The AP reports on a growing sense among policy wonks that too many Americans are going to four-year colleges
, to the detriment of society as a whole: "The more money states spend on higher education, the less the economy grows." "The notion that a four-year degree is essential for real success is being challenged by a growing number of economists, policy analysts, and academics. They say more Americans should consider other options, such as technical training or two-year schools, which have been embraced in Europe for decades. As evidence, experts cite rising student debt, stagnant graduation rates, and a struggling job market flooded with overqualified degree-holders. ... The average student debt load in 2008 was $23,200 — a nearly $5,000 increase over five years. Two-thirds of students graduating from four-year schools owe money on student loans. ... [A university economist said,] 'If people want to go out and get a master's degree in history and then cut down trees for a living, that's fine. But I don't think the public should be subsidizing it.'"