By Devin Button
Every child growing up in today’s modern America faces a grueling challenge. Embedded in our minds from day one is the belief that without college a person cannot strive to the goals or financial reaches they dream of. Today we ask “is college really worth it?” taking this all from pros to cons approach, and to see if the opinion on college life, and what it brings and do the ends justify the means.
Pro 1– College graduates make more money. The average college graduate makes $570,000 more than the average high school graduate over a lifetime. Career earnings for college graduates are 71% to 136% higher than those of high school graduates. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York calculated a 14% rate of return on a bachelor’s degree, which constitutes a good investment. College graduates earn an average of $78,000, a 75% wage premium over the average $45,000 annual earnings for workers with only a high school diploma. 85% of Forbes’ America’s 400 Richest People list were college grads.
Con 1– Student loan debt is crippling for college graduates. About 44 million Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student debt. 45% of people with student loan debt say college was not worth it. 10% of students graduate with over $40,000 in debt and about 1% have $100,000 in debt. In Feb. 2018, undergraduate college graduates had an average of $37,172 in loan debt. According to the US Congress Joint Economic Committee, approximately 60% of college graduates have student loan debt balances equal to 60% of their annual income. Missing late for loan payments leads to lower credit scores and additional fees, worsening the debt problem.
Pro 2– College graduates have more and better employment opportunities. 85.2% of college freshmen said they attended college to “be able to get a better job.” The unemployment rate for Americans over 25 with a bachelor’s degree was 1.9% in Dec. 2019, compared to 2.7% for those with some college or associate’s degrees, 3.7% for high school graduates, and 5.2% for high school drop-outs. Underemployment, meaning insufficient work, is lower for college grads (6.2%) as compared to high school-only graduates (12.9%) and people without a high school diploma (18.7%).  58% of college graduates and people with some college or associate’s degrees reported being “very satisfied” with their jobs compared to 50% of high school graduates and 40% of people without a high school diploma.
Con 2– Many college graduates are employed in jobs that do not require college degrees. According to the Department of Labor, as many as 17 million college graduates work in positions that did not require a college education. 1 in 3 college graduates had a job that required a high school diploma or less in 2012. More than 16,000 parking lot attendants, 83,000 bartenders, 115,000 janitors and 15% of taxi drivers have bachelor’s degrees. College graduates with jobs that do not require college degrees earn 30-40% less per week than those who work in jobs requiring college degrees.
While these are but a few examples that scratch the surface of why or why not college is worth it in the long run for Americans. It’s truly up to the individual to make such a life-changing decision. While it helps your ability to get higher paid employment. The cons have also shown that many college graduates have a hard time finding work in the workforce. Believing that college is the only avenue to take is naive and an unfair estimation to make on young minds.
What do you think? What did this article impact on your beliefs, or did it have a very little effect? Comment down below, and with your opinion, we may see a continuation of this article.