"An overwhelming number — 90 percent — of the New Jersey adults who have attended college say that higher education is worth the cost. Residents link college opportunity directly to the ability to find jobs, develop careers, and to improve the quality of life for families," according to a poll conducted for the Higher Education Strategic Information and Governance (HESIG) project by the Stockton Polling Institute.
The Huffington Post reports that "For every dollar a student spends on community college, they can expect a cumulative $4.80 back in higher future wages", according to a recent report.
According to the American Association of Community Colleges, every tax dollar that goes into a community college education, yields a cumulative return of $6.80 over the course of students' careers. In 2012 alone, the net total impact of community colleges on the U.S. economy was $809 billion in added income, equal to 5.4 percent of GDP. Over time, the U.S. economy will see even greater economic benefits, including $285.7 billion dollars in increased tax revenue as students earn higher wages and $19.2 billion in taxpayer savings as students require fewer safety net services, experience better health, and lower rates of crime.
Community colleges served nearly 12 million students in 2012, the year of data this report reviewed, representing 42 percent of the American collegiate population.
The earnings gap between young adults with and without bachelor's degrees has stretched to its widest level in nearly half a century according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center. It is, according to them, "...a sign of the growing value of a college education despite rising tuition costs."
- Young adults with just a high-school diploma earned 62 percent of the typical salary of college graduates, down from 81 percent in 1965, the earliest year for which comparable data are available.
- As a whole, high-school graduates were more likely to live in poverty and be dissatisfied with their jobs, if not unemployed.
- In contrast, roughly nine in 10 college graduates ages 25 to 32 said that their bachelor’s degree had paid off or will pay off in the future.
- Even among the two-thirds of young adults who borrowed money for college, about 86 percent said their degrees have been, or will be, worth it.
So reads the headline from a new research report from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) which finds that higher education pays off for women and men for all ages 50 and older, including, "...for the oldest group studied, those 75 and older."
According to the release, "Those with higher levels of education–meaning those with at least some education beyond high school–work more at older ages and earn more per hour at older ages, relative to those with less education. Women, however, earn less at every age and education level than men, and often earn about the same as men who are at the educational level below them. The higher hourly wages that workers with higher education earn (relative to those with no education beyond high school) decline with age for both women and men.
This report, How Education Pays Off for Older Americans, by Heidi Hartmann, Ph.D., and Jeff Hayes, Ph.D., examines differences in work and wages among women and men aged 50 and older at different levels of educational attainment, and includes information about the most common occupations for men and women by age. The authors analyzed the American Community Survey, a household survey conducted monthly by the Census Bureau, for the years 2005-2009. More than five million Americans aged 65 and older are employed and constitute four percent of the workforce." The report is available to download free from the IWPR.
The College Board has released its report, "Education Pays 2013: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society," which documents the ways in which both individuals and society as a whole benefit from increased levels of education. The report finds that benefits include increased earnings, higher employment levels, and greater tax revenues; better health and increased civic engagement. More specifically, it finds that Associate's Degree holders will make 27% more than those with only a high school diploma.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on two new studies seeking to answer the question of whether college is still worth the cost. In the article Scott Carlson looks at "Smart Shoppers: The End of the 'College for All' Debate?," from College Summit, a nonprofit group that promotes broader college access and "The Economics of B.A. Ambivalence: The Case of California Higher Education," written by Alan Benson, an assistant professor in the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Benson's conclusion is that,
"College remains a good investment for both individuals and the state, but it is a 'steppingstone' to the middle class–not a ticket. As such, it deserves the scrutiny an individual would give to any risky investment."
This Huffington Post opinion piece from Patricia McGuire, President, Trinity Washington University, provides a common sense argument for the value of higher education, especially for, "...a distinctively ambitious population of young women with serious life challenges, as well as older women and men who are resuming long-deferred dreams to finish college degrees." Many are immigrants McQuire says, who "have overcome unfathomable barriers of language, money, culture, violence, illness, discrimination and sheer fear to make it to opening day. Others, like my student Renee (also not her real name), grew up on the mean streets of far southeast D.C., coping with parental incarceration, drug use, hunger and homelessness while helping to raise siblings even while finishing high school and gaining acceptance to college." McGuire decries the "elite commentariat" who say that maybe we need more job training, less Shakespeare and more socket wrenches." She also weighs in on the value and role of MOOC's.
Employers value a four-year college degree, many of them more than ever.
As if we needed any more proof of the value of higher education, we have the results of a recent survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education and American Public Media's Marketplace. It contains very interesting findings that reaffirm the value of the investment of time and money but they also found that respondents said they had trouble finding recent graduates qualified to fill positions at their company or organization. Nearly a third of those surveyed gave colleges just fair to poor marks for producing successful employees. Their major complaint? Bachelor degree-holders lacked "basic workplace proficiencies, like adaptability, communication skills, and the ability to solve complex problems."
"Woefully unprepared" is how David E. Boyes characterized the newly minted B.A.'s who apply to his Northern Virginia technology consulting company.
What gives? These days a bachelor's degree is practically a prerequisite for getting your résumé read—two-thirds of employers said they never waive degree requirements, or do so only for particularly outstanding candidates. But clearly the credential leaves employers wanting. While they use college as a sorting mechanism, to signal job candidates' discipline and drive, they think it is falling short in adequately preparing new hires.
The tension may lie partly in changes in the world of work: technological transformation and evolving expectations that employees be ready to handle everything straightaway. And perhaps managers are right to expect an easier time finding employees up to the task—after all, three times the proportion of Americans have bachelor's degrees now as did a generation or two ago. Read more...
This opinion piece from the Hechinger Report by Donald Hall, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Lehigh University, take a interesting look the benefits of higher education not just from the standpoint of cost or job prospects, but rather "value," a data point that he contends colleges and universities should track, report and promote. Commenting on such proof points he says, "It's certainly about more than price and return-on-investment. These are valuable data points, clearly. But the price of a house doesn't represent the value of your home. A home is what you make of it, as is higher education. It's a framework for your life, where memories are created, lifelong friends are met and you grow into your own person. When we discuss the state of higher education with my colleagues at other schools, or our students, faculty and staff, what we discuss more than salary data is value."
A recent story in The New York Times reports that federal data is showing that the number of Americans graduating from college has surged, "sending the share with a college degree to a new high."
According to reporter Catherine Rampell, "Last year, 33.5 percent of Americans ages 25 to 29 had at least a bachelor's degree, compared with 24.7 percent in 1995, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In 1975, the share was 21.9 percent. The number of two-year college degrees, master's degrees and doctorates has also risen recently."
Later in the article she notes that, despite controversy the costs and challenges of pursuing a higher education degree, "Many economists point out that college graduates have fared much better than their less-educated peers and argue that rising educational levels will help the economy in the long run. Since the recession began in December 2007, the number of Americans with bachelor's degrees who have jobs has risen by 9 percent, while employment has fallen for everyone else.
Also noted in the article is the fact that the unemployment rate for graduates of four-year colleges between the ages of 25 and 34 was 3.3 percent in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For high school graduates in the same age group who had not attended college, it was 11.8 percent.
A new study from The Hamilton Project, a Washington, DC-based think tank reports that "…the investment in even a partial college education is still worth it, amounting to average earnings of $100,000 more over a lifetime than for those who merely finish high school."
Here's another story on the fact that it pays to earn a college degree. However, you have to get the right degree. This feature from National Public Radio features Anthony Carnevale, director of Georgetown's Center on Education and the Workforce. He's discussing their latest study "Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings."