Fresh Perspectives on Alternative Credentials

By Richard Garrett, Eduventures

Sticker price may be soaring but net price, what students actually pay, is more modest and stable. The wage premium that comes with a degree has never been higher, calming fears about student debt. Still, it’s hard to feel good about these three data points: Graduation Rates. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, the six-year undergraduate completion rate is a mere 55%—and it’s declining. Employability. In 2012, the OECD ran its first international survey of adult skills. Only 8-16% of U.S. adults achieved literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving proficiency at a level judged to be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, yet 34% had such a degree. Premium. Yes, the degree wage premium is higher than ever, 95% for those with a bachelor’s degree and 136% for those with a master’s degree when compared to high school graduates.

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