What is a college degree worth?
Opportunity. A better chance at success. Open doors that were previously closed.
As true as those statements are, they don’t actually answer the question. What is a college degree WORTH. How much better off are your alumni after receiving their diploma?
It should be easy to quantify and communicate, but it often isn’t. Colleges and universities rarely take the time to analyze real-world labor market data and correlate it with their own degree programs. Even though the data is largely in the public domain and accessible with software tools such as Emsi Analyst.
Instead, institutions of higher learning fall back on unscientific surveys of their most successful alumni. “Joe Student did our two-year certificate program, and now makes over over a million dollars! Sign up for this program and you will too!”
That’s about as forthcoming as a lottery commercial saying “results may vary.”
The truth is that you can quantify the value of a college education. And every education should. Doing so brings more value to the student, and helps the institution justify its value to the taxpayers, which helps ensure its funding for years to come.
But until the regulatory landscape changes, transparency in degree programs is not likely to change. And that’s where the immediate opportunity lies.
Imagine if there was only one grocery store in town that stocked its shelves with properly-labeled products?
Imagine if there was only one gas station that disclosed the cost of the fuel on sign by the highway, rather than waiting until after it was dispensed into the customer’s car?
Imagine if you were the only higher education institution in your region who had the trust of the public and the support of the private sector because of the quantifiable value you were bringing to the community?
The future of the education industry lies in proving your economic value – to your students, your taxpayers, and to the private companies hiring your graduates.