Higher education is in for an overhaul, the new president of Lourdes University told about 150 people at a Rotary Club of Toledo luncheon in the Park Inn ballroom on Monday.
But David Livingston, who assumed the Sylvania private school’s top job July 1, said everyone must recognize how economic freedom is tied to education before colleges and universities become as consolidated as the banking and medical industries have.
America has about 4,000 colleges and universities, evenly split between public and private institutions. An economic argument could be made to merge and consolidate more of them as the number of youths graduating from high school continues to fall because of lower birth rates. But society needs to fight that urge, he said.
“There are personalities to each of these institutions,” he said.
Citing research by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce, Mr. Livingston said irrefutable evidence shows that education helps a person’s odds of holding down a job. Things have changed since 1973, when 70 percent of the jobs — many in manufacturing — required only high school diplomas.
Now, people with bachelor’s degrees are nearly three times more likely to be employed than those who didn’t finish high school, the center’s data show.
About 30 percent of Americans had a bachelor’s degree in 2012, compared to 4 percent in 1940.
“There’s an argument to be made we need more education,” he said. “The bachelor’s degree is seen as the entry point to the middle class,” he said.
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