Many of the debates surrounding higher education in the United States today result from tensions between expectations for colleges to provide a traditional university education with expectations for colleges to prepare students for the job market. In other words, colleges and universities are caught between the need to provide what is truly higher education with the need to provide vocational training.
At one time the difference between a university education and a vocational education was clear-cut and specific, but the costs of colleges are rising, along with student indebtedness, and the job market has been very slow for a number of years now, so it’s reasonable for students to be concerned about employability after college.
It’s also reasonable to be concerned because a college degree has long been sold to students as a pathway to a better life. That sales pitch is generally valid — all studies of average incomes…
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