The Value of a College Education
Is college really worth it? We’re always hearing debate about whether or not the value of a college education holds strong in this economy. With tuition rising people question whether or not the investment is worth it. We want to break it down for you to make it easy for you to decide.
In an article in Forbes a couple of years ago, Erika Andersen wrote: “we over-rely on time spent in school as a measure of intelligence… and of fitness for a job. Now, don’t get me wrong: some careers certainly require a rigorous course of study, generally best done in a collegiate and/or post-collegiate environment… But for other jobs, I think we often assume that a college degree is necessary when it’s not actually even helpful,” (Anderson, 2012). In an even more extreme article in The Huffington Post, Michael Price wrote: “Anyone who makes the terrible mistake of pursuing a college education in this day and age will live to regret it,” (Price, 2014). It seems there is a frenzy brewing over the value of post-secondary education.
Does it make sense to require a Bachelor’s degree to work in management at a fast food store? Does it seem fair that in order to work as a customer service representative for at a big corporation you’ll need some level of college education?
The answers to these questions may vary, but one thing is clear. Whether you like it or not, employers’ desire a college degree.
The Realities of the Job Market
Georgetown recently released a study indicating that 13 million jobs nationwide will require, at the very least, a Bachelor’s degree for consideration. In fact, they reported that “65 percent of [all] job vacancies will require some postsecondary education and training,” (Georgetown, 2013). That is 61 million jobs. It was also said that by 2020 we will be 3 million short in college graduates for these job vacancies.
With this information in mind it becomes pretty clear. Like it or not, a college education is a prerequisite for the majority of jobs in this country. If you want to give yourself a greater chance to be employable, then college is a safe bet.
Return on Investment
Now if you’re still wondering whether or not college is worth the cost, let’s look at your R.O.I. It is estimated that a college graduate will earn $1 million- $1.5 million more over his/her lifetime than a non-college graduate. That’s a big average. If you’re looking at investing $100,000-$200,000 in a Bachelor’s degree than your return is 5-10 times your investment. That could make the difference of being an elevator technician, making $85,000 per year, and being a manager of the company, making $150,000 per year.
When is College Not the Answer?
The only time I will say a college degree is not worth it is if you, the student, are not motivated towards some sort of a career path or you are not academically inclined.
If your plan is to go to college and to try and figure out your life, maybe entering the workforce is a better plan for you. Some need to be inspired by a job to value education and its results. For this type of person, going into the workforce would allow you to earn income while finding your path, instead of wasting time and money.
In addition, if you’re not a good student and you struggle to pass your classes, then college will be tough. It may not be the right environment or pathway for you. You may consider alternative vocational programs to get a credential that qualifies you for a career path, or perhaps you need time at a community college (less of a monetary investment) to build your study skills.
College is a valuable commodity in today’s job market. Know that 65% percent of jobs require some sort of college education. If you want to get a job, it is a safe bet to go to college (whether it seems fair or not). The only instance where it might not make sense is if you are not a strong student and/or you don’t have ambitions to utilize college to its full potential. You may not be a candidate for the majority of jobs, but you won’t waste excess time and money navigating a system that isn’t made for you.
Still confused? Call us (661) 295-9946. We’re happy to schedule a college planning analysis and meet with your family one-on-one. We can guide you to find the answer that is right for you!