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Given how much college costs, how much debt most students have after graduation, and how hard it is to get a good job in this economy, is college really worth it?


In 2013, nearly 20 million students in the United States were enrolled in colleges and universities, more than any other time in the country’s history. Compare that to sixty years ago, when higher education enrollment rates were still under 3 million.

The rapid increase in university enrollment is almost universally considered a positive trend. A college degree is widely seen as a near prerequisite to scoring a well-paid job and entering the middle class.

If you are lucky enough to land a decent job right after college, there’s a good chance you’ll be making a good deal more money than you would without that degree, which generally sets you on a path to earning consistently more throughout your professional life.

The College Board reports the difference in lifetime earnings between college graduates and high-school graduates at roughly $800,000. Other estimates put the figure at more than $1 million. And data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that during tough economic times, those with college degrees are far better equipped to weather the storm. In April 2013, for instance, the unemployment rate for college graduates over 25 years old was 3.6 percent as compared to 7.5 percent for high school graduates.

But that certainly doesn’t mean that graduating from college provides any kind of guarantee of financial stability. In case you haven’t heard, college is really, really expensive … and getting more so by the year. And a growing number of graduates are finding themselves crippled by student loan debt. The average student borrower graduated in 2011 with $26,600 in debt, Forbes reported. And according to a study by the New York Federal Reserve Bank, the number of 25-year-olds with student increased by nearly half between 2003 and 2012. Meanwhile, missing or being late for loan payments often results in a lower credit score and additional fees, which of course acerbates the debt problem.

If that wasn’t bleak enough, a recent analysis BLS data shows that roughly half of all U.S. college graduates under 25 are underutilized, meaning they’re unemployed, working only part-time, or working a job that doesn’t require a college degree. In 2012, one in three college graduates had a job that required a high school diploma or less, including more than 16,000 parking lot attendants, 83,000 bartenders, and 115,000 janitors, writes Ohio University Economics Professor Richard Vedder.

In many ways, it’s the perfect catch-22: unless you’re the next Marc Zuckerberg (a bonafide college dropout), there’s a good chance that a college degree is going to be pretty important thing for you to have as you enter the job market. But, and it’s a big but, that degree usually doesn’t come without a pretty significant cost that you’ll have to shoulder.


PBS NewsHour video Soaring College Costs Revive Debate Over a Diploma’s Value
As a growing number of students suffer the soaring costs of education debt many questions are being raised surrounding the value of a college education. Jeffrey Brown gets four views on whether today’s diplomas are worth the bills.

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More Resources

Pew Research post Is College Worth It?
This report is based on findings from a pair of Pew Research Center surveys conducted in the Spring of 2011. One is a telephone survey taken among a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older. The other is an online survey, done in association with the Chronicle of Higher Education, among the presidents of 1,055 two-year and four-year private, public, and for-profit colleges and universities.

NPR Radio segment Study: College Degree Holds Its Value
A new study shows college graduates have fared much better in the economic recovery than those without a degree. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce reports that nearly all of the jobs recovered since the economic downturn have required a post-secondary degree. And despite the struggles of many recent graduates, workers with college degrees still enjoy a substantial wage benefit over those with only a high school education.

Time infographic Is College Worth It?
As the cost of higher education skyrockets, a new Pew study finds that students and families are questioning its value

  • Bruce Wang

    There were many college choices when we finish our high school now. But some college have a high cost and some don’t. Or it might be cheaper for the citizens but the education is the same. So if we want to choose a college with worth cost, we may first consider the location of the college when you were in high school. And then we should learn the information of the major of the college. The better the worth. A best major in the college is better than a good major of a best college. If we want to know the college is worth or not, we should know about it first.

    Other resource:

    The website above could help us to learn the value of a college. And it’s good for us to find a worth-cost college.

  • Luca S.

    Although its expensive, College is worth it if you get a job that requires the skill you have and pays well. It isnt worth it if you cant find a job that you wanted and went to college for. It would be a waste of time and you would spend all that money and years of your life to find out that you will have to work at McDonalds or Burger King to pay your rent. If you go to college, people will look at you differently, in a good way and more job opportunities will open opposed as if you dont go, you probably wont be making as much money as you want.


  • Nora M.

    Since college is so expensive these days and a degree does not guarantee you a high paying job, it makes sense that people would question the worth of actually going to college at all. And I think the main reason of these doubts is because of the PRICE. It’s so gosh darn expensive and so many families can’t afford to pay for their child’s education, especially if they have more than one kid in college. Even if they managed to scrape by with student loans, those loans they have to pay back would be hanging over their shoulders for a veerry long time, if they got a lowish paying job. My uncle, 10 years after college, is still paying back his student loans. That and paying bills, there’s not much money left for yourself. 48% of college graduates say that paying off their loans make it very hard for them to keep up with paying their own bills. Imagine what people could do with the money they so unnecessarily spent on their education, which was probably a good one. I’m not saying the expenses should keep you from getting higher education because learning is awesome, especially learning about the profession you want to go in. But sadly access to awesome learning is not available to people who have no money. That doesn’t seem fair. But to answer “is college really worth it” I would say probably. You may have spent an ineffable amount of money but you probably learned a great deal, made friends you’ll know for the rest of your life, and left with a degree that raised your chances of getting a job. Just make it less expensive I really want to go to college ok

    Infographic resource:,31813,2072670,00.html

  • Stephanie Sanchez

    Going to college is really expensive. It adds more expenses to what college students already have and they can just survive. Since a degree doesn’t guarantee you a high paying job, I would question whether it is worth going to college or not. Yes there are many expenses and costs to go to college, but at the same time if you want to get anywhere in life you will need a degree. Without a degree, it will be harder to not only get a high paying job, but to get career opportunities for the profession you want to get into. Overall, paying off high expenses for college is worth it. You will be able to succeed more in life and you will have more job opportunities.

  • Jen R.

    Yes, it is worth going to college because in the long run you will be making a larger income than you would be if you had not attended. In the society we live in today it is a very poor choice to not attend college. We live in a time were it is nearly impossible to survive without a college education. People who choose not to go to college are most likely to work at multiple jobs with low pay and that provide not many benefits. There are many ways to save money while attending college that most people are very unaware of.
    If a person is worried about drowning in debt they should be looking into financial aid programs as well as scholarships.

  • Brandon Peterson

    College can be expensive, and given what degree/career you are pursuing, it can be better or worse. There are ways to survive college without going into a heap of debt, you just need to look for it. Given that, you need to know what you are planning on doing when going into college. Have a plan for it and have connections.With the general income being higher for college graduates, it is typically worth it as seen by the % of people working and be paid higher for having a college degree. If college allows it, work in your spare time.

  • D corona

    In college,it can be expensive,but you need to plan out so that you can’t be in debt. You need to have a high education and degree if you want to make a living in life and survive. To live in middle class and have a bright future,you need to be oragnized with your money and plan well for what comes ahead during college or university.

  • Guest

    College can or cannot be worth it, depending on the trade in which you want to pursue. For instance, if you want to be a lawyer, you should go to college, if you want to be a cashier at a fast food chain, then college may not be necessary.

  • Evan

    College can or cannot be worth attending, depending on the career in which you wish to pursue and the costs owed that are included in attending. If a college is affordable, then it will be worth it, if the college is not affordable, then it may not be worth it, it depends on the amount of expenses that will be indebted to the student, although, many colleges are not affordable according to a statistic:,31813,2072670,00.html

  • makibk

    College can and cannot be worth it , depending on the career your trying to pursue but If you feel “the college experience” is worth massive debt, go for it. If you want to save money, go further in your profession, and start your
    life early, then rethink going to college. There are so many
    alternatives that are offered thanks to the freedom of the internet it’s
    a shame not to take advantage of them. Degrees don’t make you standout
    anymore, experience does.

  • sean.leonard

    It all depends on the individual. If they are well off, college is no problem. If they are aiming for a reasonable career, his future should be fine. In contrast, if one is not well off, college is a luxury they can’t afford. If their career choice is a bit of a stretch, that person may struggle through life.

  • Eli Solomon

    I think college is a great investment, but it shouldn’t have to be such a big investment. Getting a higher education is extremely useful, in many ways, but people can’t afford it. If college was cheaper, more people could reap the benefits of a higher education. Private colleges, which cost much more, actually don’t need to be that expensive. In fact, a study showed that some for profit colleges actually made a LOT of money from their students. While the students are paying over $100,000 for their private education, these college are making sometimes as much as a 37% profit margin, and the average profit margin of private colleges is 19.7%. That means 19.7% of the money the school makes is left over after all of its costs have been paid. College presidents also make a lot of money, an average of $7.3 million. Because most students qualify for federal student aid, the taxpayers end up paying a lot of money. In fact, $24 billion per year is given to these colleges from taxpayers’ pockets. This money could be used in a much better way. All in all, college should be less expensive, so more people could be educated.


  • Sean

    College is one of those things that people do to get their life on track before they start working. Yes, it can be expensive at times and it will pile on the debt. but in the long run, you can make more than enough money to pay off those debts(considering you get into a good paying career).

  • Jeremiah Conners

    College can be expensive at times and it will pile on the debt. bu tyou can make more than enough money to pay off those debts depending on the career you end up with so you should always plan ahead go for a career that pays a lot.

  • Adrian A.

    I think it depends if your future job will make up for all the debt you put into college. If it doesn’t pay well, I don’t think it’s worth the cost.

  • eli.park

    College is worth it if you get a job that requires the skill you have and pays well.Although it can be expensive with student loans, if you aim at the right business fields,the reward can be well worth it and the benifates can be life long.If you have the drive and the money to get started it is a good idea.


  • Caroline H.

    I think that college is worth the cost because even though it is very expensive, you may finish with debt, and it does not guarantee that you will get a job immediately and be financially stable, college does give you a much better chance of getting a job. “The unemployment rate for college graduates over 25 years old was 3.6 percent as compared to 7.5 percent for high school graduates.” So, you come out with debt that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t go, but you can are more likely to be able to pay off that debt because you have a good chance of getting a job and ” the difference in lifetime earnings between college graduates and high-school graduates at roughly $800,000.” I think that college is definitely worth the cost if you have an interest in jobs that require a college degree, if you like learning and being well educated (79% of college graduates say college helped them grow intellectually), if you want to learn and know certain life skills that you can acquire in college (69% of college graduates say it helped them mature), etc.


  • Sophia Moore

    I believe that college is a resource that needs to be available to the American public financially. Putting aside concerns about the economy for a moment, college is an amazing academic experience that gives the opportunity for blooming minds to excel in the subjects where they find their passion. With the current economy though, this has begun to be seen as a luxury . That should not be the case. I agree that we should remember education is a privilege we should not take so much for granted, but in our society is a right and therefore should be more affordable.

    Addressing the question though, I personally intend on going to college after graduating in two and a half years. Of course we have been born and bred into a society where college is what means success, or at least the start to it, for any individual. Even with this in mind though, I cannot imagine missing out on the one of a kind experience that college offers. It is true that the question of its worthwhile is still up in the air. As Economist Anthony Carnevale explained, we have lost about six million jobs since the start of the recession. That means six million less people graduating from college with a place to. Because of this, I believe that college may not be useful for someone planning working in a field that does not require a major, but I stick firmly with my first comment that it should be an opportunity available for everyone.

  • Sandy Evsanaa

    I think College is worth it because it can get you the best jobs in the world: doctor engineer, etc. Plus, college graduates also make more than high school graduates. They make approximately $30,000 more. Now that’s a lot of money. But since the world is in a recession and as college tuition goes through the roof, I think the real problem is if a particular college is worth it. Many people have told me that IVY league colleges are not worth it since you’ll be in so much debt and many people must do menial jobs to pay off their debt and many fail to pay off their loans.

    Instead, we should follow Sweden, or the ‘Nordic Model’. Their education is free for their own citizens and if you don’t want to graduate a university, you can go to another school designed for social services.

  • Jacky

    I think college is worth the cost. From the infographic listed up there, you will see college graduated students almost earn 50% more than non college graduated students. This is a very huge amount. Most of the college graduated students can earn more than 40,000 dollars per year. They can pay back their debt really easy with that amount of money. Our world is improving so fast, so I think a college degree will keep you up at the top of the market.


  • Clare R

    Even though college is insanely expensive, it is probably worth it in the long run. In these kinds of situations, you have to think of the pros and cons. The infographic I looked at puts many facts about college and tuition and fees into perspective. The median earnings of 24-35 year old full-time workers with a high school diploma get about $30,000, while workers with a bachelor’s degree get over $40,000. And on top of that, 86% of college graduates say college was a good investment for them. Seems great so far, right? But the infographic showed a lot more negative attention from polls than positive. 75% of Americans can’t afford a college education, and only 7% thinks our education system is the best in the world. Prices for a better education keeps increasing, and it has doubled in the past 30 years. It seems pretty ridiculous to put so much effort into something like this. And imagine a family with more than one child. If America can figure out a way to make the college system more reasonable and accessible to families with not as much money as others, then I would have to say it’s worth it 100%.


  • Ellie Teare

    Personally I think it is very important for people to go to college, that can determine the outcome of a persons future, but the cost is definitely too much. If you think about it, if college was more accessible to people, financially, there would be less high school drop outs and therefore more educated and productive people. I thought it was appalling in the info graphic that I read, that the cost of college tuition and fees has gone up by more than $15,000 since 1980. How are people supposed to come up with the money for that? The main reason people don’t go to college is because they can’t afford it, not because they don’t want to and I’m sure if tuition was lower, so many more people could a an education, then a well paying job and be happy little middle class people.,31813,2072670,00.html

  • Ameena H

    I think that college is worth the cost because in the long run without a good education it will be very difficult to find a job (and being jobless can create poverty).But I think that a lot of people would like to get a proper education but can not afford it, so we need to find a way to make college more affordable for people of all financial states. In the Time infographic(,31813,2072670,00.html) four year private school is almost 4 times more expensive than four year public schools. But 86% of college graduates say it is a good investment (6% say it is not a good investment). I think college has to become a bigger topic for the president.

  • Koda C.

    I think college is always worth it. It educates and helps society so much and leads our world into the future. With college new ideas are brought to life and improve our lives everyday lives. College is an amazing place but I do agree with many of the other people saying that the cost is very very high for the investment of a better future. I think college is worth it but depending on the position you are at, at the time also comes into mind when making the decision to spend thousands of dollars. If you are able to get a good paying job without going to college and getting a diploma, you might just want to take that job because even if you do go to college, is there any guarantee that you will get a job that you were looking for after? Of course getting a good education in life is good but many americans don’t have the money to pay for that kind experience. If they could lower the price that would be awesome! Because I plan to go to college and don’t want to face the wraith of the debt that will eventually fall on me.


  • Devin H.

    Depending on the person, college can or cannot be worth the
    cost. Like the video stated, there are certain people such as entrepreneurs who
    don’t necessarily need college education. But I and probably most other
    students believe that college is well worth the cost. Just because jobs are
    very sparse in these tough economic times, it doesn’t mean we should give up
    altogether. And although a college degree doesn’t guarantee a job nowadays, having
    one definitely helps. According to source below, the percentage of the
    workforce made up of people with college degrees in the workforce has increased
    over time while the percentages of the workforce made up of high school
    graduates and dropouts are decreasing.


  • Justin Stewart

    Everything always depends on circumstance, but the large portion of the time, it is beneficial to go to college in this day and age. If a family unquestionably doesn’t have the money, college is less advised, because of debt, but it could in theory still be a good investment. As Time’s info-graphic reported, 86% of college graduates said that it was a good investment. Only 6% said otherwise. I would go to say that it is a good gamble to take advice of the 86%.

  • Miles Orozco

    I think that colleges are becoming crazy expensive. College is not for everyone. if you are uncertain about what you want to do, or the field of work you want to go in requires or recommends a degree then college is definitely worth it. However, there are some professions that do not require a degree, and in fact getting a degree for a specialized field of work would not prove beneficial, unless said job becomes irrelevant, or unimportant in our ever changing society and work force. I only wish that colleges would stop spending a majority of their income on beautifying up campuses and classes.

  • Dimitri

    I believe that college is well worth the cost given that the person going to college has a good percentage of getting a job. If someone works hard for 4 years only to go to a job that they could of gotten if dropped out of high school then it becomes completely wasted only because their field doesn’t need more employees. Its times like these when you stop do what you want and start doing what you have to. A degree in coding or computer design can land you a well paying job due to the lack of educated workers in this field while a degree in economics might only fetch a menial desk job, an accountant, pay a mere $15/hour.

    Source: Video up above, Various people in the tech industry, News

  • Jake Ng

    Yes, the long term investment for a better future is worth the cost. Depending on what you major in, what kind of job you obtain, and which year you graduate in, the return on investment will differ. However, with the rising prices of college it could be a better idea to wait for your financial situation to become more stable before going for the long term investment. According to the Chronicle, the average amount of money a degree holder received was 43% higher than the average non-degree holder.

  • jiahao S

    I think that college can or can not be worth the cost, depending what you want to be in the future, if you want to be a doctor or lawyer then you should go to college because it helps the society and it can get you jobs after you finish college, if you want to be a cashier in a fast food chain then college may not be necessary. Also personally I think it is important for people to go to college, that can determine the outcome of a persons future.

  • Henry Zhu

    I think that college is definitely worth the cost. I realize that college has gotten significantly more expensive over the last ten years, but despite the rising costs, education is still the most important asset someone can have. I think that if someone goes to a good college, and does fairly well in college, then he/she has a very good chance of getting a well paying job. Even though, according to the video a lot of people cannot find jobs after graduation, it is most likely people who did not do well in college who cannot find jobs. Nobody would like a below average student for an employee. According to the info graphic, 86% of college students believe that college is a good investment, so I think if you are a good student then you have a very strong chance of getting a good job.

    Another reason that college is very important is that an educated workforce is one one the most important things that a country needs to have. According to Robert Reich, America is the wealthiest nation because America had the strongest, most skilled workforce in the 1900s but now America’s education system is no longer the best in the world. According to the info graphic America is 10th in the percentages of secondary-school graduates at 42%. Without an educated workforce America will fall behind in innovation and production and will lost its position as a foremost world power. That’s why I believe college is definitely worth the cost.,31813,2072670,00.html

    • Gabriel Llamas

      i agree college is worth the money. I believe that if you go to college you can get a better paying job. I completely agree that without an educated work force America will fall behind in productivity and innovation.

  • Ryan Kelley-Cahill

    Yes, college is extremely worth it, if you’re planning on getting a job that requires a degree. If you plan on becoming something else, then perhaps the cost of college isn’t for you. You need to do what you can to achieve the goals you want. Many people do go to college for their own enjoyment however. Like what Michael Roth said, there are many different schools out there, the odds are extremely high that the field of study that you’re interested in has a school that teaches it somewhere. If you do plan on getting a career that does in fact require a college degree though, then you outta go to college, otherwise, the other guy that does decide to go to college is going to get it. It’s a gamble, much like the rest of life. Going to college and getting a good job afterwards isn’t a guarantee anymore. People have to work hard and fight for their wants, or they’ll be left behind as the rest of the world advances. I’m not saying that’s necessarily fair, it’s just how it is. So, bottom line is, if you plan on getting a college degree required job, then you need to go to college, it’s (required)… And if not, then you still might have fun taking community college classes (much more inexpensive) for your own amusement and self knowledge. After all, the only reason you go to college is to learn more, why not learn something that makes it fun?

  • Bujka Battsooj

    It’s hard to say college worth it or not .But our generation must have to learn to college.We don’t need to worry about our future’s hard economy.We only care about our knowledge. If we learn a lot we can change the future.

  • Winnie Zhou


    Education, I think is one of the most important things in life. We can look from the past kqed do now about whether there should be equal education between genders and see how many people in the world don’t get the education they want. And if we have great education in the U.S, shouldn’t we value it even more and take an advantage that we have the option to be successful in future careers from the education we get. And this is I think college is definitely worth it. Though some college education may be expensive, there are so many options out there to support each one of us to get a great education whether it may be scholarships, financial aid, transferring from a community college, etc. From my source, about 86% of Americans say college is a good investment. Especially now and in the future, it’s sad to say but true that many career places do look for skills students have developed over their college years that make them a fine selection for the job. And because there are internships for students to work at companies, many of the students graduate and end up getting a job at the company they interned for. Without the education that we strive for, the world would not be as advance as it is now.

  • Billy C.

    I think that college is definitely worth it as a means of furthering ones learning and more importantly securing jobs that would require a degree of sorts. Now perhaps not everybody is suited to go to college such as people aspiring to be entrepreneurs and that makes sense but I don’t think that we should have to ask ourselves whether or not college is worth it. According to a poll done by Time magazine, most Americans think that a college education is too expensive and something as important as education shouldn’t be taken from those who are enthusiastic to learn but simply can’t afford it. The fact that a higher education is increasingly harder to afford really doesn’t help people that are want to break free of poverty and it doesn’t help the workforce as people aren’t capable of becoming skilled workers. I agree with Azar Nafisi from the video in that education and work go hand in hand and that we are working with a system that could probably use an overhaul.

    Back to the topic though, I think that college is worth it and according to Time magazine statistics, people who have full time jobs and bachelor’s degrees can make up to $20,000 more than someone with a full time job, carrying but a high school diploma. Additionally, college is a means of expanding your options for jobs, possibly giving you better opportunities for future careers. However I think it’s important to note that it is crucial to know what you want to do for a job or for work. It’s an astonishing that apparently only 27 percent of college graduates have a job related to their major.

    Side note: I feel estranged when I step back and realize that all the learning we do today is all relatively work focused. We learn to work and it just seems a bit odd.


  • Michael P.

    A college education is a strong advantage in such a tough job market. However many jobs require people with abilities, rather than just credentials, such as
    a diploma. Many studies compare the average income of workers, who have college degrees, against those who don’t, but often those studies can be skewed; data is often based on the income of workers who graduated college decades before. For
    some jobs, college looked like a sign of dedication and work, which would distinguish an individual apart from other applicants. Considering the vast
    amount of college graduates, individuals must develop skills specific for a certain job in order to stand out in the labor market. And with the rising
    costs of college education, students should develop skills that are vital to jobs outside of the U.S., such as learning a language to become a
    representative for a foreign company.

  • Avery Andrews

    I think that it depends on what you are interested in. If you have a path that you want to follow, then definitely yes, investing in a university is worth it. But if you have no idea what you want to do, it might end of being a waste of money that ends in a Communications degree(NO OFFENSE). if by the end of high school, you have found something that you are really good at, and don’t need to go to college for it, then go for it! But that’s very rare. An example is JacksGap. Two British twin brothers-Jack and Finn Harries- started out just making YouTube videos about their gap year between high school and university. After a semester at University of Leeds they both decided that they learned more about film making by being out in the real world and making short documentaries about their life than sitting in a classroom with a textbook, and decided to drop out. They now have over 3 million subscribers on YouTube and are a household name. And they’re only 20! So obviously, college isn’t for everyone, especially if you can’t afford it. I also think that people need to understand that just because you can’t afford a college like UC Berkeley, it doesn’t mean you can’t further your education. Community colleges baby! You can always transfer to a 4-year when you’re ready and go from there. So basically I think that furthering your education past high school is vital no matter how. Whether it be attending Yale, taking classes at Laney, or skydiving in India!,31813,2072670,00.html

    In this infographic, I find it interesting that the US isn’t up there with S. Korea in tems of post secondary education because it seems we are so pro-college.

  • Omar Salgado

    I think that college is worth going to but sometimes the cost can be to much. But people that go to college earn more money then people that don’t. I think that it is important because It could help improve the amount of poor people. It could hard to find the right college but there something out there for everyone. But sometimes college could be to expensive for some people. Or people that finish college and try to find a job but its vary hard to find one and full of debt. Sometimes people make it without going to college and have a good job and good income. So to sum it up I think that its all up to the person if they feel the need to go or not to go


  • Megan L

    To me without a doubt college is an important asset to obtain. With a college degree many new paths are opened to you, unlike those who have graduated with a high school degree. It is true that going to a college is an expensive experience, but it would be worth it. Besides, students are enabled to get scholarships, financial aids, and many other opportunities to fund for their education. Or like many others students, one can go to community college first and then transfer to a better college. By doing this you can save a lot of money then going straight to a university. However, the decision is yours.

    Going back to my point, by going to college and earning a degree in whatever major you choose, your life will be a lot better once you enter the real world. With these skills you have acquired you are better prepared for the competitive world of work than those who only have a high school diploma. Like what the Pew Research Center surveys have found there are 55% of the students that say college helps prepare them for a job. Also 86% say that college is a good investment. Some people may argue that they went to college, got a degree and still couldn’t get a job. Well one reason could be that the major you picked was not one that was highly needed. According to Kate Lorenz, editor of careerbuilder, the most wanted workers are teachers, engineers, and accountants. While Christa Fletcher says that the health profession would be a top career. As long as you pick a major that is highly wanted by employers then you are definitely going to get a job. On the other hand, if you pick a major that is not highly needed then you might have some difficulties finding a job. All in all, college is certainly worth it. You get a better chance of finding a well-paid job and you get a unique experience during college life.


  • Daysia Adams

    Personally, going to college is more than just an important thing to achieve. In the world we live in today, most jobs require more than just a high school diploma but also a college degree. I believe that its crazy that college has become this expensive. Being that college is so valuable, why is it that americans are having to pay so much for something that is NEEDED to live in the world we live in today. Many students are dropping out of high school just off the fact that they already believe in themselves that college will not be an option for them because of the poverty level they may be in. That alone should be a depressant for all us americans. Many children aren’t aware of all the programs that are out there to support those who may not be able to financially be backed for a college education. With a college degree, students will be able to excel in whatever subject they take interest in and from there be able to get a good career with a good paying stable steady job. The poverty level in our country is only getting worse and in my opinion we have definately become a confused nation. The government expects for all of these students to graduate from high school and go to college when the problem is that they in their heads are thinking where in the world will i get the money from? I really find it sad that many students my age have already given up on themselves and their lives. In the end, most of these kids by the age of 21 will be dependent upon the government funds and food stamps to survive. That alone should be something that bothers us as a people. Also, as a young black lady myself , I barely see people of my own race graduating and going off to prestigious colleges. Its sad to know that most of your own people group aren’t having the advantage of getting a college education simply based off of the fact that they don’t come from a family of money. Many teenagers aren’t aware that in order to even think about college your high school education must come first and the thing about that is that , a high school education is free, thats what public schools are made for. But most of the time public schools don’t have the best educators or mentors to tell the children who seem to be falling off track that they can succeed and do better. Nobody to tell them that yes, if they try hard , they will be capable of graduating top of the class and then on , possibly with a scholarship , to a good college. Also school poverty and what school students graduate from effects them also. But the problem is that many kids living in poor neighborhoods have no other choice but to go to these schools. My generation lacks encouragement towards each other because most parents of these kids didn’t get a good education either so they have no one to look up to. I do believe however that , you need to know what career you would like to take up a job for , most kids coming out of high school have no clue at all. A man by the name of Anthony J. D’Angelo quoted , “Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” I think thats what we must do to succeed because once it becomes a passion nobody will be able to take it away from you.

  • Rowan SS

    I feel that going to college is still worth the cost for most people. First of all currently there are lots of scholarships out there for those who require the extra help financially. College is an very important asset in ones life for the degree and also for the life experience gathered there. But as said in the main video “Soaring College Costs Revive Debate over Diploma’s Value” I don’t believe that it is truly meant for everyone. Some people get more than others from college and some people won’t be able to make good decisions when it comes to college loans. But I do think that if college gets too much more expensive then it truly won’t be worth the cost of getting into it

  • Michael Richie

    Students with a college degree and a high school diploma are better off than those without one, and it is worth the cost. Even with families that require financial aid to send their child to college have done so and many have succeed. More and more jobs that require nothing higher than a high school diploma have been being made, such as janitors, bartenders etc. in 2012, and possibly 2013 or later. It’s crazy how insane college is today, and the cost is getting higher every year. In the time info graphic “Is college worth it?” 86% of students said that college was worth the cost, and only 6% said otherwise. However students that graduate college said that paying off student loans may affect their career choice. If college is worth it is merely to the eye of the beholder, but it is well worth the cost, and I feel all students should have an experience to open new pathways for their future.

  • Kyle Lintao

    The cost of college is far above my expectation. There are many people who would give anything to go to college. But there are also people who are given the opportunity to attend a high end college but drop out because of a “good paying job” or family matters. The cost of college should be based on how much and how well you do in school. If you cant afford college but you want a good future and you are willing to thrive they you should be able to go to college.

  • Gavin Maxwell

    College is an overpriced and overused commodity. While many people lunge at the chance to make more money many of them are plunged into debt by the costs. On average instate colleges cost around $30,000 a year with housing and classes. Out of state costs almost twice as much as instate with a total price of approximately $50,000 dollars a year. These prices seem even more ridiculous when presented with the fact the people proficient in a trade will make more money a year on average. College is one of the most expensive gambles in the world, because when you graduate from college you have no guarantee, only a degree.

  • Matthew Cunanan

    College is definitely overpriced. I do not believe it is worth the cost, although it is obviously great to go to college and get your education, but the costs are pretty unbelievable at times. It is not worth the cost in my opinion. It’s truly up to if you can afford it or not.

  • Jordan

    Yes, college is overpriced, but that doesn’t necessarily entail that it isn’t a good choice. College diplomas grant you the ability to work in higher-paying positions, and enable you to live with luxuries such as a big house, a decent car, et cetera. College isn’t worth the cost unless financial aid has been provided, such as a scholarship or grant. I think that if you want college tuition to be worth the cost, you should pursue some form of financial aid. For example, I am trying to get into the United States Naval Academy, where everything is paid for if you get accepted. College will be worth basically nothing and once my mandatory term in the Navy is completed, I will be in no debt whatsoever.

  • Kyasia Thompson

    I totally agree that college is really expensive.I know there are scholarships and grants but what about the people that can’t get scholarships or grants? To me I think everyone should have an equal and fair education and shouldn’t have to stress about paying back school/student loans. Most college graduates don’t have steady jobs to support their families which can lead them to depend on government support ( section 8, public housing/housing authority food stamps and social services) I know a lot of people misuse government support but there our people out here that really need it. If you take your time to go to college and graduate you should be grantee a stable and supportive job.

  • Branden Christman

    I think collage is not worth the amount of money you have to pay in the us but I do think collage in a different country would be worth the cost seance it’s at least half the cost yearly.

  • Hank Smith

    I think if you have the motivation and the money college is worth it but if its gonna leave you in the hole then don’t go for it. I would like to get a masters in computer science but if i know i can’t pay it all then i will skip it. In the info graphic “Is College Worth It?” it says 75% of people in America say they can’t afford it but 86% of graduates say it was a good investment, so i would say if you think you need the experience do it if can can’t afford it don’t! Sources:,31813,2072670,00.html

  • Megan Martinez

    Getting a college degree will be worth it at the end. You’ll have been able to major in a subject that interested you and be able to possibly get a well paying job doing or related to what you are interested in

  • Angie Zuloaga

    I think college is worth the cost because in there you get your degree. In college you can get more money than a person who only went to high school. You have a better life. You can work whatever you want to work on. All the hard work you did in high school, not throw it all away. If you can’t get to a university there’s college and institute. The hard work you do in college is going to pay off in the end.

    • Karrah Aweseome

      Lets say, that after high school and you manage you do make it all the way through college and you get degree in a field that you want to get a job for. But in the economy, what if there are no jobs? You will have to be stuck working at low pay jobs that do not require a college degree in the first place.

  • Karrah Aweseome

    I believe that college is no longer worth it in this economy. Going to college cost a ton of money. When is college, you can get kicked out easily, causing this money to go to waste. Even getting into a not so great college is hard to afford. But lets say that you do make it all the way through college and you get degree in a field that you want to get a job for. But in the economy, what if there are no jobs? You will have to be stuck working at low pay jobs that do not require a college degree in the first place. And guess what? You have a ton of debt to pay off too.

    • Marlon Uchiha

      College is definitely worth it. You gain more knowledge, a sense of more hard work, balance. Getting a degree in college can lead you to obtaining a career, which is also a path to better, happier life. Degree is key to better jobs. People want to hire others who have a full education, rather than just graduating high school. It’s how the system works, yes it can have its effects to the economy, but you as a person should consider college if possible.

    • Michael Frantsen

      What do you suppose we do then, Karrah? How prepared are students when they leave high school to fill the technologically advanced manufacturing jobs that have replaced many of the old “assembly line” jobs of our fathers/mothers? Yes, I see your point, however, we are left with limited options in this economy and social system.

  • Karrah Aweseome
    • Martez Maddox


      • Karrah Aweseome

        College is not worth it.

  • Martez Maddox

    College is only worth to the ones who want to get in it. It matter if you have a debt that can’e be paid or you don’t finish. It don’t matter if you have motivation or not. It depend on if you have to guts to do those extra times in a harder place to get into a better job. College is a way to expand your education and have a better percentage in getting into a job that you wanted to be in

    • Michael Frantsen

      It does give you better odds to find and fill a job that you would want to be in, rather than taking any job to make ends meet. However, does a college degree, and a job that pertains to that degree, always result in a greater degree of job satisfaction and happiness? Do some research on how satisfied, overall, people are with their jobs. There must be a PEW research poll on it somewhere. Martez, you need to watch your grammar when you reply.

    • Emily Douglas

      Have a better education gives you a chance to have a better career. Yes, you need motivation and a lot of work to get to that extra education, but in the long run, it will always be worth it.

    • Joseph Merrick

      I agree with you to a point. I mean you have to have some kind of motivation if you want to graduate college and actually have it mean something to you. Now you don’t have to graduate to make more money, but if you don’t graduate college, then you will be making more money then if you didn’t go to college at all, but not as much as you would if you would of graduated college. Source:

  • Jordan H.

    Yes, collage is worth the cost, but it all depends on what type of degree you are planning on getting and how much that career pays in the long run.

  • Quanisha

    yes college is worth every penny spented on it the more knowing the more going knowlegde is the key to a successful life and anything is worth make a change for the good.

  • Joseph Merrick

    Yes I think that it is worth it to go to college, and that if you do, the possibility for getting a better, higher, paying job is more likely. I mean you cant force someone to go to college, but if someone has the will, mind set, motivation, and skill set to go to college then I think that they absolutely should. I mean it has been said that if you graduate from college that you will make more money in your life time, and you are more likely to become part of the middle or upper class if you graduate from college. Now I mean you can’t just get any job and expect to make more money, you should probably get a job in the field that you went to college for.

  • Melissa Perry

    I would like to revise this issue to ask: Is education worth the cost?
    People can go to college without getting an education. Of course this is to their own detriment but is still a rare occurrence. The point being, there are ways other that college to gain a higher education. However, regardless of the method by which it is obtained; I consider an education to be invaluable. Therefore, to me at least, going to college is well worth the cost.

  • Fiona

    Take a gander at this:

  • Brandon C

    The problem with college is that many go into higher education not knowing what they really want to do in their lives. This can result in the achievement of an undesirable degree, an english major for example. Most students can’t get a high paying job with a diploma in art or english and therefore cannot pay back their debts. As the economy gets worse and worse the problem gets more pronounced. As such, if one wants to get a job reviewing art or such, it might be preferable to go to a state college or the like. Dodging the high college cost.

  • davidjenny

    I concur with the opinion that college is worth the cost. It is true that true employment is not a guarantee after you graduate college but the stats look a lot better for those who do go to college than those who don’t. I can’t disagree that college is not expensive College is an investment, that will eventualy pay off. If you go to college you will probably get a job in something you major in.

  • Francesca Botto

    I think that college is worth cost. Although it’s true that you can get a job with a college degree, these jobs tend to be less stable, with no benefits. Going to college, getting a master, a bachelor, or even a phd, gives you better chances for careers, and more opportunities to advance in life.

  • Caroline P

    The education and promising future you receive upon graduating college is necessary and most definitely worth it. The debt, on the other hand, is completely unnecessary and not worth it. Many college graduates are put into thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, putting extra pressure on them to get a high paying job in order to quickly pay off their loans. An education should not put a burden on you later in life; an undergraduate education can be cheap and affordable. Besides the obvious burden of student loans, the education and experience we receive upon attending college is unlike anything else. A college education is required in order to get a respectable job in today’s society, and college is worth going to, but the debt is not.

  • Camille

    Knowledge is power. By getting a college degree you are setting yourself up for a broader horizon, more opportunities, more experiences, and a greater personal knowledge. But, I can appreciate how intimidating the price can be, especially if you don’t have anyone one else backing you financially. What worries me more than anything is choosing what education I want to invest my money in, since i’m only in high school I have no idea what I want to study, or what career I want to put my schooling into. When I was younger, my mom spent a lot of money on going to Seminary, and now she works in math analysis. She doesn’t use her PHD at all! I am very grateful to have her though, because she said she will try and take care of all my student loans for me if I get into a college that I like. I looked at the graphic statistics for this article and I saw that over half of the people that went to college said that college gave them “intellectual growth” and “maturity”, and that intrigued me. Eighty four percent said it was a good investment. I think that college is worth the cost.

  • Breanna Dean

    I do think that college is important but the costs are very high. This makes it very difficult for people to even go to college. In the country that we live in poverty is very high and its sad that people have to worry about paying for there college educations at very young ages. Parents are digging deep into their pockets for something that they want their children to achieve . But its coming even more difficult for the people to provide this because costs are getting higher. Some kids are even dropping out of school in high school because they have no hope for the future. Its pretty sad. There needs to be more programs for kids in poverty because they have no motivation.

  • Caroline P

    Two college counselors weigh in on the cost of college and the debt that often accompanies it.

  • Francesca Botto

    A beginning snippet of a long lost popcorn in the makes.

  • Delanie spector

    For me, this is a very interesting question. As a senior in high school myself and about to go to a 4 year university, I did question myself as to is the money I am about to spend really going to be worth it? I have had countless number of teacher tell me that almost none of their employers asked them where they had gone to college. While everyone is trying to get into big name schools, does it even matter if you actually go. We hear about people like Bill Gates who didn’t even go to college and is one of the most successful people. It is actually somewhat confusing to me that people, including myself, are willing to go into debt and spend so much money that now a day’s isn’t even guaranteed to get the job. Everyone goes to college now so it isn’t like you can stand out of the crowd because you have a college degree. I do think , on the other hand that it is very important to get an education further then high school. I am 18 and to think that this could be my last year with mandatory education scares me. I still have so much to learn. I can’t imagine being thrown out into the real world at this age and just being expected to know what to do. This is a scary thought and I don’t think I am the only person who thinks about this. The question really does go unanswered, is it worth it to pay for a college education? I guess it just depends on who you are.

  • Emma

    Let me say this… I am a H.S. teacher and I have witnessed a lot of kids go off to college too soon and fail out. Here is some advice for graduating seniors and their parents based on 15 years of observations.

    1. Make them work and pay for some of it.( they have to have some skin in the game)

    2. If they are immature and not self- reliant don’t let them go to a far off University.

    3. Have them talk to recent graduates to get advice/tips; they are much more likely to listen to them than you.

    4. A community college is a great place to save money and usually has professors who are teachers 1st unlike the research focused professors at Universities

    5. Don’t be frivolous with your cash. Consider things like $25/month car insurance (from 4AutoInsuranceQuote), $20/month mobile phone (TMobile), $15/month gym membership (Planet Fitness), and use apps like GasBussy to save money in other ways. College is expensive – save for it!

    6. Speaking of which – Don’t try to “Keep up with the Jones”. This dooms kids and forces them into the student debt trap.

    7. Don’t be afraid to let them fail. If you constantly bail them out you will be doing it for the rest of their lives and they will never grow as a person.

    8. Make them aware of the differences in earning power/job availability of different majors.

    9. The military, tech school, and apprenticeships are all viable alternatives to college.

    10. Do a cost/ benefit analysis if you are going to take on significant debt make sure it’s for a valuable degree. 60k debt for a chemistry degree is ok, 60k for Art History is not.

  • larissa moreno

    I think that college is worth cost. Although it’s true that you can get a job with a college degree, these jobs tend to be less stable, with no benefits. Going to college, getting a master, a bachelor, or even a phd, gives you better chances for careers, and more opportunities to advance in life.


Matthew Green

Matthew Green produces and edits The Lowdown, KQED’s multimedia news education blog, an online resource for educators and the general public. He previously taught journalism at Fremont High School in East Oakland, and has written for numerous local publications, including the Oakland Tribune and San Francisco Chronicle. Email:; Twitter: @KQEDlowdown

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