“Higher education’s value proposition has been scrutinized since the last recession, fueled by high underemployment among college graduates and employers’ struggles to find workers with the skills they need. Completion rates of students from the lowest-income households have stagnated for decades, while the cost of a college education keeps climbing,” according to the new report.
“These issues raise questions about the cost and benefits of a college education regardless of its earnings advantages. It’s time to consider whether using wages alone to measure value goes far enough.”
The majority of those surveyed made it resoundingly clear that they place the most value on educational programs and experiences that align with their career pathways.
The report yields four key findings:
1. Relevant courses, not wages have the strongest link to how consumers assess the value of their education experience.
2. Among those with terminal bachelor’s degrees, graduates saw greater career and cost value in fields traditionally associated with careers, such as healthcare and education — even if those careers are less lucrative financially.
3. Those who started postsecondary education and did not complete saw the least value from their experience, with only a quarter of them agreeing it was a worthwhile experience, suggesting that we must continue the efforts to improve postsecondary completion in this country.
4. When education consumers believe they are provided high-quality, applied learning experiences and excellent career and academic advising, their assessment of value increases regardless of their program of study.