What Extent a College Education is Worth the Money

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Several of us are so caught up in the daily hassles that we rarely sit down and ponder, even for a second on critical issues that we do. Lets face it; most of us do most things because we found them that way, so it becomes sort of a routine just to flow with the ebb. Take education, for instance. It is the norm that all children should go through the education system because there is this notion that it will sort of guarantee you a better, prosperous life. But does it? Does attaining top notch education translate to a better and improved life? This paper attempts to address such issues that pertain to education, college education to be precise; whether it certainly worth the time and resources invested in it (CNBC).

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Times have changed, so have situations. The cost of college education back in the 90s backward was ridiculously lower when compared to the cost charged in this day and time. We can attach this humongous increase to inflation, living standards, and economic changes. To drive this point home, the cost of a college education now stands at approximately $42,500 per annum. Put in mind that your kid takes four years or even more in college. This figure is triple the amount that used to be paid in 1990 and is equal to almost the annual income of a median household, after deducting taxes. State schools have not been spared this increased cost either. A state university student pays nearly $19,000 annually, an amount that has increased a hundred times over the last twenty-five years. Had these increases been backed up by a commensurate increase in wages, there would not be a huge outcry from the masses. There is a stagnation of wages and increased college fees, putting a college education out of reach for most families. To make amends for this, parents have had to dip into their savings and forced to take up student loans, sending student loan debt to a record $1.2 trillion last year. This state of things might cost them the privilege of enjoying their retirement benefits. Considering the figures described above, is college education still worth it anymore? Apparently it still is.

A research conducted by New York Fed found out that college students earn approximately $ 1 million more over their life time compared to those who did not attend college. The college premium-the earnings differential between college graduates and those with just a high school diploma- has averaged 56% over the last three decades. Based on these findings, college education seems a worthwhile venture after all. Deep into this data, however, some stark realities emerge. The value of college degree has eroded over time. The premium has remained constant, but the cost of education has gone high, and the earnings for college and non-college graduates et al. has plummeted (Nytimes.com).

Sufficient evidence exists backing the relation of the possibility of a college degree securing a higher paying job, the return of those degrees varies widely depending on a range of factors. For one, there is the matter of completing college. Students in private universities have a higher completion rate than those in public universities over the course of four years in the university. Completion rates are affected by a range of factors. Some students might opt to drop out and work part time while others might transfer to other schools. A longer period to complete will translate to higher costs. The time when one completes his college degree also matters. Those who graduate during a recession will find it difficult securing a job.

Owing to the slow pace of recovery of the economy after the recession, there is no guarantee that your college degree will fetch you a job in the market. Or you might find a job placement that pays way less than your qualification, a situation of over education and underemployment. The Majors one chooses to pursue will also have an impact on the earnings you will receive. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math majors fetch higher returns relative to other majors. The risk comes in when too many students concentrate on a particular niche. There might be few job slots available in that niche, leaving too many students scrambling for few positions, a situation of escalated supply over demand. A student may increase their chances of getting a job placement when he networks and participates in internship and apprenticeship programs.

Still college remains a risky undertaking for many families as it is never a guarantee that a college degree will secure you a gateway to a happy successful and prosperous life. With time, if the tuition fees keep on escalating, college might just end up being an elephant white project for some, never materializing to be what it was hoped and hyped to be.

For those who see a bleak future in the college way as a pathway to a successful life, there is a way out: skip college. There are those who education just is not their thing. Some might call them dumb and stupid, but the truth is, we dont necessarily have to be bright in books to be successful. One can be dumb in books but very skilled in other aspects of life. Not all jobs require a degree, after all. Why would a mail carrier spend (or waste) thousands of dollars to get a degree? Such money would have been put to a better use if it was used to buy a house or something else.

Some scholars argue that some of the money spend on tuition could be invested in teaching the students communication skills and character development skills that will help them in the work place. After all, such are the skills that employers are most interested after. A survey conducted on 2,000 business owners showed that their employees were deficient in decision making skills, conflict resolution, and listening skills. There are some scholars who contend that the government should pump in more money, so mas to expand apprenticeship and on-the-job learning capacity.

Those who are hitting hard on the supporters of skipping college have valid claims to sustain their fears. Evidence exists to show that students who drop out of college or do not attend college at all, especially those from African and Hispanic descent, end up engaging in criminal activities. It is not, however, clear whether the crimes committed have a direct linkage to dropping out of college. According to Schapiro, an economist, attending college gives one more than just a degree; it has an aesthetic value. You earn and command some respect just by the mere fact that you were in college.

College attendance, in evaluating its holistic impact on an individual, is a tricky thing to do. A college degree might or might not secure you a well-paying job. But college attendance is definitely a reasonable thing to do, as it opens up your mind to new things and ideas, although its cost is forbiddingly high (Topics.nytimes.com). Most of the successful people are those who attended college but along the way pursued other ventures other than waiting to be employed. It is worse for those who do not have a college degree to secure a job, but it does not mean that they will not have a bright and successful future. Some, by sheer determination, have made it in life despite not having a college education. So whichever stand you take; whether you get a degree or drop out, the determinant of whether you will hack it in life is how sharp you are, how you take and utilize the opportunities you come across and how determined you are.


CNBC,. "Jennifer Barrett". N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.

Nytimes.com,. "Plan B - Skip College - Nytimes.Com". N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.

Topics.nytimes.com,. "Jacques Steinberg". N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Feb. 2016.

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