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ERIC Number: EJ1043727
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
What Good Is College? The Economics of College Attendance
Covaleskie, John F.
Philosophical Studies in Education, v45 p93-101 2014
Until relatively recently, college was for only the few, and only loosely related to economic success. College graduates have always done economically better, on average, than those who did not graduate from college, but that was mostly because only the well-to-do could afford college. Few attended college in the hope of economic advancement in social class, since status was already assured to those who could afford college in the first place. However, in the ten years following 1946, over two million veterans went to college, and more than six and a half million more went to technical school. This made it realistic for employers to use educational attainment as an employment screen in a way that they had previously been unable to do. This began to change the meaning of going to college: one no longer went to college to get an education, but to the contrary, one goes to college to get a job. By transforming the degree into a medium of exchange, pursued not for itself but for what it can be used to get, it has been made into a ticket to a certain kind of life, a form of currency. Covaleskie notes that the link between getting a degree and economic success is so deeply rooted in our consciousness that students who have a chance to go to college and gain entry to the middle class (or better) are likely to continue for some time to do so. But, Covaleskie reflects, as the market saturates with economic successes, those students wjp are last to gain general access to college will have fewer returns on investment. The colleges they attend will be the most likely to have that lower return, and the target will have moved beyond that to which they can realistically aspire.
Descriptors: College Attendance, Economics, Outcomes of Education, Education Work Relationship, Access to Education, Federal Legislation, Educational Legislation, Credentials
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site: http://www.ovpes.org/journal.htm
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: G I Bill
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A