Is College Worth the Cost? Ashley DiOdoardo

The amount of high school graduates that pursue a post secondary education, or college, has decreased over the past several years. Students go to a 4 year college or university to earn a bachelor’s degree or a 2 year community college or junior college to earn an associate's degree. Students are coming out of college with a large amount of debt as a result of their education, but have the opportunity to make more money and become more successful. More students coming out of high school should go to college and further their education despite the cost and other struggles.

To begin, college can lead to more success in later life. College graduates earn 30-40% more a week and on average make $50,000 more a year and more than those who do not go to college. Having a bachelor’s degree can lead to even higher salaries. That is a significantly larger amount that is greater than the price of student loans. In addition, student loans take on average 10-20 years to pay off, and with the increased salary that going to college may offer people, those bills could be paid off easier. The price of college should not limit people because it can lead to more success. Accordingly, an increased salary leads to more financial stability and improved living situations. Going to college also exposes people to cultural experiences and people that may be beneficial to them later in life. A college degree can improve the salary and success after education.

Additionally, with more college graduates comes more job opportunities offered and a lower unemployment rate. 85% of students pursue a college education in order to find a better job. Today, over 60% of jobs require a college degree, but only 32% require a high school degree. With the value of a high school degree decreasing it is becoming more and more crucial to get a college education. The unemployment rates for people with a bachelor’s degree are 3.5% lower than those with only a high school degree. Correspondingly, those with a college degree say they are more satisfied with their job compared to no college graduates. Having a degree makes people more qualified for jobs to come. Even if people are unsure about a career they wish to pursue, going to college and earning a degree can help them in the future if a job opportunity were to come along. Jobs like a dentist or an air traffic controller only need an associate’s degree which costs less and still earns a high salary. College degrees are an important aspect of finding a good job that will create financial stability.

Although making more money in the long run would be an ideal situation, student loan bills can be difficult and take a large amount of time to pay off. Those who come out of college and do not find a job right away can have difficulty paying off their loans leading to more payments over a longer period of time. For example, the average student comes out of a four year college $29,000 dollars in debt, but that amount has been increasing due to the government lowering their funding towards colleges. With less government funding, the colleges have to raise the tuition creating more student loans which makes people question “Is it worth it?” The money that a student would have without student loans could go towards other things and lead to the ability to saving and investing. Non college graduates can have success that suits them. Although a college degree can help make more money in the future, it takes a large amount of money to earn and may not be worth it.

Accordingly, if a person has an ideal career that does not need a college education, then they would not need to go to college. There are some jobs that do not require a college education and have salaries that are higher than some other jobs. The average salary of a non-college graduate is $30,000. That is a significant amount considering that they did not have a piece of paper, degree, worth about $133,000 if they went to a private school. People without that piece of paper can still find the same amount of job opportunities without a college education. To continue, if everybody went to college and pursued a job in the field they studied, then there would be no garbage men or cashiers creating a change in the economy. In addition, a degree does not guarantee a job. Statistics show that 45% of college graduates do not have a career for what they went to college for within the first 5 years after they graduate. Also, careers like pilots, loan officers, and electricians only need a high school degree or equivalent. A college degree may help people get a job but there are other jobs out there that do not require a degree and a degree does not guarantee a job.

Every year thousands of high school graduates do not go to college which can impact their future and have an overall effect on society and the economy. Although college is costly, it is an overall investment in people’s futures. Colleges expose students to experiences and further their knowledge. More students should go to college to help them find jobs, earn higher salaries, and lead to more success.


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