According to a 2014 study on the value of college from the Pew Research Center, college graduates are outpacing their peers in “virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment.” This includes average annual income for full-time employment, poverty and unemployment rates, and job satisfaction.
For example, when study participants were asked if they were “very satisfied with their current job,” 53% of college graduates with bachelor’s degrees answered favorably, compared to 36-37% of high school graduates and people who have some college experience or an associate’s degree.
Have you considered going back to college for a bachelor’s or advanced degree? Or are you debating whether college is worth it for your kids compared to jumping into the workforce or going to trade school? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions or you’re simply interested in reading whether college is worth it in today’s labor market, then this article is for you.Is going to college still worthwhile? Is it worth the cost? Maybe...maybe not. Here's why.Click To Tweet
Is Going to College Worth It Anymore?
The Student Loan Conundrum
According to a 2014 data analysis presented by the Institute for College Access and Success, 69% of college students from public and nonprofit universities in the U.S. graduate from college with student loan debt. This encompasses both federal student loans and private student loans. The average debt burden for borrowers was $28,950 in 2014, and with debt increasing at twice the rate of inflation, that figure will likely only get higher.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently reported that student loan debt in the U.S. is now over $1.23 trillion. Sometimes you even read stories about people who have 6-figure student loan burdens and it wasn’t until the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 passed that borrowers could make payments based on 10% of their discretionary income and achieve loan forgiveness after 20 years.
With all this gloom and doom, it’s easy to see why college might not be worth it for some folks, simply because the financial burden is too great and the depressing statistics are splashed everywhere in the news. However, according to the Pew Research Center’s study we talked about in the introduction, 72% of Millennials ages 25 to 32 said college has already paid off for them. Furthermore, 86% of the college-educated Millennials who took out loans to pay for their degree reported that their degrees have been worthwhile or they expect their degrees to pay off in the future.
Live with Parents or In Dorm?
In 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that, despite improved economic conditions, the number of Millennials who live with their parents is actually on the rise. 26% of Americans aged 18 to 34 live with their parents, and this number is likely higher for people going to college.