Fortunately, someone has decided to try to figure out what people get out of college, in both tangible and intangible ways. The Gallup polling organization and Purdue University have unveiled a project to survey college grads to find out how they’re doing. Gallup Chairman Jim Clifton and Purdue President Mitch Daniels write in The Wall Street Journal that the survey will ask college graduates questions like: “Are you employed? How much do you earn?” It will also measure the qualities that employers truly value such as a person’s workplace engagement. And it will inquire about community involvement, personal relationships and physical well-being. Purdue will commission a separate survey of its alumni to see how they are doing and how they compare with graduates of other colleges. The first results, based on 30,000 people, should be out in the spring.
This knowledge can only help youngsters and their parents who are making decisions of huge importance for their careers. It also promises to be a spur to schools to learn how their graduates are doing and what professors and administrators can do to improve their outcomes. But more than money and career are relevant. The survey is designed to tell colleges whether they are helping their students achieve the worthwhile, rewarding lives they seek.
Employers are bound to welcome the project. But no one stands to gain more than colleges and those who attend them.
Consumers must demand greater credit card security
Unfortunately, many haven’t. Sophisticated fraud prevention technology is expensive, and retailers, banks and credit card companies all want someone else to pay for it. The Nilson Report, which tracks these things, says financial fraud reached a record $11.2 billion last year. That’s a staggering figure to the average person but only amounts to about 5.2 cents for every $100 transaction. Companies often chalk up this loss as a cost of doing business or pass along the expense to consumers.
As a customer, you should find this a maddening and unacceptable calculation. If a breach causes you to be a victim of identity theft, you can be sure that your retailer, bank or credit rating agency will not be of much help. You'll be on your own to straighten out your financial life.
In Europe, credit cards store encrypted information digitally on embedded computer chips, which generate a unique code every time the card is swiped. Card fraud has dropped in Europe but continues to rise in the United States. That’s because the magnetic stripe on our credit and debit cards is a decades-old technology easy to copy.
Target is telling customers that they won’t be responsible for fraudulent, unauthorized charges and is discounting purchases to placate consumers. JPMorgan Chase has limited the amount of cash withdrawals available to Target customers as a precaution. On the legal front, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is demanding a federal probe into the breach, at least four state attorneys general have sought answers from Target, and class-action lawsuits from consumers are underway.
Acting after the fact is not enough. We live in a plastic society, so it is unrealistic to ask consumers not to use debit or credit cards. It is entirely reasonable to demand that banks and retailers do much more to protect customers.