College and University Systems Across the Nation Join Forces in Landmark Campaign on the Value of Earning a Degree
November 1, 2023
[NEW YORK, NY] — The National Association of System Heads (NASH) has united 11 public higher education systems from across the country in an unprecedented campaign aimed at reshaping the narrative surrounding higher education. The “College Is Worth It” campaign officially debuts on November 1, with the primary objective of engaging the American public in a conversation about the significance and advantages of obtaining a college degree. The campaign will feature digital ads displayed nationwide that provide indisputable facts and figures that underscore the lifelong benefits of a college education.
“A college education serves as the bedrock of personal and societal advancement,” said Brian McCall, Chair of the NASH Board of Directors and Chancellor of the Texas State University System. “Throughout my time at the Texas State University System, I’ve witnessed countless students embark on remarkable journeys, forging prosperous futures through the opportunities their degrees have unlocked. It’s incredible to see so many higher education systems come together for this campaign and emphasize the worthwhile investment college continues to be.”
This campaign directly addresses the critical challenge of countering negative perceptions of a college degree. A variety of factors, including increasing tuition costs, inflation, and the emergence of non-traditional career paths, have contributed to a misguided perception that a college degree may no longer be as essential for lifelong success as it once was. This shift has put the United States at a disadvantage globally in terms of an educated workforce and civic participation. Over the past decade, public investment in higher education has significantly declined across the country. Furthermore, the number of high school graduates enrolling in college has been on a steady decline since 2010, underscoring the necessity of this campaign.
“As a nation, we need to educate more people, and educate them better – and yet in recent years we’ve seen a disturbing trend that could have Americans taking a back seat on the global stage if we don’t change course,” said Nancy Zimpher, interim executive director of NASH. “Over my decades in higher education, I’ve seen and led many efforts to increase enrollment and expand access, but never before have public systems come together with a unified message like College Is Worth It. I’m so inspired that our members have taken on this clarion call to shift the narrative and share the inarguable value of a postsecondary degree.”
The campaign’s digital ads will be rolled out over the next few months and provide the public with data that demonstrates the high value of a college degree. For example, according to APLU, bachelor’s degree holders are half as likely to be unemployed as their peers with only a high school degree, and on average they accrue $1.2 million in additional earnings on average over a lifetime. Additionally, according to the NASH Systems Metrics Taskforce, those with a college degree are two times more likely to move out of poverty and into wealth compared to those without a degree.
“This campaign is truly systemness at work – NASH’s theory that our collective impact is greater than just the sum of our parts,” said David Belsky, chief communications officer of NASH and founder of public relations agency Good Rebellion. “When we asked systems what their biggest challenge was, their answer was clear: the narrative is broken. Together with their support we’ve launched this College Is Worth It campaign to take a new, grassroots approach to proving the value proposition of higher education.”
Participating systems include the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Montana University System, Nebraska State College System, University of Nebraska System, City University of New York System, State University of New York System, University of Tennessee System, and Texas State University System.
To learn more about the College Is Worth It campaign and see all the digital ads and data points, visit www.collegeisworthit.info. You can also follow the campaign on Instagram and TikTok at @CollegeIsWorthIt.info.
About the National Association of System Heads
Founded in 1979, the National Association of System Heads (NASH) represents public higher education systems in the United States. Member institutions work collaboratively to advance innovation and improvement in public systems of colleges and universities. To learn more about NASH and its national transformation agenda, the Power of Systems, visit www.nash.edu.