Should Everyone Go to College?

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Duration 00:01:04

Georgetown University

Bryan Alexander is an internationally known futurist, researcher, and teacher, working in the field of higher education’s future. He is the recipient of the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Leadership Award, and has been featured in the Washington Postthe Wall Street Journal, and on MSNBC. He recently published Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education, which won an Association of Professional Futurists award.



For decades it has been widely argued that a college degree is a prerequisite to entering the middle class in the United States. Study after study reminds us that higher education is one of the best investments we can make; President Obama even called it “an economic imperative.” And it’s true that, on average, college graduates make significantly more money over their lifetimes than those with only a high school education. However, what gets less attention is the fact that not all college degrees or college graduates are equal. There is enormous variation depending on factors such as institution attended, field of study, whether a student graduates, and post-graduation occupation.

While the average return to obtaining a college degree is certainly positive, that it is not universally so. Many would argue that for certain schools, majors, occupations, and individuals, college may not be a smart investment. By telling all young people that they should go to college no matter what, perhaps we actually are doing some of them a disservice. This unique presentation will discuss the pros and cons of what has become a tremendously important question for millions of students.




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Jeffrey Watt

Should everyone go to college

Incredible lecture and lecturer. So many things to consider for now and the future and our children and grandchildren! I could have kept listening to him for hours. Wonderful.

2 years ago
Marc Tanenbaum

Should everyone go to college-a great presentation

Professor Alexander is a wonderful speaker and a pleasure to listen to. This talk nicely dissects the pros and cons of the question, “Should Everyone Go to College.” Very thoughtful. I think every high school college guidance counselor should listen to it to help Juniors and Seniors address their future.

2 years ago
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