Values of Higher Education/Financial Challenges for Colleges

The economic value of higher education for students is a well-paying job, employment opportunities, increased lifetime earnings, and a better life. People who have completed higher education certificates have higher chances of securing employment than those who have not (Williams & Reppond, 2020). While higher education is definitely worth it, its benefits are not equally beneficial to all students. Higher education has been linked to economic mobility, where the more education a student has, the more they are likely to gain economic stability (Williams & Reppond, 2020). However, this is not the case with all students. There is a gap between the financial returns of black, indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and white students. The disparity is enormous, not because the underrepresented students are not learned, but because of racial inequity.


Based on the Bill and Melinda report, higher education drives economic mobility, but the race is also a significant factor (Gates Foundation attempts to redefine ‘value’ in higher education, 2021). Students from underrepresented races such as black, Latin, and AAPI economic mobility is lower than white students, who do not face racial discrimination. The primary point is that the underrepresented students face the same discrimination even in the employment world. For example, despite having a degree certificate in a certain field, they might not get an opportunity because of their color. The report shows that a black student with a bachelor’s degree has low economic mobility than a white high school dropout. This indicates that the economic value of higher education is higher only on the represented students by race.

Besides, economic value is low for students who come from poor backgrounds. The difference comes in based on the colleges they attend. For example, a low-class college will offer low-quality education. When a student graduates and steps into the job market, their certificates are downgraded, which means they cannot earn despite their college certificates. In a nutshell, the economic value of higher education for students depends on their race and background.

Financial Status of Colleges and Universities

Finances are a crucial factor for a college or university institution to survive. There are mixed reactions on whether colleges and universities are in financial trouble. Most analysts base their views on the after-effects of the covid-19 pandemic, where most higher education institutions were forced to direct much of their funds to contain the virus. Most of them directed the funds into health, safety, and invested in learning technology to facilitate online learning. Due to this, most of the articles published in 2020 speculated that the institutions had depleted their funds and were in a severe financial crisis (Butrymowicz, 2020).

free essay typer



However, this is not the current state of the institutions. Based on a 2021 survey of college and university business officers named Inside Higher Eds, the financial status of most colleges and universities is stable. Two-thirds of the respondents said that the financial situation has improved since 2019, which is likely to get stronger over the next decade (Inside Higher Ed, 2021). Explicitly, it is expected that as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, most of the institutions could be in a financial crisis.

A year later, after the covid-19 chipped in, higher learning institutions have received federal funds to boost their budgets. Therefore, it has been easy for them to cater to their institution’s needs, making their current financial status stable. Besides, the notion that covid-19 could have landed the institutions in a financial crisis could be wrong because students continued to study online, meaning they still paid their tuition fees, which might have compensated for safety, health, and technology expenses. Hence, currently, colleges and universities are not in financial trouble.


Butrymowicz, S. (2020, August 4). A crisis is looming for U.S. colleges — and not just because of the pandemic. NBC News.

Gates Foundation attempts to redefine ‘value’ in higher education. (2021). Inside Higher Ed.

Inside Higher Ed. (2021). College business officers surprisingly upbeat about their finances. Williams, W., & Reppond, H. (2020). More Than Just Hard Work: Educational Policies to Facilitate Economic Mobility. Policy Insights From The Behavioral And Brain Sciences, 7(2), 16