Let me repeat the comment that formed the basis for part #1 of this posting.
"Let's keep in mind that today a B.A. is totally worthless. IMHO it is great that these girls can speedily finish their B.A.'s and get on to their Masters."
What follows will be commentary on the second part of the comment: " IMHO it is great that these girls can speedily finish their B.A.'s and get on to their Masters." The comment was made in reference to the one-year B.A. programs that have proliferated in the frum community, particularly for girls, and particularly in the fields of special education and the various therapy fields--yes, you are reading that correctly: one-year programs. Many of these programs are completed as a shana bet year in an Israeli seminary; some are particular to the US. And in some cases it takes a mere one to two years to earn both the B.A. and the M.A.
So let's look at the words "worth" and "worthless" defined as having value because something is useful. The jobs in the US that pay the most, that are the most prestigious, require a college degree at minimum; many also require a graduate degree. In that sense it is quite useful for the girls in the condensed programs to get their B.A.s and M.A.s as quickly as possible; the sooner they are degreed, the sooner they can begin working. But working where?
Many of the condensed degrees are in limudei kodesh. The others are mostly in the field of education, psychology and the therapy fields. Where are the holders of these degrees applying for jobs, for the most part? In yeshivas and in special programs geared towards yeshiva students. A few, particularly those with psych or therapy degrees, will become independent contractors, in general targeting the frum community as their customer base. Why?
One reason is that they want to "stay in the fold" while working, thus avoiding what they see as the problems in the secular work world. But when they stay in the frum world they are negating some of the benefits of having gotten a B.A. and an M.A.. In general, yeshivas do not pay salaries at as high a rate as is available in the public school system. The further right you go, the lower the salary. Many of these yeshivas do not offer benefits such as health insurance and 403Bs. So what have the holders of these degrees actually purchased for themselves? What is the value/usefulness of their condensed degrees? The value is lower than that of the "regular" degrees; their degrees cannot be/aren't used to purchase jobs at the highest levels of salary and benefits. Yes, yeshivas might pay them a bit more than those girls who come to teach straight out of one year of seminary (or none), but they are not on par with those who work in the secular world.
But what about the yeshivas more to the left, the "very MO" yeshivas and day schools? This from a principal of one of those schools: "We have enough applicants to teach in our school that we can pick from the very best. Everyone teaching in our secular studies department has at least a B.A. and from a recognized college. We don't take the graduates of the diploma mills."
But what about those who aren't going into teaching but who got degrees in psych and the therapies? At a faculty meeting last week this very topic came up, as the diploma mills are representing "competition" for the college I am teaching in. Those who teach in my department are a mix of public school/yeshiva teachers, department chairs, administrators, and those who are only teaching on the college level. They have broad exposure to the systems that would employ those girls with the psych and therapy degrees. First, the public schools won't take them; the degrees aren't "good enough." Second, many yeshiva parents, particularly those with children who legitimately require the services of a psychologist or therapist, are refusing to allow their children to be treated by the "professionals" that come out of the diploma mills. Many of these same parents were in favor of such programs until there was suddenly a link between those programs and their children's needs for treatment. These parents want the best for their children, and they aren't applying "best" to the diploma mill graduates.
Third, regarding the therapy graduates, a call to the head of therapy at SI University Hospital brought the information that for state licencing in any of the therapies a student must have gone through a recognized program of clinical internship as part of their studies. They only accept students from recognized schools that are fully accredited by accreditation associations they trust and which provide the type of education and training they believe are necessary for someone to be a competent therapist. This past year they had two interns from Touro; they have had others in the past. They have never taken in anyone from any of the overseas diploma mills, nor from the in-town diploma mills.
So, the usefulness of the diploma mill diplomas is limited. If the holders of such degrees want to roost in the frummer schools, they may find a job. After all, why would such yeshivas want to pay full price for a better credentialed teacher/psychologist/therapist when they can get one for cheaper? If they have the intention of taking their degrees out into the general working world they are going to find themselves in competition with others whose diplomas are valued higher. Years ago when I needed short term speech therapy for one of my children I interviewed a few different therapists. The first thing I asked about was their degree and their ASHA certification. Why would I have wanted to take a chance on someone whose training was not the best? I don't use a witch doctor to treat any physical maladies my family has; why would I settle for the equivalent when it comes to education/psychology or any type of therapy?
There are all kinds of costs involved in getting college degrees and in using them. Yes, a diploma from a diploma mill may cost less initially, but they are never going to earn as much for the holders as the "better" diplomas do. "Cost less" now may translate into "earn less" later. In addition, "cost less" also translates into "know less," and what is the value in that?
Just a thought: aside from the costs involved in going to college for a longer time, why would there be such a push to have girls in particular get through their higher education at such a fast pace? It should be obvious--those girls getting the "speed" degrees are going to be in the shidduch parsha either during or immediately after getting the degrees. Delaying looking for a shidduch is an absolute no-no. There is a need for these girls to be able to support their families while their husbands are learning and/or getting an education or training to be used later on.