Today, more than ever, it is apparent that obtaining a college education and developing a relevant skill set is essential. However, it’s no secret that higher education as an institution is still facing some major issues.
College is still expensive. Tuition prices have increased exponentially in the last couple of decades. More recently, this increase has been caused largely in part by reductions of state tax support for public institutions. In the past, public universities have been more appealing to applicants because tuition prices at state schools have been substantially lower than private universities. Presently and moving forward, this seems to be less and less the case, which can make the financial outlook for many upcoming college students rather dismal.
Accreditation and The Higher Education Act:
The Higher Education Act’s intention, as stated in the bill, is “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.” There is hope that President Obama will address the rising cost of tuition within the coming year, but that still leaves the area of accreditation and assessment untouched. When what a student is actually gaining from earning a degree at a university is questioned, the answer should be identifiable—so apparent that is it nearly tangible. Universities need to be able to prove that they are providing a quality education for students who are delving into the world of higher education. One way to organize assessments would be an overhaul of some of the national accreditation credentials. This is a point of debate for politicians and policy makers alike. Whether accreditation standards should focus more closely on the regulation of educational curriculums or the overall quality of education at institutions is an issue that is frequently discussed.
More Specialized Jobs in a Recovering Economy:
The economy is on the rise and that’s irrefutably great news for the country. And while this may quell the fear of being unemployed post-gradation, this boost in the economy can simultaneously cultivate the belief that people don’t necessarily have to go to college to enter the workforce and remain reasonably well-off. This is a flawed assumption for two main reasons:
1) Young adults deciding whether or not to pursue higher learning need to think of the long-term benefits, not necessarily just the benefits of entering the workforce “here and now.” In the long run, a college degree will, in most cases, lead to a higher salary and over all better quality of life.
2) Companies are hiring…but they won’t hire just anybody. While a major in college may not be directly indicative of the field a student will ultimately settle into, studying a certain subject in school develops a specific skill set that employers will be looking for. Even if every industry isn’t necessarily “specialized,” skilled workers are still essential. Employers aren’t just looking to hire, they are looking to smart, well-rounded, capable young leaders.
Patrick Capriola’s website.
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