The Not-So Hidden Value of a College Education


It’s no secret that the system of higher education in the United States is a mess. Surveys have been conducted, the results have been crunched, and people seem to agree that the cost of college is too high, the quality of education is too low, and there’s little hope that the system will experience the necessary fundamental reforms in the near future.

This is an awkward and embarrassing diagnosis for the United States. Contrary to what may be popular belief, most college presidents in the country do not think American colleges are the best in the world, and the perception is that they’re getting worse.

A survey conducted by Pew found that just 19 percent of college presidents surveyed viewed the American system of higher education as the “best in the world,” and in 10 years’ time, just 7 percent of respondents expect the U.S. to be on top. Those expecting the U.S. to have “one of the best” higher education systems falls from 51 percent to 46 percent over the same period.

This negative perception of the U.S. higher education system is echoed by graduates, many of whom feel let down. According to the same Pew survey, just 55 percent of graduates believed their college experience prepared them for a job.