The Devils' Advocate

Is College Worth It?

Jeffrey Clouser, Editor at Large

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Going to college is arguably one of the most monumental decisions one can make in their life. The decision to further one’s education at a college or university is an important decision that requires copious amounts of research, intelligent thought, and consideration. There are many reasons as to why an individual should or should not go to college. People must ask themselves certain questions before they set out on the life changing endeavor that is college.

  • Are you the type of person to push through the difficulties college will put in your way?
  • Are you willing to put in the work to achieve success in a college setting?
  • Will you be able to handle the stress of college life?

However, more recently this question is being asked: Is college worth it?

Choosing colleges is a lot about cost. Right off the bat, the average cost of tuition to attend college is staggering on its own. The average cost of tuition in the United States for Public in-state colleges is $25,290 per year. For those looking to attend a Private College, expect to pay somewhere near $50,900 a year in tuition.In addition to that, tuitions are on the rise.

Over the years the price for attending a college or university has continually increased. Recent studies have proven this to be an undeniable fact. According to The College Board’s most recently published report on Trends in Higher Education, between 2007 to 2017 there has been an average annual rate of increase in tuition of 3.2% for public four-year in-state colleges.

This seems like a small amount amount but when applied to tens of thousands of dollars it can add up quickly. That being said, going to college is a very big financial investment. As a result, students have to turn to student loans in order to pay for college.

So how does one fund an expensive venture like college you might ask? The answer: student loans. Student loans are the popular method for funding college education due to the fact that most households do not have copious amounts of spare money just laying around. The problem with student loans are they generate debt for students and interest rates plummet students into debt even further.

The most recent interest rates for student loans like the Stafford Loans and the Direct PLUS loans are 6% and 7%. These are relatively high rates for student loans and create the risk of student defaults. A default is defined as when a person can not produce the money to make a payment towards a loan, and fails to do so for at least a year.

According to Forbes, a “record” 8.5 million federal student loan borrowers are in debt. This is approximately a 11.5% default rate out of all student loan borrowers. This means that there is a lot at risk for prospective college students. The opportunity to go to college presents the great possibility of a bright future and a great return on investment in the form of future salaries. However, the chance of beginning your life in financial ruins is also a slim, but still present, possibility.

The high price of tuitions, and the risk that student loans present have made making deciding to go to college very complex. College is a very expensive investment. So much so that it can,and most likely will, put you in debt. But the upside to this debt is a phenomenal yearly salary. On average, a student with a bachelor’s degree will make $64,891 salary right out of college.

In comparison, students with only a highschool diploma will make only $30,000 salary. This is nearly half of what you would make with a college degree. So yes, in the long run, going to college is a good investment. After paying off the initial debt with future salaries, the flow of income will be significantly greater than the income for those who chose not to go to college, and therefore eventually provide a great return on investment.

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