The cost of a university degree isn’t cheap. A bachelor’s degree can set you back $1 million or more, and a graduate degree can put you on the path to earning up to $2 million. While these numbers seem good, they don’t necessarily reflect the actual cost of a degree. Colleges and universities have been known to raise the cost of tuition far higher than inflation, and student loan debt has risen at a rate 250% higher than inflation.
Colleges don’t offer a decent return on investment
A recent study from the New York Fed suggests that ROI for bachelor’s degrees varies greatly, depending on the degree level and the major. For instance, students who major in business or STEM fields are likely to have higher lifetime earnings than those who major in liberal arts. Additionally, students who study in highly selective institutions are likely to see higher ROIs than other students.
One of the biggest problems with pursuing a university degree is that many students take longer than four years to complete their education. In fact, between a quarter and a third never finish college, leaving them unable to take advantage of any college benefits.
Moreover, low-income students are not always attending the most economically beneficial colleges. In fact, Pell Grant recipients represent more than sixty percent of the student body at private for-profit colleges in 2015-16, compared to only 34-38 percent at public colleges and universities. As a result, institutions with high low-income enrollments generally have lower returns on investment for students.
While high tuition can increase the chances of graduating with a degree, it is not enough. In some cases, ROI can be negative, if you’re not a top-performer. If you’re an artist, or a musician, you can increase the ROI by focusing on the major.
Student loan debt is crippling for college graduates
The burden of student loan debt is becoming increasingly daunting for college graduates. With costs spiraling upward and employment opportunities diminishing, many students find themselves drowning in debt. The average debt for a college graduate is now $30,000, up from $17,000 15 years ago. While the issue affects everyone, college students from low-income families have a particularly hard time repaying their debts. These students often come from unstable homes, attended a poor high school, and did not have sufficient financial resources to complete their education.
Student loan debt has exploded in recent years and is now the largest form of consumer debt in the US. Although the value of a college education often outweighs the cost, many graduates are concerned that their lingering debt will hamper their financial futures. While student loan debt is not always a bad thing, it can be a debilitating burden.
The Department of Education has the authority to create income-driven repayment plans to help borrowers. These plans would cap the amount a student pays each month based on a percentage of their discretionary income. These plans would also eliminate the remaining debt after 20 or 25 years. However, many people fail to sign up for these plans because they are too complicated or too restrictive.
Despite this, the Department of Education has already taken some steps to improve accountability and transparency. It has re-established its enforcement unit in the Office of Federal Student Aid (OFSA). In addition, the department has strengthened accountability by withdrawing authorization from one of the worst accreditors, and it will propose a rule that will make career-related programs accountable. Unfortunately, the previous Administration repealed this rule.
Social benefits of getting a university degree
Earning a college or university degree has many benefits. Not only does it lead to higher income, it also opens up more career options. You are also likely to find better paid benefits with a graduate degree, which can include better health and job security. In addition, getting a college or university degree can improve your personal development, as well.
Earning a college or university degree is also advantageous for society. It improves health, improves relationships, and extends life expectancy. Recent studies have shown that graduates are also more likely to be in stable marriages. A university degree also enhances employment prospects, as the average college graduate earns $78,000 per year, compared to $45,000 if they only have a high school degree. Furthermore, most jobs in today’s “knowledge economy” require a college degree, since automation and technological advances have left very few jobs for those who have only a high school diploma.
Obtaining a college degree also enables people to become more involved in their communities. They are more likely to volunteer, donate to charities, join community organizations, and participate in educational activities with their children. This helps build a stronger community. Furthermore, college graduates consider their jobs to be a career, compared to just 57 percent of high school graduates. Thus, a college degree enables you to get a better job and a more satisfying life.
Additionally, having a college degree also improves your chances of receiving pension and health insurance benefits. According to the Office of National Statistics, individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher were more likely to be eligible for pension plans in their workplaces than those with only a high school diploma. Additionally, a college degree also reduces the risk of job cuts, as college graduates tend to be less likely to be laid off due to a recession than those with a high school diploma.