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Let’s Rethink How Many Jobs Need A College Degree

Here’s a question families and politicians should be asking: if college is such a great financial investment – as the folks in the faculty lounge keep telling us – then why is there $1.75 trillion of unpaid student loans?

We DO think there is a high value to a liberal arts education, but whether it’s worth $200,000 is an open question.

The good news is many private employers are rethinking their requirement for a diploma in filling job vacancies.

Now GOP Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is urging the public sector to join that movement. He is officially dropping the four-year college degree requirement for thousands of state jobs.

His goal is to recruit qualified workers who do not hold college degrees by giving weight to relevant work experience, training and community college credits: “It’s important we find new ways to build a steady pipeline of talented, well-trained, skilled workers for the jobs of the future.”

The program is called STARS, short for “skilled through alternative routes.”

Two-thirds of U.S. workers lack a bachelor’s degree. Requiring higher education for a doctor or engineer makes sense. But a generic college degree isn’t needed for jobs ranking from office manager to data-center technician.

Hogan’s idea will challenge students and parents to reevaluate whether a college degree that keeps them out of the job market for four years is necessary. This reevaluation may have the collateral benefit of forcing colleges to cut their outrageous tuition demands.

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