Dec 2018

Horn & Counselman: Why States Should Break the College-Degree Stranglehold and Make Jobs Available to All Qualified Applicants

By Michael B. Horn and Gunnar Counselman

As a new wave of governors prepare to take office on the heels of the election, one of their concerns will undoubtedly be the high price of higher education.

Although there are many suggestions for what policymakers should do about the high cost of college — from creating shaming lists that expose colleges that are doing a poor job of educating students along any number of dimensions, from completion to return on investment, to accountability measures, and from reducing government subsidies to making college free — governors have another tool in their kit that has not been used, sits entirely outside higher education policy, and wouldn’t cost them a dime.

State governments should stop making a degree a prerequisite for state job openings wherever they can. Doing so would support the growing market for affordable college alternatives by giving them a clear opportunity to demonstrate their value.


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