Phi Beta Cons

Why Are College Credentials in Such High Demand?

In this week’s Pope Center Clarion Call, I comment on a paper we have recently released (with the Center for College Affordability and Productivity) that explains why college credentials are in such high demand.

Authors Bryan O’Keefe and Richard Vedder contend that college credentials are widely used as a substitute (and a poor substitute at that) for general aptitude testing. That sort of testing was made legally perilous for employers by the Supreme Court’s rewriting of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in its 1971 decision in Griggs v. Duke Power.

Liberal interventionists thought they were doing poor minorities a favor by stifling the use of neutral testing that might have a “disparate impact,” but what emerged instead — the “requirement” that job applicants have a college degree for even very mundane jobs — is a far more costly and difficult barrier for them to surmount.

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

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