The Diploma's Vanishing Value

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

The Diploma's Vanishing Value

Postby Eric » Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:25 am

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/diplomas- ... 00787.html


By Jeffrey J. Selingo | The Wall Street Journal
May 1 is fast approaching, and with it the deadline for high-school seniors to commit to a college. At SCAM tables across the country, anxious students and their parents are asking: Does it really matter where I go to school?

When it comes to lifetime earnings, we've been told, a bachelor's degree pays off six times more than a high-school diploma. The credential is all that matters, not where it's from—a view now widely accepted. That's one reason why college enrollment jumped by a third last decade and why for-profit schools that make getting a diploma ultraconvenient now enroll 1 in 10 college students. But is it true that all colleges sprinkle their graduates with the same magic dust?
With unemployment among college graduates at historic highs and outstanding student-loan debt at $1 trillion, the question families should be asking is whether it's worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars for a degree from Podunk U. if it's just a ticket to a barista's job at Starbucks. When it comes to calculating the return on your investment, where you go to school does matter to your bank account later in life.


Not surprisingly, research has found that a degree from a name-brand elite college, whether it's Harvard, Stanford or Amherst, carries a premium for earnings. But the 50 wealthiest and most selective colleges and universities in the U.S. enroll less than 4% of students. For everyone else, the statistics show that choosing just any college, at any cost for a credential, may no longer be worth it.

In a few states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, families can now compare colleges, and even majors, based on the actual first-year earnings of graduates of in-state schools. (Go to http://collegemeasures.org/esm/.) The salaries come from the states' unemployment-insurance programs, which collect earnings information from employers every quarter. Using Social Security numbers, the states then match the information to college graduates. (One limit of this method: The data don't include graduates who leave the state or are self-employed.)
Eric

"The best social program is a good job,"
President Ronald Reagan
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Re: The Diploma's Vanishing Value

Postby nosborne48 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:42 pm

For awhile, New Charter University (DETC) was advertising on the theme of "Get Your Accredited B.A. With Zero Student Loans!" The school seems to have given up on that idea. http://new.edu/info/tuition/

A B.A. in General Business at New Charter will run about $11,000 including textbooks. The question is whether this degree will meet the needs of a recent High School graduate. I don't doubt for a moment that New Charter's degree would be of considerable career value to a working adult who needs both formal background in the management sciences and a check-the-box credential. But the "college experience" that does so much to form a young person is lacking. I don't know...I am much more comfortable with D/L advanced degrees than with a D/L B.A.

OTOH, is the "college experience" really worth six-figure debt? No. Clearly not.
Una cosa mala nunca muere.
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Re: The Diploma's Vanishing Value

Postby Rich Douglas » Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:32 pm

This phenomenon didn't arise yesterday. David Hapgood wrote about it in the book Diplomaism in 1971. The biggest difference is the switch from employer-managed careers (and career development) to employee-managed careers. No longer can you count on your employer to develop you and prepare you for greater heights. You do that yourself, and switch employers when needed along the way. That creates a competitive marketplace for more and more credentials. Also, with the shift from employers to employees, the employers can expect more and more credentials because (largely) they're not paying for them! You are. This externality (one party gets the benefit another party pays for) has emerged as part of this phenomenon: employers consume the learning and development you partly (or fully) pay for in order to bolster your career.

It used to be that you could be come a computer design engineer without a degree by getting a job sweeping up and working your way up. Then you could get that job by having a degree. Now you need the degree to get that sweeping up gig. Okay. So what are you going to do about it? It's never going to go back to how it was, and greater access to higher degrees means even more proliferation. Time to quit expecting your employer to fix it (they're the problem, after all) and fix it yourself. That means taking control of your career and professional identity. Get the credentials and experiences necessary to communicate that identity to those who will pay you to deliver. If that means you're someone's employee, fine. Or someone's outside consultant. Or independent contractor. Or whatever. But forget traditional career paths. Organizations are flattening--moving up the org chart doesn't necessarily mean career advancement. The triangle that used to represent the org chart is thinner on the sides and has much more at the bottom. But the money to be earned is there, too. You have to be prepared to deliver value regardless of rank, title, or location on the org chart. I have worked in at least three organizations where the people at the bottom made more than their managers--by design. So have a lot of you, whether you know it or not.
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Re: The Diploma's Vanishing Value

Postby Eric » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:51 pm

Thanks for wise reply. I always learn something from your replies.
Eric

"The best social program is a good job,"
President Ronald Reagan
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