The notion that a four-year degree is essential for real success is being challenged by a growing number of economists, policy analysts and academics. They say more Americans should consider other options such as technical training or two-year schools, which have been embraced in Europe for decades.
As evidence, experts cite rising student debt, stagnant graduation rates and a struggling job market flooded with overqualified degree-holders. They pose a fundamental question: Do too many students go to college?
A small but influential group of economists and educators is pushing another pathway: for some students, no college at all. It’s time, they say, to develop credible alternatives for students unlikely to be successful pursuing a higher degree, or who may not be ready to do so.
"Is a College Education Essential for Americans?" Debate at the University of Virginia with George Leef of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education here in Raleigh and Ohio University economist Richard Vedder arguing "no".
And yet, there's an undercurrent of concern about a group of students — sometimes called "the forgotten half," a phrase coined 22 years ago by social scientists studying at-risk young people — who, for whatever reason, do not think college is for them. It's expressed by soul-searching parents such as Crave, whose son doesn't thrive in the classroom. It's also expressed increasingly by educators, economists and policy analysts, who question whether it's realistic and responsible to push students into college even if the odds of academic success seem low
Perhaps inspiring to those choosing a non-college path: "Top 10 College Dropouts".
An example of community college results: "Wake Tech students pick a sweet path".
And finally, "College: When Second Choice Is Best".
Students who end up at colleges that weren’t their top choice are often happiest.