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Blomquist, Glenn; Coomes, Paul; Jepsen, Christopher; Koford, Brandon; Troske, Kenneth
Estimating the Social Value of Higher Education: Willingness to Pay for Community and Technical Colleges
Institute for the Study of Labor
Uses a new methodology to put a dollar value of the social benefits of higher education. The survey estimated value of an expansion in the Kentucky Community and Technical College is calculated. The dollar value of the private benefits that can be expected from such an expansion is then calculated and subtracted from the total.
Higher education accrues both private economic and private social benefits to participants as well as public economic and public social benefits to society. Putting a dollar value of the private economic benefits is common- college graduates have higher incomes and make more money than high school graduates. Putting a value on the public benefits as a whole or the social benefits of either type is more difficult. This study asked how much people would be willing to pay for an expanded community college and technical college system, compared that to the expected private benefit from the expansion, and suggests the social value exceeds the private value by 50 percent. Replicating this project in another setting is a PhD or DPA project waiting to happen. -MS
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