One in five students lose money by going to university, IFS finds

“One in five students would be financially better off if they skipped higher education, according to groundbreaking research that compares the lifetime earnings of graduates and non-graduates. Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found while 80% of former students gained financially from attending university, about 20% earned less than those with similar school results who did not attend, highlighting how some subjects, such as creative arts, offer negative financial returns.”

Read moreOne in five students lose money by going to university, IFS finds

How the skills gap is changing the degree path

“Pressed to respond to students’ concerns about the rising cost of higher education and their sometimes-foggy understanding of how their learning translates into jobs, some colleges are reshaping the degree pathway.

Their motivation for doing so is not only internal. Nontraditional education providers are proving to be stiff competition. Bootcamps prepare information technology and web-development workers in months, not years. And multinational firms now produce their own certificates that promise to be gateways to meaningful entry-level work.”

Read moreHow the skills gap is changing the degree path


As you likely know by now, Alternatives to College is a start-up. We provide individuals with information about tens of thousands of college alternative programs nationwide, including descriptions and direct access to thousands of providers of certifications, apprenticeships, career and technical training, and other sources of non-traditional higher education. Our mission is direct: help close … Read more

US Apprenticeship Programs Get $100 Million Boost

“The U.S. Department of Labor announced February 18 that it would award $100 million in grants to 28 public-private apprenticeship programs throughout the country. The “Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap” program targets funding apprenticeships in the fields of IT, healthcare, and “advanced manufacturing.” Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia made the announcement at a trip to North Carolina State University, which will receive just under $6 million from the program. Other programs will reportedly receive amounts between $6 million and $500,000, although the lowest granted award listed by the Department of Labor at press time was $972,000. The money will come from fees collected from H-1B visa applicants.. Notable recipients include the AFL-CIO, Argentum, the Electrical Training Alliance, community colleges and universities around the country.”

Read moreUS Apprenticeship Programs Get $100 Million Boost

‘It’s been a really enriching experience’: why ambitious young people are choosing apprenticeships

Samuel Okusaga, 20, wanted to make a good impression on his first day as an apprentice at education and publishing company Pearson PLC, so he wore a three-piece suit. “I was the most overdressed person in the office,” he says. But it wasn’t long before Okusaga got settled in and started making waves (and more appropriate fashion choices). Soon enough, he was helping to organize events and put together marketing materials. He even asked the chief executive of the company personally to be his mentor. “He agreed and I now have meetings with him three times a year,” he says. “It’s been a really enriching experience”.”

Read more‘It’s been a really enriching experience’: why ambitious young people are choosing apprenticeships

‘Look beyond’ to an apprenticeship opportunity

‘When I did my IT systems and networking apprenticeship, people didn’t believe in the credibility of apprenticeships. When you say you’re going to university, no one questions it. It’s an investment – there’s an ROI. Regardless of the cost, people believe in the system. Eight years ago, people didn’t believe in the apprenticeship system because it just didn’t have the profile it does today.

Read more‘Look beyond’ to an apprenticeship opportunity

Bootcamps won’t make you a coder: Here’s what will

“Changing careers isn’t easy. I have a lot of respect for people who can learn a completely new discipline later in life and become a professional in that field. When I tried to become a professional programmer, I had several advantages going in. It still wasn’t enough. Programming isn’t a least-resistance path to a more secure, better-paying, work-life balanced job. It’s a difficult occupation that not everyone is well suited for. If it were easy, everyone could do it—and then it wouldn’t be as valuable.”

Read moreBootcamps won’t make you a coder: Here’s what will

Alternatives to freshman year in college

“A growing trend among students is to look at spending the first year after high school in an untraditional way. After competing for top grades, taking AP classes, and endless studying for SATs and ACTs in high school, some students feel they can benefit from a little self-discovery before heading off to the traditional classroom setting. While more common in Europe, many students in the U.S. are finding the idea of a gap year intriguing. Taking a gap year makes sense to students who want to spend more time discovering career options and perhaps volunteering or working as an apprentice before committing to a college program. There are organizations that place students around the globe in different gap year opportunities but there are also many low or no-cost, service-oriented programs that offer room and board in exchange for volunteering in schools, agricultural cooperatives or community based organizations”

Read moreAlternatives to freshman year in college

Blue-Collar Workers Are In The Driver’s Seat

“There was a time when people who worked in a trade were revered. If you were a carpenter or if you could work with metal or build a house or fix somebody’s plumbing, you were held in high esteem. You were also paid very well. I grew up around a lot of talented tradespeople in my small hometown. Sometimes what they did looked like magic. They never seemed intimidated by a broken down car or a heating unit on the fritz. They just went to work and fixed it and they didn’t quit until it was running right.  “

Read moreBlue-Collar Workers Are In The Driver’s Seat

Epic Charter School grads less likely to enroll in college

“Like many teenagers, Maggie Waldon caught a sort of senioritis halfway through a traditional high school. With two years left, she enrolled in Epic Charter Schools, the Oklahoma City-based online public school that is now one of the largest virtual schools in the country. At Epic, Waldon said she easily raised her grades from C’s and F’s to A’s and B’s. She said she did so with little instruction. “There were days I asked my teacher for help. But mostly, I just figured it out,” Waldon said.”

Read moreEpic Charter School grads less likely to enroll in college