Sunday, September 26, 2010

Diplomas and Dollars: the Value of a Degree

As the U.S. unemployment rate remains unusually high, struggling college graduates and others are questioning whether higher education is still a sound investment. Early this month, one MSNBC blog (LINK) mentions books with not-too subtle titles like "Higher Education? How Colleges are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids - and What We Can Do About It" and cites a Wall Street Journal article on how Americans now owe more in student loans than they do in credit card debt (more on that here: LINK).

In an economic climate like this, it's understandable for Americans to question any big-ticket expense, especially one with a price tag as high as most university diplomas. Still, it's important to note the strong evidence that the value of higher education has increased during the Great Recession. Last week, the New York Times reported in "Degree Payoff is Growing, Study Says," that the long-term payoff for higher education - including higher income, better job security, and greater civic engagement - continues to rise.

That story is available here: LINK

The College Board report they mentioned found that college graduates were better off regardless of racial or ethnic background. I dove into the report hoping for stats specific to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, but unfortunately, found that we were overlooked in this study. Click here to access the full report: LINK

I trust that what's true for every racial and ethic group studied is also true for Pacific Islanders - that higher education is still an important investment that drives up income, employment, and access to the American dream. And it's a given that by allowing Pacific Islanders to apply for underrepresented minority scholarships and fellowships, more of us would have the financial means needed to do what it takes to make that dream a reality.

No comments: