Avinash Tripathi is the vice president of analytics at the University of Phoenix, where he leads the analytics and data science team in establishing the organization’s strategy and vision and providing operational support for the delivery of information, analytics platforms, and solutions to the business’s key stakeholders. With over 20+ years of experience in higher education, Avinash is passionate about using data to make a positive impact on the sector, and he is a well-respected thought leader in the field. He advocates for disruptive transformation to meet evolving industry needs using advanced analytics and real-time data, and he has a proven track record of turning around declining businesses. Avinash is highly respected for his expertise in data storytelling, having provided guidance to top executives on the importance of incorporating data storytelling into analytics-driven initiatives, as well as the crucial role analysts play within data-focused organizations.
Yes, a college education is expensive, but the returns may be immeasurable when you factor in health, satisfaction, and earning potential.
The overnight fever of generative AI is a great example of how quickly technology can change the demand for certain skills. Many surveys have indicated that Americans no longer find value in pursuing a college education. These surveys primarily consist of polls that ask individuals about their perception of whether a college degree justifies its cost.
However, these polls fail to measure the true value of a college education because the questions overlook many of the benefits to graduates, such as higher income potential, improved job prospects, and increased social mobility. Education provides many things, but some are immeasurable, such as skills in thinking, problem-solving solving, and creativity, as well as the capability to navigate challenges.
In reality, the data suggests that college education remains highly valuable. Research conducted by the Brookings Institution in 2020 revealed that degree-holding individuals earn greater than $1 million throughout their working lives, compared to $630,000 for those who only completed high school. This financial wealth goes above and beyond health and longevity, the study noted for degree holders.
A separate study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis indicated that the return on investment in education has a return in essentially the same way as any asset does. The author found that, in 2020, for every dollar spent on tuition and education fees, college graduates had a return that ranged from 13.5% to 35.9% across six demographic groups: White men, White women, Black men, Black women, Asian men, and Asian women. The highest rates of return were for Asian men and Asian women.
Rising Tuition Costs
Some people argue that the rising expenses associated with college tuition have become a challenge for families resulting in a surge in student loan debt. According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for a four-year college has increased by more than 200% since 1985.
It is important to consider that the cost of everything else has risen as well. Since 1985, the median price of a single-family home in the United States has increased by more than 490%, and per BLS the consumer price index (cost of food) has increased by 190%.
Although the increasing cost of college tuition is a real issue, it can—to some extent—be explained when looking at the entire picture.
Job Security vs. Degree Necessity
Discussions of college ROI inevitably include the issue of job security versus the need for a degree. Some argue that the significance of a college education is diminishing because of the limited job prospects for graduates.
Data from BLS indicates that in 2022 there were 11.2 million job opportunities for college graduates entering the labor market. On an average 75% of the new jobs requires a college degree. Additionally, as per the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), there were 2.1 million bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States during 2021. Even considering the 6.0 million unemployed people, this still implies that each graduating student entering the job market has at least one chance to secure employment. According to the BLS, private service-providing fields including health care, social assistance, leisure and hospitality, finance, and government all added more jobs this spring of 2023. These are great industries for today’s college grads to target their search for jobs after college.
However, there are plenty of job opportunities that don’t necessarily require a college degree but still provide job security. Take, for instance, the construction sector and various skilled trades. These fields consistently experience a demand for professionals and offer competitive salaries with attractive benefits.
In the end, the key to securing your career lies in selecting a profession that’s both highly sought after and aligns with your passions. If you find yourself unsure about which career path suits you seeking guidance from a career counselor or exploring options online can be immensely helpful.
There has been a lot of debate surrounding whether the cost of college is worth the return on investment (ROI). Some students are questioning if it’s truly worth the price. It’s crucial for them to conduct research and gather information before making any decisions.
Interestingly data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals a decline in enrollment in STEM programs at colleges and universities across the United States over the decade. The latest report from the National Student Clearing House indicates that bachelor’s degree-seeking enrollment in STEM majors continued to decline. This is worrisome because there will be a rise in demand for professionals in these fields in the future. With challenges becoming increasingly complex we require scientists and engineers who can devise solutions.
The Value of Education in the Age of Generative AI:
The field of Generative AI is making strides. Holds immense potential to revolutionize various industries, including education. One key area where Generative AI can have an impact is, in college enrollments offering students the flexibility to learn at their speed and according to their individual preferences.
To illustrate Generative AI can be utilized to create learning journeys, for every student specifically tailored to their strengths and weaknesses. This approach empowers students to concentrate on subjects that require assistance while comfortably advancing at their own pace.
A survey commissioned by the Harris Poll on behalf of the University of Phoenix among more than 2,000 US adults, found that nearly 3 in 5 US adults believe AI tools should be leveraged in office (59%) and classroom (57%) settings. However, only 35% of adults are comfortable with integrating AI tools into their work or school due to concerns about their accuracy.
The survey findings point to an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the different functions and models of AI and to demonstrate responsible use by showing others how a tool was used and its capabilities. By doing so, we can foster appropriate adoption of AI into work and school environments.
While it remains uncertain how exactly generative AI will impact college enrollments and educational investments, there is potential for it to yield positive outcomes in both areas.
So, while the overnight fever of generative AI shows us that technology can change the world quickly, it also emphasizes the importance of investing in college education. Of course, there are some challenges associated with college education, such as the rising cost of tuition and the burden of student debt. However, these challenges do not outweigh the many benefits that college graduates enjoy.
To conclude, there is no evidence supporting the notion that Americans underestimate the value of a college education. In fact, ample hard data strongly indicates that pursuing education remains highly valuable. Opting for a college degree is an investment in one’s prospects, likely to yield significant long-term benefits.