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For many of our families, higher education has always been at the center of their hopes and dreams. Yet, with the price of college spiraling, student debt now held by over 50 percent of those attending college, and job opportunities difficult to land, the question becomes is college still a smart choice?
The answer is emphatically yes; college remains an excellent investment for families despite rising tuition costs and recessionary pressures on employment. Although it may seem like more college grads than normal are back at home living in basements and raiding pantries, actual employment numbers for this segment of the economy were stronger than the overall labor picture as a whole, and even more so, higher than students with only a high school degree.
As reported in May in the New York Times, college graduates with jobs have risen by 9% since the start of the recession compared to high school grads, down 9%. Those without a high school diploma have faced a 14% decrease in employment levels. So the good news is that college grads are still finding work. They’re pounding the pavement harder than they ever have before, but they are finding opportunities to launch their future in a positive direction.
In order to contribute to this success and with the price of a degree at record numbers, colleges have become increasingly accountable for their ability to not only provide a superior experience on campus, but also to make sure the degree is working long after the student steps away from the college gates. To understand the strength of the learning environment, the overall health of the institution and the investment return on the experience, take a look at DEC Network performance indicators when you visit schools to help determine overall long term value.
- Academic Programs
- Teaching Credentials
- Student Support & Advisement
- Experiential Learning
- Global Study
- Career Resources
- Freshman Retention Rates
- College Endowments
- Scholarships & Financial Aid
- Graduation Rates
- Job Placement
- Graduate School Placement
Ask the admissions office or go to college websites for data related to these performance indicators so you can make the most informed decisions as possible. Just as you diligently investigate a potential new home, spending time digging into the numbers behind glossy college viewbooks or flashy college websites is invaluable for one of the largest and most important investments you’ll make in a lifetime.