Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

Andrew Schroeder

Rights Information

2023 Zach H Fogel


College in America is way too expensive, and some people have begun to make the argument that we should move on to another form of higher education in our society. The strongest argument for this involves using credential programs as a primary method of higher education instead of four year universities.

I've written my senior thesis about the benefits of our four year residential higher education system. I categorized these benefits into "individual flourishing and self discovery" and "cultivation of an informed and active democracy". The first of these categories looks at all the ways higher education can benefit the individual. This is the most immediate and most measurable factor we can consider when deciding the efficacy of different forms of higher education. The second category of benefits is made to analyze how our society as a whole benefits from certain forms of higher education. This allows us to decide, at the theoretical level, what we want to achieve by having a system of higher education.

Within these two categories, I further divided the benefits into five subcategories, including "concrete knowledge", "critical thinking", "community", "career path exposure", and "cultural exposure". For each of these subcategories, I described how the four year residential experience provides them at a higher level than credential programs. Because of this, I argued that we should not move away from this system of education as a society. Instead, we should focus our efforts on making it more affordable so that everyone can participate in the system.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.