May 16, 2011
Utah Commissioner of Higher Education reacts to national study: “Is College Worth It?”
SALT LAKE CITY – The Pew Research Center released a study this week titled, “Is College Worth It?” which raises some important issues that should be part of the public dialogue involving higher education, according to Utah’s Commissioner of Higher Education William A. Sederburg.
“The study notes that those who graduated from a four year college believe they are earning about $20,000 a year more as a result of earning a degree, which is remarkably close to the latest census data which shows an earnings gap between college and high school graduates of $19,550” Sederburg noted. “And 74% of college graduates say their college education was very useful in helping them grow intellectually, more than two-thirds (69%) said it helped them grow and mature as a person, and 55% said it was very useful in helping them prepare for a job or career.”
“The biggest concern raised by the study is affordability, not the actual value of college,” Sederburg noted. “That is something the Board of Regents and our Presidents have also been very concerned about, which is why they have worked hard to minimize tuition increases even as state budgets have been cut. Fortunately for Utahns, four-year colleges particularly are much more affordable in Utah than they are nationally, with the average tuition in Utah 62% percent of the national average.” Attending a four-year institution in Utah is nearly 40% less expensive than a public institution elsewhere in the country. State budget cuts and enrollment growth has shifted more of the cost of college to students and their families in recent years, even in Utah, however. “State taxpayers cover 52% of the cost of college in Utah today, compared to 75% in 1999, with the rest covered by students through tuition,” Sederburg added.
“This study supports what has been well recognized by Americans for generations—that ultimately the only thing more expensive than college is not going to college, as demonstrated by the earning gap, the greater likelihood of unemployment and being without health insurance” Sederburg concluded.
The complete study is available at www.pewsocialtrends.org .
About The Utah System of Higher Education: USHE includes all of Utah’s eight public colleges and universities: The University of Utah, Utah State University, Weber State University, Southern Utah University, Snow College, Dixie State College, Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College. For more information on the Utah System of Higher Education, visit our website at http://www.higheredutah.org.
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To download a pdf of this news release, click here.Posted by: psilberman