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Why a college education is not a waste of time

By University of Utah President Taylor Randall and Utah State University President Elizabeth R. Cantwell:

A college education remains one of the single most important indicators of a happy, healthy and economically stable society. Yet despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, a national narrative exists that higher education does not provide a sufficient return on investment. As leaders of two Utah universities, we share in the responsibility to communicate to prospective students, families, elected leaders and Utah’s communities that, overall, higher education yields significant benefits for individuals and society.

Recently, we had the opportunity to speak about the value of higher education to a packed room at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute. We were joined by presidents Brad Mortensen of Weber State University and Darin Brush of Davis Technical College. Collectively, we all agree that Utah’s colleges and universities play a pivotal role in the state’s future. We are confident in our capacity to educate Utah’s existing and future workforce, make economic contributions to the communities we serve and foster innovation that enhances the lives of everyday Utah residents.

We also understand that higher education is not a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s the strength of Utah’s System of Higher Education, or USHE — our different institutions provide education, technical skills and training for a tremendous variety of career paths. During the Gardner Policy Institute panel, Davis Tech’s President Brush noted the importance of teaching skills that are in demand and are emerging as well as those that are community centered.

This idea made us think about the questions students and families ask before pursuing higher education. As experts in higher education, we can help support Utahns about choosing the right option and address some of today’s common concerns.

Read the rest of the article in Deseret News.