Is college ultimately worth the time, effort, and other assorted costs associated with it? A new paper released yesterday by College Summit and Bellwether Education Partners seeks to answer this question and put the persistent “Is College Worth It?” debate to rest. The whitepaper, funded by Deloitte LLP and titled Smart Shoppers: The End of the “College for All” Debate, reaffirms the value of a postsecondary education and argues that students and parents need additional tools to help them navigate the increasingly opaque marketplace for postsecondary education. The publication was released yesterday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. where a group of distinguished speakers discussed the wider implications of the report’s findings.
J.B. Schramm, founder of College Summit and moderator of the event, emphasized the value of college throughout the morning saying that, “it’s important that we’re arming them [students] with the tools to select the postsecondary education that is the best fit for their individual needs.” He went on to highlight how his organization’s research, “shows time and time again how college is the single best investment young adults can make in their future.” These statements come at a time when the college wage premium is at an all-time high and according to some studies is over 80 percent higher than those with only a high school diploma.
Smart Shoppers also goes to great lengths to conflate the term “college” with the broader idea of postsecondary education. As the authors point out, “Part of the misunderstanding is that to many people ‘college’ suggests a four-year bachelor’s degree” but that is not “what college looks like for the majority of students in the U.S.” The paper goes on to highlight the important role community colleges, remote learning, and postsecondary career technical education (CTE) programs have within the space many collectively refer to as “college” or “higher education.”
This distinction, along with the significant positive impact college has for students over the long-term, was a recurrent theme throughout the event. Industry and business representatives echoed these sentiments and underscored the link between a robust postsecondary education system— one that serves every member of society equitably— and their continued need for a skilled workforce.
The full report can be found here.
Steve Voytek, Government Relations Associate