Is a college education still worth the investment today?
Today a college education is not worth it in terms of invested time and money. There are better alternatives for a majority of people than a traditional four-year undergraduate degree.
In the 1960s, a high school diploma meant a stable, well-paying job. You could find work on an auto assembly line, save money, and even afford a house. Those days are long gone.
Since then, a college education has become the gold standard for success. And for many people, that may have been true. But today, with globalization and technology shrinking the job market for college graduates, a college degree and the associated costs may not be worth it. Many employers, especially in tech, care less about a degree than they do about what you can create or build.
The statistics don’t bode well. Approximately 53% of recent college graduates are unemployed or working in a field that doesn’t require a college degree. Furthermore, many that find jobs in their field of study are underemployed and need supplemental income or continue living at home after graduation. According to Forbes, 50% of millennials plan to move back home with their parents after graduation.
When you factor crushing student debt, a shrinking job market, and the outsourcing of many traditional white-collar jobs into the skyrocketing cost of housing in cities such as San Francisco and New York, many people are beginning to rethink the cost of a four-year degree and deciding that it’s just not worth it.
Although there are many arguments against a college education in our modern world due to practicality and student loan debt, college is still a worthwhile investment.
College is a place for individuals to grow their education and expand their minds and spirits. Individuals who attend college benefit mentally and emotionally because they are in a new environment with a diverse group of people who are also trying to better themselves and propel their education to secure a career. Individuals will inevitably learn coping and life skills while away from home, attending college, and deal with other hurdles such as stressful exams, demanding deadlines, and self-motivation. Students will also learn a lot about different cultures by observing the diverse mix of individuals in their college community.
Aside from all this, a college education is also necessary for specific careers. For example, you must go to college if you'd like to become a teacher or doctor. If you choose to forego a college diploma, you will not be able to pursue those career paths, thus limiting your options. It's also worth noting that while attending college, new career paths may open up to you that you weren't even aware of.
College also gives individuals access to experiences such as studying abroad, mentorships, networks, clubs, and associations that they would otherwise not have had. All of the bonuses provided by attending college can accelerate a person's career and nurture their personal growth.
- The average cost of going to a U.S. college during the 2019-2020 academic year, including room, board, fees, and tuition was over $30,000.
- Billionaires Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg were all college drop-outs.
- According to a 2019 Gallup poll, 51% of American adults believe that a college education is very important.
- A Business Insider analysis of U.S. Census data revealed that in all 50 American states, college degree holders earned more money than those without degrees.