The answer: No question, a college degree is still worth the investment.
With student debt levels climbing and uncertainty in the job market (when in history hasn’t there been uncertainty?) it’s easy to wonder if a college degree is still worth the time, money and effort.
Researchers from Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce have found that college grads have a clear wage advantage over those who only have a high school diploma.
Still, seven in 10 seniors (69 percent) who graduated from public and nonprofit colleges in 2013 had student loan debt, with an average of $28,400 per borrower. That’s a big number, and a big hurdle. But if you factor in the premium that graduates earn over a career, a college degree is still worth the investment.
While you are still on campus, think about how you can make your investment pay off sooner than later:
- If you are earning a degree in the arts, for example, are there classes you can take to make your degree more marketable? Are you willing to shape your degree and ambitions (at least in the short-term) to find more lucrative work?
- If you are in a more traditionally high-paying field, like engineering or business, are there ways you can strengthen your “people” skills in campus activities?
- Are you maximizing your investment now by taking advantage of all the opportunities around you on campus and with professors?
- Meet with your advisor to make sure you are on track to graduate. Taking an extra year—or even a semester—costs you time and money.