Lies, Damned Lies, and The Value of a College Degree

“According to statistical data from The U.S. Census Bureau people with bachelor’s degrees earn nearly 2 million USD, associate’s degrees nearly 1.5 million USD, and high school diplomas nearly 1.2 million USD in the course of their careers.” — — Graphic from American Radio Works
Number of top 1% income earners enrolled (left). Numbers of bottom 20% of income earners enrolled (right)

But What About the Information Economy?

But isn’t our economy becoming more and more advanced and the workers in it need more and more knowledge to succeed? People don’t need less higher education, they need more!

Just 27% of BA’s Have Jobs Related to Their Major — The Atlantic

What’s the Solution? Accountability.

Higher education needs to be accountable to their students. Currently private and public colleges alike are wilding unaccountable.

  1. Competition— Allow new, innovative colleges to start and compete with old, traditional ones.
  2. Smarter Financial Incentives — Add better financing regulations and financing options such as income share agreements, or job guarantees (e.g. you can stop paying your student loans if you don’t have a job in the industry of their degree a few years out from school)
  3. Give Regulators Teeth — Add more strings to federal funding to be more accountable to students or responsive to the economy.

In Conclusion

  1. A great education is worth more than ever.
  2. American colleges are all bad at giving you the education we so desperately need because…
  3. American colleges, public and private, are virtually unaccountable to their students and society.
  4. The solution is to add new colleges, smarter financing, and more regulators to make old colleges more accountable.



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Educator, Founder, Engineer. Interested in Evidence Based Education and Solving BIG Problems.