2-Year Degree’s Value? For a Few, Less Than High School

Over all, community colleges deliver a negative return on investment to taxpayers, and 15 percent of them produce graduates who earn less than if they had never enrolled, according to a controversial report being released on Thursday.

The report, “What’s the Value of an Associate’s Degree? The Return on Investment for Graduates and Taxpayers,” attempts to quantify the costs and benefits of two-year degrees by institution, both to individuals and to the taxpayers who subsidize their educations.

Among the more eye-opening findings: For 85 of the 579 colleges included in the analysis, the average salaries of alumni are lower than those of high-school graduates.

And even while, on average, most graduates came out ahead, “It is stunning that for 15 percent of the schools, graduates might have been better off if they hadn’t gone,” said Jorge Klor de Alva, one of the report’s authors, who is president of Nexus Research and Policy Center and a former president of the University of Phoenix. <Read more.>

Via Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education.