Report Says, Even After Recession, College is Still Worth It
Although the recession was challenging for college graduates, it was much worse for young people without a college education, according to researchers at Georgetown University—and the recovery, it seems, is treating educated young people better as well.
During the recession, the report says, young people “with more education fared better than the less educated, while those with a Bachelor’s degree or better even saw job gains. These patterns have continued during the recovery: Since January 2010, when the recovery began, job gains have been limited to those with more education.”
The authors of the report—titled “Weathering The Recession,” and festooned with stylized umbrellas —noted that while the media has popularized the term “man-cession,” job losses were more strongly associated with educational achievement than with gender.
Overall, individuals with bachelor's degrees or more have netted nearly 200,000 job since 2007, while Associate's degree holders lost 1.75 million jobs and workers with high school diplomas or less suffered the gravest losses, haemorrhaging some 5.6 million jobs.
The team behind the report claim the findings suggest courses of action both for personal decision making and public policy.
“At a time when college education is under attack from budget cuts and the increasing cost of college education is raising the question of whether postsecondary education is worth the money, these findings provide a compelling reason to say, yes,” reads the report. “For students and their parents who are contemplating whether higher education is a good value, these findings make clear that the answer is a resounding yes.”
They also argue that employers would benefit from a well-prepared workforce—and would be willing to pay more to procure those workers.
Degree holders aren't necessarily out of the woods yet, though. The Washington Post's Dylan Matthews pointed out that the authors lumped together individuals with bachelor's degrees in the same category with higher degree holders—and data from the Economic Policy Institute shows that an overwhelming proportion of job gains have been among workers with graduate, rather than undergraduate, degrees.
Furthermore, he points out that privileges granted to people with more education is not a new phenomenon.
“The central point of the Georgetown report, that the recession was much milder for people with bachelor’s and advanced degrees, is correct, but it’s correct because the economy always treats people with higher educational attainment better,” Matthews wrote.
Jon Christian is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow him on Twitter @Jon_Christian.