(CNSNews.com) - Bill Bennett, who served as education secretary under President Ronald Reagan, is out with a new book, "Is College Worth It?" He says parents and students should think carefully about whether college is the right choice and what other options may make more sense at a time of escalating student debt
"It does not seem that much learning goes on in higher education," Bennett told Fox News's Sean Hannity Monday night.
"Listen, we have some of the world's greatest colleges and universities. But at the same time, it is true that many students go to college, spend $15,000-$50,000 a year in tuition; halfway through, half of them drop out, about 46 percent drop out. When they graduate, the class of 2011, for example, half of them are unemployed and half of that half is underemployed, and they've got a lot of debt."
Bennett noted that student loan debt is now around $1 trillion.
"So, you know, the question, is college worth it? It depends on what you are doing, where you are going, why you are going? You know, one of the interesting things is the mismatch. You know, people major in these fields (where there) are no jobs and so they are unemployed. Someone was saying the other day that when the parents kiss the kids at graduation, you don't know if they are saying good-bye -- or your room in the basement is ready -- because there are no jobs in this economy."
Bennett said it's a mistake for so many students to go to four-year colleges:
"I think some of them should go to two-year colleges, some of them should work for a year, some of them should join the military. Consider the options before you get into that level of debt, think about what you are doing. A lot of great people have not graduated from college and contributed significantly to our country, and you know who they are."
The full title of Bennett's book is: "Is College Worth It?: A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education."