For a few years now the cost of attending college in the United States has slowly risen, giving way to increased debates on whether it’s worth it in the end.
This attitude and concern have in turn discouraged many young people from going to college, which is alarming in an era where education is the pivotal point of the economy. Students and parents not only have to battle with increasing costs, but they also have to fill out complicated application forms for financial aid and find ways of selling their child’s achievements to the highest bidder.
In a recent survey taken by Gallup and Purdue University, 30,000 College alumni were questioned about their thoughts on their college experience and if this has led them to where they wanted to go. Fortunately, the majority of students thought that their college education was worth the cost. The survey even considered graduates from the last decade, finding that those who graduated between 2005 and 2016 were happy that they spent the money on college education. However, those that had taken out more than $50,000 loans were more likely to state that college was not financially worth it for them. More crucially, recent graduates were more doubtful than older graduates.
The explanation behind this is simple. Recent graduates have had increased cost in tuition fees as well as skyrocketing living expenses in all major cities. This sharp increase is not reflected in job market salaries, meaning that students are struggling to pay back their increased loans, when comparing to those who have graduated ten years previously.
Before you start thinking that college education is not worth the financial pain, you should consider the fact that opportunities for high school graduates are dwindling, widening the earning gap between high school and college students. According to Pew Research, high school graduates earn only 60% of what college graduates earn. This concerning gap is a critical issue in today’s society, especially with the job landscape becoming more and more competitive.
Let’s face the facts. Going to college is expensive, and you will be in debt for some time (probably a long time). Due to this, many people will not be able to achieve their goals such as buying a home or car.
You have to calculate what is important for you to achieve and, yes make some difficult decisions. But, skipping college education is not the end of the world. However, you should be considering other training options if you want to keep up with the rest.
This is a more rounded, neutral piece of advice that more students need to hear, and hopefully not too late. Currently, the fear of missing out and the fear of college costs is driving many of our future workforce crazy, which is leading to more social problems than there were before. There are only a finite number of jobs that need to be filled by college graduates, while the rest will end up in jobs that could have been done with simple high school degrees.