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ERIC Number: EJ985404
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep-18
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
All about the Money
Berrett, Dan
Chronicle of Higher Education, Sep 2012
What is a college degree truly worth? That is the question that a new report seeks to answer. And it does so by distilling college into a number, expressed in dollars. "The Earning Power of Graduates From Tennessee's Colleges and Universities" is the latest effort to precisely quantify the value of a degree. It identifies the payoff that individual programs at specific colleges yield the first year after graduation. While limited to Tennessee, it will be followed by similar analyses in other states, and it marks the arrival of a new way of evaluating higher education that brings conversations about college productivity and performance to the program level. The report--by College Measures, a partnership of the American Institutes for Research and Matrix Knowledge, a consulting firm--is bound to spark debate about what it counts and omits, and to raise fears over how its findings will be used. The report has been praised by some analysts for merging data on education and employment in valuable ways and for producing revealing insights. For instance, in Tennessee, attending the flagship, in Knoxville, might not lead to a higher paycheck for new graduates than completing a community-college program, depending on the major a student chooses. The report also exposes simmering arguments in higher education: (1) whether college is chiefly for personal economic gain or for serving the public good; (2) whether teaching potential students about the costs and benefits of their college choices will further cement an already widespread consumerist ethos; and (3) whether data on disparate outcomes by discipline will fuel more attacks on liberal-arts programs, whose graduates may not earn large salaries right after college but fare better later.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Tennessee
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A