Should Everyone Go To College?

By telling all young people that they should go to college no matter what, we are actually doing some of them a disservice.

Brookings Institution - Should Everyone Go To College?
For the past few decades, it has been widely argued that a college degree is a prerequisite to entering the middle class in the United States. Study after study reminds us that higher education is one of the best investments we can make, and President Obama has called it “an economic imperative.”

We all know that, on average, college graduates make significantly more money over their lifetimes than those with only a high school education. What gets less attention is the fact that not all college degrees or college graduates are equal.

There is enormous variation in the so-called return to education depending on factors such as institution attended, field of study, whether a student graduates, and post-graduation occupation. While the average return to obtaining a college degree is clearly positive, we emphasize that it is not universally so. For certain schools, majors, occupations, and individuals, college may not be a smart investment.

By telling all young people that they should go to college no matter what, we are actually doing some of them a disservice. 

Read more here    See infographic here    Download full report here

Diane Rehm Show - Who Benefits From College And Why
For years the mantra has been: get a college degree if you possibly can. It’s true that the benefits of a college degree generally outweigh the costs, but given the price, many students and their families are taking a closer look. Authors of a new report from the Brookings Institution conclude that college may not be the best investment for certain schools, specific fields of study, occupations and individuals. Those who start but don’t finish college seem to pay a particularly high price.

From the show:

  • “We really do need to change our mindset about this. We need to give much greater respect to the people who have mastered a trade. And we need to stop telling all of our kids that the only way to be successful is to "go to college.""
  • "We have this notion that somehow equality is sameness, having everybody do the same thing. And if people are different, then imposing sameness is really an unequal strategy, and that's what we've done."
  • "Information is not readily available. The advising in this country is in terrible shape. We offer very little guidance on how to be a good adviser, a curricula adviser, or a college adviser."

Listen to the entire program here

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The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! May 15, 2013 at 01:21 PM
I think the future needs to look back at what worked for generations. Apprenticeships.
Murphy-Solon May 15, 2013 at 01:27 PM
I agree Mars, especially for those not predisposed to attend college. High tech manufacturing has a great need for trained personnel. 2 year colleges have expanded their efforts in this area but industry needs to play a larger part. Germany does very well in this area.
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! May 15, 2013 at 03:23 PM
It'd be nice to bring back respect for labor. Especially those who tend the Earth and crops that feed and sustain us all. Somehow labor became a dirty word. The guy sitting in an office crunching numbers is to be respected and paid well, but the guy busting his rump in the fields to feed and nourish our bodies is looked down upon.
Danarino May 15, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Just finished up frollicking in my garden Mars- what an awesome dya to be working with what nature gives us. Plenty dirty and no respect either from the ol ball and chain - just doesn't matter on a beautiful day like this. Kumbaya indeed!
shakerchamber June 06, 2013 at 11:33 AM
College is important but at the same time it is an industry. We must be careful that our schools are careful to help students discover their talent and aptitude then help them make good career decisions. It breaks my heart when a high school senior says "I don't know what I want to be!". The cost of college is too high to be the place to figure it out. Many of our local entrepreneurs run fine and profitable businesses without college degrees but they have a passion and focus that surpasses many. There is room for both college educated and non-college educated people but we as parents, educators and society must help these young people find their passion, talent and vision to be successful.


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