UO, Michigan and Ohio State presidents write on college's value

The U.S. continues to wrestle with questions about the value of a college degree

Social mobility, greater life expectancy and freedom are the underlying values that the presidents of three U.S. institution, including the UO’s Michael Schill, said are needed to measure the good of a college education.

Schill, also a UO professor of law, joined presidents Michael Drake of Ohio State University and Mark Schlissel of the University of Michigan to address the issue in an essay for The Conversation.

Schill argued that a key indicator would reflect the admission and success of first-generation students, such as was the case for him.

“I may be somewhat biased, but I believe that our generation will be judged by how well we enhance the opportunities for social mobility among our citizens,” Schill wrote.

Ohio State’s Drake pointed to “correlation between a college education and greater life expectancy,” noting that graduates live, on average, seven years longer than those who don’t attend college.

Michigan’s Schlissel said that a college degree enhances freedom.

“At its best, higher education gives us the freedom to make decisions based on our values, desires, human talents and willingness to work hard. We are free to choose our own path,” Schlissel wrote.

Read their essay “3 vital ways to measure how much a university education is worth.”

The Conversation article has been picked up widely by national media, including the Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, Raw Story and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Newspapers across Texas, including the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Midland Daily News, Beaumont Enterprise, Laredo Morning Times, also have published the piece.