Smart Shoppers: The End of the ‘College for All’ Debate?

New paper today from College Summit and Bellwether about the ‘is college worth it?’ debate.  Our take is that the evidence shows it is, quite clearly, but that it’s the wrong question.  There are undoubtably some bad decisions students can make so what’s needed are better tools and methods to help students navigate their post-secondary choices.  You can learn more and read the paper via this link.

Here’s Chronicle of Higher Ed on the paper and a second analysis out today on the same issue from Public Agenda.

2 Replies to “Smart Shoppers: The End of the ‘College for All’ Debate?”

  1. Here’s a thought. Today, just about anyone can create a “college” or a “university” given a nonexistent formal or informal review board with matching standards. The great fear of course, has to do with academic freedom and the stifling hand of regulation. Still, there are the existing accreditation institutions and one weakness of the current system has to do with the ill-informed consumer of higher education who may not care or understand the system. Knowing this, private and very much for profit higher education providers have been free to game the entire system and potentially render it’s value mostly cloudy with a good chance of flooding.

    Public ECE-12 education is next.

  2. All students should receive the same educational opportunities so that he/she can choose to pursue a college education or not. (Figuring out how to pay for college is a whole different story.) The bigger problem I see is that if you don’t attend college, what are your career opportunities? With the push for “college for all,” we’ve neglected the skilled trades that keep our society growing (electricians, plumbers, welders, etc). Our vocational education programs are mediocre at best, we don’t encourage apprenticeships (which are very different from paid or unpaid internships), and we don’t teach sufficient life skills in standard K-12 education.

    It’d be wonderful to have all students attend college, but we need to recognize: 1) some students truly don’t want to attend university, 2) financially – higher education isn’t an option for many families, and 3) getting a college degree in today’s economy doesn’t guarantee you a job. Our “college for all” education system is failing students who don’t want to, or cannot attend university, but who still want to be productive citizens with stable careers and income stability.

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