Texas technical colleges, which specialize in job training, will be funded based on graduates’ earnings rather than enrollment, starting Sept. 1. The “value-added accountability funding formula” analyzes the difference between graduates’ income five years after graduating and the minimum wage.
Under Oregon’s Pay It Forward, Pay It Back plan, students would pay no tuition at state universities – if they agree to pay the state 3 percent of their earnings for 24 years. It’s a gamble for students and taxpayers, say critics. Students who plan careers in medicine, law, business and engineering will do much better paying the tuition up front, leaving Pay It Forward for students who don’t anticipate earning very much.
When work disappears for all but the well-educated elite, what happens to society?
Salary Surfer predicts future pay after two and five years for an associate degree or certificate in various fields for prospective California community college students.
Underemployed four-year graduates are enrolling in two-year colleges to earn job credentials. A business graduate with $60,000 in student loans calls her bachelor’s degree “just like a ticket to nowhere.” She’s now training for a certificate in paralegal studies.
“Some college” is better than a high school diploma in the workforce. If “some” means a vocational certificate in a technical field, it can lead to higher pay than a non-technical bachelor’s degree.
For today’s college graduates, “what you make depends on what you take,” advises the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. ”Not all degrees are created equal.” Engineering graduates start at $54,000, compared to $30,000 for arts, psychology and social work grads.
Nursing graduates have the lowest unemployment rate, Georgetown reports, but new RNs say it’s hard to find a job without experience.
The Student Right to Know Before You Go Act would let the Education Department track students through college and into the workforce, creating a federal database of remediation and graduation rates, salaries by major and program and success rates for recipients of Pell Grants and veterans’ benefits. Policymakers and consumers want to know. Privacy advocates hate the idea and some colleges oppose it too.
Does college pay? It will for the Stanford engineering graduate, but not for the fine arts major from an unselective college — and even less for dropouts. “With unemployment among college graduates at historic highs and outstanding student-loan debt at $1 trillion, the question families should be asking is whether it’s worth borrowing tens of thousands of dollars for a degree from Podunk U. if it’s just a ticket to a barista’s job at Starbucks,” writes Jeffrey Selingo. Meanwhile, workers with community college degrees in technical fields are doing quite well in the workforce.
Most of the fastest-growing jobs don’t require a degree, but don’t pay well either. Personal care and home health aides average less than $21,000 a year and “helpers” in construction aides average less than $30,000.
Math skills at age seven (and reading and math for girls) predicted earnings at age 42 in a British study that followed subjects from birth to middle age, reports The Atlantic.
Researchers also analyzed socioeconomic class at birth, IQ at age 11, academic motivation at 16. Controlling for other factors, ”the association between basic math and reading skills and future socioeconomic status remained” and was significant.
As a next step, the researchers hope to assess the long-term impact of early education and interventions.
Texans who earn a technical certificate or associate degree often earn more than four-year graduates in their first year in the workforce, concludes a new study. Some workers with certificates in health-care fields start at more than $70,000 – $30,000 more than the median for graduates with bachelor’s degrees.
Community college graduates with technical degrees start work at higher wages than four-year graduates. While some bachelor’s degree graduates catch up after a few years, nearly 30 percent of “middle skill” workers earn more than the average four-year graduate. But only 10 percent of U.S. workers have vocational certificates and associate degrees compared to 24 percent of Canadians.