This is a common question today, unfortunately. On the one hand, a college degree is usually a requirement for most entry-level positions. On the other hand, degrees are becoming increasingly diluted and expensive. Decades ago, all you needed was a college degree to get ahead in life, and it was relatively affordable (especially for public universities). Today, even some graduate degrees do not guarantee much in the way of reliable, gainful employment. How many people with Master’s degrees are still working in the same position as before? How many law grads do you know who are bar-tending? How many Ph.D students have become so insanely specialized that they cannot find someone to hire them? And of course, the cost of these degrees is just out of control. A Bachelor’s degree can easily cost $150,000.
So. Is college still worth it? According to two new studies, the answer is “yes.” Here’s why, according to the studies:
- While recent college grads have certainly been struggling, the economy has added thousands of new jobs for workers with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Meanwhile, the number of jobs lost for people with just a high school diploma (such as construction or manufacturing positions) is just shockingly high. And those jobs are unlikely to come back.
- A college degree can bring in an additional $1.3 million in lifetime earnings, depending on where you went to school and what you studied.
That said, there is of course the problem of debt, and it’s hitting the middle class the hardest. “About 40 percent of students left school with debt, and the average was about $22,000. But students from families earning between $40,000 and $59,000 were saddled with $6,000 more on average than peers from families earning less than $40,000. Students from the next tier – family income between $60,000 and $99,000 – had $4,000 more in debt than their lowest-income peers.”
So. Is a college degree worth it? I haven’t decided. Clearly the answer is not black and white. What’s clear though is that the system needs to change.
To read more about these two new studies, click here.