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The number and variety of postsecondary credentials, providers and occupations are multiplying rapidly, finds a new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, but a lack of good information about college and careers "drives the higher education market toward mediocrity."

The stakes are high for students to make the right decisions, the center said. Yet many college graduates are showing buyer's remorse, with more than half saying they would choose a different major, go to a different college or pursue a different credential if given the chance.

“Higher education has become a $500 billion computer without an operating system,” Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown center and the report’s lead author, said in a written statement. “Learners and workers need a modern guidance system with clear and comprehensive consumer information that will help them make good college and career decisions.”

The report calls on states to do more with integrated education and work force data by developing publicly available tools in five areas:

  • Education projections, business expansion and work force quality;
  • Program alignment with labor market demand;
  • Curriculum alignment with work force requirements;
  • Counseling and career pathways;
  • Job placement and skills gap analysis.