Here’s what stands out from this data table from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV): The average income (five-year-rolling average) for students earning two-year occupational/technology degrees was $36,600 a year within 18 months of graduation — measurably more than $34,500 for those earning four-year degrees.
Occupational/technology degrees are generally obtainable through community colleges. Tuition is lower, which means students need smaller loans. And the degrees take only two years to earn, which means that grads get to generate two more years of income.
Arguably, grads with four-year degrees fare better in later years as they enjoy opportunities to climb the career ladder. It would be interesting to see that data. It would be even more interesting to compare career earnings prospects (occupational/technology degree grads get a two-year head start) adjusted for differences in the cost of college attendance.
Virginia, like other states, hews to the philosophy that “the more college grads, the better.” SCHEV has the explicit goal of making Virginia “the best educated state in the country,” to be achieved not by creating the economic conditions that lure the best and brightest from elsewhere but by digging deeper into the pool of academic talent in order to feed more students through the higher educational system.
But that philosophy runs smack into two hard realities: (1) Thousands of students are admitted to college aren’t academically prepared to do the work, and (2) two-year occupational/technology degrees pay somewhat more, at least in the early years. Vocational education needs to driven by market demand, not arbitrary political goals.
(Hat tip: John Butcher)There are currently no comments highlighted.