Focus Group Findings
We described employment guarantees to all participants as programs that guarantee that students will have a job within a certain period of time after graduating. If graduates don’t find a job within that time frame, they can be compensated in one of a few different ways. Some programs offer full or partial refunds of the student’s tuition, while others allow students to continue taking coursework for free, and others help students make any loan payments that come due.
Participants in Groups 2 and 3 (recent students and young adults without any posthigh school education) also received an example of the job guarantee once offered by the online education platform Udacity, which specializes in offering online computer-coding courses. In this example, students who wanted a guarantee that they would find a job within six months of graduation (or else get their full tuition costs back) were required to pay 150% of the cost of the program ($1,200 versus $800). We asked all participants whether a guarantee program like this would have interested them when they were making decisions about continuing their education. Participants with any level of posthigh school education were asked if they would have been encouraged to enroll in a different institution from the one(s) they had attended if that institution had offered such a guarantee.
In general, participants reacted positively toward job guarantees. Many participants in each group indicated that such a guarantee would have been interesting to them, had one been available when they were making their posthigh school educational decisions. Some participants in each group thought that a job guarantee would definitely have encouraged them to make different decisions about their education: participants reported that they would have gone to college full-time instead of part-time, decided earlier to continue their education, or enrolled in a different institution.
Some participants thought that a job guarantee would provide a sense of relief from some of the anxiety that pursuing higher education can create, motivate them to work harder, or pursue higher levels of education. Some current and recent students expressed interest in the idea of job guarantees but had concerns about the pay and other potential requirements. Some participants looked beyond their specific circumstances and expressed the belief that if job guarantees were more widely available, they would encourage more people to continue their education and work hard in school.
The college will reimburse part or all of the student loan payments for graduates whose annual income does not meet that minimum threshold, depending on their exact income
Notably, some Hilton Head Island cash advance payday loan current students felt very confident in their own abilities to find employment after graduation and were not interested in job guarantees. No participants in Groups 2 or 3 expressed this feeling. Some recent students expressed skepticism about the concept of job guarantees. Some recent students thought that the premium in the Udacity example was too high.
We described these as programs that guarantee that a student will earn a certain level of income after graduation. The program might even forgive the student’s debt entirely if his or her income stays low for a long time.
We offered participants in Groups 2 and 3 the specific example of the guarantee that was offered by Adrian College in Michigan. In this program, students are guaranteed that they will earn $37,000 or more after graduation. We asked all participants whether a guarantee program like this would have interested them when they were making decisions about continuing their education. Participants with any level of posthigh school education were asked if they would have been encouraged to enroll in a different institution from the one(s) they had attended if that institution had offered such a guarantee.