Are Two-Year Colleges Better for the Next Generation?
1 month ago
If you hate school already, why stick around for four more years?
“In the U.S., we’ve tended to think that the bachelor’s degree is the only thing that matters, and this data tells us that technical degrees from community colleges are hidden gems,” said CollegeMeasures.org president Mark Schneider.
While two-year institutions and vocational schools may not be as prestigious as four-year colleges, they provide a practical alternative. Economically, the schools just aren't as expensive. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, the average annual tuition at a two-year school is $2,963.
The average annual cost for a public four-year institution is more than $8,000. Depending on resources, a student may be able to avoid assuming any debt by attending a two-year institution – something colleges prefer with more frequency. Reports indicate that colleges are increasingly recruiting students who can pay out of pocket and shying away from those who depend on loans.
Beyond economics, four-year institutions might not be for everyone. Around 1.3 million students drop out of high school every year. Even though graduation rates among African American males have improved in recent years, only 52 percent of those who attend college finish in four years.
If we have a generation of children who don't want to be in school to begin with, compounded by the fact that staying in school longer will most likely lead to more debt with no employment prospects, it's probably time that we do away with the "A Different World" fantasy and drive more toward two-year colleges. There, they can actually learn a skill if they aren't set out for the campus life experience.
A January 2013 study titled "Hard Times," released by Georgetown University stated, "In general, majors that are linked to occupations have better employment prospects than majors focused on general skills."
So while that fancy four-year degree may look good on the wall and make your mother proud, the new reality is that prestige isn't paying all of the bills right now or in the future. It’s time to adjust.