Readers of this blog are accustomed to my making the case for increased access to higher education – including support for private sector schools. Private sector schools disproportionately provide access for adults who come from at-risk backgrounds characterized by working class families and non-white families. Persons from these backgrounds typically depend more heavily on government-backed social services and are more likely to be incarcerated at taxpayers’ expense.
The College Board’s Education Pays 2010 report, underlines why this blog has taken the position it has on the need for increased access to higher. Of particular significance were the College Board’s findings in support of the benefits to taxpayers and society of access to colleges and universities. Said the report, “Federal, state, and local governments enjoy increased tax revenues from college graduates and spend less on income support programs for them, providing a direct financial return from investments in postsecondary education.” The report estimated that the lifetime savings from tax revenue expended for a high school graduate versus a college graduate from $32,600 to $108,700. And this number does not include the government’s gain that comes from tax revenues paid by a person who qualifies for a higher paying job as a result of a college education.
The College Board’s report makes the case for increased government support of higher education – in Pell Grants and student loans. Too often, we focus only on the costs of educating a student, including the defaults on loans by some, when we should focus as well on the substantial societal benefits that we derive from providing increased access to a college education – whether through traditional paths or through for-profit colleges and universities.