Is Going to College Worth It?

Is Going to College Worth It?

The headline on March 31, 2023, in the Wall Street Journal read, “Americans Are Losing Faith in College Education, WSJ-NORC Poll Find.”  The poll showed that 56% of Americans now say a four-year college degree isn’t worth the cost and that the idea that tangible job skills aren’t taught in colleges.  Clearly, higher education has a public relations problem because companies large and small still value the piece of paper, a degree is worth the cost and earnings will be higher than that of a high school graduate.

The Postsecondary Education Public Relations Problem.

Colleges that receive state and federal dollars are unwilling to point out that America’s education system compared to the rest of the world is not great as reported by the National Report Card.  College-bound high school seniors as a whole are shockingly not ready academically for a four-year university. This means millions of college freshmen are being set up for failure. As reported, “While high school dropout rates are decreasing, the United States experiences a daunting 40% college dropout rate every year” (Education Data Initiative [EDI], 2021).  The college admission process was initially devised to exclude students who did not meet rigorous academic standards, but it now serves to diversify campuses and pinpoint students who are “well-rounded”.  This creates an admission process where all are welcome, student debt doesn’t matter and students are unprepared for the demands of college.  Even if a freshman student has a good GPA from high school the statistics show they in many cases are still ill-prepared for college.  It, therefore, does not make sense financially for a student to attend a four-year college and drop out.  Yes, they will obtain some knowledge but, in most cases, they will be stuck with a large financial burden.  It is paramount that if a student starts college, they need to finish college with a degree.

Colleges offer degrees that have no market demand after graduation.

Colleges need to stop offering fluff degrees that the job market has no demand for.  Every Year posts “The 10 College Majors with the Highest (and Lowest) Post-Grad Unemployment Rates.”  Consistently on these yearly lists are Fine arts, Philosophy, Sociology, Family and consumer science, foreign language, and performing arts.  Students before choosing their major need to do their due diligence to ensure that the degree they are seeking has a post-graduation market, will pay the bills, and give them the lifestyle they desire.

Businesses still value a degree.

Flip through any social media job search engine and a student will find that large and small companies still value a sheet of paper called a college degree. The trade industry is the major exception that does not require a degree but requires additional trade education past high school, certifications, and on-the-job training. As a whole a college degree is still sought after as the American Colleges and Universities’ newest report, “How College Contributes to Workforce Success: Employer Views on What Matters Most,” shows that 82% of business executives and 75% of hiring managers feel that a college degree is necessary for success. The Cengage Group’s Employability report, “Degree Requirements & Outdated Mindsets Accelerate the Current Talent Crunch” Confirms that 62% of employers value a degree, especially with new hires.

A degree is still a good investment

Return on Investment (ROI) is the monetary value of an investment versus its cost. According to the Institute for Higher Education Policy 2023, reports that 83% of the colleges who educate 93% of undergraduates, provide an ROI within 10 years. This means that within 10 years a student would recoup the cost of their degree and make more than they would with a high school diploma.  Students therefore should not at this time buy into the hype that college costs too much and sell themselves short.

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