top of page
  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Drop college mandates for jobs before the next $400 billion bailout

Forgiving student loans -- if it survives a legal challenge -- is estimated to cost $400 billion to $500 billion or more.


That means people who didn't go to college, perhaps because they didn't want to take out loans they couldn't repay, will subsidize the more advantaged. Colleges will be able to keep raising tuition, since future borrowers will assume their debts will be forgiven too.


"College for all" helped get us into this mess, writes Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. It's time for employers to stop requiring a college credential that's irrelevant to the job requirements.


Some borrowers make "dubious choices," such as "buying a fine arts or women’s studies degree from a pricey private school," he writes. But many have been told they must earn a degree to have a shot at a decent job.

. . . thousands of employers routinely use college degrees as a convenient way to screen and hire job applicants, even when the credentials bear no obvious connection to job duties or performance. Indeed, researchers from Harvard Business School have documented troubling “degree inflation,” with employers demanding baccalaureate degrees for jobs that don’t obviously require one. Employer preference for degrees has risen even for entry-level occupations, like IT help-desk technicians, where the job postings don’t include skills typically taught in college.

In a 1971 decision, Griggs v. Duke Power Company, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers can't use any test to screen job applicants if it has a "disparate impact" on minority groups, unless they can prove the test is directly job related and accurately predicts job performance.


Then the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) required a railroad company to drop strength tests for a job that required heavy lifting in favor of “alternative practices that have less adverse impact.”


But risk-averse employers found a loophole, Hess writes. They can make a degree a job requirement, using it as a signal of "baseline verbal, writing, and computational skills and social skills (such as the ability to turn in work and take direction)."


Requiring college degrees has disparate-impact implications, disproportionately screening out blacks and Hispanics, he writes. But it's easy and legal.


"College degrees should be treated no differently than other credentials or professionally devised employment tests," Hess argues. If it's not relevant to the job, it should not be OK.


If the federal government and its contractors dropped irrelevant degree requirements and governors followed suit, it could open up more than 10 million jobs, he writes, "catalyzing the marketplace for alternative hiring tools."

If the college degree were no longer to serve as a one-size-fits-all fast-pass to employment, colleges would have to work harder to make the case that they’re worth the time and money. That would be extraordinarily healthy for colleges and students, alike.

He also suggests letting job-seekers use federal student aid to earn "alternative credentials pursued through avenues such as apprenticeships, non-degree programs, and training partnerships." adds Hess.


Biden's executive order may not stand: It faces a legal challenge from six states and an individual.


To avoid lawsuits by banks, "the U.S. Department of Education has quietly changed its guidance around who qualifies" for debt relief, reports NPR. The move excludes more than 4 million borrowers with Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) issued by banks but guaranteed by the federal government.

225 views10 comments

10 comentarios


Malcolm Kirkpatrick
Malcolm Kirkpatrick
01 oct 2022

This issue evaporates in a legal environment which protects a right to freedom of contract and freedom of association (i.e., a right of non-State actors to discriminate on the basis of any silly reason whatsoever).

Ivar Berg, _Education and Jobs: The Great Training Robbery_

Helen Andrews, "The Law that Ate the Constitution", _Claremont Review of Books_

Laura Morgan, " ‘Implicit Bias’ Training Cost Me My Nursing Job', _Wall Street Journal_(ymd = 2022-09-30)

Me gusta
Invitado
01 oct 2022
Contestando a

There is no way to endorsement discrimination in commerce no matter how much racist libertarians scream "freecom"

Me gusta

Invitado
01 oct 2022

According to the St Louis Federal Reserve, college helps equality as women have fewer opportunities in lucrative jobs, such as carpentry, that don't require a college degree


"What these numbers reveal is that, indeed, getting more education is an important way to close the gender pay gap. College entry—whether it is to get an AS or a BS—helps women gain access to careers where they have a comparative advantage (e.g., office work). Men on the other hand have better access to lucrative careers that don’t require a college degree (e.g., construction work). This appears to be the most reasonable explanation for why women outnumber men in college."


https://www.stlouisfed.org/on-the-economy/2022/mar/why-women-outnumber-men-college-enrollment


JK Brown

Me gusta
Invitado
02 oct 2022
Contestando a

Actually, college enrollment is about to fall off a cliff in 2025 due to a decline in the birthrate during the Great Recession of 2008-2010 (selective and highly selective institutions won't have any problems, they always have more applicants than slots available).


The other issue is that over the last 40 years, women have been earning more degrees than men and this isn't by design as males (assuming they actually graduate from high school) are approximately 1.5 grades behind in math and reading/writing compared to females (hard to overcome that at the start line, IMO).


Additionally, statistics show that the more remediation a student needs (2+ classes) the chances of them finishing a certificate, associate's or bachelor's degree is almost…


Me gusta

Invitado
30 sept 2022

It is actually illegal in federal government hiring to require a college degree not task specific to the job. However, they put huge time of service at lower level for equivalency to make it impossible to get the job without (assuming it wasn't written to promote a specific junior person) and then the college-credentialed managers just don't want to be bothered to assess things anyway.

Me gusta

Invitado
30 sept 2022

This didn't become an issue until the Griggs case was decided by the USSC in 1971


Prior - Reversed in part, 420 F.2d1225 (4th Cir. 1970). Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, granted.Holding Broad aptitude tests used in hiring practices that disparately impact ethnic minorities must be reasonably related to the job.


Since testing was now limited in scope, many employers simply upped the ante by

requiring college degrees when no such requirement existed before for new hires.


Never mind that the overall value of MOST college degrees has been on the decline

from a ROI perspective over the last 2 decades or so given the cost of said degrees...


<sigh>

Me gusta

Invitado
30 sept 2022

High school diplomas don't signify any achievement or ability to learn, an employer has to have *something* to help them determine if a potential employee *might* have the intellectual capacity to do a job.


It's not that I don't see your point, but as someone who has sat on the other side of the hiring table, I see the employer's side, too.


--mrmillermathteacher

Me gusta
lady_lessa
02 oct 2022
Contestando a

I help out in QC where I work, and since we recently got some new workers after our lead retired, we are seeing more errors in batch making. And the men just need to be able to read and weigh things out correctly. One recent error was mixing up a 3 and a 5 on the container and putting the wrong material into the blend.

Me gusta
bottom of page