The Study of Man: What Americans Get Out of College
The uniqueness of America is nowhere more apparent than in the fact that the college-educated group, which in most countries of the Western world is the elite, is here a mass. There were in this country, five years ago, four and a half million college graduates, a figure which has been increasing at the rate of about 400,000 a year. There were at that time, in addition, five and a half million who had had some college education.
It is not easy to grasp immediately the significance of these figures. For example, if we were to assume that college graduates, or at least a sizable proportion of them, have been furnished with some of the cultural interests and skills that institutions of higher learning have traditionally considered it their business to teach, then it should not be unreasonable to expect a serious magazine to reach a circulation of a half million, a serious book to sell 50,000 copies—these are indeed moderate estimates when we consider that the college teachers alone number 200,000. One might expect to see, considering this mass audience of more than ten million persons who have taken at least a few college courses, a chain of radio and television stations rivaling the BBC’s Third Program—and one might expect to see it pay for itself. (The estimated audience of the Third Program in England is about equal to the number of its university graduates—both figures are probably around 300,000.)
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