There’s been a lot of talk lately about the number of Americans saddled with student loan debt, the high jobless rate among new college grads, and the skyrocketing cost of tuition.
All this college bashing makes you wonder whether a degree is worth the time and money.
Despite reports you’ve read about the sociology major who graduated with $200K in student loan debt, her story is hardly the norm.
There are clear benefits to getting a college education.
- In 2010, the average student debt load for a recent grad was a more manageable $25K.
- According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 2011 graduates commanded an average starting salary of almost $42K.
- Over their working lifetime, college grads earn about $650K more than those who only completed high school.
- The unemployment rate for high school graduates was more than twice that of those with at least a 4-year degree.
Sure. Some people are better served by technical schools, community colleges and other forms of advanced training.
For me, a bachelor’s degree has paid off handsomely.
Apparently, quite a few people agree.
I asked a simple question of the Yakezie Network, the web’s largest personal finance and lifestyle blog network:
Was College Worth It?
Those who responded had this to say.
My current job came to me through networking with a fellow MBA student. There is certainly a measurable return on investment. ~ Narrow Bridge Finance
The one thing I did gain was experience through a plethora of internships. It was the internships that gave me something to discuss in the interviews and ultimately led to better paying job options after I graduated. ~ One Frugal Girl
I have already made substantially more just in my internships than I would have if I wasn’t in school. ~ Add Vodka
I took a 2-year computer science diploma program that gave me a wide range of computer knowledge. It helped me get my foot in the door with my internet marketing career. ~ Modest Money
With the understanding that I can’t go from A to C without B (college), then I guess it’s not only worth it but a necessity. ~ Money Mamba
Working in IT, having a college degree is pretty huge. Regardless of performance – without one, I would likely be stuck in a tech support/operations role. Getting a degree, certainly allowed me to get my foot in the door. ~ See Debt Run
Once I left E&Y, and started applying for Controller and CFO positions, I quickly realized that having a Psychology degree, in addition to an Accounting degree, really helped me to stand out from the other applicants. ~ Financial Knowledge Online
I still feel both of my degrees were worth it, if only for the fact that I was able to find a career I love and hone my skills so I can be a success in what I do. ~ The Single Saver
I wouldn’t be in the job I am in today. Simple. Big companies won’t even look at you without a degree. ~ Savvy Scott
While I have a lot of student loan debt ($79,000), I would not be able to work in my current position, earn this level of income, and have the career options that I do without that education. I enjoy my full-time work, and I appreciate how my education has opened a lot of doors for me. ~ Earn Save Live
I used to believe that a college degree was a complete waste if you didn’t work in the field you studied. Now, I think I might have been wrong. According to this group of personal financial bloggers, I was.
It opens the door to many hallways you didn’t know existed. It shows that you have the capacity to learn. ~ This That And The MBA
I think the ability to learn counts more, than being able to regurgitate what you memorized from a textbook in order to get an “A” on an exam. ~ Simply Investing
I do think I learned a lot about myself, critical thinking, and collaborating with others while I was in school. I just wish I had learned those lessons much cheaper! ~ So Over Debt
College made me who I am, but it was more of the experience than the classes. ~ Frugal Beautiful
I loved college, I wouldn’t trade the friendships and the experiences for anything in the world. ~ My Life and My Debts
There are so many intangibles that can’t really be measured from what I experienced and gained from college that certainly has lead to me being more successful in other endeavors. ~ Maximizing Money
In college, I learned how to learn. My degree itself — taken at literal face value — hasn’t had good ROI, but the skills I learned (critical thinking, analysis, etc.) have helped me immensely. ~ Afford Anything
The primary argument for going to college is all the dough you’ll make with a degree. I have the fondest memories of my college years, but make no mistake, I was all about the money. Getting drunk, having sex, and partying were great fun, but give me the cash.
My goal was to use my degree to make as much money as possible while spending as little as possible to obtain it. This requires careful comparison of what you’ll earn in the workforce and what you’ll spend to get a college education.
I am in my first year of university. I have second thoughts everyday. I do plan on using my kinesiology degree to go to a physiotherapy graduate program, so right now I am staring at the horizon. I question it though because I know friends who are working right now making a good income (one is 18 and making $40,000). ~ Poor Student
Looking back though I could’ve saved A LOT of money if I had done two years at a community college and then transferred to a four year school to get my bachelors degree. I wish I had gone into college knowing what I wanted to do with my life instead of changing my major half way through. ~ My Life and My Debts
Getting an undergrad degree is essential, and strategically choosing where to go is vital. Those who blindly go by rankings and pay less attention to loans and debt burdens might be shortchanging themselves immensely. ~ Squirrelers
Several of my friends are over $100k in debt for an MA degree at “good” universities and are struggling to get hired. Is that education worth paying it off until you retire? HELL NO. ~ Frugal Beautiful
I started college when I was 17 and didn’t get my degree until I was 34. Taking that long kept me from having to go into debt for college but it wasted a lot of time. College was probably worth the modest expense but not the time. ~ Tight Fisted Miser
I could have saved myself at least $20-30k by not going or at least graduating sooner. ~ Figuring Money Out
Going now for my associates. I’ve been working on it for a while, but “life” kept getting in the way. I’m doing it with grants and scholarships, though. No school debt for me. My chosen career path simply won’t pay enough for it. ~ Femme Frugality
Major and Tuition…All it means is to have an understanding of the future earning potential and the number of years it will take to pay back the tuition. ~ I am 1 Percent
Total marginal cost over living on my own without going to school was probably about $40,000 total. I basically covered that (plus living costs) working programming jobs and playing poker and gin nights, weekends and summers. ~ Off Road Finance
Although I was able to graduate without any debt…it still delayed my start in the workforce for four years. It doesn’t help that my job does not require a university degree. I’m happy I have a degree, but regret the TIME it took me to get it. ~ Freedom 48
I knew people who went to school and became engineers, then realized it wasn’t for them and they hated it. In a way it is not a waste because you still have your education, but it is also a waste that you have to pay back tens of thousands of dollars for a degree you won’t use. ~ Smart Wealth
My school was expensive, but I had a hefty scholarship to take the edge off, and I worked paid internships every summer to defray my costs more. ~ Don’t Quit Your Day Job
I wouldn’t be where I am now without it. Also, I took summer classes at the community college and saved a ton of money! ~ Making Sense of Cents
So, what do you think? Was college worth it for you?