In a competitive job market like that of today, college degrees seem like a requirement in order to land an entry-level job. But, with the recent media coverage of the rising costs of a college degree and perceived small amount of benefit, it can leave many college students and recent graduates wondering what their degree is actually worth.
According to a recent report by The Pew Research Center, the cost of a higher education has increased in recent years, and many Americans are unhappy about that. More than half of Americans think the nation’s college system is not a good value for the cost – however, college graduates tend to disagree. Eighty-six percent of graduates say it was worth it to them.
What Adults Think
The survey asked 2,142 adults about the cost and value of a college degree. Although nearly every parent surveyed (94 percent) says they expect their child to attend college, 57 percent say that the higher education system in the U.S. fails to provide students with a good value for the cost. The majority of adults, 75 percent, even say that college is too expensive for most Americans to afford.
However, adults who graduated from a four-year college believe they make $20,000 more per year (on average) than if they did not have a degree. Along with the financial benefit of obtaining a degree, most college graduates say their education helped them grow intellectually, mature as a person and helped them prepare for a job or career.
What College Presidents Think
Sixty percent of the 1,055 college presidents surveyed say the higher education system in the U.S. is headed in the right direction, however, 64 percent say it’s unlikely that the country will achieve Obama’s goal of the highest share of young adults with a college degree or certificate by 2020.
Half of the college presidents agree that a college degree helps students grow and mature; while 48 percent say it provides skills, knowledge and training necessary for their future career.
Ultimately, both parties tend to agree that a college degree helps an individual earn more throughout their career and gain valuable skills necessary in the workplace.
What do you think? What’s a college degree worth? Is the cost of a college education too much for the value it provides?