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ERIC Number: EJ1023742
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
The Value of a College Degree
Rose, Stephen
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v45 n6 p24-32 2013
Although parents, high school students, and most civic leaders in this country and around the world see a college degree as important, this perspective has been attacked over the last five years. Once the Great Recession began in December 2007, there were far fewer good jobs available for new college graduates. The soaring price of college had forced many students to take on what seemed like very high levels of debt, an especially heavy burden for those who had dropped out and thus had debt without the skills and credentials that would enable them to repay it. There was also some question about the skills of the students who managed to graduate. If college does not lead to skill gains, it is difficult to argue that attending college will lead to positive economic effects after graduation. Finally, some critics wondered whether the higher wages of college graduates are secure. The main arguments in favor of earning a college degree are based on college graduates' larger earnings over a lifetime, lower unemployment rates, better health, higher marriage rates, and greater civic involvement. While these advantages for those with four-year degrees are substantial, two-year college graduates also have earnings and other outcomes that are better than high school graduates' are. This is why President Obama has called for new initiatives to restore America's position as the country with the highest share of young people earning postsecondary credentials. In this article, the author addresses the flaws in the arguments of those who dispute the value of a baccalaureate degree, focusing on four areas--graduation rates, employment and earnings, debt/financial issues, and learning gains.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Journal Articles
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A