Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun’s recent opinion piece on CNN​.com is gen­er­ating buzz as part of a growing national con­ver­sa­tion about the value of higher edu­ca­tion. Taking on the con­tro­ver­sial pro­posal of PayPal founder Peter Thiel, who has urged stu­dents to drop out of col­lege in exchange for money, Aoun argues for the many prac­tical and intan­gible ben­e­fits of higher education.

Since Pres­i­dent Aoun’s op-​​ed was pub­lished on June 10, three others have joined the debate. In their own opinion pieces, Clayton Chris­tensen of Har­vard Busi­ness School, Henry Eyring of BYU-​​Idaho, and suc­cessful entre­pre­neur Brian Forde, each make strong cases about the value of a col­lege education.

On Friday, Pres­i­dent Aoun was a guest on NECN Busi­ness to dis­cuss the issue. In the tele­vised inter­view, Aoun makes the case that col­lege gen­er­ates sig­nif­i­cant return on invest­ment for grad­u­ates, regard­less of course of study. He also cites many exam­ples of inno­va­tion and entre­pre­neur­ship taking place at uni­ver­si­ties — an aspect of higher edu­ca­tion that Thiel says is lacking.

Aoun also puts the cur­rent debate in a global con­text, noting that other coun­tries are investing heavily in higher edu­ca­tion as a way to com­pete on a global stage.

Today, America’s strongest global com­peti­tors are dou­bling down on the same strategy. In China, the number of stu­dents enrolled in higher edu­ca­tion more than quin­tu­pled over the last decade. India has estab­lished thou­sands of new col­leges in recent years. The United States was the first nation to expand col­lege access beyond the elites and make it avail­able on a mass basis. Today, we rank 14th in the world in col­lege grad­u­a­tion. To reclaim our lead­er­ship, everyone needs to do their part.”