This Atlantic article by Derek Thompson, which cites research from Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, doesn't uncover any new findings, but it does at least fulfill Shakespeare's life(death?)long dream of being mentioned in an article directly beneath a bar graph. 

While it remains true that degrees in the Humanities are hardly lucrative, Thompson does raise a good point as to the lack of information incoming students are given in regards to degree choice/post-graduate life, offering the following:

Better data wouldn't cure education inflation, but it would be a good start. The government should require every college to post a standard fact sheet about its degrees, along the lines of Harvard University education economist Bridget Terry Long's paper. The fact sheet could include total cost of attendance (median and average), loan default rate by degree, six-year graduation rate, employment rate and median salary twelve months after graduation, and alumni satisfaction rate.

Choosing a school will never be as easy as choosing a digital camera. And it shouldn't be. But if we force schools to make their specs as transparent as a Best Buy product, students might make better decisions about where to go, how long to stay, and what to study. The purpose of all this schooling, after all, is not strictly to maximize net graduate earnings, but to give each student the sort of education that maximizes her own definition of success and achievement. As one great business and career guru once put it, "Gold that's put to use more gold begets."

Wait, nevermind. That was Shakespeare.


Originally Published: May 26th, 2011