A college degree used to be a golden ticket when it came to earning potential. But the dramatic rise in college prices over the past forty years brings into question the value of a college degree.
There is currently over $1.7 trillion of student loan debt in the United States, with the average student loan around $30,000. This means that students are graduating college at age twenty-two or twenty-three and begin their adult working life with a huge financial anchor around their neck. But remember that is the average. Some students rack up debt exceeding $100,000.
Student loan forgiveness feels appealing. But is college worth it? For most people, the answer is clearly no.
Consider this: 1 in 4 college degree earners over the age of twenty-five make less than $30,000 a year while 14 percent of the same population are below the poverty line. Only about 27 percent of college graduates use their degree. That statistic alone shows that their time in college may have been wasted. There are many students who drop out of college before finishing.
My degree was required for licensure in my chosen profession of educator. But reflecting on my coursework, I only used one or two classes, and only parts of those classes, in any practical way.
A better option for individuals could include:
- Entrepreneurship: Start your own business with the skills you have.
- Vocational or trade school: Learn a new skill. This can also lead to owning your own business.
- Online learning (YouTube is amazing for this).
- Apprenticeships or on the job training: many businesses will train you in the skills they need.
College may be the right answer for some people. But for most, college won’t help you reach your goals. It will be a financial burden you will carry so long it will begin to feel like a mooching college roommate.