As colleges weigh whether to welcome students back to campus this fall, they do so under the burden of financial pressures on higher education that have been building for over a decade. Among these pressures is a question increasingly prominent in media: Given the rising cost of tuition, what is the return on investment of a college education? Since the last financial crisis, this question has often been used to set up a false choice between liberal arts education and career-oriented education in STEM or business. In this episode, we’ll hear why this based on a flawed understanding of “employability” in evaluating higher education, and learn why moving beyond the binary of liberal arts vs business helps students and even, democracy itself.
The Business 20/20 podcast is a series that explores the changing relationship between business and society from 1999 to today. Each episode unpacks a key event—from the Seattle WTO protests to the global financial crisis and beyond—to find insights for the future. Produced by the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program and hosted by Michelle Harven.
Follow the Business & Society Program on @AspenBizSociety and subscribe to the Business & Society Newsletter.
Matthew Tadashi Hora, Lynn Perry Wooten, Pierre Gentin
Writing and Production
Written by Keith Schumann with input from T.A. Frank, Miguel Padró, Felicia Davis, and the Business & Society Team.
Recorded by Ben Eyler and Amina Akhtar and edited by Jesse Krinsky.
The Business & Society team wishes to thank the audio technicians and everyone involved in the production of this episode, including:
- Phoebe Petrovic
- Megan Noel Organ
- Meg Murnane
- Michelle Stabile
- Lucy Huang
Music Samples Featured in this Episode
Chad Crouch – Algorithms (Excerpted form of the track; used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License)
Chad Crouch – Starlight (Excerpted form of the track; used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License)
Ketsa – Capable (Excerpted form of the track; used under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License)
Tobacco Road – Storyblocks Audio
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Feb 2, 2014
Facebook page of Senator Josh Hawley, July 29, 2019