People walk on the Stanford University campus beneath Hoover Tower on March 14. (Ben Margot/AP)

Regarding the March 17 editorial “A bigger higher-education problem”:

The core question is not whether there are back or side doors to higher education, but where do such doors lead?

An enduring piece of the problem is the notion that everyone should go to college regardless of the cost and debt incurred, misdirection of human resources and the ability of graduates to meet present and future needs. Our politicians routinely throw money at the notion of “college for everyone” when the target should be the “right college” in terms of academic, civil and social development.

There is little or no discussion or priority of support for education with an applied emphasis — education that is congruent with a competitive job market. Prime examples are the selective Dutch polytechnic universities, the German fachhochschulen and similar models throughout Europe.

Meanwhile, the United States remains obsessed with placing and financing students, regardless of actual ability, in one of the many institutions claiming to be among the “top-ranked” or “most desirable.”

Perhaps the big problem is that the country could be overrun by craven admissions counselors and a coterie of pseudo-elite C-average graduates in government with bogus credentials in tennis, water polo and power Frisbee.

T.R. Phillips, Scranton, Pa.