David Leonhardt on Why College Is for the Masses

In this Sunday’s issue of The New York Times, David Leonhardt argues that college may be for the masses and, as two recent studies conclude, may be for the masses below the usual SAT cutoff for admission to even the least selective schools. In his Op-Ed “College for the Masses,” Leonhardt debunks recent myth that college grads are unemployed or underemployed and saddled with lifelong debt.

“The unemployment rate among college graduates ages 25 to 34 is just 2 percent, even with the many stories you hear about out-of-work college graduates. They’re not generally working in menial jobs, either. The pay gap between college graduates and everyone else is near a record high. It’s large enough, over a lifetime, to cover many times over the almost $20,000 in student debt that an average graduate has, notes the education researcher Sandy Baum. College graduates are also healthier, happier, more likely to remain married, more likely to be engaged parents and more likely to vote, research has found.”

To Leonhardt, then, the economic inequality gap hinges on education level, and hovers in the distance between those who have and those who do not have a college degree.


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