Monday, March 24, 2014

Dr. Faulkner: The Cost of College

I’ve written and spoken before about the cost of college and the value of a college education.  Currently, many people are questioning the value of a college degree.  In the face of declining state support for higher education, more of the cost has been passed along to the students and their families.  Consequently we have had a period of rising costs and at the same time unprecedented under and unemployment of college graduates.  You perhaps have heard of Peter Thiele, the co-founder of PayPal offering $100,000 grants to people to not go to college.

In recent days two publications have crossed my desk that address the issue of cost versus value.  The first is from a study conducted by Economic Modeling Specialist International (EMSI) for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).  The resulting report is titled, “Where Value Meets Values:  The Economic Impact of Community College.”   

I would encourage you to read the entire report.  To whet your appetite here are a few main points from the report:

During the analysis year (2012) former students of America’s community college generated $806.4 billion in added income in the U.S. economy.

·  For every $1 students invest in America’s community colleges in the form of out-of-pocket expenses and forgone time and money, they receive a cumulative of $4.80 in higher future wages.

·  For every dollar of investment in America’s community colleges, society as a whole in the U.S. will receive a cumulative value of $25.90 in benefits from reduced health, crime and unemployment.

·  For every $1 of public money invested in America’s community colleges, taxpayers receive a cumulative value of $6.80 over the course of students’ working lives.

The second article titled, “Is College Worth Cost?  New Study Says ‘Yes’,” is from the March 3 issue of Community College Week. The report is based on research by the Pew Research Center.  Some key findings are:

· Young adults with just a high-school diploma earned 62 percent of the typical salary of college graduates.

·  College graduates ages 25 to 32 typically earn about $17,500 more annually than employed young adults with just a high school diploma.

·  Young adults with just high school diplomas now are also much more likely to live in poverty, at 22 percent compared to 7% in 1979.

Pew’s executive vice president, Paul Taylor says, “In today’s knowledge-based economy, the only thing more expensive than getting a college education is not getting one.”

-Dr. Jerry Faulkner

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