Is getting an expensive college degree still worth it today?

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  1. globaltechsource profile image61
    globaltechsourceposted 14 years ago

    Average tuition at four-year public colleges in the U.S. climbed 6.5 percent, or $429, to $7,020 this fall as schools apologetically passed on much of their own financial problems, according to an annual report from the College Board, released Tuesday. At private colleges, tuition rose 4.4 percent, or $1,096, to $26,273.

    With the rising cost of obtaining college degrees and the massive unemployment rate ,Is it still worth it to get a college degree?

    1. profile image0
      Scott.Lifeposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Guess that depends on the long view. Is it worth the added expense to earn a degree that could get you out of an hourly wage dead end job, and into a career? I think people make the mistake of pursuing degrees that are neither feasible or in demand, then complain that they can't find work. If you're unemployed and have little hope for finding a job, is it better to sit around depressed and stressed or could this be the opportune time to go back to school or retrain.

      I know I'm taking a risk, but what choice do I have, I have to do something. I have applied for several grants and loans. The loans I will not have to pay back until after graduation. So you can be sure I will be spending my junior and senior year in school making sure there's a position waiting for me when I get done.

      1. Stimp profile image61
        Stimpposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        I know I jab you alot Scott in other forums.....I do admire that you are going (back?) to school.  One other consideration, however, are certifications in whatever area or niche you want to pursue.  for instance, I'm a computer programmer.  I am an Oracle Certified Professional.  That, in and of itself has opened many more doors than my degree has.  Although employers require the 4 year degree, it seems they don't even care what it is in relation to as long as you hold some professional certification in that job area.  Just a thought.

        1. profile image0
          Scott.Lifeposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          Everything in the name of fun and debate....i don't take things or jabs on the forums personally as I often ask for them. You make a valid point about tech certifications and similar training. I had thought about that route myself but as unemployment grows and recession deepens in my area I have seen the tech fields take the largest hits after the service industries. When pursuing a career field I think it wise to look at paths that will always be in demand and needed. While technology is growing its very growth is slowly fazing out the human aspect of it, and making it a constantly more competitive field.

          I am very fluent in computer and technology but I do not have a passion for it. When deciding to return to school, I considered the long term career application. I am too old to go job hunting and its time I find a career path that will offer stability and growth in the decades to come. medicine will be closely tied to technology in the years to come and offers a chance to work in a field I am fluent in and also enjoy.

          1. Stimp profile image61
            Stimpposted 14 years agoin reply to this

            Yup you are right...IT is not what it was 10-15 years ago.  Luckily I got in then and have been able to make a good living with it.  I'm more on the project management or project lead end of things now.

            IF I were to go back to school, I go into forensic science or pharmaceuticals....that's where it's at.  I can only see the need for these professionals increasing while other professions decrease.

    2. profile image0
      theglobalspiritposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I am an adult that lost my job as an HR Manager due to the recession. I decided to back to school and earn a Masters degree (next year).  The problem is that more and more jobs are demanding college degrees and above.

      When I was on the job our executive secretary wanted to hire an assistant who would also fill in for her. She insisted that the new hire have a college degree. I asked her if she really thought that a degree should be required of a secretary's assistant and she said a firm yes. She felt that the college degree holder would be brighter and know how to research.  I ended up hiring a struggling mom that didn't have a degree and she performed fine with a great attitude to boot. In fact, I think she is still there.

      I earned my college degree late in life and now I'm in a recession without any prospects. I do not know if it's worth it or not. I will say that it's only getting more competitive every day as my story illustrates.

      I do suggest that people check with the labor statistics and choose a program that has high expectations of rapid job growth over the next 5 years or more. Never switch majors because it adds more time and expense. I am living proof. It's better to complete the degree and earn a certificate after graduation in a new field. I would also recommend choosing a degree that is offering the possibility of loan forgiveness such as health care fields. I wrote a paper and submitted it on hub pages discussing loan forgiveness opportunities for health care providers. I think that it's called Important Boards for Psychologists/Ethics.

      The only two hot fields that I've seen so far as anything that has to do with health care and "green" technology. Computers scare me degrees because anything done on computers can easily be sent outside of any country. If a person is great at computer technology and doesn't mind being shipped overseas then it's also a hot career.

      Anyway, I hope that it pays off for everyone that has loans albeit it probably will not happen in this recession. 

      Good luck to everyone,

      Stacey & Bobby

    3. Anita Koppens profile image60
      Anita Koppensposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I believe that employers still take a college degree into account when looking at a candidate. It reveals strength of character especially if the GPA is 3.0 or higher. Two candidates with the same experience, similar personalities, but one has a college degree, which one would you pick?

    4. profile image0
      cosetteposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      probably more now than ever.

    5. falcon64 profile image61
      falcon64posted 14 years agoin reply to this

      wow... that is a public Colleges ha. Very much surprising! Basically education is really important for me. That's only the precious wealth I can give to my kids. But if this is the worst case scenario of today's education. I am afraid to think in advance that i cannot afford them to send in Colleges 9 years from now.

  2. manlypoetryman profile image77
    manlypoetrymanposted 14 years ago

    It is beginning to get unreal go to college. Yet...You need something or some kind of specialized training behind your name stand out in today's job market!

  3. profile image0
    collegecareerlifeposted 14 years ago

    A college education is still a wise investment, assuming you choose a practical major.  Unemployment levels for college graduates are lower than for those without a degree.  Also, a college graduate will earn about twice as much over the course of his or her career as someone with just a high school education.

    1. profile image0
      elliot.dunnposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      that sounds accurate.  i've known some really intelligent people who have been stymied in their job search because they lack a college degree.  it's an expensive right of passage but a right of passage nonetheless.

    2. The Rope profile image60
      The Ropeposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      A college degree is definately still worth it.  Doesn't necessarily mean the degree you pursue is your end goal but as stated there are more with a college degree in the marketplace so just as finishing H.S. used to be the absolute bottom line - a B.S. has become the normal bottom line requirement.  Wish there were more like "globalspirit" who are willing to give the strugglers a chance.

  4. bgpappa profile image78
    bgpappaposted 14 years ago

    They are unapologetic about it, that is for sure.  My wife is finishing up her degree that tuition has increased every semester since she started.  And now they offer less classes, less services than ever before.  So more money to get less.

    But yes, a majority of people still need a college degree to get ahead.  There are exceptions of course, but many entry level positions need a college degree just to get an interview, even if the degree isn't in the field.  With so many people with degrees in the market, employers feel they can make such demands and still have a good pool of employees from which to pick.

  5. Paradise7 profile image69
    Paradise7posted 14 years ago

    A lot depends on your financial aid package, and how much debt you accrue during college.  In this financial climate, it's hard to say what's the right thing to do.  One of the problems is:  you need to COMPLETE the degree, in order to get any merit points with a potential employer for it.  Many people start, but are unable to finish, for several reasons, but money pressure is not the least of them.

    In that case, it's an expensive experiment that didn't work.  Make sure you have the resources to finish before you start.

  6. profile image0
    lynnechandlerposted 14 years ago

    For me it isn't about the expense of college. While that is something to look at, I also have to think about the marketability of a 50 yr old woman after I finish the degree.

    I'm in the process of finishing something I started years ago. Something that has been a lifelong dream. So along with researching where to get the money from to pay for schooling, I spent the day trying to track down ancient transcripts because they could potentially knock off 30 hrs of study for my degree, and I worked on getting everything in order to re-enter in the spring of this next year.

    It's either this or sit impotent into retirement and that isn't an option for me. So, I say whether you are just entering college from high school, re-entering in mid-life or later life it is worth it to change your future.

    1. zmansfam profile image57
      zmansfamposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Good Luck to you...and Good job, you should be proud of yourself! Please know though that most colleges now only accept your prior credits if you have all of the syllabus info, and the credits were earned within the last 5 years! Its harsh, I found out. I had to retake classes that I took over 10 years ago, but you know what? I did better in the class the second time, and it was a breeze! So don't get frustrated, just wanted to give you heads up!

  7. lrohner profile image68
    lrohnerposted 14 years ago

    I have almost 20 years under my belt in Corporate America. Without a degree, forget a job. They even want their Administrative Assistants to have Master's Degrees these days (and most do or are pursuing them).

    That said, if you go to UPenn, Yale, Harvard or other like school, the expensive name of the school WILL definitely help. If you don't go to one of those schools, just find the cheapest. It really doesn't make a difference to most prospective employers.

    1. TheSituation profile image64
      TheSituationposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with this 100%.  I was fortunate enough to somehow get into Dartmouth (they must have needed someone from the middle of no-where.)  Anyways, the name of my school has pretty much gotten me every job I have had since college. 

      I would say if you are able to go to a big name college (I would say all the Ivys, Duke, Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, Berkley etc) then do it, if not, I would reocmmend going to a big state school IN STATE for the cheaper tuition and because it is the alums and connections that will help you most when looking for work.

  8. R P Chapman profile image59
    R P Chapmanposted 14 years ago

    I find it incredibly sad to read a discussion about whether education is worth paying for, and what the return on investment might be. I've always looked at education as a means of having a richer and more fulfilling life and it's just, well depressing to just think of it in stark monetary terms.

  9. profile image0
    TMinutposted 14 years ago

    lynne, same here, I have 39 hours but I'm not sure what they'll count for after almost 20 years! I'm 48 now, the degree I want is probably not going to happen but I'm going for something shorter term just to make money. Then I'll continue buying the Great Courses from the Teaching Company and whenever I can, go for what I want even if I AM too old to get hired - I'll still love it!

  10. profile image50
    krystalmirrorposted 14 years ago

    I believe it is worth it to go to college. I read recently where there will be an increase in service industry jobs along with healthcare jobs. So, if you are not educated in a field that will have growth, you may be forced to take a low-paying job in retail or restaurant work.

    But, I think it is also important to find something you like to do, as no matter how much money you can make at it, doing a job day after day that you hate is no way to live.

    Just my .02.

  11. wyanjen profile image71
    wyanjenposted 14 years ago

    I make a very comfortable living without a 4 year degree. My job is safe even in the bad economy.

    I'm a community college grad.
    One degree in arts, a second in applied science.
    Four years but much less expensive. I had no loans to pay when I was done.

    If I were looking to go back to school, I would do it the same way right now.
    Community college or trade school.

    I wish the best to all who are looking for the next step.

  12. Jane@CM profile image59
    Jane@CMposted 14 years ago

    Even though my hubby is unemployed, we are still footing the bill for our daughter's education.  It is highly important to her and to us.  She is working toward a degree in Engineering, which has a bright outlook for the future.  She should be able to get a decent internship this summer, with the degree she is pursuing.

  13. zmansfam profile image57
    zmansfamposted 14 years ago

    I have a master's degree. I do believe in education, but I am so frustrated at searching for jobs right now. I am in education, but jobs are limited. Education does not guaranty a job, but it does help you survive in other areas! Check out my latest hub you will see my frustration. It will pay off, you just have to be patient. Just don't get educated for $ purposes only, do it to see a better world, and be a bigger part of it! It gives you skills to survive, in the most difficult times. Just a thought.

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image55
      prettydarkhorseposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      agree, plus when you have a degree you can have a leeway too!

  14. Cagsil profile image71
    Cagsilposted 14 years ago

    Additional schooling is always beneficial to any individual and to society, as a whole.

    The cost of school and where you get your additional education is completely up to your earnings base.

    Each person is better off with additional education, but since the costs play a huge role, people have to be self-responsible about what they choose about major and minor programs they get into.

    Example: my niece is presently going to Holyoke Community College on paid scholarship, because her grades throughout all school were A to A+ and graduated runner-up to the Validictorian. She is unsure what she really wants to do, so she hasn't chosen any concrete. One course she picked was about learning 'sign language', so she can be an interpreter for the deaf, if needs be.

    I thought that was thougtful and a very smart beneficial act on her behalf toward helping, in an area she sees a problem.

    If more people were like that- see and area, learn to help. That attitude would help and give alot of people a direction for their life.

    Thanks for listening.

    1. wyanjen profile image71
      wyanjenposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      After I started college and realized I was not cut out for a writing career, I drifted for awhile, kinda panicky, wondering what I was doing. I stumbled onto a career that I just love.

      Back in college, I could never have imagined myself doing what I do today. Just being in school, whether you have an exact plan or not, is a step forward.

    2. wyanjen profile image71
      wyanjenposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      After I started college and realized I was not cut out for a writing career, I drifted for awhile, kinda panicky, wondering what I was doing. I stumbled onto a career that I just love.

      Back in college, I could never have imagined myself doing what I do today. Just being in school, whether you have an exact plan or not, is a step forward.

  15. skristoff profile image61
    skristoffposted 14 years ago

    My background is in engineering.  I know some technicians that are far more knowledgeable than many engineers, but because they do not have a degree, they are just technicians.  There's a big difference in pay between technician and engineer as well, as least where I've worked.

    Same goes for BS/MS/PhD....more schooling, more money.

  16. profile image51
    nancywaldenposted 14 years ago

    I am sure this is a niggling question in the minds of many people given the rising cost of college and the high jobless rate prevailing in the country. But one should look at degree programs as a long term investment, which will bear rich dividends in the form of higher salaries, better jobs, faster growth, etc. If you choose the right degree and use it well, then college education will open the doors to a better quality of life. Fields such as business, healthcare, and computer science hold a lot of promise. I got a Computer Science degree from CollegeAmerica ( and I am getting paid well because of it.

  17. NewYorker profile image59
    NewYorkerposted 14 years ago

    It's worth it.

    1. TheGlassSpider profile image65
      TheGlassSpiderposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I agree....and I'm going to be spending the rest of my life paying for mine lol

      Still worth it, though.

      1. NewYorker profile image59
        NewYorkerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Yeah, I also will probably be paying my student loans 'till my late forties, but I make enough money now BECAUSE of that degree to pay the loan and make a living.

        1. TheGlassSpider profile image65
          TheGlassSpiderposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          That's exactly what I'm hoping for as well!

  18. yenajeon profile image71
    yenajeonposted 14 years ago

    If it is a prestigious school then yes. If not, probably not. I know this sounds harsh, but with a great school there is a greater chance you will get a job that will give you that return. (of money I mean)

    Without even a bachelors degree, how would you even compete for jobs??

  19. profile image0
    sneakorocksolidposted 14 years ago

    It's worth it and it's neccessary. The cost is huge, my son goes to a private school on a scholarship otherwise he would have been looking at a state school. The whole bill before his scholarship is about $50,000 a year. Not including personal expenses. It's a shame we haven't made it possible for all our kids to attend. We need a national service program that they can use for college, medical or retirement. That way those with out still have some hope but not a give-a-way!

  20. donotfear profile image83
    donotfearposted 14 years ago

    Knowledge is alway valuable no matter what.

  21. Misha profile image61
    Mishaposted 14 years ago

    Depends on what you want. It definitely does not add to the happiness. In terms of earning a living it can be beneficial if you plan on selling yourself as a workforce. You can do fine without if you plan on running your own business. smile

  22. torimari profile image67
    torimariposted 14 years ago

    Yes, it is worth it but even with a my BA in English and my internship and other publications it's been hard for me to get a job. I've been out of college for about 5 months, and even the temp jobs are dicking people over. I still don't have a job.

    Whenever I apply to a job, even titled 'Entry Postion' I've been told they require 2 years of Experience and/or a Masters.
    So, no interview. I've been told usually they'd offer me one but they aren't looking for people with BA's...confusing.

    I just got out of college and am trying to do just that. My Business and PR degree friends had this same problem too...took most of them 7-9 months to get even a temp job.

    It's really rough but a degree, I believe no matter what, is worth it.

  23. efeguy profile image42
    efeguyposted 14 years ago

    let just have it if will can afford it,may be help will come one day and this unemployment problem will fade out.

    but on a serious note,no point if after every thing no job.

  24. hil-larious profile image61
    hil-lariousposted 8 years ago

    Although this thread is really old, but the problem isn't. College fees ar now even higher than before but many do think that we learn more in real life than in college. Then why we should bother going to college, spend thousands of dollars and get a degree which will be just hanging on the wall. And the reason is simply - lots of employers demand a college degree. They may disregard an employee with excellent knowledge but lack of degree and take in a person who has degree from a prestigious college just because it's prestigious college. That's why I think unless you want to start your own business, don't go to college - do it. But if you rather spend a comfortable life, like a dissertation writer at his blog says go to college, get a degree and do some boring job.

  25. cheaptrick profile image73
    cheaptrickposted 8 years ago

    "I quit school so I could get an education" .I don't know who said it...but I know a Hell of a lot of people who agree.


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