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Survey of Graduates on Value of Credentials

November 18, 2019
 
 

Graduates of nondegree vocational programs are more likely to say their postsecondary credentials were worth the cost and made them an attractive job candidate than were graduates of terminal bachelor's degree programs.

That finding came from a nationally representative survey of 340,000 American adults, which was conducted by Gallup and the Strada Education Network as part of a wide-ranging, three-year consumer survey.

Among respondents who are graduates of nondegree vocational programs, such as certificate or nondegree training programs offered by two-year colleges, 70 percent agreed that their education was worth the cost, compared to 62 percent of graduates of terminal bachelor's degree programs. That gap widened among respondents who agreed strongly: 57 percent of vocational and technical graduates compared to 40 percent of terminal bachelor's degree holders.

Likewise, the survey found that graduates of nondegree vocational and technical programs, as well as graduate degree programs, were most likely to say their postsecondary educations made them attractive job candidates.

The survey also analyzed responses based on fields of study. It found that majors more directly associated with specific jobs received higher self-reported value ratings. For example, graduates who received credentials in health-care fields were more likely to strongly agree that their education was worth the cost (52 percent) and made them an attractive job candidate (72 percent), compared to graduates in liberal arts fields, where 34 percent strongly agreed that their degree was worth the cost and 36 percent strongly agreed it would benefit their careers (see below).

"Consumers are telling us, loud and clear, that they want educational programs to connect directly with their career paths. It’s time that we listen," Carol D’Amico, executive vice president of national engagement and mission at Strada, said in a written statement.

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