are plenty of good jobs that don't require a four-year degree. After
all, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that two-thirds of the
labor force has less than a four-year degree, including nearly half of
those in professional occupations and one-third of those in management
roles. It pays for workers to earn these credentials; according to the
BLS, that workers with an associate's degree earned $141 more per week,
on average, than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma.
subbacalaureate programs continue to be regarded as marginal in the
press and the higher education mainstream. Universities turn their nose
up at them. Policies and norms remain oriented towards "traditional"
students. Rankings, awards, and honors go to institutions with great
sports teams, prize-winning researchers, or elite student bodies--never
to those that are helping nontraditional students master new skills and
so that they can reenter the workforce, get promoted, or change careers.
7) ... But the "College Premium" Might Be Losing Some Steam ...
8) ... And the Last Decade Was Horrible, Even for Bachelor's Holders
Compared to other large investments that Americans make, the information that prospective students have about college costs and quality is woefully incomplete. Consumers in the market for a new car, a new house, or even a new washing machine can look to Consumer Reports, Zillow, the Kelley Blue Book, and other outlets for reams of comparable information about current prices, maintenance costs, and resale values. Sure, prospective college students have the popular U.S. News and World Report rankings, but these are largely based on institutional reputation, selectivity, and other measures that fail to capture return on investment. What if consumers want to figure out what their credential might be worth on the labor market after they graduate? Whether they'll have enough income to live comfortably and still pay back their loans? Whether students actually learn anything over the course of their program? On important questions like these, prospective students are in the dark.
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