College Should Wait

This op-ed originally appeared in City Weekly on April 10, 2024.

College tuition is going up … again. Add in rising inflation and a burgeoning student debt crisis and the situation gets critical.

A college student’s money isn’t going as far as it used to, and far too many students are graduating with crippling debt. This is especially true in Utah, where the average salary for a college graduate in Utah is $37,328.

Considering that the average college debt is $32,750, the average four-year degree is $52,652 and 34% of college graduates could have gotten their job without a degree, the return on investment seems … deficient.

That isn’t to say that college isn’t necessary for some. There are many fields where college is required—medicine, for instance. But, in an age where information is just a few clicks away, college may not be the golden ticket it once was.

Entrepreneurship, coupled with self-directed learning, has the potential to provide a better path to success for many. So, can we stop pushing kids who aren’t ready into college?

Let them take a year or two to explore their interests. Some of them will find success without college.