Is College Worth it? The Gates Foundation Chimes in

Is College Worth it? The Gates Foundation Chimes in on the Debate

Bill Gates is the richest man in the world who doesn’t have one thing that many do, a college degree. Gates has since always been one to advocate for higher education. In his 2015 blog entry, Gates wrote, “Although I dropped out of college and got lucky pursuing a career in software, getting a degree is a much surer path to success.” But at what cost? Many are now asking whether or not college is worth it and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is working on getting an answer.

Education isn’t anything new to the Gates Foundation. They have programs to help kids across the globe to get an education that allows them to enter the job market with some sort of credential versus none at all. But when it comes to college, things get a little tricky. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, president of the Gates Foundation, spoke on behalf of the foundation to explain more. Desmond-Hellmann says, “As the cost of a credential rises and student debt goes to record levels, people are actually asking a question I never thought I’d hear, ‘Is going to college a reliable path to economic opportunity?’ ” In addition to the student debt crisis scaring people away from college, is the idea of whether or not college helps you get a job.

All these questions are what started the foundation’s new higher education incentive. The organization has put together a committee of 30 people set out to gather data to evaluate the returns of education after high school. “Our foundation’s learned a lot in the last 10 years about getting more students to and through college,” Desmond-Hellmann said. “But, we still don’t know enough about the benefits that education beyond high school brings.” Certainly, having an answer would help recent high school grads decide if they should invest in higher education.

Gates had the chance to speak with Cheryl Hyman, the chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago on this very topic. The two discuss drop rates, and how colleges need to spend less time training people to get a degree and instead train them to get a job. Hyman is working to change all of that and more in hopes to motivate more people, especially those in lower-income families, to get a degree.

The Gates Foundation is taking a different approach to the data we’ve all seen before. Desmond-Hellmann explains, “We want to bring together data on outcomes like employment, earnings and economic mobility, and secondly, we want to show how those data play out across race and income and gender, which has not been done before in a comprehensive way.” It will be interesting to see what they come up with and how this new information impacts college applications.

While we wait to see whether or not college is worth it, one thing is still for sure; learning something new every day is crucial to being successful. That’s why we’ve created our speed reading courses that can help you learn twice as much information in a day. Contact us today for more information.

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