The more interesting part of the study is the nuances it captures.
The study makes a good point about the danger in using data only of new college grads over the years of the great recession. They faced some of the highest costs of college to data and the worst unemployment rate, so the fact that many of them are still unemployed is not necessarily indicative of the college degree but of the economic situation. Further, the report recognizes that they cannot account for people who simply never enrolled. For some students, college can have a bigger impact on their opportunities than for others:
"If all potential students have meaningful available options and are making choices based on their aspirations and on good information about their own opportunities, those who do not enroll may be those who would benefit least from obtaining a bachelor’s degree.7 On the other hand, if students face large financial barriers, if they come from environments that do not create the expectation thatCollege has its biggest impact, in terms of economic mobility, for thepoorand middle class. So, the value of a college degree is not equal of all, again speaking purely in terms of economics. (There are, of course, other benefits from the college experience that may be more difficult to quantify, but that is for a different post.)
they will go to college or provide support for that choice, or if they are unable to navigate the complex processes required, it is likely that students are forgoing significant benefits."
All in all, many would like a report on the value of college to provide a black and white answer for whether college is worth the money. But, as this report highlights, a college degree means different things for individuals, and although, a college degree is likely to pay off, there are no guarantees.
"Even after accounting for paying higher taxes (and for paying for college), postsecondary education pays off for most people. Yet there is considerable variation in outcomes and not every college graduate earns more than every high school graduate."So, whether college is of value may be more of a personal choice than policy makers might like it to be.