Monday, April 6, 2015

What is Oregon’s definition of a college education?

Statesman Journal
April 6th, 2015

I am delighted that Oregon’s Legislature is discussing higher education via the many bills that have been introduced.
There is urgency as well. College education is rapidly becoming a must-have for the young to be economically successful, though I am personally frustrated with the marginalization of vocational education. While a ninth-grade level education would have been good enough a century ago (hence, the tradition of celebrating high school graduation as an achievement in life), the worry now is that a person without a college degree might not even get an interview for an entry-level job.
Further, many students earn college credits from community colleges, for-profit institutions or colleges in other states, and we want to help them with putting all those credits to use toward a degree and not waste that investment. All these matter, especially when a typical college graduate exits the system with more than $20,000 in debt.
I understand, therefore, the legislators’ interest in making higher education more efficient. The bills being considered include accelerated college credits programs that begin even from the high school years, to making transferring credits across institutions easier, to funding that will be tied to outcomes.

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