More Americans are attending college today than ever before. And that’s generally considered a good thing.

But skyrocketing college tuition at both public and private universities has left a growing number of graduates mired in debt and struggling to find good paying jobs. It’s a widening problem that’s received an unprecedented degree of attention in the 2016 presidential campaign (among the Democratic contenders, at least).

All of which begs the question: is all that studying and sacrifice really worth the huge financial hit? With pencil in hand, comic journalist Andy Warner explores the issue.

Click below to view as a slideshow, or download full comic here.

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SelfPortraitAndy Warner’s comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate,, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at: and

Is College Worth the Cost? An Illustrated Explainer 24 May,2016Andy Warner

  • Jacqueline

    There are other terms for post-secondary education, too: business school, trade school, technical training, trade apprenticeships, vocational training, field certification, and other forms of preparations for skilled jobs that hopefully do not change requirements in a few years. I have two smart, analytical young friends who carefully researched what kinds of work environments they liked in the context of their gifts, carefully researched (and asked a LOT of professionals about) which schools were the most established and best known in their respective industries for producing excellent employees, then they dug in, with no loans, with family help and/or part-time jobs. One is a talented automotive specialist and promising blogger. The other is a creative young intellectual beginning cosmetology school. It’s not the end of the line for higher education for either of them–It’s just the beginning of their expressions of their creativity in the marketplace.

  • del2124

    Of course it’s still “worth it,” it’s just that people have to pay so much more to go there now. It would still be “worth it” even if college cost $80,000 a year, if that was the only way to get a professional job, but that would be a pretty awful situation.

  • Emma

    I am a 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.

  • in present the college rate is the so increasing from the fees..many people not going for the college reason for money…


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Andy Warner

SelfPortraitAndy Warner's comic journalism has been published by Symbolia, Slate,, American Public Media, Campus Progress and more. You can see more of his work at:

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