How the Value of Educational Credentials Is and Isn’t Changing

The first year after the Great Recession, 2010, marked the historical peak of college and university enrollment in the United States. In the decade since, a popular narrative has emerged that the value of a college degree is rapidly declining. As a new wave of well-capitalized educational technology companies arrived on the scene — including massive open online courses (MOOCs) — it became popular to prognosticate about the disruption of American higher education. Badges earned online would challenge and replace traditional diplomas. Renowned business theorist Clayton Christensen forecasted that half of all colleges may be in bankruptcy within 15 years. Others said the degree was “doomed.”

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