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Is College Worth the Cost?



February 28, 2013 – Comments (6)

Location: pencils2's CAPS Blog

Author: pencils2

New York Times: The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job.

While this article hits on an important point, a college degree by no means is a guarantee to a job. In terms of cost/benefit, I think college is incredibly overvalued when students will take on thousands of dollars worth of debt, only to spend the next 5, 10, 15, or even 20 years working to pay off that lump of debt.

Thankfully I was accepted to Berea College, which offers students a full four-year scholarship upon admission; I will be able to graduate without a lick of debt related to college. All I know is that I probably would not choose to be in college if I knew it meant going into debt. Unfortunately, many individuals see college as the only option (it isn't), and trap themselves in mounds of debt for an education that may or may not amplify their creative abilities and economic opportunities out of school.

This video from Peter Schiff demonstrates why anyone should seriously consider whether the value of a college education is at all worth thousands of dollars of debt:

6 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 28, 2013 at 2:27 PM, Goofyhoofy (< 20) wrote:

 All I know is that I probably would not choose to be in college if I knew it meant going into debt.  

Debt can be a useful thing or, if used unwisely, can be a curse.  Statistically speaking, a college degree will earn the recipient far more money over a lifetime than the debt incurred, although that's not true for everyone, obviously. And, statistically speaking, college graduates are more employable and find jobs faster than non-college graduates.

Do you plan to "not use debt" when you buy a house? Start a business? What's the difference? Sometimes you have to use debt to make investments. That's why virtually every corporation in the US has "debt."

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#2) On February 28, 2013 at 8:19 PM, NewAlchemist (67.40) wrote:

"Statistically speaking that a college degree will earn the recipient far more money over a lifetime than the debt incurred."

 How much does a degree cost?  20,000 to 150,000 depending on where you go?  I'd hope you earn more than that in your lifetime.

 If you are suggesting that the degree earner will end up wealthier over time I am not so sure.  You can't just compare the degree holder to the non degree holder and say see, that's proof you should go to college and get that degree in psychology!  There are a lot of variables and depending on your intelligence, motivation, financial situation, your major etc. it isn't always such an easy answer.

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#3) On February 28, 2013 at 9:36 PM, Goofyhoofy (< 20) wrote:

Dear NewAlchemist: someone without a college degree earns $1.2 million over their lifetime. Someone with a college degree earns $2.1 million - on average. (

Now you may tell me that you know some college graduates who are bums, and some high-school only graduates who are millionaires, and I would not argue. That's why I said "STATISTICALLY." Of course there are variations. But to imply that you are **likely** to be just as well off without a degree as with is to fly in the fact of actual fact.

This is not complicated. It's math. It's math with variation, admittedly, but "on average", you pay for your college debt about 10 times over. Capiche? 

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#4) On March 01, 2013 at 12:11 AM, NewAlchemist (67.40) wrote:

The average degree holder earns more than a non-degree holder.  Gotcha.  The average degree holder is also smarter than the average person.  Forget about college degrees, smarter people will on average earn more money than people of average intelligence.

I believe the statistics are heavily skewed at the top.  By top I mean smart people with hard majors.  Engineers, Computer scientists, Doctors, Lawyers, Finance majors that make it to Wall Street boost the average up with high salaries.  Those are NOT majors of the average student.  Those are smart people with smart majors that skew the average up.  We are not talking about the median here we are talking about the average.

 If you are of average or lower intelligence is it worth it?  What if you are not getting a decent major and are racking up 10's of thousands worth of debt?  You'd probably be better off not going to college.  The benefit of the degree is marginal while the cost is huge.

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#5) On March 01, 2013 at 1:42 AM, commoncents33 (< 20) wrote:

College is associated with higher rates of employment and higher incomes.  On average.

 Association is completely different than causation.  (Do you even remember your college science and statistics courses?)

 I think the things that are abundantly clear are: 1) there are many students that would be better off not going to college and racking up huge debts, and 2) overall, we need colleges to be much more directly oriented to training people to be productive workers.  The historic idea of a "liberal arts" eductation just doesn't make sense for most, not when it's costing many tens of thousands of dollars, and not in a nation which has a steadily worsening employment situation.

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#6) On March 01, 2013 at 10:23 AM, Bkeepr100 (< 20) wrote:

In most cases the degree is just an overpriced sheet of paper. Most of what helps to drive the economy is not taught in the schools. By this, I mean the person's drive to do work, their natural intellegence level, and other personal factors can't ever be taught to the student in the classroom. These are shaped by the real world experiences of the individual. This is one of the reasons that a person coming out of High school should spend a minimum of 2 years working before going on for a higher educational school.

But the schools can try to warp and indoctrinate the student into the "proper" liberal and "PC"  modes of thought and actions in the time they are in school there.  They hand out worthless degrees in the Liberal Arts areas like they are candy.For example, most people can never, ever get a job as a Philosopher. Students are also encouraged to go into highly overcrowded fields such as Attorney, Social Worker, or many other highly populated jobs. Most people are never taught to create wealth, just to shuffle papers around.

We need more wealth creators in America, not more parasites that only are a drain on the more productive members of society. We need more farmers, miners, loggers, fishermen, ranchers, etc.. These areas acutally create a $ that was not there before. Everybody else's job just basicly shuffles the paper and money around.    

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