Don’t Stop Believin’: Committee Report Confirms College is Still Well Worth the Cost

WASHINGTON – A report released this morning by the Committee on Education and Labor reveals that a college degree is still well worth the cost. The report, titled “Don’t Stop Believin’ (in the value of a college degree)” collects the mountain of evidence showing that – despite the recent skepticism regarding the value of a college – researchers have consistently found that the benefits of a college degree significantly outweigh the costs.

“This report lays out the overwhelming evidence that a college degree is still well worth the cost,” said Chairman Bobby Scott. “As the Committee begins to debate solutions for the vast challenges in higher education, the findings in this report must guide our approach. Rather than diminishing the value of a college degree, we should recognize that all students should have access to the substantial financial and social benefits that come with a quality higher education.”

The key takeaways of the report are:

  • College degrees yield a large return for individuals: bachelor’s and associate’s degree holders earn up to $1 million and $400,000 more than high school graduates over their lives, respectively.
  • College is a worthy investment for state governments: for every $1 states invest in higher education, they receive up to $4.50 back in increased tax revenue and lower reliance on government assistance.
  • College graduates play a key role in strengthening the American economy. Two out of three jobs are filled by individuals who have at least some college education.
  • However, barriers continue to prevent many students of color and low-income students from accessing and obtaining college degrees.
  • The next Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization should expand access, improve affordability, and promote completion for all students.

Starting next week, the Committee will hold five bipartisan hearings on higher education, marking the formal start of an effort the reauthorize the Higher Education Act in the 116th Congress. These hearings reflect the Committee’s shared intention to host a thoughtful and open exchange of ideas for improving America’s higher education system.

The five hearings will be:

  1. The Cost of College: Student Centered Reforms to Bring Higher Education Within Reach
  2. Strengthening Accountability in Higher Education to Better Serve Students and Taxpayers
  3. The Cost of Non-Completion: Improving Student Outcomes in Higher Education
  4. Engines of Economic Mobility: The Critical Role of Community Colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Minority-Serving Institutions in Preparing Students for Success
  5. Innovation to Improve Equity: Exploring High-Quality Pathways to a College Degree

To read the full report, please click here.


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