ERIC Number: ED557611
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
High Costs, Uncertain Benefits: What Do Americans without a College Degree Think about Postsecondary Education?
Kelly, Andrew P.
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
The path to economic mobility increasingly runs through postsecondary education. Although the combination of rising tuition prices and a difficult labor market have raised questions about the value of education after high school, degree and certificate holders are still better off than those with just a high school diploma. As a group, young adults with a high school diploma have suffered through a sustained period of declining labor-market prospects. Those with some college have done somewhat better, but recent evidence suggests that those who started a degree but failed to finish it now do little better than their peers who have not gone to college at all. Some of these citizens would benefit from further education and training, but how much do they know about their options? Using a new, nationally representative survey, this report explores how adults without a college degree perceive the postsecondary system as a whole and the costs and benefits of their potential options. Specifically, the study examines the following questions: (1) Do adults without a college degree aspire to higher levels of education? (2) Do they feel that the current higher education system is well designed to meet their needs? (3) Do these adults hold accurate beliefs about the costs of public community colleges? (4) How do they see the economic returns to different types of education? The 20-minute Internet-based survey asked respondents a battery of questions about their current economic situation, their educational history and current aspirations, the costs and potential benefits of different postsecondary options, and the types of information they see as important in choosing a college or program. This report provides the top-line findings from this survey, and future analysis will dig deeper into the data. It briefly describes the survey and the data set; explores the main findings on aspirations, attitudes, and beliefs; and concludes with implications for policy.
Descriptors: Postsecondary Education, Educational Attitudes, Labor Market, Employment Potential, National Surveys, Online Surveys, Community Colleges, Paying for College, Student Costs, Outcomes of Education, Academic Aspiration, Salaries
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. 1150 Seventeenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-862-5800; Fax: 202-862-7177; Web site: http://www.aei.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), Center on Higher Education Reform (CHER)