The Value of a Degree: Part 2

In my last message to you, we discussed the economic and financial value of a degree for the individual. Our graduates, though, are not the only ones who benefit from a degree at Middle Georgia State University – their families and communities do as well.

As Georgia’s most affordable state university, our graduates can experience increased opportunities for career flexibility and upward mobility – unburdened by significant student loan debt. In terms of personal health, civic engagement, and prospects for home ownership and work-life balance, an MGA degree is a direct resource and influence in strengthening the holistic experience of the graduate. This local experience reflects the national data, which is compelling. Health outcomes, voting participation rates, career satisfaction and home ownership are all appreciably stronger for college graduates than non-graduates. At MGA we are delivering outcomes that strengthen our regional communities in these economic and other ways, when our graduates reside and work there.  

Even so, we should not expect students and their families just to take our word that MGA is indeed a great value in higher education and worthy of their investment of time and financial resources. As we build our next strategic plan, I shall ask our campus to develop measures and present data that assess our performance – a Value Index on our students' degree outcomes.

This task of defining the value of higher education is not new, but we must better present the returns on earning a degree to our students, and to the public. And, of course, in doing this, we must also make the point that college life is also about being in a community, meeting others, learning different viewpoints, and generally developing as a human person. That priceless value of "campus presence" must not be lost as we present outcomes and supporting data for what we offer to students through degree attainment.

Middle Georgia State University commits to demonstrating the power and truth in our conviction of the value of our degrees. We know that in helping our students "find their greatness" through these degrees, they are indeed establishing the conditions for future success and fulfillment.

Later this month, we can think more about this issue of value when Mr. Chris Clark, CEO of the Georgia Chamber, delivers a public address to our faculty, students, and staff on the future economic opportunities for graduates, and how we can work together to "win the war on talent". That graphic language powerfully illustrates what is at stake in higher education's case for the value of a degree. I encourage you to attend Mr. Clark's lunchtime lecture on Thursday 20th October on our Macon Campus in the SOAL Theatre.

Thank you for all you do to demonstrate the value of a degree.

Be well,