The U. S. College Graduate

By F. Lawrence Babcock | Go to book overview

Preface

ANYONE who cares to may easily learn from authoritative sources that there are some 2,700,000 living college graduates in the U. S.--a special group of people amounting to about two per cent of the population. That is a fact unique to this time and to this country. And it is a dynamic rather than a static fact, because the percentage of people with a higher education in this country has steadily increased and gives every mathematical indication of going higher and higher during the decades to come.

With these elementary findings, however, the researcher is likely to come to a dead end of accurate information about the Graduate Bloc. When the student finishes at college he seems to disappear into a kind of statistical anonymity and to lose identity as a member of an important population group. There may be books about him. There are certainly plenty of suppositions, such as the one that he is a person vaguely distinguished from his fellows by the intangibles of culture acquired at college. But there is no sound documentation for the popular assumption that education is the hope of democracy. There is no sure proof of the thesis that through higher learning a person is better fitted for the business of living and for a role of individual. responsibility in the workings of American society.

The management of TIME INC. does believe that education is the hope of democracy. And it believes that at this time, when two antithetical philosophies of government are competing for the control of civilization, the existence of a group of 2,700,000 college graduates is one of the most important factors in the preservation of the American way of life. This study was undertaken, therefore, to test these assumptions for the first time by newly determined dependable data.

But the study also had a purely utilitarian purpose: to provide a control group with which to compare a similar study of TIME'S own subscribers; and to gain knowledge of the market from which a large proportion of future subscribers must come.

As often happens, however, the control group soon stole the stage. Whereas the facts on TIME subscribers were of interest chiefly to TIME'S editors and circulation manager and those few advertising men who

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