College Education – Is It Worth the Cost?

One of the more interesting debates to come up over the past few years is whether or not a college education is worth the cost. A few high profile people, such as Peter Thiel (self-made billionaire); have questioned the value of a degree in the face of rapidly escalating costs and fewer white collar jobs.  It should be noted that Mr. Thiel has two degrees from Stanford, which currently carries a price tag of over $60,000 a year.

The most expensive college education in the world:

Nevertheless, tuition increases in the U.S. have caused controversy for the past 60 years and the U.S. now has one of the most expensive college education systems in the world.  The average college graduate is entering the workforce with over $30,000 in student loans. Many graduates owe much more than that; I personally know a doctor who owes close to $500,00 in student loan debt.  In addition, I recently read in the Wall Street Journal that four out of 10 college graduates end up in jobs that do not even require a degree.

All of the above reasons can cause doubt.  However, the graph below from the Journal of Financial Planning will inspire you to continue adding to college savings plans for your children and/or grandchildren:

College Education - Is It Worth the Cost?

College graduates have higher life satisfaction:

Another interesting statistic in favor of getting the degree is; an adult with a bachelor’s degree earns an average of $650,000 more over their lifetime than someone with just a high school degree and are found to have a significantly higher life satisfaction over the years.

Besides, it is not just about money.  The college experience can add to the richness and experience of an persons life.  College teaches kids about living independently, appreciating classmates with different backgrounds, and that too much partying can lead to hangovers.  A college degree may provide a person with more career options and job security.  The bottom line is students should pick practical fields of study, check a college’s costs in advance and consider starting out at a more cost-effective community college for the first couple years.

Have a great week!