Written by Tiarra Bell, Staff Writer
As student loan debt extends well over $1 trillion, college graduates are burdened with years of staggering payments that leave many wondering, “Is it worth it?”
An index report released by Gallup and Purdue University said that half of U.S. college alumni stated that going to college was not worth the cost, considering they saw a low return on their educational investment.
The 2015 report showed that among the alumni who graduated between 2006 and 2015, only 38 percent thought they were financially secure with a college education. Within the last few years, tuition has increased faster than the rate of inflation.
The study also found that only 26 percent of graduates thought that the education they received by going to a private, for-profit university was worth the price, compared to 47 percent of those who went to a private, non-profit university, and 50 percent of respondents who attended research universities.
Many students currently enrolled in college have a different perception of life after they graduate.
Malcolm Johnson, a senior mathematics major at VSU, said that college should prepare students for their career after college instead of chasing jobs to pay off college debt.
“A college degree is a good requirement for a good career job,” Johnson said. “But for anyone who desires to be something other than a teacher, I think it is a waste of time for the amount of debt we will have. What we learn during college, I think we won’t apply more than half of it afterwards.”
Dariel Dickinson is a communication major who looks to graduate in May 2016. Her plans after college consist of being an event planner, but after hearing the frightening numbers, she is rethinking her career path.
“It’s very discouraging. Education is not free. Since we spend so much money on tuition and fees, it does put in my mind, is college really worth it? I feel it’s more of who you know, than what you know,” Dickinson said.
According to an Edvisors financial report, the average graduate in 2014 had an average of nearly $33,000 in student debt.
To make things a little more unsettling, less than 40 percent of hiring managers felt graduates were ready for jobs in their fields due to lack of key skills, organization and personal finance, according to a study done by Chegg’s Student Hub.
There is not a simple answer to the question of whether college is worth it. Some college degrees seem to pay for themselves, while others don’t. But, a bigger concern seems to be whether we are being thoroughly prepared for our career fields, especially when we are paying thousands of dollars to make sure we will be able to get a job when we graduate, have enough money to support ourselves, and pay back student loans in the process.