Is A College Degree Worth It Any More?
Today college and post secondary education costs are steadily on the rise and with expanding technology threatening some of the higher paying jobs, its no wonder that many people are questioning the value of a college education.
Only 20 or 30 years ago no one hardly even questioned the value of a college degree. Sure, a couple of skeptics liked to point out that neither Bill Gates nor Steve Jobs graduated from college, and parents complained about the tuition bill. Still, when college acceptances went out in the spring, people cheered, believing that admission represented the ticket to a good job and career.
If you’ve been paying attention to tuition costs for colleges and universities for the past several years, you’ve probably noticed that the price of higher education has increased dramatically.
According to the IES National Center for Education Statistics, while the average cost of tuition in current dollars at all universities in the 1990-91 school year was $6,562, it nearly tripled to an average cost of $17,143 by the 2008-09 school year.
As noted by a report from the nonprofit College Board, costs for public four-year institutions in 2010 increased 7.9 percent to an average of $7,605, while private nonprofit colleges and universities jumped 4.5 percent over the previous year to an average cost of $27,293.
The steady rise in tuition over the past few decades has left many wondering whether the cost of college matches the payoff for graduates once they receive their diplomas.
To see that average incomes for bachelor’s degree recipients haven’t increased much over the past couple of decades but tuition has skyrocketed over roughly the same period makes some question whether higher education is actually worth the cost.
What’s interesting is that a recent study conducted by Country Financial revealed 26 percent of Americans surveyed believe a college education isn’t a good financial investment. The main reason respondents felt this way is because college costs have increased too much and there simply aren’t enough job prospects available once students actually earn their degrees.
However, according to the authors of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, there is even more reason to believe college isn’t a good investment.
The authors found that 45 percent of students in higher education make no gains in their critical reasoning and thinking skills, or writing ability, after two years of college. Even worse, more than one out of three college seniors were no better at writing and thinking than they were when they first arrived at college.
It’s a good idea to create as long-term a plan as possible. Look at the career you want to pursue, how much education is required to obtain the training necessary and what schools provide great values for the education received.
Also, you want to look at ways to finance your education. Of course, the best route is to acquire scholarships, grants or other sources of funds that allow you to pay for college without student loans. Also, you could consider working on- or off-campus to help finance your education. You might even be able to take advantage of tuition reimbursement from your company.