Career-relevant coursework valued more by consumers of higher education than resulting wages

December 05, 2019

Sensing a gap in conversation about the importance of higher education, Strada Education Network and Gallup partnered to conduct a study on how Americans value their educations. The resulting report focuses on the relationship between two primary questions; whether consumers feel their educations were worth the cost and if they felt their educations made them attractive job candidates.

The report, which explores data collected from more than 340,000 surveys conducted over three years asking individuals about their experiences with education after high school, identifies four key findings. First, the value of higher education is valued lowest by those who did not complete their degrees. The authors suggest that this finding implies that policy makers and advocates should increase their efforts to raise college completion rates. Second, the authors find that graduates who majored in fields that are directly connected with specific jobs — such as healthcare and education — experienced higher levels of cost and career value. Third, consumers that perceived receiving higher quality applied learning experiences and career and academic advising services exhibited higher value assessments regardless of degree program. Finally, the authors find that relevant coursework, rather than resulting wages and income, have the strongest link to how consumers rate the value of their educations.

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