One size does not fit all: Educational pathways outside of the four-year degree
Forbes - 03/03/2015
Elevating the educational attainment of the population—often referred to as “college for all”—has become one of the dominant policy goals of our time. However, dynamics are changing as the trends of soaring college costs and flattening enrollment rates have collided with the talent demands of a robust global job market, which today features unemployment rates at six-year lows. As a result, the national dialogue at the junction of the job market and higher education now seems to be shifting away from a somewhat myopic focus on four-year college degrees and toward embracing other, shorter forms of learning and credentialing. For example, President Obama has very recently proposed a free community college tuition plan, and has begun to strongly advocate for multiple pathways for students and workers to gain skills and credentials outside of the traditional four-year university pathway. This approach has also been championed by a growing array of business leaders and major foundations. As a result, it is time to consider and debate some of the potential other models for post-high school educational training and credentialing, outside of the four-year degree.