One More Time: Yes, College Is Worth It

A new study shows that despite the plight of unemployed college graduates, a degree still holds its value. Plus, education news on plagiarism in online courses and high school dropouts.

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Sky-high student debt and countless stories about the plight of unemployed or underemployed college graduates has prompted a new wave of speculation as to whether college is really worth it. So perhaps some you might need this reminder: you know what’s even harder than not having a job? Not having a job or a college degree.

A new study from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce finds that a college degree is indeed the best defense against unemployment. “It’s a tough job market for college graduates,” the report says, “but far worse for those without a college education.”

While the unemployment rate for recent four year college graduates is 6.8%, according to researchers the unemployment rate for recent high school graduates is nearly 24%. Additionally, nearly 200,000 jobs for workers with at least a Bachelor’s degree were added during the recession; 2 million jobs for college-educated workers have been added during the recovery. At the same time, nearly four out of every five jobs destroyed by the recession were held by workers with a high school diploma or less.

Read the executive summary and download the full report here.

More education news from the week:
Free Online Education Surges, Plagued by Plagiarism 
Coursera, a company that provides free online courses in conjunction with several prestigious universities, announced last week it had registered one million students.  One of Coursera’s competitors, Udacity, has nearly 740,000 students. But with the popularity of free online courses surging, professors and students are growing increasingly concerned over plagiarism. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, one Coursera professor issued an online plea to his 39,000 students to stop cheating; in recent weeks, dozens of students in at least three Coursera courses have complained that their work has been copied by other students. Coursera told the Chronicle it will review the issue and may consider adding plagiarism-detection software. Read the full story here.

Fake Money Aims to Highlight the Dropout Crisis
The latest prop in the College Board’s “Don’t Forget Ed” campaign, which aims to make education a leading issue in the 2012 presidential race? A lump of cold, hard cash. On Wednesday, the College Board placed a 6 ft.-tall display of (fake) hundred dollar bills near the New York Stock Exchange, according to the Huffington Post. The fake bills are stamped with the message “reducing the high school dropout rate 1% would add $1.5 billion a year to the economy,” and are meant to highlight the dropout crisis. The College Board staged a related stunt in June when it placed 857 empty school desks on the National Mall in Washington DC to represent each student who drops out of school every hour of every day. Read more here.

Number: $500,000
The amount awarded in a legal settlement to seven students in New Jersey who were forced to eat their lunch on the floor of the gymnasium as punishment, according to Reuters.

In case you missed it: 
Propublica has a by-the-numbers piece breaking down the key stats from a recently released congressional report on the for-profit higher education industry. The report from the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee was fairly scathing, and the for-profit industry group, the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities, pushed back immediately, saying the report twisted the facts. The Propublica piece has a lengthy list of numbers the industry group did not challenge, including figures that portray the meteoric growth in the for-profit industry, the dramatically higher prices and debt loads, the amount of resources devoted to recruitment and lobbying, and executive compensation. Read the Propublica piece here.

Kayla Webley is a Staff Writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley, on Facebook or on Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

9 comments
someguy2343
someguy2343

How many times are you going to talk about plagiarism? Kids do this at traditional universities to! lol

YYChen
YYChen

I agree what the author say, college is worth, I read another papers, all said college is a worth investment, I wrote a summary below.

   “Where is the Best Place to Invest $102,000 -- In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree?” by Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney (June 25, 2011), from NPR’s paper. The authors report on the issue of the benefits of investing in college degree. It‘s obviously that higher education is better investment than any other alternatives. First, studies show that if a person chooses to invest in college, he will gain more opportunities and more salary until he is sixty five years old. He will earn seventy percents more than a high school degree. Second, according to the research, an investment in four-year College can get fifteen point two percents feedback, which is more than double the average return in the stock market. Because of that, the greatest investment is in college degree.

    I agree to the statement in this news report for the following reasons. First of all, although many people say that the job market remains tough even for college graduates, I consider that those with college degrees, on average, earn far more than those without them. For example, during the Great Recession, almost 90% of these young college graduates were employed in 2010, compared with only 64% of their peers who did not attend college. Another example is that in much recruitment such as TSMC, college degree is the basic condition to be hired. The second reason is that according to NPR’s paper, a student graduate from college can earn six times salary than from high school. Furthermore, the salary range depends on your major. To illustrate, a college majored in engineer who could earn more money than a high school. Last but not the least, going to a college can learn not only professional majors but also abilities like organization and negotiation. For example, having a project with a team, we need to discuss with each other and gather ideas to fulfill it.

    I know some people disagree that investing in college education is a great choice, but I have to say that college degree is a ticket, I cannot promise if you graduate from college, you could find a perfect job, but high school one is obviously much difficult, so I still believe that it’s a long-term investment that pays off over time because we can learn lots of things which can’t be replacement from college.

finally, happy new year~~

perspective2
perspective2

University is worth it when you can afford the costs.  Public university major’s in harvesting money, education taxes. University of California Berkeley is nationally ranked #1 public university total academic cost (resident) as a result of the Provost  Chancellor  goal  to ‘charge Californians higher tuition’. UC Berkeley tuition is rising faster than costs at other universities.  Cal ranked # 2 in faculty earning potential. Believe it: Harvard College less costly.

 

University of California negates the promise of equality of opportunity: university access, affordability is farther and farther out of reach. Self-absorbed Chancellor Birgeneau, Provost Breslauer are outspoken for public Cal. ‘charging Californians much higher’ tuition. Chancellor, Provost  leave an indelible legacy on access, affordability.

 

Birgeneau ($450,000) Breslauer ($306,000) like to blame the politicians, since they stopped giving them their demanded funding. The ‘charge Californians higher tuition’ skyrocketed fees by an average 14% per year from 2006 to 2011-12 academic years. If Chancellor Provost had allowed fees to rise at the same rate of inflation over the past 10 years they would still be in reach of most middle income students. Breslauer Bergeneau increase disparities in higher education and defeat the promise of equality of opportunity. An unacceptable legacy.

 

Additional state tax funding should sunset. The sluggish economy and 10% unemployment devistate family education savings. Simply asking for more taxes to fund self-absorbed Cal.senior  leadership, old inefficient higher education  practices, excessive faculty staff compensation and burdensome bonuses, is not the answer.

UC Berkeley is to maximize access to the widest number of Californians at a reasonable cost. Birgeneau’s Breslauer’s ‘charge Californians higher’ tuition’ denies middle income families the transformative value of Cal.

 

The California dream: keep it alive and well. Fire (honorably retire) Provost George W Breslauer. Birgeneau resigned.

ehjxgcth
ehjxgcth

College is not always worth it. Nothing is. It all depends upon what you pay for it. Taking out $1 billion in debt for any degree-- even a degree that will allow you to cure cancer-- isn't a good idea. Even if the degree taught you to cure cancer with one appointment, you couldn't treat enough people to pay off that $1b. 

By the same token, spending $1 for the silliest, twittiest degree in cross-cultural bio theater is probably a good idea because some tiny tidbit might end up being useful.

The problem is figuring out what to do if the price lies in between. Many degrees that cost $100,000+ won't pay off. Silicon Valley is run by dropouts and they got there by skipping college. 

Debt Free Teen
Debt Free Teen

I'm surprised that these online schools do not use plagiarism software. With online classes it really is essential to keep the integrity of the courses. I attended a hybrid public high school and plagiarism was a zero tolerance issue. As a student, you can run your own work through a plagiarism detector to keep from plagiarizing. Some people don't even realize that they have plagiarized content. 

Chase

vstillwell
vstillwell

Yes, you can use that college degree to land you that dream job at Target. That is, until Target figures out how to outsource your job because, apparently, that's the economy's way of telling you that you need to retrain yourself. I'll tell that to my unemployed chemist friend whose job was outsourced to India. He just doesn't measure up to that $3-an-hour Indian. He's too inefficient! 

Kirk Hazlett
Kirk Hazlett

As I said in my comments as I posted this to Facebook and Twitter for my students and others to read...a "good news, bad news" scenario here. Bottom line: a college degree may not be the "silver bullet," but it's better than no bullet at all. Interesting read.

dm0
dm0

he should talk to walter white

OutPastPluto
OutPastPluto

A college education is still worth it. You just need to treat it as a financial transaction and not go crazy with the student loan debt. It's no different than any other investment in this regard.