Economist and scholar Beth Akers seeks to inform aspiring students about how to make strategic decisions about their higher education. Speaking on topics like how to use data to shop for college or non-college alternatives, how to utilize the student loan system to your advantage, and more, Beth cuts through the romanticism we often attach to college decision making and teaches listeners how to make decisions that are grounded in data and fact.
The History of College Earnings Data
Guest host Jason Delisle speaks with Amy Laitinen, director for higher education with the Education Policy program at New America. In this episode, they discuss college earnings metrics: though knowing how much a student who pursues a particular major at a particular university seems like obvious information, in fact, that data has only recently become available. Amy discusses the history of this data, its potential, and its limitations.
Measuring College Outcomes: Limits and Potential
Beth speaks with Kristin Blagg, a senior research associate in the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute who focuses on educational funding and finance policy. In this episode, they discuss how data can be used to measure college outcomes and influence decisions about where to go to college, and how geography impacts student choice.
Measuring college quality
Beth speaks with Mike Itzkowitz, the founder and president of the HEA group and a senior fellow at Third Way, a national think tank that champions modern center-left ideas. In this episode, they discuss the college scorecard, which is a tool for publishing college outcomes data, and the massive leaps forward we’ve seen in transparency in higher education in the last decade.
Does college teach us to be unhappy?
Beth speaks with Ben and Jenna Storey, visiting fellows in Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies at the American Enterprise Institute and professors of politics and international affairs at Furman University. They are the authors of "Why We Are Restless," which discusses how the pursuit of happiness can wind up making us less happy. In this episode, they discuss whether college is really fulfilling its purpose and helping students find direction.
Federal funding for higher education: what’s happened and what’s coming, post-reconciliation?
Beth speaks with Barmak Nassirian, Vice President for Higher Education Policy at Veterans Education Success, about the rise of higher education finance as a political phenomenon. They discuss the problems that lead to its prominence, and what we can expect to happen next.
What’s the deal with Public Service Loan Forgiveness?
Beth is joined by Justin Draeger, the president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), to discuss the fraught Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program: what it is, why it exists, how it's working, and what should be done about it.
Great advice for students and parents!
First, Beth Akers is a powerhouse. Getting to listen to her each week and learn from her expertise is a pleasure! Second, her and her guests do a great job of breaking down the return on investment of a college degree and how to make data-driven decisions about education in a way that is useful to parents and families navigating the higher ed system. A thriving system of higher education is crucial for social mobility and so it’s important we as a nation undertake improving it with students and families and the goal to make college education achievable in mind - Beth’s work on that front is a huge step in the right direction. Highly recommend giving it a listen!
Great advice for parents and students
This podcast really takes a practical approach to picking a college—none of that “pick what feels like home stuff (even if it has a giant price tag)” all the college brochures are selling, but practical, data driven advice for making decisions to achieve a college education.
Beth is a Measured, Conversational Guiding Light
This is a fantastic podcast for students, parents, and anyone else looking for practical advice about how to make wise financial decisions when it comes to college. Beth uses data-driven analysis to discuss how to ensure the returns on investing in a college degree are worth the cost. She is also an engaging, easy-to-understand conversationalist. This podcast is both practically helpful and a delight to listen to.