When it comes to dividing the pot of money devoted to higher education, at least 15 states offer some type of bonus or premium for certain high-demand degrees, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
What has incensed many educators is not so much the emphasis on work force development but the disdain for the humanities, particularly among Republicans. Several Republicans have portrayed a liberal arts education as an expendable, sometimes frivolous luxury that taxpayers should not be expected to pay for.
Democrats have, for the most part, avoided denouncing the humanities, but they have argued that education and training should be better aligned with the job market.
Dozens of states have already moved to performance-based goals that more closely tie a portion of their higher education funding to particular outcomes like degrees earned or courses completed.
Most of the top earners in the liberal arts end up matching only the bottom earners in science, technology, engineering and mathematics — known as the STEM fields — and some will earn less than high school graduates who have vocational skills, like welders and mechanics.
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