In 1961, college students spent 16 hours in class each week and another 24 hours studying, making college the equivalent of a full-time job. Today, just 27 hours are spent in class and studying—or the same amount of time, the Washington Post points out, as the typical five-year-old spends in all-day kindergarten. The average amount of weekly study time has dwindled to about 15 hours, according to a new survey, but students are still skating by. "I do get good grades, and I’m not working very hard," says one sophomore. That type of statement is leading many to wonder if college students are actually learning anything for their increasingly costly tuition, or if they are simply getting, as one researcher puts it, "four or five years of country club living."
As for the students themselves, they're not necessarily lazier—many are working, caring for relatives, and commuting to class. In fact, the colleges that report more study time are typically small, often remote liberal-arts schools where students are not as likely to do any of those three things. Of course, choice of major also makes a difference: While architecture majors are still studying 24 hours per week, students of "parks, recreation, and leisure studies" study just 11. The full Washington Post article is worth a read, as are two other articles cited by the Post, here and here.