Friday, March 27, 2009

Is College Worth the Money?

Stephen G. Emerson, Haverford's president, explains why it pays to earn an undergraduate degree.

"If you have paid, or are about to pay, an astronomical amount of money to a college or university, I'm pleased to report that you're making a good investment."

But that isn't news: With a single Google search you can turn up countless articles, essays and analyses proving that nearly all degrees more than pay for themselves. (An M.A. in a few fields is the sole soft spot.) Some degrees, such as those you get for studying law or medicine, generally pay enormous dividends.

But I propose that those of us in higher education--administrators, teachers, students and parents--take another look at this question by changing the very question itself. Instead of asking, "Is college worth the money?" what if we ask, "How valuable is a college degree?"

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