Phi Beta Cons

Another Higher-Ed Establishment Paper Fails to Make Its Case

The paper is the latest from the Georgetown Center for Education and the Workforce, and the case, naturally, is that America had better get lots more people through college or else the economy will suffer from a shortage of skilled workers. In today’s Clarion Call, I take a look at one of its major arguments — that college is “worth it” because of the alleged “premium” that those with college education enjoy. The trouble is that those average-earnings statistics tell us nothing about individuals at the margin.

There are lots of college grads these days who work at pretty mundane, low-paying jobs — and the evidence in the paper even shows that considerable numbers of people in the lowest earnings quintiles have college degrees. Alas, the authors entirely overlooked the significance of those data. That’s why I entitled my piece “This Paper Refutes Itself.”

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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