If you're in high school, you've probably heard from guidance counselors, instructors, and other well-intentioned people that you need to go to college to make a good livelihood. Is a college diploma, however, worthwhile? Since your parents were in school, the expense of attending college has risen dramatically. Costs have risen by more than 25% in the last decade, and most college graduates graduate with heavy student loan debt. A bachelor's degree, on the other hand, can pay off in the long term. Here are some things to think about while determining whether or not college is right for you.
College is a worthwhile investment for many people. A college degree provides the following benefits in addition to gaining significant life experience and making lifelong relationships. Graduates make more money than non-graduates. Despite growing post-secondary education costs, the majority of graduates still see a return on their investment. Those with a bachelor's degree earn much more money on average than those with merely a high school education. How much more is there? According to a 2019 review of Bureau of Labor Statistics data by Northeastern University, workers with high school diplomas earn $38,792 on average and have a 3.7 percent unemployment rate. The majority of jobs necessitate a college diploma.
A college education was not required to earn a middle-class wage in previous generations. Before the 1980s, two-thirds of employment required a high school education or less, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. That isn't the case now. According to Georgetown University, by 2027, 70% of all jobs will require some college education. It may be more difficult to find a high-paying job without a college diploma on your resume, and competition for available positions will be fierce. Health insurance is more likely to be obtained by college graduates with rising healthcare costs, and it's more important than ever to have good health insurance. The baseline premium for single-person insurance purchased through the Health Insurance Marketplace, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, is $462 per month or $5,544 per year. So, how does this relate to college? You might not realize it, but there's a strong link between a college education and health insurance coverage. Employer-provided coverage is significantly more common among college graduates than it is among high school grads, which helps to offset healthcare expenditures. Employer-provided coverage was found to cover 64 percent of workers with bachelor's degrees and 70 percent of workers with advanced degrees, according to the College Board, while only 52 percent of high school grads were covered by employer insurance.
While a four-year degree can be beneficial to many individuals, it is not required for everyone. Consider the following disadvantages before enrolling in college. Because college costs have risen so dramatically, it's unlikely that you'll be able to cover the entire cost with savings or earnings from part-time work; instead, you'll almost certainly have to rely on student loans to cover at least some of the cost. According to The Institute for College Access and Success, 62 percent of 2019 college graduates are in debt, with an average load of $28,950. You may or may not be able to repay your student loans depending on your repayment arrangement. You could be in debt for 10 to 30 years, depending on your student loan repayment plan. You may feel compelled to put off other financial goals, such as saving for retirement or purchasing a home, because of your minimum monthly payments. Jobs with high pay aren't always guaranteed. While a college diploma is frequently advertised as a ticket to success, the job market can be more challenging than you might think. Finding well-paying work after graduation may be challenging, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, which led tens of millions of individuals to file jobless claims in 2020. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the average beginning wage for college graduates immediately out of school is around $51,000. Graduation can take more than four years.
When it comes to earning a bachelor's degree, you should plan on finishing in four years. That, however, may not be feasible. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, only 58 percent of students who started college in 2012 completed it within six years. The remaining pupils were either still enrolled or had dropped out. Each year you spend in school adds to your expenses, and you'll almost certainly need to take on more student loan debt to pay for it. Taking six years or more to finish can result in you graduating with even more debt, making it tough to get out. But honestly, it is really up to you at the end of the day, a degree is a degree no matter what, so maybe a community college may be more in your budget than a research University and that’s ok because with all the debt and uncertainties it wouldn’t have been worth it.