The Obama Administration recently launched the College Scorecard which helps students and their parents evaluate a searchable list of colleges to ascertain how the cost of a college compares to the financial success of its graduate. Also the Student Right to Know Before You Go Act requires colleges to report such things as their rate of remedial enrollment, the rate of accumulated credits, the average debt of its students, and the average earning of its graduates.
These measures are a natural response to the rising cost of college education. But we ask, is assessing the value of a college or a college education in general on return of investment criteria the best way to go?
First, data can be misleading. For example, earnings of new college graduates may not accurately reflect their life-time potential earnings, especially as new graduates search for the right job fit, experiment outside their planned career, and wrestle with the early steps of a new career. Also the value of a job may not correlate only to salary. Many doctors, teachers, and counselors find high value in their work not because of money earned, but because they enjoy serving, influencING young people, or guiding people to better places in their lives.
In fact, shouldn’t we all be interested in a college education not only for the success of the individual but also for the success of our world community. Every one who is trained or educated will have an effect on our whole society. We are interested in education because it can provide services to us all. Students who only chase a career as a means to the end of earning money may also lose out on opportunities and potential because they are not taking risks or exploring areas they never dreamed they would find happiness in.
When considering a college or a college education, it may be wise to think about why you want to go to college, how you will interact with the world because of college, and what college can do for you, and not only about how much college will cost and how that compares to what you can earn.