- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 13 April 2016
- Written by AMANDA GANGIDINO | LIFESTYLE EDITOR
A college education is a colossal investment, but many have begun to question its worth.
In today’s world, landing a job is a difficult feat. Back in the day, a college degree was your ticket to a well-paying job. Recent studies have revealed that most college students will not receive a return on their college investment until they are middle-aged. Many have not seen their college tuition dollars reimbursed into their paychecks because they are working minimum wage jobs due to their inability to find a position after graduation. The barista at your local Starbucks might have a business degree, but due to their lack of experience within their field of study, they cannot land a job. Nearly half of college graduates are underemployed and working jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree.
Exactly six months after you moved the tassel from right to left and proudly walked off the stage with your diploma in hand, your gift from the government finds its way to you in the form of federal loans. Your government federal loan payments begin with an average interest rate of 4.29 percent and up. Once your decades of payments begin you may ask the question, “Was my education worth the cost?”
Being a current undergraduate student with intentions of earning my college diploma, there are times that I begin to question the worth of my education. Personally, I have always dreamt of going to college straight out of high school; that always seemed to be the only logical option. However, with statistics proving that a college education does not guarantee success, that dream of mine maybe should have remained as a dream. Personally, I am taking out loans to pay for my education. Some students are fortunate enough that their tuition is being paid for and in that case this article might not be relevant to them. However, my fellow students that also are utilizing loans to pay for their education can relate to the anxiety and pressure of finding a high-paying job upon graduation.
Taking out loans to pay for college feels as if you have a huge weight on your back. Typically, I tend to ignore that there are thousands of dollars accumulating each day that I am sitting in class. With tuition increasing by 4.95 percent this year alone, I would rather pretend that my financial obligations are not as steep. After all, ignorance is bliss, right?
Scholarships, grants, and loans may soften the blow of tuition costs, but it is absurd to think that universities can place such a high price tag on knowledge. Some colleges charge $65,000 a year for attendance, not including room and board or your books. After four years, one can expect to be in over $200,000 of debt without a guarantee of receiving a high-paying job after graduation. It is safe to say that no matter who is paying the bill, college is a debt sentence.
I am conflicted as to whether or not college is a smart investment. Although I have been exposed to unbelievable opportunities and new perspectives thus far, tuition costs seem unreasonable. Many classes that are required to graduate will not be valuable in the real world or many career paths. Our curriculum should be centralized more towards the knowledge each student must have upon graduation to obtain the job of their choice. Most skill sets are learned on the job not even in the classroom. I feel that more credit should be allocated for internships since they open the door for opportunities and grant students with concrete experiences.
We continue to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on our diplomas hoping that it will be our ticket to our success. There are no guarantees in life and that piece of paper might bring you success or it may not. We all begin our journey of higher education with a positive outlook, but as the years progress, we question the return on our investments. It is disappointing that something as rewarding as getting an education is unattainable for most.
I think college is worth the time, stress, and of course some money. However, I do not think it is worth how much many colleges are charging their students. Many of us dream of attending college to secure our future, but the high costs of education might leave us with an uncertain financial standing for the rest of our lives.
College student loan debt is at an all-time high. Many of us may never get to live out the American Dream with these lofty loans because we may not be able to qualify for a mortgage or secure a high-paying job. In fact, many positions consider a bachelor degree as a minimum requirement, but would rather hire a candidate that has his or her masters. The college debt never ends.
A college education is worth an investment. It is up to you to decide how much you are willing to spend on this venture in your life. The knowledge you gain molds you into a critical consumer of information that is presented to you, but sitting in a classroom does not provide you with any real world experience. College may be a debt sentence, but most of the time it will be your entry ticket into the real world. Make the most out of this time and get your money’s worth because you are paying a lot to sit in those seats.