What is the true value of a college education?
- Guardian columnist Julian Coman argues that college education has become little more than heavy spending in the schools which are likely to attract employers, instead of picking the campus that will help make each individual an ideal contributor to society.
- Nearly 50% of secondary graduates in the UK attend college, but more than 25% of college graduates are earning less than the national wage average.
- Coman says instead of focusing so heavily on "an estimated financial return," the collegiate experience should be viewed as a comprehensive benefit to the whole of society.
While Coman's view of higher education may be an altruistic treatment of the aim of higher education, part of the industry's stark reality is the need for institutions to educate a workforce without bankrupting it for generations — a difficult proposition against the changing cultures of technology, industry and racial demographics.
The federal government has made very clear it will no longer easily invest public dollars in struggling institutions without clear metrics of performance, as evidenced by its college scorecard initiative. When added to additional elements like state-based, performance-based funding models like those in Florida and those under consideration in Wisconsin, there is little room to consider inspiration of societal benefit of an institution beyond what numbers can depict.