The cost of education is skyrocketing yet employment rates for recent college grads are still lagging behind the national average, even amid economic recovery. The prospects (or lack thereof) for college graduates has drawn significant media attention over the last few years. A New York Times article reported a bleak outlook for college graduates, estimating that—even as employment numbers were falling sharply—only half of those employed out of college were actually required to have degrees at all. This has put into question the value of higher education and whether or not the costs students pay are worth the opportunities they get from their degrees.
Utilizing our online one-on-one conversations, we talked to recent grads of two-year, four-year and vocational schools as well as their parents in order to understand if they felt their degrees were worth the expense. In our latest research report, Exploring the Value of Higher Ed with Grads and Parents, we explore the hopes, aspirations, experiences, and regrets of these audiences.
Specifically, we looked at:
- Grads degree selections and subsequent career alignment
- Post-graduation reflections of the value of higher education
- Grads advice for other prospective students and parents about
to embark on the journey
We found that despite the high cost and relatively low short-term payoff, the consensus is that the pursuit of higher education is even more valuable today than in the past. Understanding how two-year and four-year grads view what makes their degree and experience successful or unsuccessful was especially enlightening. The recommendations we received from the audiences were eye-opening as well. We heard everything from the suggestion that four-year institutions should take a page from the pragmatic approach of the two-year student/institution, to the recommendation that students choose a more thoughtful degree path.
But we don’t want to give all the findings away! So, if you’d like to read more about post-graduation reflections of the value of higher education and what future students can do to get the most bang for their buck download the report.