based; you want to know if it's unethical for colleges whose students are less successful in the job market to demand the same unreasonable tuition as the ones whose graduates perform well. And it's not unethical-it's just fiscally unfortunate. Obviously, the best thing any law school could do for its reputation is graduate people who become successful. These schools are motivated to do so; if they continually fail at that goal, they will not attract the best applicants, and the failure will perpetuate itself. But their principal ethical responsibility is to educate law students to the best of that institution's ability, which isn't inherently tied to how easily those graduates become gainfully employed. That responsibility is mostly yours.