Growing numbers of experts are challenging the assumption that a four-year degree is essential for real success.
Many economists and academics say more Americans should consider technical training or two-year schools, which have been embraced in Europe for decades.
The experts cite evidence such as increasing student debt, stagnant graduation rates and a struggling job market flooded with overqualified degree-holders.
Federal statistics show that just 36 percent of full-time students starting college in 2001 earned a four-year degree within that time. Even with two more years to finish, the rate increased only to 57 percent.
President Barack Obama wants to restore the country’s status as the world leader in the proportion of citizens with college degrees. The U.S. now ranks 10th among industrial nations.