This paper explores metro nonmetro differences in value perceptions of college degrees. Responses from 11,648 adults, a
nationally representative sample of 18+ year old individuals, were used to gain insights into cost-benefit evaluations
of associate / bachelor’s degrees. Results of data analysis suggest that rural residents value a degree in education
more than a degree in science & engineering or business studies. Contrary to the common belief that rural residents
view higher education as a threat to their chances of retaining their young people, this research shows that rural
residents stake their self-esteem on higher education.