Why College Is Worth the Cost

As college tuition continues to rise, the debate continues. Each year, students and parents dive into the college search process, comparing schools and costs, loans and scholarships, questioning, is a college degree worth the cost?

Yes, it is. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, greater levels of education correspond to greater income. As of 2015, college graduates earn an average of $1,341 more per week than those without a college degree. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that the unemployment rate of those with a bachelor’s degree is roughly half the rate of those without higher education experience. That rate drops to less than 2.5 percent unemployment with a master’s degree, and less than 2 percent with a doctorate.

Students should apply, check out scholarship opportunities, and complete the FAFSA to see final cost before dismissing any schools for cost alone. Keep in mind that most students do not pay the “sticker price” thanks to available scholarships, loans, and other opportunities to help finance college. Once families receive financial aid award letters from schools admitted to, it helps inform the discussion while comparing the final cost along with fit, location, opportunities, and other factors important to making the best college choice.

When researching and visiting colleges, students and parents should also review factors such as retention rate, graduation rate, percentage of students receiving financial aid, and available scholarship opportunities, all of which play a role in this worthwhile investment.

It’s important to remember that the rising cost corresponds to the rising value of a college education. Many jobs previously secured by hardworking high school graduates now require a bachelor’s degree. As the job market becomes increasingly competitive, a higher degree equates to greater employability, higher earning potential, and increased opportunities. In fact, the Public Policy Institute of California concurs and predicts “that 41 percent of jobs in 2025 will require a college degree.”

With this information in mind, the question then changes from “Is college worth the cost?” to “Which college investment is right for me?”