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A Researcher Shares What He Really Thinks Of The State Of Higher Education

Updated March 5, 2019 1.1k views10 items
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Is college worth the price? Having a bachelor degree is necessary for many jobs, but some people are wondering whether or not it's worth going into debt for school. Can you make as much money without a degree? What is the ROI for a PhD or an MBA?

Fortunately, one higher education researcher has some insight to the higher education dilemma. Mark Schneider works for the American Institutes for Research as an institute fellow, researcher, and as the vice president. He studies the value of a college education, and was generous enough to share his thoughts on the state of higher education. If you're curious about higher education issues, Schneider's thoughts will reveal some suprising information that your university faculty might not have told you.

If you're not sure which major to declare or what school to go to, Scheider's works can help guide you - he has some pretty interesting things to say about the value of different majors and schools. Because he's a researcher, his views might be a little different from what one might expect from opinions from college professors, but they're every bit as insightful. 

  • The College Rating System May Not Help You Pick A Valuable College

    From Redditor /u/mark_s_schneider:

    I don't have great hopes for it. We need data on programs as well as institutions (there is far more variation in student success across different programs than there is across institutions). And the Department of Education is not going down that route. In turn, the PIRS system (the Postsecondary Institutional Rating System, the formal name of the ratings) will be just hitting a small piece of what students need to know.

    I like the fact that the consequences of the rating system (coupling these performance metrics to Title IV student aid) is not supposed to go into effect until after the Administration leaves office and will require congressional approval. What do you think the chances of that happening?

    The government also doesn't have a great track record in making things that are consumer friendly. If they can get better measures, my hope would be that companies (profit or not-for-profit) will be able to do better in building more useful tools than what I think the government will come up with.

  • You Should Go Into Higher Education With A Solid Financial Plan

    From Redditor /u/mark_s_schneider:

    I think that the government (both state and federal) has the responsibility of getting the data out into the public sphere. And I think government can help make the data understandable. But ultimately it is up to students to improve their financial literacy so they can make better choices.

    Counseling is a challenge. Most high school counselors are NOT trained in the finances of college education or college going in general. And the tools they have at their disposal tend to be primitive. We need to help them improve - but ultimately students are the ones that are making the decisions and we have to help them become more financially literate about the choices they are making. They should know what the likely wage outcomes of their postsecondary choices are, because that determines what level of debt will be manageable. Don't borrow $100,000 if the expected wages for your major are $25,000!