Half of college graduates are uncertain whether their degrees were worth the money

Posted on November 10th, 2016

With the cost of college continuing to rise, many graduates are questioning whether their own degrees were worth the investment, according to the Hechinger Report.

Half of college graduates surveyed in a recent Gallup Poll said they weren’t sure whether their degree was worth the money.

And nearly half of graduates surveyed in August by Public Agenda said a higher education is no longer necessarily a good investment — particularly because of how much debt many students take on in order to pay for their college degree.

College graduates less certain about necessity of degree

The Public Agenda poll found that only 42% of college graduates believe a college degree is necessary. This percentage has decreased steadily since 2009, when 55% of graduates said that a college degree was necessary to succeed.

college investment necessity

Half of all college graduates don’t think college is necessary to succeed.

The Gallup Purdue Index also found that about half of graduates who borrowed to pay for college said the debt had forced them to put graduate school on hold, a third said they had delayed buying a house, and a quarter say they had postponed starting businesses.

This is consistent with other statistics that have shown that millennials, in particular, have put off certain life events and purchases because of their student debt.

college worth cost chart

Many college graduates are uncertain about whether college is worth the cost. [Source: Hechinger Report]

College is worth the cost–but not at any cost

We understand the uncertainty many college graduates feel about the necessity of their degrees — particularly if they had to take a lot of student debt to pay for it.

But overwhelmingly, the statistics still show that going to college is worth it.

College graduates make more money, are less likely to be unemployed and are more satisfied with their jobs compared to those without a college degree.

And compared to traditional investments like stocks, gold, and corporate bonds, Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees give you a better return on your investment (Brookings Institution).

There’s a catch, though. Just because college is worth attending doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily worth taking out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt to pay for it.

The bottom line is that college in general is worth the cost — but not at any cost. It’s important to choose a college that is affordable enough to avoid hurting your student or family financially, and do everything you can to maximize your financial aid.

Maximize return on investment of college

Students and families must consider the return on investment of their college decision. If you plan on making a lot of money in a high-paying field, are attending a college with high graduation rates with good graduate outcomes, it may be worth taking out some debt for pay for that degree.

But if you’re considering attending an expensive college with less successful graduate outcomes and studying a field that is unlikely to net you a high salary, you should take a hard look at what your estimated student loan monthly payments will be and determine if it’s a smart idea to take on a lot of debt — particularly if you plan on living in an expensive city.

Help reducing college costs

We help students and families sort through this decision and figure out how to make the best college decision for their financial situation, without sacrificing education quality.

There are plenty of affordable, high-ranked colleges that people have never heard of, but offer great scholarships and financial aid packages — and a student may be just as successful attending one of those, without paying the high price tag of a well-known university.

Our goal is to help student and families feel like they paid a fair price for their education and that the investment they made was worth it, and help them minimize their student debt. If you’d like to learn how we can help save you money on college, give us a call at 1-888-234-3907 or send us a message and we’ll get back to you ASAP.


Category: College Costs

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