Every day I read the Chronicle of Higher Education. It’s a good way for me to stay current on what’s going on in my old work place. Although for the past 15 years I have worked exclusively with graduate school students (i.e., those students that have already earned an undergraduate degree, a bachelors degree, and are seeking a masters degree or higher), the biggest question for the past five years or longer among undergraduate administrators and the parents of potential students has been “Is college worth it?”
The Chronicle today is reporting that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has decided to take up the question. For many years now the only ratings available to parents and administrators in colleges have been ranking sources such as the “US News and World Report Best Colleges Rankings.” Although they have tried to be transparent, it’s a bit of a mystery how these rankings are determined. The Gates Foundation effort will by design attempt to “focus on the economic returns of college.”
Everyone who is engaged in the higher education enterprise knows that there are other values to be gained from going to college, more than economic, such as, “critical-thinking skills, better health, and a greater chance of turning out at the voting booth.” Those of us interested in higher education will be very eager to see this report.