My oldest daughter is off to college today. So, here are some interesting facts about college:
- In the U.S. 88% of adults over 25 have graduated high school while 32.5% have a bachelor’s degree and just 12% have a graduate degree.
- Do those undergrad and grad percentages look low? Actually, educational attainment has steadily risen over the past 75 years. Chart from Census Bureau:
- Competition for students and other factors has led to grade inflation – this was discussed in a prior IFOD here: http://www.theifod.com/easy-a-the-rise-of-grade-inflation/
- Research in a 2011 book by an NYU professor entitled “Academically Adrift” found that undergraduates, as a whole, do not learn very much academically during their four years of college. Testing of 2,300 students over their college careers found that 36% of students didn’t improve on a standardized test of skills and knowledge you would expect to learn in college. And most of the remaining 64% did not show large gains in knowledge.
- Notwithstanding grade inflation and questionable academics, attending college seems to be worth it financially as college graduates earn a lot more than non-graduates. Chart from a Pew Research Study:
- College graduates are also much less likely to earn below the poverty level (5.8% for college grads vs. 21.8% for high-school grads) and have much lower unemployment rates (3.8% for college grads vs. 12.2% for high-school grads – as of March 2013).
- But college is expensive. In the 1970s and 80s college costs increased similar to or less than inflation. Starting in about 1990 college costs took off.
- Average cost of college from The College Board:
- Some universities are questioning the luxury dorm trend that started in the last 20 years. Here’s a great article on this topic from The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/08/why-universities-are-phasing-out-luxury-dorms/537492/?utm_source=nl-atlantic-daily-082117
- What’s the difference between a college and university? Basically, a university has a broad range of study and degrees and offers graduate degrees whereas a college is typically more limited and offers associates or bachelor degrees. More on colleges vs. universities: http://college.usatoday.com/2017/03/01/whats-the-difference-between-a-college-and-a-university/
Your Mom Goes to College: Kip – Napoleon Dynamite