College Is Not Necessarily The Right Choice For Everyone

May 17, 2010

decisionA growing number of economists and educators are saying that many students would be better off attending two-year or technical colleges than earning four-year college degrees.

"It is true that we need more nanosurgeons than we did 10 to 15 years ago," said Richard K. Vedder of Ohio University, founder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, who was quoted by The New York Times. "But the numbers are still relatively small compared to the numbers of nurses' aides we're going to need. We will need hundreds of thousands of them over the next decade."

Nurses' aides, as well as many other jobs including home health aides, registered nurses and customer service representatives, do not require bachelor's degrees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only seven of the 30 jobs projected to grow at the fastest rate over the next ten years require a four-year degree.

The Times reports that Vedder and others have pushed for more short-term vocational and career training options in place of college. They argue that some high school students are far better off concentrating on specific job skills rather than taking on enormous student debt to pay for what amounts to be unnecessary college degrees.

The Associated Press reports on the same phenomenon, noting that just 36 percent of full-time students who started college in 2001 earned a four-year degree within that time, and only 57 percent graduated within six years. In addition, two-thirds of students who graduate four-year schools owe money on student loans.

Vedder told the AP that according to his research, the number of new jobs requiring college degrees is less than the number of college graduates. Moreover, he found that surprisingly, the more states spend on higher education, the less the economy grows.

"The evidence that far too many high school students are enrolling in college is overwhelming," agrees Zac Bissonnette, who writes for AOL's DailyFinance. He notes that most of the growth in college enrollment is probably coming from "academically marginal candidates--which is a problem." He cites data indicating that half of four-year graduates were working at jobs requiring a four-year degree in the beginning of 2009, and that U.S. employers are expecting to hire 7 percent less college graduates this year than last.

"With numbers like that," he writes, "how can anyone possibly think that the problem in the labor market is that not enough people are graduating from college?"

Compiled by CityTownInfo.com Staff


"College for All? Experts Say Not Necessarily," Associated Press, May 16, 2010, Alan Scher Zagier

"Plan B: Skip College," The New York Times, May 14, 2010, Jacques Steinberg

"Would Your Kid Be Better Off Without College?" DailyFinance, May 16, 2010, Zac Bissonnette

Career and Education News

Our News Writers and Editors

CityTownInfo Writers and Editors

Follow CityTownInfo.com

Follow Us on Facebook
Follow Us on Twitter
Follow Us on Youtube

Career and College Resources on CityTownInfo

Real-World Career Reports

Career Stories from workers: daily activities, job tips, best/worst job aspects, training, etc.
Daily Career & Education News from our staff. We're an approved Google News provider!

Career References and Original Articles

Resource Center. A starting point for all CityTownInfo career and college resources.
Career Overviews of hundreds of careers: descriptions, salaries, forecasts, schools, more.
Best Careers Not Requiring Degrees: Good pay, job growth, low need for degrees.
Helpful Articles, many in "how-to" format; e.g., "How to Become a Chef".
Infographics covering employment and educational trends.

College Directories and Lists

These lists link to thousands of detailed school profiles.

Colleges by State. Nearly every college and trade school in the country.
Colleges Listed Alphabetically. About 7,000 colleges & trade schools, including online schools.
Colleges by Major City. Browse cities with multiple college options.
Online Colleges. Colleges with online degree programs.
Graduate Schools by State. Colleges offering graduate degree programs.
Graduate Schools by Major City. Find cities with multiple graduate school options.