Every year millions of Americans receive an asset that, based on past performance, promises to nearly double their lifetime incomes: a bachelor’s degree. Earning one is an achievement to be proud of. For the vast majority of young adults, however, this prize is increasingly out of reach.
One answer is to make college more affordable — by lowering tuition, increasing financial aid for poor students, and reducing the time needed to graduate. Such reforms deserve support. But a different answer is no less worthy of attention. Policy-makers, educators and employers should focus on providing viable alternatives to a traditional college education.