New Documentary Explores the Value of a College Education

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The Sundance Film Festival is well-known throughout the entertainment industry as being one of the most anticipated events of the year. While the standard slew of celebrities and big-budget cinema is a part of this year's festival, one documentary is getting a lot of attention for its subject matter: college. </p>

<p>"Ivory Tower," a project from filmmaker Andrew Rossi that was produced by CNN Films, aims to delve deeper into the actual value of a college degree. Specifically, the documentary examines how bachelor's degrees are changing, and whether the debt faced by many graduates and their families is worth it. </p>

<p>Going Inside the 'Ivory Tower' </p>

<p>Rossi, who is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, got the urge to critically investigate the value of a college degree after hearing about rising student debt, online learning options and an array of alternative opportunities available to students. He received access to a number of institutions, including Harvard University, Arizona State University and Cooper Union, among others, and was able to talk to students and faculty members about their experiences. </p>

<p>As a part of "Ivory Tower," Rossi looked at the factors that have contributed to higher education costs, as well as the obstacles that persist as individuals strive to earn a degree. </p>

<p>"I think I understand that higher education was in a difficult place," Rossi told USA Today. "But once you start to grapple with the volume of data about tuition rates going up over 1,000% since 1978; state funding going down nationally since 1980 by 40%; and 68% of students in public colleges not graduating in four years - those kind of numbers, when I saw them, I was shocked." </p>

<p>A Major Concern for Americans</p>

<p>According to The Wall Street Journal, one of the biggest takeaways Rossi had after the filmmaking experience was that students and their families need to understand what effect debt will have on their future. He noted that there was a disconnect between students thinking they need to go to college to succeed and the reality that certain jobs or salary grades may make it difficult to pay back loans. </p>

<p>That idea is something all individuals will have to consider, particularly as the average amount of student debt upon graduation swells each year. </p>

<p>"Based on the reviews, the news articles and the poster for the movie, I would say that the producer has tapped into a national concern that is of critical importance to all Americans," Garland Waller, a film and television professor at Boston University, told The Daily Free Press. "Whether they are in college, thinking about going to college, sad that they didn't get to go to college, or Bill Gates, who clearly hasn't missed the benefits of college. The documentary is not overreaching. Not by a long shot." </p>

<p>A number of recent documentaries are forcing students to rethink their perspective on everything from college to SeaWorld. Being informed about the topics and educational options facing individuals in the U.S. could make a difference in how they approach their future, but ultimately, each student will have to determine what type of higher education is the right fit.

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<p>Thank you for posting the link!</p>

<p>I know that in my community the value of a college education is something that is constantly debated on. I haven’t heard of this documentary before and now it’s definitely something I want to check out. </p>

<p>i thought this was just a crazy idea but then a guy actually who looked to me like he knew a lot sat me down and talked to me about it (he sat me down over the internet). he said to evade my student debt obligations i need to move to another country - say, to taiwan, or since their economy isn’t as good there as it used to be, maybe to somewhere in south america. point is, once you flee the country it’s like in the movies, your debt obligations are frozen and the united states and whatever departments of government that make you pay don’t have jurisdiction in any other parts of the world. plus who doesn’t want to travel and leave behind the country that indebted you for your education. i’m thinking of making a club, it’s going to be one of those slightly controversial and subversive clubs, where its for students who want to leave the country together when they graduate to avoid paying their loans off. what the club does is connect these like minded students and encourage them in whatever ways it can so their plans might be successful. i never really had any ideas for clubs until now or any desire to be in one. now im finally thinking about getting involved in something with my fellow students, loan payment evasion!</p>