The Leaning Tower of College Debt
Release Date: June 27, 2014
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 90 minutes
Distributor: Samuel Goldwyn Films
Director: Andrew Rossi
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Andrew Rossi, Kate Novack
Writer: Andrew Rossi
Address Comments To:Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Chairman/CEO
Meyer Gottlieb, President
Samuel Goldwyn Films
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The documentary begins with Harvard and clearly states that class lectures were much like the sermons preached to those who established the college. Students are shown walking under the engraved motto, “Enter to grow in wisdom.” A black student’s mother thanks God for the opportunity her son received to attend Harvard.
From there, the movie quickly shifts to a very good examination of the costs vs. the value of higher education. The point is well made that college costs have soared even faster than health care because there is competition to be the most luxurious, prestigious school possible. The ability of students to get loans has reduced the competition to provide the most affordable education. The movie declares the trend unsustainable.
The movie also points out that many students choose schools because of their reputations as places to party. Some scenes explaining this show binge drinking, a big fight at a campus pool, and some girls in bikinis. The partying is not condoned. It’s shown as part of the problem.
The movie ventures into some strange alternatives. In one, boys get an education in Hagel, a Pre-Communist German philosopher, while working on a farm. In another, students at Cooper Union, a school in New York City, stage a long sit-in because for the first time the school was about to charge tuition. There was even a non-college in Silicon Valley were young adults worked together to acquire high-level job skills without seeking diplomas.
IVORY TOWER reports that 68 percent of students do not graduate in four years, and 44 percent don’t even graduate in six years. This is true even with sharply reduced academic standards. The longer you go, the larger your loan debt.
Looking to the future, the movie shows the benefits and drawbacks to online education. It explores several ways to mix new technology with traditional education methods. It rightly predicts major change in the near future.
Movieguide® recommends the movie to high school and college students for the importance of the issues raised, but we would have loved the inclusion of some of Teddy Roosevelt’s advice: “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society,” adding, “A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” Movieguide® does recommend caution because of mild vulgarity, scenes exposing the problems of campus hedonism, and because of some of the philosophies used as examples of education.
IVORY TOWER points out that many students choose schools because of their reputations as party places. Some brief scenes explaining this show binge drinking, a big fight at a campus pool, and some girls in bikinis, but the partying isn’t condoned. Looking to the future, the movie shows the benefits and drawbacks to online education. It rightly predicts major change in the near future. Movieguide® recommends caution for IVORY TOWER because of mild vulgarity, scenes exposing campus hedonism, and some non-Christian philosophies used as examples of education.