Last updated on: 6/4/2018 | Author:

Footnotes & Sources

The background and pro and con arguments were written by staff based upon input from the following footnotes (directly referenced) and sources (used for general research and not directly referenced):

  1. US Census Bureau, “After a Recent Upswing, College Enrollment Declines, Census Bureau Reports,”, Sep. 3, 2013
  2. Marvin Lazerson, “The Disappointments of Success: Higher Education after World War II,” The History of Higher Education, Eds. Harold Wechsler, Lester F. Goodchild, and Linda Eisenmann, 2007
  3. John R. Thelin, A History of American Education, 2004
  4. Amanda M. Fairbanks, “2011 College Grads Moving Home, Saddled with Historic Levels of Student Loan Debt,”, May 13, 2011
  5. Richard Vedder, “Going to College Is a Mistake for Many,”, Nov. 17, 2011
  6. Richard Vedder, “Twelve Inconvenient Truths about Higher Education,”, Mar. 2012
  7. US Department of Education, “Database of Accredited Programs and Institutions,”, Aug. 16, 2013
  8. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, “Is Starting College and Not Finishing Really That Bad?,”, June 2013
  9. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney, “Where Is the Best Place to Invest $102,000—In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree?,”, June 25, 2011
  10. College Board, “Trends in College Pricing, 2011,”, 2011
  11. Sandy Baum, Jennifer Ma, and Kathleen Pays, “Education Pays 2010: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,”, 2010
  12. Christian Yang, “DON’T Drop out to Do a Startup,”, Jan. 2, 2013
  13. Lumina Foundation, “A Stronger Nation through Higher Education,”, June 2013
  14. Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, Jeff Strohl, “Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018,”, June 2010
  15. Marcelina Hardy, “7 Benefits of Earning a College Degree,”, 2013
  16. Arthur Chickering, “The Seven Vectors: An Overview,” (accessed Sep. 5, 2013)
  17. Cooperative Institutional Research Program, “1994 Nine Year Follow-Up Survey (of 1985 Freshmen),” Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA, 1995
  18. 60 Minutes, “Partying and Its Benefits,”, May 20, 2012
  19. Robert A. Hummer and Elaine M. Hernandez, “The Effect of Educational Attainment on Adult Mortality in the U.S.,”, July 2013
  20. Brian L. Rostron, John L. Boies, and Elizabeth Arias, “Education Reporting and Classification on Death Certificates in the United States,” Vital and Health Statistics,, May 2010
  21. Sandy Baum and Jennifer Ma, “Education Pays 2007: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society,”, 2007
  22. Intelligence Squared US, “Too Many Kids Go to College,”, Oct. 12, 2011
  23. Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, and Joseph McLaughlin, et al, “The Consequences of Dropping Out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers,”, Oct. 2009
  24. Rebecca Mead, “Learning by Degrees,”, June 7, 2010
  25. Pew Research, “Is College Worth It?,”, May 15, 2011
  26. Jonathan D. Fitzgerald, “The Real Value of a College Education,”, Feb. 23, 2012
  27. Indiana University at Bloomington, “Internship Experiences of IUB Psychology Majors – 50+ Examples,” (accessed Sep. 26, 2013)
  28. Clive R. Belfield, Henry M. Levin, and Rachel Rosen, “The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth,”, Jan. 2012
  29. Derek Thompson, “What’s More Expensive Than College? Not Going to College,”, Mar. 27, 2012
  30. Harvard Business School, “Networking,” (accessed Sep. 5, 2013)
  31. Whitman College, “Networking,” (accessed Sep. 26, 2013)
  32. Dylan Matthews, “Going to College Is Worth It – Even if You Drop out,”, June 10, 2013
  33. College Board, “Average Published Undergraduate Charges by Sector, 2012-13,”, 2013
  34. Darrius Mind, “Best Day of My Life,”, May 4, 2009
  35. Meta Brown and Sydnee Caldwell, “Young Student Loan Borrowers Retreat from Housing and Auto Markets,”, Apr. 17, 2013
  36. Chris Denhart, “How the $1.2 Trillion College Debt Crisis Is Crippling Students, Parents and the Economy,”, Aug. 7, 2013
  37. US Congress Joint Economic Committee, “The Causes and Consequences of Increasing Student Debt,”, June 2013
  38. Blake Ellis, “Student Debt Delays Spending, Saving – and Marriage,”, May 9, 2013
  39. Robin Marantz Henig, “What Is It about 20-Somethings?,”, Aug, 18, 2010
  40. Andrew Sum, “The Nation’s Recent College Graduates Face Significant Labor Market Problems,”, Oct. 19, 2010
  41. Heidi Shierholz, Natalie Sabadish, and Nicholas Finio, “The Class of 2013: Young Graduates Still Face Dim Job Prospects,”, Apr. 10, 2013
  42. Jordan Weissmann, “44% of Young College Grads Are Underemployed (and That’s Good News),”, June 28, 2013
  43. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Fastest Growing Occupations, 2010 and Projected 2020,”, Jan. 2012
  44. Glen Stansberry, “12 Business Founders Who Succeeded without a College Degree,”, Oct. 8, 2010
  45. Mark Schneider, “Colleges Waste Millions on Students Who Drop Out,”, Aug. 19, 2010
  46. Harvard Graduate School of Education, “Pathways to Prosperity,”, Feb. 2011
  47. National Conference of State Legislatures, “Reconsider Funding for Colleges and Universities,”, Nov. 2010
  48. New America Foundation, “Federal Higher Education Programs – Overview,”, July 10, 2013
  49. State Higher Education Executive Officers, “State Higher Education Finance,”, 2012
  50. Mark Schneider and Lu (Michelle) Yin, “The High Cost of Low Graduation Rates: How Much Does Dropping Out of College Really Cost?,”, Aug. 2011
  51. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Student Loan Debt by Age Group,”, Mar. 29, 2013
  52. Tamar Lewin, “Child’s Education, but Parents’ Crushing Loans,”, Nov. 11, 2012
  53. Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, “Boiling Point? The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing,”, 2011
  54. Anthony P. Carnevale, Tamara Jayasundera, and Andrew R. Hanson, “Along the Way to the B.A.,”, Sep. 2012
  55. Felix W. Ortiz, III, “The Middle-Skill Issue,”, Sep. 25, 2013
  56. Craig Brandon, “With College, Only the Motivated Need Apply,”, Nov. 17, 2011
  57. NPR, “A Lack of Rigor Leaves Students ‘Adrift’ in College,”, Feb. 9, 2011
  58. Eric Gorski, “45% of Students Don’t Learn Much in College,”, Jan. 18, 2011
  59. Hart Research Associates, “It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,”, Apr. 10, 2013
  60. McKinsey & Company, “Voice of the Graduate,”, May 2013
  61. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, “Report: Private Student Loan Borrowers Face Roadblocks to Repayment,”, Oct. 16, 2012
  62. National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), “The Student Loan ‘Debt Bomb’: America’s Next Mortgage-Style Economic Crisis,”, Feb. 7, 2012
  63. William J. Bennett, “The Looming Crisis of Student Loan Debt,”, Dec. 6, 2012
  64. Joshua Zumbrun and Craig Torres, “Bankers Warn Fed of Farm, Student Loan Bubbles Echoing Subprime,”, May 7, 2013
  65. Walter Hamilton, “Student-Loan Delinquency Rate Hits Danger Zone, Report Says,”, Jan. 30, 2013
  66. Phil Oliff, Vincent Palacios, Ingrid Johnson, and Michael Leachman, “Recent Deep State Higher Education Cuts May Harm Students and the Economy for Years to Come,”, Mar. 19, 2013
  67. Phillip Elliott, “College Costs Keep Rising Faster Than Inflation,”, Aug. 13, 2013
  68. Rebekah Coleman, “Bachelor’s Degree: Generation Y’s High School Diploma,”, Mar. 18, 2013
  69. Daniel B. Smith, “The University Has No Clothes,”, May 1, 2011
  70. Steve Rhode, “4 out of 10 Actually Were Able to Discharge Student Loans in Bankruptcy—but Most Never Try,”, Jan. 7, 2013
  71. Joe Valenti and David A. Bergeron, “How Qualified Student Loans Could Protect Borrowers and Taxpayers,”, Aug. 20, 2013
  72. William Hare, “Ideological Indoctrination and Teacher Education,”, 2007
  73. Scott Jaschik, “Moving Further to the Left,”, Oct. 24, 2012
  74. David Horowitz, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, 2007
  75. John H. Pryor, Kevin Eagan, Laura Palucki Blake, Sylvia Hurtado, Jennifer Berden, and Matthew H. Case, “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2012,”, 2012
  76. University of Florida Counseling & Wellness Center, “Stress and College Students,” (accessed Sep. 4, 2013)
  77. Harmony Wheeler, “UCLA Study Explores Cause and Effect of College Stress,”, Feb. 16, 2011
  78. President & Fellows of Harvard College, “About Harvard College,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  79. College of William & Mary, “History & Traditions,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  80. Yale University, “History,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  81. Trustees of Princeton University, “Princeton’s History,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  82. Columbia University, “History,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  83. Brown University, “History,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  84. Trustees of Dartmouth College, “Dartmouth at a Glance,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  85. Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, “Rutgers History,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  86. University of Pennsylvania, “Penn’s Heritage,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  87. Harold Perkin, “History of Universities,” The History of Higher Education, Eds. Harold Wechsler, Lester F. Goodchild, and Linda Eisenmann, 2007
  88. Yale University, Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Yale University in New Haven, 1701-1910, Jan. 1, 1910
  89. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “MIT Highlights Timeline,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  90. Lester F. Goodchild, “History of Higher Education in the United States,” The History of Higher Education, Eds. Harold Wechsler, Lester F. Goodchild, and Linda Eisenmann, 2007
  91. Douglas Sloan, “Science, Society, and the Curriculum,” The History of Higher Education, Eds. Harold Wechsler, Lester F. Goodchild, and Linda Eisenmann, 2007
  92. Roger L. Geiger, “The Era of Multipurpose Colleges in American Higher Education, 1850-1890,” The History of Higher Education, Eds. Harold Wechsler, Lester F. Goodchild, and Linda Eisenmann, 2007
  93. National Science Foundation, “IPEDS Institutional Characteristics Survey Tuition Data,” (accessed Aug. 20, 2013)
  94. Martin A. Trow, “American Higher Education: Past, Present, and Future,” The History of Higher Education, Eds. Harold Wechsler, Lester F. Goodchild, and Linda Eisenmann, 2007
  95. Title IX, “History of Title IX,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  96. National Archives, “Affirmative Action: History and Rationale,” (accessed Aug. 20, 2013)
  97. National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts: Enrollment,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  98. National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts: Tuition Costs of Colleges and Universities,” (accessed Sep. 27, 2013)
  99. National Center for Education Statistics, “Digest of Education Statistics,”, June 1995
  100. Oberlin College and Conservatory, “History: Early History,” (accessed Sep. 30, 2013)
  101. Anthony Carnevale and Nicole Smith, “Sharp Decline in Underemployment for College Graduates,”, Nov. 2015
  102. National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts: Back to School Statistics,” (accessed Jan. 30, 2020)
  103. The Institute for College Access and Success, “Student Debt and the Class of 2014,”, Oct. 2015
  104. Anthony P. Carnevale, Tamara Jayasundera, and Artem Gulish, “America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots 2016,”, June 30, 2016
  105. Anthony P. Carnevale and Nicole Smith, “Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Proposals Could Create Millions of Jobs,” Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2017
  106. Kevin Eagan, et al., “The American Freshman: Fifty-Year Trends, 1966-2015,”, 2016
  107. Consumer Reports, “The Student Debt Crises: Lives on Hold,” Consumer Reports, June 28, 2016
  108. Josh Mitchell, “Student-Loan Defaults Rose by 1.1 Million in 2016,”, Mar. 14, 2017
  109. US Census Bureau, “Highest Educational Levels Reached by Adults in the U.S. since 1940,”, Mar. 30, 2017
  110. US Census Bureau, “Educational Attainment in the United States, 2016,”, Mar. 2017
  111. Sara Goldrick-Rab, Jed Richardson, and Anthony Hernandez, “Hungry and Homeless in College,”, Mar. 2017
  112. College Board, “Tuition and Fees and Room and Board over Time, 1976-77 to 2016-17, Selected Years,” (accessed Apr. 10, 2017)
  113. Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, “Real Median Household Income in the United States,”, Sep. 13, 2016
  114. Kirsten Gibson, “Parents Pull Back on Help Financing Their Children’s College Educations,”, July 23, 2013
  115. Sallie Mae, “How America Pays for College 2016,”, 2016
  116. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “The Employment Situation – December 2019,”, Jan. 10, 2020
  117. National Center for Education Statistics, “Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Rates,”, Apr. 2017
  118. National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts: Back to School Statistics,” (accessed June 6, 2016)
  119. The Institute for College Access and Success, “Student Debt and the Class of 2014,”, Oct. 2015
  120. Grace Bird, “Study: College Education Can Delay Dementia,”, Apr. 17, 2018
  121. National Association of Realtors, “Student Debt Delaying Millennial Homeownership by 7 Years,”, Sep. 18, 2017
  122. Timothy K. Bartik and Brad K. Hershbein, “Degrees of Poverty: The Relationship between Family Income Background and the Returns to Education,”, Mar. 2018
  123. Abigail Hess, “Here’s How Much the Average Student Loan Borrower Owes When They Graduate,”, Feb. 15, 2018
  124. National Center for Education Statistics, “Fast Facts: Back to School Statistics,” (accessed May 21, 2018)
  125. Board of Governors for the Federal Reserve System, “Consumer Credit Outstanding (Levels),”, May 7, 2018
  126. Erin Currier, “How Generation X Could Change the American Dream,”, Jan. 26, 2018
  127. Zack Friedman, “Student Loan Debt Statistices in 2019: A $1.5 Trillion Crisis,”, Feb. 25, 2019
  128. Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz, “Despite Rising Costs, College Is Still a Good Investment,”, June 5, 2019
  129. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates,”, Nov. 1, 2019


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